Archive for September, 2010

RĂ©sumĂ© clichĂ©s – Just say no!

Posted on 30. Sep, 2010 by in Blog, Working Abroad

The #1 problem expats run into when they write their rĂ©sumĂ© is that they don’t quite know what to say, and how to say it.

They worry that their English may not be perfect. They worry that their writing may sound quaint, or not professional enough.

So they do what every logical person would do: they get one of those “2857 rĂ©sumĂ©s so impressive they’ll make grown men cry” books. And they load up on clichĂ©s.

The kiss of death

Clichés are the kiss of death for a résumé. (<- ha! See how easy it is to fall back on the first cliché that comes to mind? And that wasn't even intentional...) Seriously though. If your résumé sounds like something straight out of Dilbert, it will certainly make recruiters chuckle. Or at the very least roll their eyes and discard your application.


How can you tell?

But how do you know if you’re using clichĂ©s? How can you even tell them apart from normal everyday phrases?

Here’s a handy list of words to avoid in a rĂ©sumĂ©. [I love this article – the author doesn’t mince words, and the videos are pretty great too.]

A few choice quotes:

- Old, boring, hackneyed words and phrases make your resume look as interesting as cheap wallpaper.

– Multi-tasker – this has often come to mean that a person can do a lot of things at once, but most of them incorrectly.

– Detail-focused, team-oriented, results-driven, highly motivated, no-nonsense manager. That manager wastes too much time writing adjectives.

Need I say more? Arm yourself with your favourite red pen, and get ready to edit that résumé of yours!

Was this post helpful? Do you need more personalized resume writing advice? Contact me to schedule a one-on-one consultation.


Image by Jean Jullien

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It’s not just about knowing people…

Posted on 16. Sep, 2010 by in Blog, Working Abroad

It’s all well and good to make contacts…

… but if people don’t have a crystal-clear idea of what you do, how are they ever going to remember you next time they hear about a suitable opening?

Without a good “elevator speech”, your networking efforts aren’t going to do you much good.

Simply mentioning what industry you work in – or what your last position was – isn’t enough. You need to give a clear (and preferably memorable) explanation of what your skills are, and what you can bring to a local company.

Personal branding

A few pointers:

For maximum impact, keep your pitch short. One or two sentences is a perfect length.

Give people talking points – something to talk about when they want to refer you. Don’t leave it up to them to decide what competencies or personality traits they will highlight when they’re talking about you!

If you’re stuck…

Having a hard time coming up with a convincing one-liner? Here are a few tips:

  • Identify your strongest skill set, and focus on what you can do for your future employer;
  • Try to come up with a catchy or unusual phrase – for example, today I met a Vegetarian SEO Expert. I’m not likely to forget about him anytime soon.
  • If you need step-by-step instructions, let me recommend – once again – the excellent Brag! by Peggy Klaus. This book is guaranteed to give you at least a couple of important insights into elevator speeches, personal branding, and promoting yourself. A must-read for everyone!

Coming up with strong, impactful elevator speeches is my specialty. Contact me today to schedule a one-on-one consultation!


Image by stefano principato, via Flickr Creative Commons

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Getting known: a couple more tips

Posted on 10. Sep, 2010 by in Blog, Working Abroad

Since the prospect of getting to know the right people in a new city can be daunting, here are a few more tips that will help you make useful contacts in Vancouver:

5 tips to start off on the right foot

Feeling at home: build your networks online

How to find the best job opportunities through your contacts

bending light (wave hello)

And because this is the best book I’ve ever read about non-slimy networking, I would highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Dig your well before you’re thirsty by Harvey Mckay.

If you have any misgivings about networking at all, this brilliant little book will teach you how to make useful contacts that you can feel good about. Now that’s certainly something worth reading about!

Was this post helpful? Do you need more personalized networking advice? Contact me to schedule a one-on-one consultation.


Image by bending light, via Flickr Creative Commons

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Getting hired: it’s all about who you know…

Posted on 01. Sep, 2010 by in Blog, Working Abroad

When It comes to getting hired in Vancouver, it’s all about who you know – or perhaps more accurately, about who knows you.

The reason is simple: most jobs never make it to or the help wanted ads.
Remember how we said Canadians want to hire people they know, like and trust?

Well, rather than place an ad, most employers will first ask their staff if they know someone who’d like to apply. In some companies, employees even get a bonus for referring a new hire.

The obvious downside is that if no one knows you, no one is going to refer you. And that’s how better-connected newcomers go on to be gainfully employed after a few weeks, when you’re still sitting at home sending dozens of applications and getting nowhere fast.

Depressing? Not really. It’s never too late to start making connections. Sure, some people are natural-born networkers, but you can still make useful contacts even if you don’t see yourself as an extrovert extraordinaire.



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