How To Guide

Job Hunting – Little things to help you overcome those tricky obstacles

Job Hunting can be mind boggling.  Knowing what kind of job you are qualified for can be intimidating.  Don’t let things overwhelm you.  Think of the positives and form a plan to accomplish your goal.  First thing I do when anything is overwhelming me is make a list.

  • What kind of jobs does your education qualify you for
  • What experience do you have and is it transferable from industry to industry, ie banking to government
  • Who do you know in the industry
    • Call them and set up an information interview to find out what types of jobs you would be qualified for or that would interest you
  • Network – let everyone know you are looking.  Do you volunteer, let the board know you are looking for a new job.  Play sports or children play sports, teams are a great place to network.  The gym, yoga studio – everyone knows someone who knows someone and most people are more than happy to lend a hand.
  • Use a Recruiter.  Recruiters have job boards sometimes exclusive to them.  Research your recruiter and find the one who deals with the companies on your list of places you would like to work.  Also find the Recruiter who deals with your skills.  Recruiters specialize – IT, Finance, Admin, etc so make sure you contact the right one.  Be diligent don’t them forget about you, keep in touch with him/her.
  • Check the job boards.  Don’t be afraid to recontact your Recruiter and let him/her know about job openings.
  • Check specific company websites.  Again before applying online check with your Recruiter to see if he has a contact there.
  • Connect with people on LinkedIn who work for specific targeted companies that you are interested in
  • And then go back and do it all again
There is a job out there with your name on it.


Terminated or Fired – Now What?

Being fired is a tough experience and it narrows your options.  Here are some suggestions on how to deal with this situation.


Prepare yourself to move on:

  • Take responsibility for what happened.
  • Deal with the pain, anger or shame.  Talk to your friends for support.  Consider getting professional help.  There is not much in life that teaches us how to deal with bad situations so take corrective action.  The alternative is a lot of unhappiness for a lot longer.
  • Don’t confuse a lay-off with firing.  Layoffs happen all the time when organizations go through change. Don’t beat yourself up over something that wasn’t your fault.



Get a new job, even if it will be for a short term, as in a contract, and may not be your dream position.  This job will re-establish your resume credibility.


Steps to find a new job



  • Contact people you worked with in the past who could take you back.
  • Contact friends and colleagues who know you as a good person and will support you –maybe hand your resume/recommend you to their boss.
  • Contact everyone who could be a good reference for you.  Often there are people from the company from which you were let go who are aware the firing may not have been entirely your fault. People from the prior jobs would not be affected by what happened recently.


Options to Answer the Question Why You Left


Full disclosure – I was fired because…

If it was a personality conflict, explain that it had never happened before and that what you learned from the situation is that sometimes conflict can’t be resolved and that you should have taken action to move on earlier, yourself.  Immediately offer a list of references whom you know will say positive things about you.

It was a mutual decision and explain you have a severance plan.

Immediately offer a list of references.

Say nothing about the termination.

This may back fire if an employment check reveals you were fired and you had not been candid about it.

Don’t ruminate/blame.

I can’t think of a way this approach will ever work.  It is a sub-set of never criticizing a former boss, company or colleagues. It just makes people feel uncomfortable and you look  like complainer/whiner and  leave the impression you are immature and untrustworthy.


Nadine is one of the original members and owners of Planet4IT, and has watched the company become something great.
She is the Chief Financial officer here, and her hard work ensures everything is kept in tip top shape.
Another role she has is to help companies find the top talent out there.
Her track record speaks for itself.
Nadine can be reached through email, or by calling Planet4IT


Photography – A Trip down Memory Lane edit

Family Day weekend in Ontario, -20C with windchills closer to -40C, the ground is covered with ice and snow.  Definitely not going outside other than for food.  I started painting the trim in my hallway but you can only do that for so long without finding your hand stuck in the claw position.  What’s happening in the family room – tv’s on – curling, hockey, the Fan590 – seriously.  I’d rather paint.  OK next favourite room my computer room (aka office Monday to Friday) – time for a little cleanup.  What is under all that dust, it’s my scanner – I thought I had lost it.  OK this is a perfect day to start scanning in all those pictures I have in a cabinet upstairs.

Not all of these pictures are mine, the ones from the early 1900’s I stole off grandparents and parents.  There are even a couple that are on cardboard and there are a number of people I don’t know who they are and there’s no one alive to remind me.  As I looked at the number of albums I have from the 1970’s to 2002 I almost decided to go back to painting.  Nope  this is happening today.  Turn on some tunes and I open my first book.  Memories come flooding back of loved ones, events and places.  I am now fully enthralled with my project.  It’s going to take longer than I thought (might take years :)).

It’s amazing too think that my grandparents generation did NOT own cameras.  If they wanted a picture they went to a professional and had a portrait done (before that they had to hire an artist to paint it).  As I started going through my pictures, memories of my first cameras came flooding back.

3 of these cameras were before memory cards.  Yes they took film, either cartridges or spools.  Was there anything more embarrassing than going to pick up your pictures at Blacks and being told that the spool had never been used and you had 12 blank pictures.  Yes you could only take 12, 24 or 36 pictures at a time.  You had to buy the film and pay for each print.  There was no taking 5 pictures of your freshly painted toenails.  The film was too expensive for anything other than special events and trips.


Memory cards were introduced in 1997, my first camera with a memory card was also my first Nikon – the memory card was 8MB, it didn’t take me long to realize I needed bigger cards, the 64mb cost me around $100 back then.  My newest Nikon (and the love of my life) holds 2 32GB cards.  They sell for $22 each at Staples.  32GB that is so much bigger than my first computer I would need a mathematician to figure it out.

From 1970 to 2002 my pictures were  kept in albums or boxes.  The excitement that passed through my house when the albums with the plastic covers came out and we could get rid of those little black corners that kept falling off.  (Yes I started using them again when I went through my scrapbooking phrase :)).  Imagine my chagrin when I started scanning these pictures and realized that they were stuck to the sticky page forever.  I now had to scan whole sheets at a time – grrrr – it affected the quality of the scan – grrr.  So much for a new invention.


The above pictures are just a sampling of how many pictures I have.  The big question now is what to do with all these books and photographs.  My siblings and I fought over our parents stash (it helped that it fit in a rubbermaid container).  My kids are fighting over who HAS to take them.  Imagine how excited they will be when I hand them a USB port with a sampling of all my pictures or by the time I finish scanning they may just be floating up in the cloud.

My largest stash of pictures are of my husband and children.  I’m at that in-between stage now where they don’t like their picture taken, so I am constantly following my cats around with my camera or my phone clicking them doing things only cats do.


Travelling and blogging are now my favourite pastimes.  The 2 go together almost as good as PB & J.  The price of blowing pictures up has decreased so much and the quality of printer you can have in your own home makes your home your own little art gallery.  Nothing makes me happier as I glance around my home seeing holiday pictures blown up on my walls.  Memories are everywhere.  Photography might be the biggest growing hobby, everywhere you go there are people taking pictures either with their cell phones (wow the quality is amazing) or with the digital cameras.  It used to be only professional photographers had zoom lenses and tripods, etc.  Not anymore, there are photographers everywhere.  So as you walk around Toronto, if you aren’t taking pictures, keep smiling because someone has probably snapped a picture of you.

I’m constantly going on google typing “How do I” or “What is” and up pops the answer.  Would love to hear from you about what your favourite photography tip is?



References – when Job Hunting have them ready to go

“References available upon request” – the most unnecessary sentence on a person’s resume.  Every job hunter, interviewer, Hiring Manager knows that the chances of being offered a position without references are NIL.  Even worse than that sentence is “Referees available upon request”.  Yes it is amazing the number of resumes I have seen with that sentence on it.  LOL  please don’t bother applying if you are sending me your referees!!!

Applying for a Job:

Read the job description carefully, references are usually only requested when you are getting to the offer stage.  Don’t send them in if they aren’t asked for.  Don’t put them on the bottom of your resume.  References are doing you a favour, don’t pass along their information until necessary.  Yes there are exceptions. There are a number of online company resume submission sites (usually large companies like Banks, IBM, etc) who ask for everything up front:  Resume, Cover Letter and References.  Don’t bother submitting to these sites unless you have all the information requested.


This is one of the times when you may be asked for your references.  Employers don’t want to see  letters from your references starting with “To whom it may concern”.  They don’t want a list of your LinkedIn recommendations.  They want a straight forward copy of your references.  So be prepared.  Take a copy of your references with you,  in the following format:


Offer Stage:

Most employers will ask you for your references when they are getting to the offer stage.  You may be given a verbal offer dependent on your references.  When it’s a hot job market, employers know that you may be interviewing for more than one job.   They want to let you know that they want you, but your references are the final stepping stone.


    • 3 minimum – including someone from your current employer.  Nothing better than having a reference from your current boss, this might be difficult so a colleague or team member will work.  Job appropriate references are nice to have, if you are interviewing for a job as a programmer in a financial institution and you have worked for a bank before then a colleague who can relate to the actual position is a bonus.  If you are a new graduate then a reference from a professor/teacher is better than your parents.
    • Keep your references up to date.  Make sure they are willing to do a positive reference for you.  Send them a copy of the job description and your resume so they know what you are up to.  Ask them what the best number and “time” to be reached at is.  Employers use reference checking services now so calls can be made before 9, during lunch, after 5.
    • Try and get references that would answer the question “Would you hire them again” with an emphatic “YES”.  References are very careful about how they answer questions and companies don’t want to get sued so they will tend not to say anything negative, but sometimes a non answer speaks volumes.
    • Use LinkedIn – keep in touch with the colleagues you would like to be your references.  Ten (10) years ago you would call your reference and if they had left their job good luck finding them.  LinkedIn makes it so easy to keep track of people and communicate with them.  Keep the relationship fresh and up to date.

References are an integral part of the successful job hunting journey.  Always try and leave your last job on a positive note and you won’t have to worry about your reference check.  Keep them up to date and keep in touch with them.