Saturday, September 22, 2012

Are your Linkedin profile and resume SEO friendly?

Resume and Profile Search Engine Optimization
Job boards and social media have totally changed the game for job seekers and recruiters.   Understanding search engine optimization (SEO) can give you the upper hand when developing your on-line profile and resume.

There are over 175 million users on Linkedin. More than 5 million are Canadian.  Hundreds of job candidates may apply for the job that you want and so you need to get out of the clutter.  Here are a few tips that will help you to stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of being found.

Tip #1 - Key Words

Most employers use search engines and indexed database technology to find matching words and phrases contained within a resume or online profile.  It is very important that your resume and Linkedin profile contain the words and phrases that employers will most likely use in their search and filtering process.  Try using several different ways to describe your skills, knowledge, experience and job titles. For example, when using acronyms, you should also use the full words. When writing your job title, try to use descriptive words in your job description that might match similar titles used within other companies. When describing your industry, use a variety of common terms that have similar meanings.

For example, a human resources professional in the placement industry may use all these terms and phrases. (HR, H.R. Human Resources, Staffing, Recruit, Recruitment, Recruiter, Placement, Executive Search, Employment, Temporary Help, Temp Help, etc.)

You never know what terms, phrases, acronyms or words that a recruiter will enter when conducting a search.  If you can not use the words with a meaningful and properly structured sentence then just create a section at the bottom of your profile called "Key Words" and list your words separated by a comma. This is a very acceptable and understood on-line protocol.

Tip #2 - .doc File Format

Employers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to store and sort the resumes and the applications they receive. Most ATS are capable of handling Microsoft word .doc or .docx file formats but many have difficulty handling resumes in other formats such as PDF, wpd, html and other standards. These other  formats may have their advantages but not when attaching your resume to an on-line application form. If the words and phrases within your resume cannot be extracted by the ATS then you run the risk that your application will never be seen by a real person. Always submit your resume in the world's most common format.

Tip #3 - People Contact Trumps All

The unspoken problem with on-line systems and social media is that they make it easy to avoid real human interaction. In the end, people hire people.  The entire purpose of on-line applications, digital resumes or social networks is to efficiently figure out who you need to talk to.  Your resume or profile is just a means to an end.  Stay focused on the end goal by figuring out who the HR or hiring manager is and send them a personal note pointing out that you have applied on-line. Include a professional letter that contains information that will motivate them to bypass the computer sorting process and go directly to your application. Try to make contact in person, over the phone or by email. Go for the close or "Call to Action".  Your email or voice message should always propose dates and times for a telephone conversation or meeting.  Always repeat and provide easily accessible contact information. If a decision maker has to go back to open your profile, read your resume or take any extra step to call you then you may have squandered an opportunity to connect in person.

We frequently hear people talk about how lucky or unlucky they are in their job search. Luck has nothing to do with it. "The smarter you work, the luckier you'll get" and  "It's not what you know, its who you know. "

Friday, September 21, 2012

Health & Safety at Work - Mandatory Posters

Effective October 1, 2012, Ontario Ministry of Labour OHSA health and safety inspectors require Ontario employers to post the new workplace poster called “Health & Safety at Work - Prevention Starts Here”.

The poster has been available from the Ministry of Labour since June. You can download the poster in PDF format from:  or you can acquire hard copies for free through ServiceOntario Publications.  Available in 17 languages in pdf format, it can be printed on 8.5” x 11” or 11’ x 17” paper.

 Under the OHSA, employers are required to post the OHSA Act and any explanatory material prepared by the Ministry, which includes this poster.  The new poster summarizes workers’ health and safety rights and responsibilities and the responsibilities of employers and supervisors.  It also reminds employers that they must not take action against workers for following the Act or for raising workplace health and safety concerns. The poster encourages workers to get involved in health and safety and explains when and why to contact the Ministry of Labour.

Steve Jones – Business Leadership Corp.
“When it comes to safety, everyone has the chance to lead”

Friday, September 07, 2012

Canadian Jobs Data August 2012

After a disappointing decline in July of 30,000 jobs, Statistics Canada reports that Canadian employment rose by 34,000 in August.  While most job gains on a year-to-date basis have been full-time, the mild bounce back in August was primarily in part-time work.

The Canadian unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.3% compared to the United States at 8.1% as the gap between Canada and United States narrows.

Furthermore, Statistics Canada is well known for its unreliable and inexplicable anomalies in their employment reports meaning that, by their standards, 30,000 one way or the other is statistically insignificant.  In other words…. “Yawn”.

In a similar report, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that Americans gained 96,000 jobs in August. Given that the US population is 10 times that of Canada, it is safe to classify the American performance as equally blasé.  Admittedly, 100 thousand here and 100 thousand there will eventually accumulate into millions of jobs for needy families. 12.5 million American remain unemployed in the face of a long a slow recovery.  In comparison and for perspective, it is interesting to note that the entire Canadian workforce is only 18.8 million people and 1.37 million remain unemployed.

For the temporary staffing services industry, August is typically the beginning of the busiest season of the year with hours reaching a crescendo somewhere in late November.  The Association of Canadian Search Employment and Staffing Services (ASCESS) produces Canada’s most reliable employment data in their monthly Canadian Staffing Index which collects and reports over 10 million real hours worked in Canadian staffing firms.  ACSESS reports a 29% increase in year over year hours through to the end of July.  It is thought that the Staffing index is a 30 to 90 day leading indicator of other employment and economic measures.  An increase in temporary help hours typically means that assignments are growing in duration and frequency which eventually translates into more regular employment.  Conversely, a decrease in the staffing index (after seasonal and holiday adjustments) is an ominous foreboding of a turn for the worse.  

In StatCan’s typical unreliable form, they report that the construction sector had the largest one month decline in jobs of 44,000 representing a 3.4% crash.  I don’t need to rely upon my economics degree to suspect that real decline was because construction companies were too busy to answer the silly survey questions.   

Transportation and Warehousing posted the largest employment gains per sector and business, building and other support services posted the second largest monthly gains.  Transportation and Logistics expert Scott Cull from FLS Transport says that "business is hopping with the busiest lanes running from US manufacturers into Canadian markets and new markets emerging due to the droughts which are driving significant changes in where produce comes from and goes to".  

Provincial Summary
In light of the insignificant monthly change, the following is a year over year comparison from August 2011 to August 2012.

- Aug 2011 to Aug 2012 -

Jobs Created/Lost
% change

Newfoundland and Labrador

Jobs Created

Prince Edward Island

Jobs Created
UnJobs Created

Nova Scotia

Jobs Created
Jobs Created rate


New Brunswick

Jobs Created


Jobs Created


Jobs Created


Jobs Created


Jobs Created


Jobs Created

British Columbia

Jobs Created

Hint:  When they say “Social Media Recruitment gets access to the passive candidate”, it does not mean that a recruiter or candidate can passively wait for something to happen.  Social networking requires active participation, engagement and communication.  The phone still works.  If you want to develop a relationship of trust and confidence with a recruiter or candidate, you might try talking.

Steve Jones
Staffing Leadership