How to Look for, Land, and Keep a Job in the Canadian Workplace

  1.  About the Speaker: Dave Lovelock in facts and numbers
  2. How do you feel about Job Hunting?
  3. Don’t turn your back on this fact…the workplace is changing.
  4. It is a short-term world out there…so, stay flexible!
  5. Job Search Myth 1: All jobs are advertised.
  6. Job Search Myth 2: Networking is only about getting contacts and job opportunities.
  7. Job Search Myth 3: Once I have a good job, I can stop networking.
  8. Job Search Myth 4: I can have more than one resume
  9. Job Search Myth 5: In an interview, it usually takes someone 20 to 30 minutes to decide whether or not they want to hire me.
  10. How to get a meeting with an employer?
  11. Job Myth 6: The main reason why people don’t succeed in a job is they can’t do the work.
  12. Job Myth 7: If I’m good at my job, my boss will notice.
  13. Recap (Summary)


About the Speaker: Dave Lovelock in facts and numbers

  • mentored many new (and not so new!) Canadians
  • sales and marketing roles in both private and not-for-profit sector for over 23 years
  • eight years in B2B (business to business) sales in the financial, insurance and investment sectors
  • five years with one of the world’s largest staffing and recruitment companies
  • an individual who has been in the position of looking for a job and who has been outplaced not once, not twice not three times…but four times by downsizing organizations


How do you feel about Job Hunting?

As someone going to start a new career in Canada you may feel nervous, excited, terrified, anxious, powerless…or all of these. These feelings are common to everyone! This presentation will give you some helpful tips that will make it easier for you to look for a job, land a job and of course keep and grow in a job in Canada.

One of the most effective ways to explain what the world of job hunting is really like is to shatter some myths many people (not just new Canadians!) think are true about finding a job.

Three most important factors in getting a job are:

  1. Identifying your strengths and interests (preparation builds confidence)
  2. Researching or creating a target list of companies
  3. Networking to build relationships


Do not forget: No matter where you work, you’re still in business for yourself.

Don’t turn your back on this fact… the workplace is changing.


  • Change is the only constant in today’s workplace. With intercontinental flights, Internet, phones, videoconferencing, the world has shrunk into what we now call a global village. Before now you may have been competing with a neighbour, coworker or someone in yourcity. Now, your competition can come from anywhere in the world.
  • A job provides us with a strong sense of identity and self-esteem. In North America, we are more likely to ask people what they do (for work) than ask them who they are and what theylike to do. Ever try to describe who you are to someone without telling him or her what you do for a job? Difficult, isn’t it?
  • Today, organizations don’t provide the same level of permanent employment and psychological security they once did, where people would start working in a company and only leave when they retired from that same company.


It is a short-term world out there – so, stay flexible!

  • In many recruitment companies, the greatest majority of business is in placing Temporary Workers or what is called Flexible Staff Employees. Temporary workers are assigned by the recruitment company to work for corporate clients. They are reassigned to a new client once the job is finished.
  • Interim Management Agencies – senior executives not prepared to retire (all living longer healthier lives) work on short-term assignments to help organizations who don’t have the money to afford a full-time manager. They then move on to the next assignment.
  • That’s the direction not only in Canada. The world is moving toward “Temp World” where you lease your services as the organization needs you, as long as it’s mutually beneficial, then you move on to another organization.
  • Today a career path is more like a zigzag than yesterday’s straight line.
  • Permanent work contracts were like a marriage. Temporary (temp) work is more like dating -no security, no long-term commitment and when things get tough financially or emotionally, both parties end the relationship and move on.
  • So, each one of us must take responsibility for our own career. Finding a job is a full-time job in itself.


Job Search Myth 1: All jobs are advertised.

Where would you start looking for a job? Most people open the career pages in the newspapers, or a Web job bank, like Workopolis but in the Total Job Market 5% of the vacant jobs are advertised in newspapers or on job boards; 5% through direct mail; 10% are filled through a search firm recruitment agency). Almost 80% of all job vacancies are “hidden.”

Here is a comparison of the different channels for job postings.

  • Ads – community, regional, national (thousands or millions of people), lots of competition
  • Direct Mail – mass mailing resumes or cover letters is not effective without follow-up.
    Ask yourself whether you would read mail you didn’t ask for, need or expect. Employers
    receive hundreds of e-mails and letters daily. Managers make three piles: must read, should or
    want to read, or store it in the round file (that is, throw in the garbage bin.)
  • Search Firms or Placement Agencies are a good place to look for a job, but don’t depend on them alone. They work for their clients, not for the candidate. Their clients pay them; you don’t (if search firm insists you pay them to find you a job, walk away.) If there is a match based on what they read in your resume and (better still, if they know about you) they’ll call you. But don’t sit waiting by the phone. It could be a very long wait! Often, search firms will place ads on behalf of clients (the actual employer who will hire you), so they receive your resume first to screen you before the client (the employer) sees it.
    Make sure your resume is error free.
  • Hundreds of resumes stream in via e-mail and fax or are dropped off. Typing mistakes typos) and poor English can reflect badly on you and your resume can be thrown out because of them. The resume is your calling card or marketing piece. It’s YOU on paper. If it is well organized and letter perfect, you are seen as organized. If it is sloppy, you’re seen as sloppy, too.


There’s a massive job market just below the surface.

  • Hidden Job Market – never advertised in newspapers or on the Web. Often these job
    openings do not even get to the Human Resources (HR) department.
  • So how do you tap into this Hidden Job Market? … Through NETWORKING


Job Search Myth 2: Networking is only about getting contacts and job opportunities.

So what is networking? It is about expanding your relationships by exchanging information with the hope of receiving but not expecting help back.

Networking may not give immediate results, but in time it will pay back to you.

You can expand your network by calling people in the industry, or a company you are interested in.
You can make two types of calls:

  1. advice call – let people know where you are and what you’re looking for (the value you bring);
  2. research call – ask open-ended questions about the company or industry.


So, why should we do it?

  • 80 % of the jobs are found through networking.
  • This is a way to build your knowledge of the industry.
  • You create personal and business relationships.
  • It saves time and money on research (buying magazines, books and memberships.)


Networking – Three Levels of Contacts
Level 1 Contacts – Informal contacts you know well, and with whom you have developed a
rapport. Level 1 contacts can give you feedback on your presentation (family, friends , close relations), refer you to level 2 contacts, discuss your professional strengths and job
strategy, review your resume, provide referrals.

Level 2 Contacts – Semi-formal contacts whom you don’t know well (or at all) and who were introduced to you by Level 1s. They do not necessarily have a job for you, but
have information, resources and understand your target industry. Level 2 contacts help bridge
you to opportunities and may refer you to other Level 2 and/or Level 3 contacts (suppliers, past business acquaintances, referrals from Level 1.)

Level 3 Contacts – Formal contacts who make or influence the hiring decisions, receive resumes or proposals, create jobs (future employers, search firms.)

Although you will likely be more comfortable with your Level 1 contacts, Level 2s are most
productive since they can link you to opportunities. Never leave a meeting with a
Level 2 without getting two more contact names to go after.

How many contacts do you think each of you have that could help you get a job?

Rule of 200 – If you draw a dendritic pattern: you know two people, who know two, who
know two, etcetera, you will see how big and wide your network can grow. Only six
degrees of separation keep you away from anyone in the world.

Networking Websites:

    • PTA, Health Clubs, places of worship
    • Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trade
    • Industry Associations
    • Networking Associations


         ONIP.Online – Ontario Network of International Professionals Online –


         HAPPEN – Halton & Peel Professional Executive Network –

( )

         EXECUNET –


         LINKED IN –



If it’s so important, why do you think we don’t network?

  1. Fear of rejection
  2. Lack of communication skills or English skills
  3. Think that “schmoozing” to get job leads is manipulative or means “using people”
  4. Lack of knowledge about industry or company
  5. Don’t know what to say
  6. Fear of exposure/ embarrassment
  7. No time
  8. Don’t understand the true value of networking


Job Search Myth 3: Once I have a good job, I can stop networking.

Again, what is the purpose of networking? To expand your relationships by exchanging information (not just finding a job.)

The average person will change careers (not just jobs!) five to seven times in their lifetime, and will need contacts to help him or her enter new fields.

Never stop networking. Keep in touch with people throughout the year. You never know when you may need them or they may need you.
The answer is to continue to network when you’re looking for a job and while you have a job.
Beware of being labeled a “fair-weather friend.”

Job Search Myth 4: I can have more than one resume

Get real…accurate! Employers don’t believe everything they read in resumes. 38 % of resumes are falsified.

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

  • Identify employer’s “must haves” (requirements)
  • Match their must haves with your “I haves”
  • Support “I haves” with measurable results
  • Use their terminology
  • Well-presented letter and envelope (no typos)
  • Follow-up with a phone call (“Did you receive my application?”)


Your resume must stand out, so it’s not cut out! How do you do this?

One possible way is…the Interactive Resume
– Video-based Web resumes are becoming popular. They help you to be previewed before you are interviewed.
– With a well-prepared presentation, an Interactive Resume can demonstrate your English proficiency, your professionalism and your personality (key to building credibility and “chemistry” with a prospective employer.)
– You don’t need to be a movie star to do one, but the camera must be your friend!

Job Search Myth 5: In an interview, it usually takes someone 20 to 30 minutes to decide whether or not they want to hire me.

When looking for a job in Canada, impressions from the first 30 seconds are very important and usually stick in people’s minds (whether in an interview, by phone, by e-mail.)

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression (whether you’re meeting with a search firm or prospective employer.) First impressions are lasting.
What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you’re saying.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

In face-to-face interaction, 55 % of the other person’s impression of you comes from body language,

38% from voice tonality, and only 7% from your words. In a face to-face interview, you can make the greatest impact or influence in the
whole job search process – but only if you’re prepared.

Very few people are hired sight unseen. Employers want to see if you have the skills and whether
you will fit within the organization.

Top Ten Most Difficult Questions during a job interview:

  1. What can you tell me about yourself?
  2. What are your strengths?
  3. What are your weaknesses?
  4. What do you know about our company?
  5. Why do you want to work for us?
  6. What do you like most about this position?
  7. How would you describe your ideal work environment?
  8. In your current or past position, what were three of your most significant accomplishments?
  9. If I were to ask your previous boss or co-workers what you’re really like, what would they tell me?
  10. Why should we hire you?


How to get a meeting with an employer?

Step 1. Phone
– Introduce yourself: who you are, who referred you, what you do and what value you bring to an organization (prepare a 30-second “infomercial”. Remember, you’ve got less than 30 seconds to grab their attention.)
– Be prepared with two to three key questions about their industry or company (make sure you’ve done your homework so you ask intelligent questions, not ones that can be answered by reading their Web site.)
– Be warm and friendly, courteous and considerate but most important brief (be sensitive to their busy schedule.)
– Remember, the purpose of the call is not to ask for a job, but rather to ask for information.
– If not the right time to speak, ask when a better time would be or whether they would be receptive to meeting with you for 20 minutes (Keep it to 20 minutes! If they want to extend it, they will.)
– Confirm the time and date of the meeting and then thank them.
– You may not always get through to the right person – in that case, ask to speak to their assistant. Identify yourself, speak politely (be friendly and courteous just as if you were speaking with the right person.)
– Write down the assistant’s name for future use. (Remember, he or she controls the access to your contact.)

If the person agrees to a meeting, you have to follow up by letter or e-mail.

Step 2. Letters and e-mail
– Send a letter or e-mail expressing respect and appreciation for the person’s time and confirm the date and time of the meeting.
– Include points from your phone conversation to jog their memory. Don’t use a generic or templated letter (people will be able to tell.)
– Be clear and brief (keep it to one page and definitely no more than two pages! Otherwise, they’ll wonder why they should have a meeting if you tell them everything in the letter. You want to get in front of them.)
– No typos! (Have somebody proof the letter for you before you send it.) Never forget the importance of impressions.

Step 3. Phone again
– Call one day before the meeting to confirm you will be there and to say you are looking forward to it.
– Be sure to mention something distinctive about your interview they will be likely to remember.

Step 4. Meeting
– Before meeting, know your strengths and value added. Do research on the company or industry and set an objective for the meeting (i.e. learn what or where opportunities are in the industry, get a reference to someone in the organization, get two referrals to call.)
– Arrive a few minutes early (allow for traffic, parking, public transportation delays, getting lost, going to the washroom) but not too early (you don’t want to appear too eager.) You want to appear calm, focused and professional not rushed, distracted and sweaty.
– Let reception know you’re a few minutes early, take a few minutes to be friendly with the receptionist, observe your surroundings and relax.
– Start the meeting with a few minutes of small talk then transition to the purpose.

Step 5. Follow-up – Send a mailed letter or thank you card (not e-mail – it is impersonal, too easy to delete, won’t sit on their desk!) Summarize key points of meeting, next steps and thank them.


Job Myth 6: The main reason why people don’t succeed in a job is they can’t do the work.

“Corporate Culture” Shock!
– The reason why a person doesn’t succeed in a job or organization is not because of ability but because they don’t fit into the corporate culture 87% of the time.
– All organizations want answers to the same three key questions when making a hiring decision:

  1. CAN you do the job? (Do you have the knowledge, skills and abilities?)
  2. . WILL you do the job? (Do you have the right work ethic or attitude?)
  3. Do you FIT into our current or future corporate culture? (Do your values match those of our organization?)


Companies will do anything to duplicate their top performers! (almost anything!)

Behavioural Profiling
Organizations go to great lengths to assess and measure to get these answers. They use different skills and behavioural assessment systems.

The best predictor of future job performance is a person’s past behaviour in similar work situations. Behavioural profile systems provide insight into a candidate’s behaviour and motivations so that you know everything possible before you hire.
– Behavioural-based profiling systems combine the science of psychology and statistical analysis with an easy-to-use, exceptionally accurate system.
– It enables managers to select the highest calibre candidates, as well as maximize the career potential of existing employees and develop team synergy.


Job Myth 7: If I’m good at my job, my boss will notice.

Handling pressure from above is no guarantee you’ll be recognized.
Working hard and smart in your company is no guarantee that you will be recognized as a great employee.
– In the workplace it is no longer enough just to perform well. You must manage people’s perceptions of how well you’re performing – Perception is Reality. If your work is visible, your worth will be visible as well.
– In the Canadian workplace, you need to look after your own employability. You need to sell yourself all the time. Employees in large organizations find themselves in the same position as consultants or freelancers, constantly gathering testimonials and success stories, documenting their achievements and positioning themselves for new work assignments.
– Be sure that if you’re not pulling your weight, people will notice. Don’t be shy about mentioning your accomplishments. Take credit where it’s due. Track and quantify the ROI (return on investment) on your personal contribution at work. Examples would be the dollars you generated or saved, new and innovative processes introduced that increased productivity, performance, saved time and effort.) Ensure you’re producing the kind of work you can be proud of.
Getting the recognition you deserve

  • Visible work = visible worth.
  • Perception is reality.
  • Sell your self like a consultant.
  • Document your success stories’.
  • Track and quantify your performance results.
  • If the load’s too heavy, it’s okay to tell your boss.
  • Maintain a work-life balance.


Recap (Summary)

  • Act as if you were in business for yourself.
  • Tap the Hidden Job market by Networking.
  • Network for relationships, not just jobs.
  • NEVER stop networking.
  • Customize your resume to your target.
  • Create your 30-second elevator speech.
  • Understand the work and corporate culture.
  • Continually self-promote.


It’s Your Move … Best of Success