Essential tools for Job Seekers

The Royal Employment team has been honing its expertise in the employment and staffing sector for more than 20 years. Here we offer proven advice to guide you through the different steps of your job search. To make things easier, we provide you with sample Resumes and cover letters, as well as an array of tips for improving your health and safety in the workplace.

Social networks

Your online presence has an important impact on your job search. Use our tips to give yourself the best chance of success!

Social media is a useful tool for entrepreneurs and professionals. It can better your personal and professional brands and connect you with other people in your industry. However, a slip-up can cost you your job or ruin your career.

According to recruiting software company Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation Report, 92 percent of recruiters use social media in evaluating candidates. The report indicated that 47 percent of recruiters view photos of alcohol consumption on social media negatively, and oversharing on social media is a big turnoff for 60 percent of recruiters.

If you’re currently employed and your actions online are negatively affecting your work, it may be grounds for you to lose your job.

“Most employment agreements include a clause stating that employees must uphold the values of the company and not tarnish its image,” said Lauren McAdams, career consultant for ResumeCompanion.com. “This is one of the ones being used to fire people based on their ill-advised social media behavior.”

According to McAdams, these four indiscretions will likely come with consequences

When you’re interviewing for a job, a questionable social media presence may tip the scales in favor of an equally qualified — but “cleaner” — candidate.

“We have had clients choose not to interview candidates based on what they see on the candidate’s public Facebook page or on other websites,” Stacy Pursell, president and executive search consultant at The Pursell Group, said. “A candidate … posted drinking pictures and our client decided not to interview her based on those pictures. Another candidate had pictures of her scantily clothed. Even though our client did multiple interviews with her and liked her, once the client saw those pictures, they declined to make her a job offer.”

Danica Kombol, president of the Everywhere Agency, a social media marketing agency, echoed the sentiment of Pursell, who had a similar experience.

“We’ve … decided not to extend the offer because of what we saw on a candidate’s social media profiles,” Kombol said. “A candidate we knew spent all her time bashing her current employer. Her lack of tact in expressing discontent with her bosses told us that she didn’t have the characteristics of being a team player.”

If you’re actively job searching, Joe Weinlick, senior vice president at career network Beyond, suggests spending some time searching your name to see what activity or internet history is associated with it.

“Whether that be a profane or controversial statement, or photos that make you appear unprofessional, it’s really important to do everything you can to try and log in to old social media accounts and delete the evidence before you start applying for jobs,” he said.

When in doubt, make sure that you’re setting all your social profiles to private.

“Odds are, you’re going to be Google-searched by hiring managers before your next interview,” McAdams said. “Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to tighten up the privacy settings on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.”

“Even if you’re careful, comments can be taken out of context or others can tag you in a photo without you knowing,” Weinlick added. “Play it on the safe side, and use this [privacy] barrier to keep your personal and private life separate.”


Resume

You have less than one minute to capture the attention of the reader. 

This indispensable element of your job search allows you to highlight your qualities and thus find the desired employment.

What makes a CV successful? The three “P”s. Your CV should be precisepertinent and powerful. You have approximately one minute to keep the employer’s attention. Here is how to do it.

Format and layout

Whether your CV is on paper or online, it must be clear, modest and easy to read. If it seems complex to understand, it could be quickly eliminated.

  • Avoid multiple fonts and decorative fonts.
  • Avoid an excess of dashes, bullets, lines and other graphics.
  • Do not insert your photo (unless it has been requested).
  • Avoid humour, which does not belong in a CV.
  • Do not state your salary requirement, your Social Insurance Number, your date of birth or your civil status.
  • Do not exceed three pages and ensure that the information is up-to-date.

Content

Regardless of the CV sequence and format that you choose, you must highlight:

  • Your skills
  • Your achievements in your previous jobs
  • Your experience that is related to the position that you are seeking
  • Your technical expertise (software, etc.)
  • The languages that you practice fluently

Other:

  • Pastimes: You can mention them, but be careful how they may be interpreted. For example, you may be seen as a loner if you don’t participate in any team sports.
  • Extra-curricular activities: They demonstrate your interest in achieving complementary objectives.
  • Volunteering: It demonstrates your generosity and your values.
  • References: You can indicate that they will be provided upon employer request.

Language

Use strong words and action verbs (e.g. accomplish, coordinate, communicate, create, conduct, organize, participate, produce, etc.).

Proofread, again and again – a single spelling mistake and your CV could end up in the recycling bin! Make use of all possible resources (correctors, dictionaries, spell-checkers, friend, parents, etc.)

Section sequence

Your CV can focus on your experience, your achievements or your skills

Here are three possible CVs, with the sequence of the sections to include:

Focused on professional experience
  1. Career objectives
  2. Professional experience (beginning with the most recent)
  3. Education
  4. Technical skills
  5. Language skills
Focused on achievements
  1. Career objectives
  2. Main achievements
  3. Employment history (beginning with the most recent)
  4. Education
  5. Technical and language skills
Focused on skills
  1. Career objectives
  2. Main achievements
  3. Technical and language skills
  4. Professional experience (beginning with the most recent)
  5. Education

Cover letter

How to write a cover letter that affirms your motivation to obtain a job.

Having a great cover letter is your first step in getting hired. It is the initial evaluation of your skills, your resume, and you as a worker and as a person.

Creating a great cover letter is easy if you know what you should focus on. Here are some things to remember when writing a cover letter.

Break it Down:

Your cover letter should have three main thoughts. The first is to introduce yourself, and the position you are applying for. The second should be about your skills and how they can be applied to the company you are applying to, and the third point should be a closing statement on your desire for an interview, etc.

In the first section, make sure it’s clear right away what position you are applying for. Make sure that, along with the position, you list where you saw it advertised and include any reference numbers for the position. An example of this could be: “Please accept my resume as application for the position of Technical Customer Service Representative (Job Reference # abc123) which was advertised on monter.com.”

In the second section, focus on your skills and experience. Make sure you highlight the skills you have as they refer to the job advertisement. You don’t need to include all your skills and experience, because you will be mentioning those in your resume. You don’t want to overload the reader with non-essential information. Keep this section concise and crisp.

Tell the reader what you can bring to the company. Discuss your experience as it relates to the job advertisement. Make sure you remember to place emphasis on your skills that illustrate that this job is for you. But remember to keep it focussed and not too long.

The final section of your cover letter deals with how they can contact you. Make sure you list the various methods of contacting you and that all your contact information is accurate.

Keep it Simple:

Your cover letter should not include long paragraphs and complicated sentence structure. The human resources person reading your cover letter may just briefly scan it, looking for key points of interest to see if you are qualified for the job, before they read your resume. If your important points are buried in long sentences, they will likely be overlooked. If you have a skill that’s crucial to the job you are applying for, consider putting it in its own sentence so that it’s easily seen by the reader.

The formatting should also be simple and easy to read. Remember, you are applying for a job and sending a business letter, so keep it professional looking by using a plain font on white, crisp paper.

Keep it Short:

If your information is well written and concise, it will be easier to read. And that’s the first step in getting hired. Keep your sentences focussed and your writing clear. The maximum length of your cover letter should be one page – not a tightly-packed one page, but an easy to read with lots of white space, one page.

Read it Over:

Is it friendly and clear? Will the reader be able to easily identify you as a great candidate? Have you included your key skills as they are identified in the job advertisement? Is it free of spelling mistakes? Have you taken the time to research who you should send the cover letter to and have you addressed it specifically to them? If you take care of these details, you will increase your chances of having your cover letter read. Remember as well, to tailor each cover letter to each job you apply to.

Having a great cover letter will help you in your job search. It’s the first thing a potential employer will see so make sure it’s a great reflection of you and your skills.


Interview

Everything happens during the interview. How to successfully get through this critical step when your application has been shortlisted!

Next step: the inevitable job interview. You will have only one chance to make a good impression. So, prepare yourself and give your best.

First of all: preliminary research

All else being equal, a candidate who is well-prepared for the interview will have a head start over the others. You thus demonstrate your genuine interest in joining the team and the organization.

First of all, research the organization. On its website, you will certainly find an “About us” or “Our team” tab as well as news for the public and for investors.

Ensure that you very well understand the organization’s activity sector and its services, as well as its philosophy and its social commitments. Take note of the organization’s current context: growth, acquisitions, new offices …
You will thus give yourself the edge!

Before the interview: telephone pre-screening

You may need to pass a telephone pre-screening interview before being invited to an in-person interview. In such a case, it is the first 30 seconds of the interview that will make the difference. The interviewer wants to hear a dynamic person who responds to questions comfortably and concisely.

This call can happen at any moment, so stay tuned!

Before the interview: Questions preparation

Be totally ready to reply to the various questions that you may be asked.

These questions will often relate to your experience, your previous jobs, your skills and the areas that need improvement. You will certainly be asked why you have left your previous employer, and why you are the best candidate for this job.

Certain behavioural type interviews will be based on scenarios. So you should prepare some concrete examples: main achievements, resolution of difficult situations, etc.

Finally, it is recommended to consult the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile. You will thus be able to adapt your approach according to their situation, history and points that you have in common.

The interview: the first few moments

Here are the ground rules for the beginning:

  1. Arrive for the interview about 15 minutes ahead of time
  2. Plan your schedule accordingly; a quality interview may last up to 90 minutes
  3. Your dress should be neutral and professional, according to the position you are seeking
  4. Never address the interviewer by their first name unless you are given permission to do so
  5. Shake the interviewer’s hand firmly, but without crushing it
  6. Don’t sit down until you are invited to do so

The flow of the interview

Throughout the course of the interview, take the following elements into account:

  1. Maintain a straight posture
  2. Look your interviewer in the eyes
  3. Be enthusiastic and confident, while remaining calm
  4. Smile!
  5. Take the time to think before responding
  6. Don’t just reply with a « yes » or a « no »; elaborate but don’t stretch your answer needlessly
  7. Speak the truth
  8. Don’t hesitate to ask your own questions, but make sure that they are pertinent
  9. At the end of the interview, thank your interviewer for having met with you and shake hands

After the interview

Afterwards, do a follow-up:

  • Send an email or a letter to the persons who interviewed you to thank them for having taken the time to meet with you. Briefly reiterate your interest in their organization. It is also the time to focus on what sets you apart or to adjust/clarify your response to a question that had caught you off-guard.
  • Call the person whom you met to follow up. If your candidacy was unsuccessful, ask why. This will allow you to better prepare for your next interview.