Stuck in a Career Rut? Allow us to point you in the "Wright" Career Direction

Reframing the Narrative Around ‘No Canadian Experience’

It’s ironic that the same qualifications that allow newcomers to gain permanent residency status and come to Canada seem to work against them once they arrive.

Last Saturday, I hosted a Webinar through New Canadians TV on this notion of “No Canadian Experience”, and am sharing a synopsis of what was discussed. While the content is geared to newcomers, other job seekers will find some of these tips beneficial.

Reframe the Narrative

First of all, the phrase – No Canadian Experience – is a conversation stopper. It’s one way to stop you in your tracks and prevent you from talking about your unique journey and the benefits an employer could gain from hiring someone like you. Instead of ending the conversation, use the opportunity to engage and reframe the narrative.

Address the Elephant in the Room

(Image: Reddit)

If you get the sense your lack of Canadian work experience could be a concern, you might want to address the ‘elephant in the room’ upfront. Admit it (see a sample script below under elevator pitch), then steer the conversation to how your international experience aligns with the organization’s goals and the benefit they will gain from hiring you. However, before you can have such a conversation, you will need to do some preliminary work. This work won’t be easy, so commit to playing the long game. You will discover it’s a better use of your time than sending resumes to every company and not getting a response.

Take an Inventory of Your Skills

Look at all the things you have done, the skills you used and the outcome / impact you made and write them down. This exercise will help you quantify your achievements, make you stand out from other candidates, and provide you with an inventory of your skills to help you showcase your value.

Research, Research, Research

Every job is NOT for you so don’t go sending resumes to every company that has an opening. Research the ones you would want to work with, and you can start with these lists:

Extend your research to social media platforms, starting with LinkedIn. Sometimes names of your connections who work at a particular company may show up. If not, check if someone in your network knows someone at the company, and ask if they could introduce you. Keep in mind that not everyone is going to respond so don’t become despondent and give up if they dont. Remember you are in it for the long haul.

Once you have gone through the lists, select about 15-20 companies, whether or not they have advertised. When you are focusing on just the ones with advertised openings, you could be missing out on hidden opportunities.

Target Recruiters

While I am not aware there’s a Top 100 Best Recruiters list, you can find many recruiters on LinkedIn. Follow the same process as you did with companies. Check your network, then Connections, then search for recruiters (or any other related title). Make sure to target those in your industry. Start with 5-10 such recruiters and reach out to them. See how to forge authentic relationships below.

Dissect the Job Posting

To get the attention of an employer takes much more than sending a resume and cover letter. It requires an understanding of the employer’s needs. The first indicator of what the employer needs is in the job posting. Pay very close attention. Assess your skills and qualifications against the posting. What do you have to offer? How does your experience align with the requirements?

Prepare Your Career Documents

Depending on who you are talking to, employers take between 6 and 10 seconds to scan your resume; the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) probably takes less. This means if your resume isn’t addressing what’s asked for in the job posting, it will be rejected by the employer leaving them to think that you don’t understand their needs.

Forge Authentic Relationships

The key to a successful job search is to build relationships first, ask for assistance second, and offer to be of assistance always. This is where playing the long game will help you forge authentic relationships, build credibility and gain visibility. In the early stages of building these relationships, don’t go asking for a job (unless there’s one that you know they are hiring for.) After all, you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on a first date! Develop a ‘give, give, get’ mentality. Always ask how you can help your new connections. If you happen to know that an employer is recruiting for another position and you have someone you can recommend, let them know.

Use Every Tool at Your Disposal

As a follow on to building relationships, you are now at the stage where you need to use every tool at your disposal to find the right contacts. You have experimented with LinkedIn, try Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Employers recruiters are on these platforms. What about emails? Most companies have standard e-mail formats. Try sending multiple emails in different format until you no longer receive a “mail delivery error.” You may even want to use the Advanced Search on Google.

Contact as many people as possible while being realistic — not everyone is going to respond.

Develop Your Elevator Sound-Bite

Once you have connected with people you need to tell them about yourself in approximately 30 seconds – the time it takes for an elevator to move from one floor to the next. This is when you craft your elevator pitch or sound-bite. As important as your degrees are to you, that’s not what you want to begin your introduction with. They want to know first how you can help them make or save money. Tell them what it is you do, and name a couple of your accomplishments.

Below is a sample script of an elevator pitch or sound-bite. While it is structured for the interview and will help you address your lack of Canadian experience, it can also be reworked to create a brand paragraph for your resume or help you perfect your elevator sound bite.

“First of all, thank you for inviting me to the interview. I am pleased that something in my background and experience caused you to select me as one of the candidates to be interviewed.

Second, it is true that I haven’t had an opportunity to work in Canada yet and I am hoping you will give me that first chance.

Third, and most significantly, my experience aligns very well with the position. For four years, I was the head of Digital Marketing at _______, with offices in Canada, the US and 17 other countries. My experience includes diverse managerial experience in performance marketing, digital media and marketing technology, and building partnerships with clients to achieve extraordinary results. Conducting regular meetings with staff across all locations and utilizing my bilingual skills, I gained a good grasp of workplace culture and norms allowing me to resolve problems and conflicts before they escalate. With such a background, I am confident I will be able to help you develop and implement your digital marketing strategy across all media channels and platforms.” 

Get Ready to Toot Your Own Horn

“Accomplishments don’t speak for themselves”, is a mantra from Google’s #IamRemarkable workshop that I have had the honour of hosting three times over the past several weeks. This means if you don’t speak up about your accomplishments, you will go unnoticed. In other words, if you don’t toot your own horn, no one will know you are coming.

I hope the above tips will help you reframe the narrative around your lack of Canadian experience and steer the conversation towards the value you will bring to the company. Your unique journey has value. Talk about it. “It’s not bragging if it’s based on facts!”

Have questions? Let’s connect!

I Am Proud of Me!

This year, 2020, has been a year most of us have never seen. While there is enough I can celebrate, it would be remiss of me not to pause and reflect on the many families who had an empty chair at the dining table this Holiday Season.

If the pandemic didn’t hit us directly, we knew someone who was affected. I lost a family member to the COVID19 virus. He contracted it after being hospitalized with a stroke. I last saw him when I visited Jamaica in June 2019 and I spoke with him just three weeks before his stroke. That was pretty close to home.

At the start of the year, I predicted it was the only year when we were all going to have 20/20 vision. We now know how that turned out. However, that shouldn’t negate the fact there were many moments when ‘you were proud of you’ and ‘I was proud of me’. As you read this, you might be saying to yourself “How narcissistic and me-centered can this woman get?” And I would counter that narcissism has its place.

Too often we feed our minds with negativity and wondering what people will say if we begin to ‘toot our own horns’ and holler out that “I Am Proud of Me!” We find it easier to relegate our accomplishments (our proud moments), to imposter syndrome status. We become friends with it, telling ourselves we are frauds; devaluing ourselves, feeling undeserving of our achievements, questioning our capability, wondering if we are the right person for the job, being afraid to speak up because of what others might say, looking behind our backs to see if we are the ones being called on to step forward. We hand over power to imposter syndrome rather than acknowledging our proud moments.

With 2021 only a few hours away, I won’t be predicting anything, but I want you to tell yourself how proud YOU are of YOU! Whether you had one achievement, or 100, start saying, “I am Proud of Me!”, and do it as many times as you can, until you believe it to your core. That’s one sure way to counter imposter syndrome as you move forward.

What have been my Proud Moments?

Turned Lemons into Lemonade. One of the lemons thrown at me was when I was zoom-bombed with pornography and racist tirades during a webinar. I could have left it up to ignorance of the perpetrator(s), but it fired me up to speak out and write about racism and social justice. It made me realize it is more powerful to speak up than to quietly resent. I also recognized that although not everyone will appreciate my truth, I have to speak it anyway because silence is complicit.

Honest Conversations Build Bridges. With all the mayhem that was going on with George Floyd’s murder and Black Lives Matter protests, performative statements by individuals and corporations were challenged and allyship became a verb in some quarters. Several people reached out to me to ask how I was feeling and to have deep, genuine conversations.

Professional Development. On the professional development level, I had registered to attend Career Thought Leaders’ in-person conference in Philadelphia, but because of the pandemic, it was cancelled. I made lemonade from that the situation and signed up for their Certified Career Transition Coach program.

Living, Learning and Working. Career Professionals of Canada is an organization that thrives on innovation in the career space. I volunteered to be part of the review and beta-testing of its epic Work-Life Strategist program.

As career coaches, we tend to look at our clients through the lens of job search and/or career change, but how often do we take the whole person into consideration? This Work-Life Strategist program helps career practitioners do that from the perspective of: Living (Self-care & Happiness), Learning (Life-Long Learning), and Working (Workplace Well-being).

As part of the cohort of careerpros who took part in the beta-test, and the calibre of their contributions, I know I gained far more than I offered. Pleased to have been a part of this pioneering program and to earn the Certified Work-Life Strategist designation.

No alt text provided for this image

For the third time, I was awarded Outstanding Canadian Career Leader by my peers at Career Professionals of Canada.

Thanks to career and job search icon, Alison Doyle, I was introduced to The Balance Careers, where I have been contributing articles on diversity and inclusion. My latest article is How to Appreciate Diversity During the Holidays.

And, the highlight of my year and very near and dear to my heart are the 20 women who jumped on the 2020 Let’s GROW Project bandwagon, and wrote the anthology, 21 Resilient Women: Stories of Courage, Growth, and Transformation. A few days after publication, it became an Amazon #1 in Motivational and Self-Help and Women’s Biographies categories! How epic is that? #IAmProudofMe!

https://www.amazon.com/21-Resilient-Women-Stories-Transformation/dp/0981310478/

How about you? Were there times when you felt like shouting “I Am Proud of Me!”, and you didn’t because imposter syndrome reared its head, or you feared people would think you had gone crazy?

We have been conditioned to believe that we should not talk about our proud moments because we will be seen as narcissistic, conceited and egocentric. As a career coach, I always encourage clients to be proud of their achievements and make sure to talk about them in interviews. I should heed my own advice, and so should you.

One client told me once that she did not realize the contributions she had made to her company until she saw her accomplishments summarized in her boss’ LinkedIn Profile. She was a spectator at her own career game, but that discovery led her to start capturing her accomplishments.

Let 2021 be the year, you leave imposter syndrome behind and embrace your proud moments. If you don’t toot your own horn, no one will know you are coming; It’s time to give a shoutout to yourself and say “I am Proud of Me!”

By the way, I am getting ready for the virtual edition of the Let’s GROW Project under the theme: Visioning 2021 – #GettingItDone. It’s happening on International Vision Board Day!

Save the date: January 9, 2021, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Eastern.

No alt text provided for this image

Watch this space for details. Or, if you cannot wait, send me a message.

 

10 Ways to Support Your Career Coach & Resume Writer Colleagues During COVID19

www.thewrighcareer.com

As we brace for what will certainly become the ‘new normal’, the grim reality is that some businesses will thrive and some will not survive. Hopefully, those of us in the career space will be on the thriving end of things. Crisis tends to bring opportunities; we only need to look for them.

At the moment, many of us are engaged in activities aimed at supporting job seekers and our clients during this COVID19 crisis. There are free webinars and online courses on a wide array of career and job search topics, and based on comments I have heard and read, these actions are having a positive impact.

Amidst all of this, it occurred to me to ask the question, how are we doing as a career collective? What support do we have or need? What are some simple ways we could support each other (for free), during this time?

The ten tips on the attached image would be a great place to start. Are there others you could add?

Which career coach or professional resume writer could you reach out to today?