Job Opportunity


Tip:  Put achievements for each job under you job duties on your #resume.  If not enough room dump the duties and keep the achievements.



Your Resume stands alone!

Remember when you send your resume in to a company, it stands alone.  Make sure your resume packs a punch, you need to stand out from the other 100’s of resumes the company receives:


Profile:  These 4 or 5 sentence paragraph or bullets are the first step on the ladder to selling yourself.  Make sure you fine tune it to the job description.

“Java developer with 5 years of experience handling multiple projects at the same time working in a Windows environment.  Led a Digital Team working in the finance and banking sectors.  Education includes a Bachelors of Computer Science and Sun  Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform certification.”

Education:  University Degrees and Certifications are listed in the job description.  Put them right under your Profile. Recruiters and Hiring Managers scan quickly for these qualifications.  They don’t want to hunt for them so put them right at the beginning.  Now they can move onto their next qualifications.

Skills and Technologies:  If the job description says you need Java then put down that you have Java or have worked in a Windows environment.  This is another qualification they do a quick scan for.  If it isn’t there your resume is tossed.  If it is there they can move onto the nitty gritty of your resume – the positions and achievements.

Professional Experience:  Underline your Company name.  CAPITALIZE your position, this will help it to stand out.  Next come your achievements.  Start them off with action words.  Again use the job description to make your achievements pack a punch.  Expand on the job description points using examples.

  • Strong technical background using C++, Java, JavaScript and C#.
  • Designed distributed high-performance trading systems ……expand
  • Mentored 3 Junior Developers …….expand


After you shorten your resume to 3 pages maximum, what’s the last thing that you do?  Yes – Proofread.  Spelling errors show that you didn’t make the extra effort.  Yes, they seem like a minor thing, but they are a huge red flag – are you careless, don’t care, don’t know.  Will you make the same mistakes in your job.  If you are a developer – oops – your program won’t work.  Prove you want the job by starting off with a clean concise error free resume.

happyfacehanddrawn Good luck job hunting


Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!

Career Change – How to Decide?

 Changing  Careers – Where to start?

It is important to assess or clarify exactly what you are looking for short term and also where you want to be long term.  Remember when changing your career it also affects your family life and your social life.  So don’t forget to include these categories in your list.  Here are 8 categories to help you analyze your next career change:

  1. ›What is your objective
  2. ›What type of organization
  3. ›Supervisory or not
  4. ›Salary
  5. ›Type of employment
  6. ›Location
  7. ›New technologies
  8. ›You and/or your family


What is your objective

  • ›Are you looking to gain new skills?
  • ›Do you want to move into a leadership position?
  • ›What technologies do you like working with the most?
  • ›Where do you want to be in 5 years and what will help you get there?

What type of organization

  • ›Is there a specific industry you are interested in, ie finance, manufacturing, health, government?
  • ›Would you be interested in a large national/international company where there is room for transfers to other locations?
  • ›How about a start-up?  Do you have the skills that could take a start-up to the next level? Or just like the excitement of new and innovative environments?
  • ›Do you like bureaucracy or are you more comfortable in a family environment?

Supervisor or not

Some people are made to be in a supervisory position, other people find it very challenging.  There is nothing wrong with either side.  It is important for you to analyze yourself and decide if you like and want the extra challenges that go with supervising people.

  • ›Do you like a challenging puzzle? If you like getting involved in a puzzle then supervising might not be for you.
  • ›Supervising means making time for people and their problems and idiosyncrasies.
  • ›You have to be tough and soft and fair.


How important is Salary

  • ›Is money the most important thing in your life right now?  No shame in admitting this.  Money makes the world go round and helps you buy a house, go on a vacation, or pay off a loan.
  • ›Is learning a new skill more important than the salary?
  • ›Is this a good time to add extra experience and education to your resume and not worry as much about the salary?  Sometimes a long term career path means not necessarily going for the big pay cheque.

Contract or Permanent

  • ›Do you like the security of a permanent position?  These can include scheduled raises, health benefits, vacation time, possibility for advancement.  Your job may be like your family.


  • ›Are you more comfortable being a contractor and being your own boss.  Like having control of your salary and where the write-offs go.  The larger salary compensates for time off between jobs.  Do you like the idea of being able to take a summer off or travel for 4 months?  Do you find that new people, new systems, new companies enhance your work experience or do they stress you?

Location – to commute or not

Commuting is a big deal breaker on my list.

  • ›Do you like to drive?
  • ›Are you and the company close to public transportation?
  • ›How about the expense of car, parking, public transportation?
  • ›How long does the commute take?  Are you going to be happy with needing an extra 2 hours for transportation?
  • Don’t forget to think about those long Canadian winters when you factor in commuting.

New and Innovative Technologies

Are you comfortable with the technologies you are using or do you want to train with the new technologies on the marketplace?

  • ›Keep up to date on new/emerging technologies and what companies/systems are using them.
  • ›What’s hot, what’s not?  COBOL, Java, Hadoop.  What companies offer training in the new technologies?
  • ›Read industry publications to keep up to date on emerging technologies.
  • ›Do you need to go back to school or take a course/certificate?

You and Your Family

Times change and so do you.  Just graduated, no family ties – then long hours and travelling with your job are great.  Add a family into the scenario or have an older parent you need to help with.  Your needs change and so do theirs.

  • ›There is nothing more fun than coaching one of your kids at yours/their favourite sport.  Will the new job provide the opportunity to get home early enough for that?
  • ›Does the new company have a day care centre?
  • ›Health Benefits can make a huge difference in your life style.
  • ›Older parents, spouse’s career, are you at an age when you would like a little more time off.  These are all factors that you have to analyze when you are looking for a new position.

What factor is the deal breaker for you?

Everyone has different needs.  As you grow in your career your needs will change.  It’s important to analyze each factor for each time in your life.  Be honest!!  Changing careers and companies is a hard decision and not something you want to regret.

Start with these 8 factors and analyze each one.  Let me know which factor, either one of these or one of your own that made the difference in your decision.


happyfacehanddrawn Good luck job hunting


Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!

How to write a resume

Have you ever been confused about how to put a resume together? Planet4IT Vetern Allen Earle breaks it down for you in this informative guest post.

Overall Impression

  • White space
  • Organized Presentation
  • Spelling and grammar checked and rechecked



  • Large font, bold, indented


Professional Summary

  • Try to limit to just two lines describing what is your role now (function, industry, essential knowledge not listed in Technical Skills)



  • Degree, must be dated, clearly show the degree and the institution
  • Certifications – dated and relevant (omit certifications that won’t help you find the job you’re looking for)
  • Don’t list all the “training courses” you’ve taken on the job.


Technical Skills

  • Complete, organized, and related to the experience (that is, a skill that is listed here must show somewhere in the body of the resume under one or more jobs)


Professional Experience

These notes refer only to the most recent 2-3 jobs, over the last 3-5 years. Older jobs may be much shorter, describing only the general nature of the role, and any special accomplishments which might be relevant to your search.

  • Opening Paragraph
    • Active verbs describing your function
    • Clear description of what you were tasked to deliver
    • Clear description of the reason for the role/deliverable
    • Clear, concise description of the technical/business environment
  • Bullets (4 – 7 only)
    • War Stories – project/function achievements (a story has a beginning, a middle and an end, and it tells what the problem was, what your role in the solution was, and what the result was)
    • Metrics or measures
    • Roadblocks overcome
    • Significant achievements
    • Do not include a long laundry list of “process” bullets


How to Write a War Story

Select the best 2 to 3 projects you have done in the last 2 to 3 years – the things of which you have been most proud, or most challenged, or that you feel demonstrate “you in action.”  This is a very credible and interesting way to show what you have done. It is a proven way to make your resume stand out from others.

Create paragraphs around those 2 to 3 projects, beginning with the one of which you are most proud, or that was the most important to the company. Those paragraphs should state as much as possible of the following:

  • What was the project mandate? (Show your business savvy by talking about the project objective to avoid looking like you are just a mechanic)
  • If this was any initiative of your own, how did you come to it and how did you get it accepted?
  • What did you do, what functions did you, yourself perform? (Note, this is where you talk about you.  It is not a place to talk about what the others on the team did. No “we” allowed.)
  • With whom did you work? (To show presence with senior people or clients/end users; collegial skills with other groups and your team members, remember to say how many.)
  • How did you do the project?  What methodology did you use?
  • What technologies were used and what did you do with them?
  • On what platform did you develop and deploy?
  • If testing was part of the project, what was your involvement?
  • What was the result?


Try to quantify the results as much as possible. For example:

  • On time project delivery
  • Received a commendation
  • End users were really happy
  • Did better than the minimum defect rates
  • The system stood up in production with minimal support
  • The system improved performance by XXX %
  • Cost, time, function points, lines of code, any other number can add dimensionality to your story

As you can see this story follows a typical project life cycle.  It is interesting because there is background context, a start, a middle and an end.


Project Manager War Stories

Choose the best 3 projects in the last 4 years

Talk about them under the following headings:

  • What was the project mandate – the business problem?
  • What did you do on the project – what functions did you fulfill?
  • With whom did you work – senior, colleague, vendor, stakeholders, team size and what type of people?
  • What process did you follow – PMBoK, CMM?
  • What tools did you use – MS Project?
  • What technologies were involved?
  • What was the result – how do you know you did a good job?


Quality Assurance War Stories

For each major project or assignment you worked on indicate the following:

  • What did the application do that you were testing?
  • What did you do, what kind of testing?
  • What technologies where underlying your testing?
  • What tools or methods did you use?
  • How big was the team?
  • What was the result – quantify if you can (e.g. on time on budget completion, promoted cleanly to production)?


Application Developer War Stories

For each major project or assignment that you worked on, indicate the following:

  • What did the application do, and who are the target users of the application?
  • What did you do (analysis, design, code, unit test, integration test, implement, post-implementation support, etc. – all that apply)?
  • What technologies, tools and methods did you use in the development (design tools, coding tools and frameworks, database tools, connectivity, communication, testing, etc.)?
  • How big was the team, and what was  your place in it?
  • What was the result (quantify if you can, e.g. on time, on budget completion, clean promote, few defects, user satisfaction, etc.)


Sample One

 Joe Analyst


A Business Analyst/Project Manager with depth of experience in Capital Markets, Basel II, Credit Risk, Market Risk, Banking and Trading Book Products, Derivative Instruments and Credit Derivatives.



2008                             Project Management Institute (PMI) – Project Management Professional (PMP)

2006                             York University, Toronto, Ontario – Master of Business Administration (MBA)

2000                             CFA Institute – Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

2001                             Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) – Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

1997                             Canadian Securities Institute (CSI) – Canadian Securities Course (CSC)

1997                             York University, Bachelor of Business Administration



Packaged Solutions:       Algorithmics

Design Tools:                Visio, Excel

Project Tools:                MS Project, PowerPoint




August 2000                  Financial Software Development, Inc.

to Present                      Toronto, Ontario


Lead a team of 5 Business Analysts to achieve application development and support project deliverables in Liquidity Risk and Real Time Risk Management Analytics, while providing coaching to staff members in producing business requirement specifications, graphical user interface designs, test plans and test cases for this firm providing analytic solutions to the financial services industry worldwide.

  • Prioritized competing projects in conjunction with business groups. Acquired high level impact analysis and sizing from development teams. Developed mid-term release plan (2 year horizon).
  • Translated long-term visions from marketing team into concrete business requirements. Gathered work estimates from development team, and proposed to marketing team a roadmap to achieving the visions.
  • Managed and prioritized software requirements and defects. Coordinated activities across functional departments including development, documentation, marketing, and professional services teams.
  • Negotiated and scheduled requirement deliveries with existing and potential clients. Performed feasibility studies and cost analysis. Produced release plans and oversaw development progress during release cycle.
  • Participated in Change Control Board. Performed impact analysis of new change requests, scheduled change requests for each release cycle, and communicated decisions made to stakeholders


Liquidity Risk

  • Spearheaded the design and implementation of Liquidity Risk Solution. Managed development work items among 6 development teams in providing the capability to forecast liquidity gap, simulate sale of liquid assets to counterbalance liquidity gaps, and execute dynamic business strategies to simulate business growth and other liquidity assumptions. The solution also allows client to perform advanced what-if trade and what-if scenario analysis to stress test liquidity positions.
  • Reported project status to business group and senior management (senior director and VP).
  • Presented Liquidity Risk data management solution to clients during pre-sales.


Real Time Risk Management Analytics

  • Spearheaded the product definition for new “real time analytics” solution. Solution allowed risk managers to interactively define hypothetical trades and stress scenarios, and view risk management results on a real time basis.
  • Developed project charter and scope document. Identified key project risks and risk mitigation controls. Prioritized features and defined project phases.
  • Led a team of 5 BA’s in requirement gathering efforts. Documented process and data flow designs.
  • Negotiated and acquired resources across functional teams. Resources involved in project include 3 GUI designers,5 business analysts, 2 integration engineers, 1 architect, and 16 developers (across 5 development teams).
  • Monitored project progress and coordinated activities across functional teams


Same Company


Basel II Implementation Projects

  • Performed detailed data gap analysis to assess the readiness of a potential client bank in meeting Basel II requirements. Proposed to senior management a high-level ‘implementation roadmap’ to meet the OFSI’s BCAR reporting deadline.
  • Led a team of 4 business analysts and 2 integration engineers in the implementation of a Basel II solution for a Canadian bank. Produced detailed work breakdown structure and sizing estimates. Negotiated delivery priorities and schedules with the project manager of the client bank.
  • Spearheaded requirement gathering sessions, supervised the development of requirement specifications and ETL mapping documents, produced and executed validation and test plans.


PRODUCT MANAGER (May 2002 to April 2004)

  • Managed and prioritized software requirements and defects. Coordinated activities across functional departments including development, documentation, marketing and professional services teams.
  • Translated long-term ‘visions’ from marketing team into concrete business requirements. Gathered work estimates from the development team and proposed a roadmap to the marketing team to achieve a vision.
  • Negotiated and scheduled requirement deliveries with existing and potential clients. Performed feasibility studies and cost analysis. Produced release plans and oversaw development progress during the release cycle.
  • Participated in the Change Control Board. Performed impact analysis of new change requests, scheduled change requests for each release cycle, and communicated decisions made to affected groups.
  • Liaised with clients in discovering system implementation issues and proposed solutions.
  • Provided training to integration engineers and clients. Responded to clients’ Request for Proposals (RFPs).


Same Company

BUSINESS ANALYST (August 2000 to May 2002)

  • Produced business requirement specification and graphical user interface design for new applications. Applications designed included a Risk Management Reporting Application, a Scenario Generation Application, an Input and Metadata Management Application, and an Access Control Security Application.
  • Developed and executed project plans. Oversaw development activities to ensure on-time deliveries. Produced test cases and liaised with test teams on the execution of test plans.
  • Analyzed the database migration processes. Proposed and implemented solutions to facilitate clients’ migrations of risk management analytics and data.


August 1999                  George’s Mutual Funds

to August 2000               Toronto, Ontario


  • Researched latest industry developments in T+1 settlement and proposed technology solutions to meet projected business requirements. Performed cost-benefit analysis and prepared business cases.
  • Analyzed and documented existing investment and support function processes. Identified process/system gaps in meeting current business objectives. Proposed and implemented automated and integrated solutions for portfolio management, trade order management, trade settlement, portfolio administration and performance measurement processes.
  • Developed and executed test plans, produced test cases, conducted user acceptance testing and provided user training.
  • Liaised with third party vendors. Managed Request for Information (RFI) and Request for Proposal (RFP).


May 1997                      Canadian Bank, Risk MIS

to August 1999               Toronto, Ontario


  • Implemented an Equity Market Risk Reporting System for the equity trading business unit.
  • Gathered business requirements from trading room market risk managers. Analyzed data availability in portfolio management and accounting systems. Prepared specifications for data extraction and consolidation processes. Communicated specifications to the technology group for development and unit testing. Conducted system and user acceptance testing.
  • Analyzed and monitored risk exposures of investment banking activities and proprietary trading portfolios.
  • Examined market variables (e.g. historical and implied volatilities, correlation between different asset classes and instrument groups) for assessing accuracy of Value at Risk results generated from risk measurement models.
  • Analyzed the adequacy of existing internal control procedures. Designed and implemented additional control procedures, such as reconciliation processes to ensure completeness and accuracy of risk reported.


November 1997             Manufacto Inc.

to December 1997          Toronto, Ontario


  • Proposed, designed and developed applications using Visual Basic for evaluating investment alternatives for a cable manufacturing company. Created spreadsheet models for performing cash flow projections, net present value analysis, break-even calculations and sensitivity analysis.
  • Prepared and executed test plans for validating spreadsheet models.
  • Prepared user’s manual, business requirement specifications, technical documentation and provided user training.

 Sample Two

 Infra Manager


A Senior Infrastructure Manager with a track record of successful data centre builds/moves, ITIL Service Management Implementation and Enterprise Data Warehouse delivery.




2008                             ITIL V2 Foundation Certification

2000                             Oracle Database Certification

2000                             IBM pSeries (AIX( Certification



2001                             Concordia University – Management Skills for Technical Professionals

2001                             DMR Project Management



Platform Tools:              BMC Service Assurance, CA Autopsies, CA Entrust, BMC Remedy, Symantec Netback up, Symantec Endpoint Protection, Microsoft SMS/SCCM

Internetworking:            TCP/IP DNS / DHCP, firewalls, VPN technology, web server management (Apache and IIS)

Hardware:                     IBM pSeries, xSeries, Sun Tape Libraries, Dell, IBM Storage, Brocade SAN Switches

Operating Systems:        UNIX (AIX, NCR SCO) Red hat Linux, Windows NT/ 2003/2008 Server and VMWare

Software/Databases:      Oracle 9, 10g RAC, BEA Web logic, IBM MQ, Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, SAP Crystal Enterprise,  Micro strategy, PeopleSoft (HR and Financial) and a wide variety of diversified applications.

Productivity Tools:         Microsoft Project, Word, Power Point, Excel, Visio and CA Clarity



1990                             Large Retail Chain Limited

to January 2010             Brampton, Ontario

DIRECTOR, Enterprise Systems Infrastructure Support (2005 to 2010)

Led a team of up to 45 Systems Administrators, DBA’s, Storage Administrators, Change Management and IT Operations staff for 3 data centres supporting 40 distribution centres, configuration for 1200 store locations and PC Mastercard/PC Loyalty Points.  Developed, gained approval for, deployed and monitored the spend of projects of up to $8.3 MM.

  • IT Service Management

Championed the concept with the CIO to improve incident management and avoid cost.  Prepared the business case.  Used Gartner Group to assess and provide market comparisons of the Maturity Model.  Evaluated tools, using an RFP and selected BMC Remedy runnin on AIX/Oracle/Wintel.  Created the 18 month road map.  Selected the first phase to include implementatonof  incident, problem and change management (vs release and service request modules) in order to deliver the largest ROI with the largest impact on the end users (distribution, finance and supply chain and advertising and retail).  Discussed the SLA with senior management team to identify the key measurements for IT.  Recognized the need to educate about the difference between incident and problem management.  Created the operational metrics and led the development of  reporting.  Gained funding and recruited a Change Manager and a team of 3 Change Analysts.  Selected the Gas Bars as the pilot project.  Led the PM in creating and deploying the project plan for the pilot and the enterprise roll out to the stores and supply chain segments and finally PC Financial.  Delivered the process to a steady state.  Met and exceeded the SLA for 20 core systems.  Earned a personal and team bonus.

  • Supply Chain transformation project – 24 months/ multi million; Multiple distribution center rollouts with Manhattan which includes Data Center upgrades, computer room builds, equipment relocation/decommission, DR site hosting.
  • Storage/Server consolidation and Data Center Optimization project – 18 months/ $ 7 MM part of the centralization of the head office from a regional model.
  • Consolidation and decommission of multiple legacy IBM Storage Unit , implementation of VMWare for Wintel, implemented IBM LPAR’s, Virtual I/O servers, hypervisor technologies and SAN Volume Controllers.
  • Westfair Foods Infrastructure Transition project – 6 months / $ 1M; Data Center relocation transferred of IBM Mainframe and Point of Sale development environment from Calgary to Mississauga. Established outsourcing agreement with IBM on Mainframe management and Business continuance


Same Company

SENIOR MANAGER, Technical Services (1999 to 2005)

Managed a department of 22 technical professionals to develop, implement and maintain technology solutions to meet Supply Chain, Retail and PC Bank Business requirements. Manage Q/A, Risk and Change Management with a $14M annual budget.  Interfaced with clients and managed various internal application development and integration projects with SDLC disciplines.

  • Head offices and Data Center transformation project – 18 months / multi million
  • Led Data Center relocation from GTA to Mississauga, over 300 server equipment moves, Network Operations Center build, and consolidated 7 Business offices from Atlantic Region, Montreal, Calgary and Toronto. Utilized Disaster Recovery plan for seamless transition to minimize Business interruptions.
  • Provigo Distribution Inc. Business transformation project – 18 months / multi million
  • Led and merged Infrastructure and implementation of Warehouse Management Systems in Quebec Distribution Centers, decommission of AS400 systems to established Eastern Canada Merchandising and Ordering Management Systems. Established Montreal data center as Disaster Recovery site.  Relocated Teradata Data Warehousing Complex from Montreal to Toronto data center and migrated Novell Netware to Microsoft Active Directory Domain.
  • National Data Warehouse – 12 months /$1M
  • Led and consolidated multiple AIX and Windows based standalone data marts to Linux / Itanium based Oracle RAC Data Warehouse on IBM storage and established standard server platform for ETL processes.
  • Infrastructure Oracle Linux RAC Implementation – 2 yrs / $1.5M
  • Initiated and managed the implementation of Oracle Real Application Clusters on Intel platforms for PC Financial Data Warehouse, Warehouse Management and Customer Ordering System. Led and developed standard build books, systems management and established support processes.
  • PC Master Card and Loyalty Points Program Implementation – 12 months / $ 500K
  • Led and managed the Infrastructure research, design, development and implementation of PC Financial System on 3 tier architecture with high availability Web sites configuration.


Same Company


Provided 24×7 Database Administration Support to PeopleSoft Human Resources Management Systems, Financials and in-house developed Supply Chain/ Warehouse Management Systems. Established database release management and recovery strategies.

  • Team leader of Database Administrators group, task assignments and coordinated after hour’s on-call support process within the department.
  • Performed Oracle installation, configuration and patch upgrades on various UNIX and Windows NT systems
  • Provided technical guidance to developers in tuning DB and application for optimal performance. Cloned, imported and exported databases from production to testing environments


Same Company


Same Company


Prior to 1990 Worked as a LAN Administration for a systems integrator

What to expect when working with a Recruiter

Recruiting Companies started making strides into the marketplace in the 70’s.  They were probably one of the first outsourcing practices large companies moved to.  Also known as headhunters, they were known as just a step above a used car salesman.  This all changed when large companies like IBM, Ontario Hydro and the Banks realized they were being inundated with resumes for every job they posted.

Remember every resume back then was paper, yes I said “paper”.  Delivered in the mail,  gasp gasp.  The mail room, to the HR secretary to the actual HR Managers were being drowned in paper.  Not only did they have to manually screen (no ATS systems) each resume, they also had to reply – yes, gasp gasp, again by paper and stamp.  HR Departments were being clogged.  Great candidates were being missed.  Hence the rise of the “employment/recruitment agencies”.

These agencies also had to change the way they did business.  Companies didn’t want them sending over a 100 resumes, they wanted 3 to 5 for each position.  The agencies now had to screen all these resumes and find the best candidate.  Just like buying a house, the companies attitude was “find me the right candidate or I’ll go to another supplier”.  Keep in mind the agency was only paid if the client hired a candidate.  Recruiters had to become experts in their field (technology, finance, administration to name just a few).  They also had become experts in the interview process.

Over decades, the recruitment process has changed. Which leads us to the question “What to expect when working with a Recruiter?.

Industry/Company Knowledge:

Recruiters tend to specialize so if you pick the right one they should be a wealth of knowledge about their field.  If you have hooked up with the wrong one the first thing they should do is direct you to an expert recruiter in the field you are looking for.  Take advantage of the Recruiter’s expertise in the company.  Ask him detailed questions about the company and industry.  Start with a few simple questions:

  • Company culture – will you fit in, is it a stuffy company, is it too relaxed, does it promote from inside, is training available?
  • is the company expanding?
  • is the company doing lots of hiring?

Expertise in their field:

  • Live Jobs – Recruiters sign contracts with companies for specific live jobs.  These positions could be exclusive to one or more recruiting agencies.   They aren’t available on the company webpage.  This gives the Recruiter you are working with direct access to the hiring manager.  Part of this relationship includes knowing what the hiring manager is looking for, and what kind of candidates s/he has liked in the past.
  • Resume Help – yes I said Help.  Because of their expertise, they know what the company is looking for.  Most companies don’t want to see 10 page resumes.  Your recruiter will help you to discard the superfluous information and leave in the information the company is interested in for that particular position.  Be prepared for them to reformat your resume.  Move education from the last page to the first.  Highlight the key technologies.  Resumes with “I did, I was”, “John changed, John has” will be rewritten to use prominent action words.  Expect this from them, they are experts in having their candidates (you) get to the next step.
  • Interviewing:
    • Screening Interview:  after receiving your resume, be prepared for a screening interview.  This interview is basically to  make sure you are available, do you have the education and technologies, finds out if you would be willing to do the commute or relocate if necessary.  This interview can be done by a Junior Recruiter.
    • Telephone/Video/Face2Face Interview:  Prepare for this just like you were being interviewed by the company, with a little less stress.  The recruiter’s job is not only to find out if you are capable and experienced enough to do the job but also to help you to interview well.  They will be looking for your accomplishments and helping you to present them in a relaxed manner.  Your “elevator speech” will be fine tuned.  Practice your questions and possible interview answers with the recruiter.
  • Salary/Benefits – the Recruiter will discuss the salary/benefits with you.  You don’t have to worry about it being discussed in the actual company interview.   The Recruiter is your salesman, after finding out what you are expecting s/he will present this to the Company and help find the perfect match.  This will include not only salary negotiation but also vacation, benefits, bonuses, start dates, etc.
  • Job Offer – this will be presented to you and explained.  And then you will take it home and read it over again.  If you have any questions – yes call your Recruiter.
  • Feedback – why didn’t you get the job?  The recruiter will have feedback from the Company and s/he should explain to you why you didn’t get the job.  What were you missing?  Was it experience? education?, too nervous?  too cocky?  What can you do to improve?  Was your salary expectation too high?  Remember s/he wants you to get a job so it’s to his/her advantage to help you improve and analyze what happened.
  • References – this also falls under the bailiwick of the recruiter.  Depending on the company the Recruiter will call your references.  That doesn’t mean s/he will lie for you so make sure your references are up to date.
  • Resigning – this can be very stressful especially if you have been with the company for a while.  The Recruiter will help you through this step.  S/He will offer advice on how the company may make a counter offer and whether you should take it or not.  Although their client is the company they also want you to be satisfied in your decision.  Recruiters love repeat customers.


Do you only get in touch with a Recruiter if there is a specific job you are interested in?  Definitely NOT.  Recruiters can help you with career changes, re-education advice, getting back into the work force, etc.  They are a job hunting resource, use them and form an honest and fulfilling relationship with them.


happyfacehanddrawn Good luck job hunting


Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!

10 Simple Tips to remember as you prepare for your Interview

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that can make a difference.  You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause.  You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them.  And life throws you a curve ball.  As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open.  You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer’s foot.  All that great preparation flies out the door as your try to calm yourself down and relax.

These are my 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:

Keep your dress professional – seems pretty basic but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the cleaners.   Look your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:

  • clean and crisp
  • a suit for the guys and a skirt and blouse or basic business dress for the gals.  No sundresses or shorts
  • This is an interview not a date – don’t overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry.  Guys shirt buttons done up, no gold chains hanging out.
  • Polish or at least dust your shoes off.

No Perfume or Cologne – have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary, why?:

  • A lot of companies/businesses are “no scent” zones.
  • Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne.  Reschedule if  you are lucky.

How do you get to the Interview

  •  Google it, do a test run if you aren’t sure
  • If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby
  • 9 am and 5 pm interviews mean rush hour.  Be prepared for it taking 30 minutes longer to get there
  • Check the weather – rain and snow can add extra time to your trip.  Be prepared

Never be late for the Interview

  • It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.
  • And yes there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them.  “The dog ate the directions” won’t work in the business world.
  • And yes, you’d better have called to at least let the interviewer know.

Be Polite to everyone

  • That older lady in the elevator might be “mom” going to visit her son the interviewer.  You don’t want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator.
  • The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers.
  • Be polite to everyone all the time.  It is a good road to travel down.

Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer’s name

  • We live in a very multicultural country, let’s try our best to pronounce names properly.
  • Ask the recruiter or phone the company
  • Write it down phonetically and practice

Keep your right hand free

  • Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview
  • Move your portfolio, purse, extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office

Just before you get to the Interview

  •  Turn off your phone and tablet.

Chemistry is a very important part of the interview

  • It starts as soon as you enter the room.
  • Smile, firm handshake, speak clearly
  • Relax and take part in the conversation

Tell me about yourself

  •  This question is totally about relaxing you.  Take your elevator pitch and expand it “a bit”.  The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones.
  • Keep it professional.


Check out my slideshare for some more pointers on these tips.


Don’t let a little thing muck up your interview.  Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process.  Remember they liked your resume – you look good on paper – now is the time to shine in person.

happyfacehanddrawn Good luck job hunting


Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!




How to Answer “What STRENGTH would you bring to this position?”

Every interview is different.  Each Interviewer uses different tactics.  Most interviews start with trying to put you at ease by asking a little about yourself.  There are the technical questions – you better be able to answer these questions – you stated on your resume that you had the technical skills to be able to do the job.  Then come the off the wall questions – “what superhero would you be?”.

strengths copy

“What strength would you bring to the position?”  This is a standard question that you will be asked in most interviews.  The best way to be prepared for this question is to sit down and write down your strengths from a previous position or if you are a new graduate then experiences from school.  Below are a few examples of strengths that can be expanded upon with your experience as they fit the job description:

  • Team Player
  • Time Management
  • Good at managing people
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Always finish my tasks
  • Good listener
  • Deal well with difficult customers/situations
  • Able to see the big picture
  • Good with detail
  • Pick out a skill from the job description, ie “With my strong web design, creative writing, phone skills, etc” , then expand on this strength.
  • Problem Solver
  • Able to juggle more than one task at a time

This is where it is very important to know the job description.  Hopefully, you have also had the chance to ask specific questions about the position before this question comes up.  Now you take your strength and the information you know about the position and put the two of them together.

  • I am very good at listening and putting people at ease, this allows me to deal effectively with difficult situations.  In my previous position there was a customer/employee ……..
  • Although I am a detail person I am also able to see the big picture, in my previous position (or while at school) I was assigned the task of ………
  • My creativity has been tremendously helpful in designing web pages over the last 5 years.  One particular webpage was just not …. and I  ……

If you are having a hard time coming up with a strength, then ask your family, friends and co-workers.  You will be surprised at what they come up with.  Just don’t get too bloated from all the accolades.  It is important to be a little humble with this question.  You don’t want to come across as having an “I’m GREAT, I’m a STAR” attitude.


Don’t stress about this question, you have applied for the job because you know you can do it.  Now tell them why and how.  Be a “star”.

happyfacehanddrawn Good luck job hunting


Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!

P4Digital Newsletter Issue 10

Our Digital newsletter went out yesterday! I’m sharing it with all of you here so you can take a look.

P4Digital Newsletter Candidates Issue 10