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Jessica Pettigrew

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It’s 2020, and basically everything has become virtual, even if you were one of the few people trying to apply in person at a company. Those days are over in 2020. The last thing a company is going to want is you coming into the office to drop off your resume at the front desk.

There are so many different platforms out there to apply for a job. Before clicking any of these websites, I would suggest to organize all your documents in one folder to have ready, so if you find a job you want to apply for, it is a simple process. If you cannot afford to be picky when looking for a job, it is a numbers game. You might apply for 50-100 jobs before you get a callback.

I created some content HERE, on what you should prep when applying for different types of jobs.

Once you have your folder, including all the documents you could use to apply, you are ready to head over to some of the websites below to start your job hunt.

Websites I have used to apply for jobs:

Number 1: LinkedIn

If you are not utilizing this fantastic platform, for networking, building your brand and applying for jobs, you are missing out. When you are following specific companies where you want to work, this will be the first place that updates when a new position opens.

Number 2: Google Search Bar

When I type in google, I pick a specific job title, location and company. Usually, a lot of options pop up that will bring you to the companies particular website. Then you can apply directly on the company website.

Now the rest of the LIST:

Indeed

Glassdoor

Monster

Canada Inc

SimplyHired

CareerBuilder

If you have any helpful websites that you would recommend, please comment below, I know it would help my readers! Thank you for stopping by!

Are you looking to go overseas for work? Well, I did, and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Highly recommended if you are brave enough to make the jump, do it!

First off, the program is listed here on the government website with instructions on how to go about applying. You will see here what the requirements are to be eligible to apply.

Switzerland EDA Government Website:

https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/canada/en/home/switzerland-and/youth-mobility-program.html

Canada Government Website:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/canadians/international-experience-canada/work-travel-switzerland.html

My Experience:

I had a desire to move to Europe for work experience and personal reasons. At a younger age, when you have nothing holding you back, it’s a lot easier to make the move.

What I did prior to applying for a job in Switzerland is, I did a lot of research on what you need in your application process. What the country expects is listed below:

  • CV to include the following details:
    • Photo
    • Birthdate, Phone number, Address, Email, languages
    • When you are available to start working
  • Proof of employment from all employers on your CV
  • All Education Certificates

I also researched what companies hire English primarily. I have located a shortlist HERE!

If you speak German, French or Italian, you will have a way easier time to find work as Switzerland has four main languages. Keep in mind though if you don’t speak french from Switzerland, you will still have a different dialect.

I also learned that LinkedIn is not highly known or adapted in the workforce in Switzerland, but a company called XING is. I created a profile on this platform to help with networking.

I won’t talk about the interview process. If you are interested, comment below and I will make another post regarding this.

Once you have your work contract, you will now need to apply for your work permit.

Please send the application (refer to paragraph 4 in the brochure) with the supporting documents to the competent Consulate General: 

  • Consulate General of Switzerland in Montreal if you are living in the provinces Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, New-Brunswick, Nova-Scotia, Prince-Edward-Island, Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Territory of Nunavut
  • Consulate General of Switzerland in Vancouver if you are living in the provinces and territories of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories and Yukon

The processing time can be long, and it can take up to 8 weeks. Mine took four. If you are not currently in school and have no post-secondary education in Canada, most likely, it will get rejected. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own, you can hire professional help.

I got approved!

After waiting for a long four weeks, I got an approved notification through email, authorizing me to work in Switzerland. That doesn’t mean you can go to the country. You will need to receive an entry visa glued in your passport. (Refer to paragraph 5 in the brochure.) 

Please send the following documents to the Consulate General processing your file:

I was very nervous that this would take a long time, but it only took four business days. Once you get your visa, you should notify the company and book your flight! The visa you get is temporary for 90 days until you land in the country.

Once you are in Switzerland, you will need to go to the “Kontan,” which is like a province you live in and register there to get your official visa card. They will have the full process for you there. It is best to give them your address with the proof that you will live there.

I managed to extend my Visa for an additional six months for a total of 18 months, and then after that, you will need to return home unless your contract is explicitly required in Switzerland.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. I am curious to hear about your story.

Remember those days right after college where you were rushing to fill up your resumes with every single piece of work experience, overseas and local volunteer projects you took over a couple of summers?

Ah, the good old days as a fledgling jobseeker. Where every section of your CV had to impress. Even a single line about how you helped out with managing the till at your aunt Susan’s community fundraiser counted as relevant “financial experience”.

Well, that’s not you – at least, not anymore. Happily employed, cushy benefits, great colleagues to have after-work virtual drinks with and annual company retreats. There’s no better feeling than that of job security, and when you’re planning on staying put at your job, there is no use for a resume! It just gets chucked right at the bottom of the desk drawer, or sitting on a USB drive gathering dust until the next time.

When that next time does come around – boy do you have some work cut out for you. In this day and age, a successful career means much more than just staying at one job for your entire working life, and your digital presence (think LinkedIn) is worth just as much as your qualifications on paper. No doubt, having a resume that is both dynamic and up-to-date is one of the most valuable tools to have on hand as you climb up your career ladder.

Read on below for our 4 good reasons to always keep your resume updated

1. When you’re being promoted

You are putting in hard work, and you are getting things done. Your colleagues see it, and your manager sees it too. The day a position opens up that they think you would be suitable for, they recommend you for a promotion.

Whether it is your WorkDay account or you have to submit a CV, its always good for the higher-ups to see who you are. There’s one way they can get all the information they need in the quickest time possible: your resume.

With a CV that categorically lists all the great things you’ve done over the past years for the company and in your professional capacity, there is solid proof that your appraisal is worth much more than just the recommendation of your supervisor(s). So go on, get your LinkedIn profile updated with all the fantastic things you’ve done so far and polish up your resume at the same time – your career deserves it.

2. When you’re in demand

Corporate headhunters are always on the lookout for exceptional individuals who fit the specific requirements that a particular company is looking for to help it grow. You may not be looking for a new job at this point. Still, with all that valuable experience you’ve been getting at work, there’s sure to be recruiters out there looking for somebody just like you to join their team either for a particular project or for a full-time position in another company.

Often these recruiters offer seriously attractive offers that are hard to turn down. Here’s the catch; however – in most cases, whenever you get a call from the recruiters, the first thing they’ll probably ask for is a copy of your resume. If you’ve got a resume that hasn’t been touched in 2 years, you’re going to need to take time to get it updated.

Keep both your physical and digital credentials fresh and up-to-date, so these recruiters will have an easier time deciding if you’re the right fit.

3. When you’re looking for a side gig

Throughout your career, you may be looking to pick up some more work on the side or even pick up some personal projects that are beneficial to your professional experience. Freelance work is becoming the norm, and there are millions of full-time workers all over the world looking for collaborative partners. They can help them make things happen – anything from creative skills like photo editing and music production, to corporate tech skills like excel wizardry and presentation building.

Knowledge, in almost any subject, is made readily available thanks to the internet, and for those of you who took the opportunity to upskill, be sure to add your new-found course to your resume. You never know what potentially life-changing networking opportunity you might miss out on when you don’t continue to educate.

4. When the worst happens to you

Let’s face the hard truth. There might come a day where the company decides to part ways with you, or you decide to quit – whether it is due to the company restructuring its workforce or for personal factors. When that happens, dusting off that old resume and updating it is probably the last thing on your mind, especially if you’ve done so many things that you’ve forgotten which ones are worth mentioning!

Having an up-to-date resume serves as a timeline of your achievements as well as being a backup plan for when things go south. With all your accomplishments noted down as gospel truth, you’ll have an easier time picking out the ones that suit the next job you’re applying for. You can spend more time looking for that right job rather than wasting all that time and effort trying to figure out a way to piece together a polished resume.

As the great Roman emperor Julius Caesar once said in a letter to the senate proclaiming his absolute victory at the Battle of Zela when he was still an army general in 47 BC – “Veni, Vidi, Vici” meaning “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Without keeping a timely record of his achievements, we would probably have never seen him rise the ranks to become the ruler of Rome we all know today.

The same principle can be applied to your resume – keeping it up to date with all your current achievements requires just a few hours or so of writing and reviewing every end of the month. And with that little extra effort you put in each month, the results will certainly go a long way for your career and your future.

This is going to be short and sweet.

I feel like I am not the only one, that was having a difficult time to virtualize my background. I don’t have a solid coloured wall in my office, so I was never able to get the virtual background feature to work.

Every time I tried, my face would end up being part of the background, like the image I used for this Blog. I thought it was the quality of my webcam but after doing research it all comes down to processing power. If you are not getting a new computer anytime soon, I found a quick fix that might also work for you.

I work at Dell, and I am using a Latitude 5490, which is about two years old, and I know this fix also works for the generation before.

QUICK FIX for your Dell Laptop

If you don’t have a dell laptop, I am sure the steps are similar just with a different vendor.

Head over to:

https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-ca

Once you are there, you will need to locate your service tag on the bottom of your laptop. You will need to type it in the search bar and hit enter, and your product support page will upload.

This page will appear and you will have a lot of options to review warranty, run diagnostics and most importantly why we are here today! Drivers and Downloads.

What you will need to download is the below :

Update BIOS

Update Graphics Driver

Feel free to update everything if you want! It is not necessary to run virtual backgrounds. Once you have completed this, restart your computer and BOOM! It is working! Hopefully, this was helpful for you and thank you for stopping by!

If you are new to Canada most likely you have looked up what do you need to include in your application when applying.

Well Canada.ca states the following:

  • cover letter, which is a short description of what makes you right for the job
  • résumé, which is:
    • also known as a “curriculum vitae” or a C.V.
    • a list of your qualifications and work experience

However, this is the basics. If you are looking for an entry-level position, this should be enough to get you an interview. However, if you are in a major city that has fierce competition, this is what I highly recommend you put in your application to get noticed!

Top Documents to Include in a Canadian Job Application

COVER LETTER

  • Include their Company Logo in the letterhead
  • If you are drastically changing careers, explain why you are and explain why you would be a great addition to their team
  • a cover letter is a great place to summarize your journey and why you are ready for a new position
  • Lastly, Print it! Sign it! Scan it! It shows you have taken the effort to personalize it

RESUME/CV

  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Language
  • Executive Summary
  • Skills and Hobbies. If your hobbies are not interesting leave it out!
  • Volunteering

REFERENCE LETTERS

  • Almost all resumes in Canada I have seen the below response. If you give this response, it’s another reason to dismiss. Always include reference names, position and affiliation to you.
    • References available as per request
  • Try to get at least two reference letters from your past jobs. In Switzerland, it was mandatory that every company needed to give you a reference. I always ask my current employer to draft up a reference letter to add to my application package.
  • If you can’t get a reference because you don’t feel comfortable, try asking for a proof of employment. This is just another great document to include in your application, trust me all recruiters will be shocked to see this!

EDUCATIONAL CERTIFICATES

  • If you have a degree and diploma from any post secondary institutes make a company and throw this into your application.
  • This is not mandatory at all, but it does get noticed that you have everything ready and prepared.
  • Some companies even call your educational institutes to verify and you are basically helping them in advance.
  • I would also include an additional certificates or awards you have received, including Language certificates especially if English or french is your second language.

I didn’t learn this in Canada, when working oversea’s in Switzerland, this is what they do for their application process and when I moved back, I used these sames tactics and almost 80% of the time I received a call back after applying.

Is there anything that I am missing that you have included in an application in Canada or another country that has worked?

Thank you for stopping by!

Today, I will be discussing how to update your CV at least every year if not bi-annually. If you have never created a CV, then this can also be an excellent post for you.

Every six months, I open up my CV and do a scroll of what I think is still relevant for the job that I want in the future.

I review my old jobs that I have and see if they are still relevant to keep on my CV. In the video, I will show you a few things that I look at, and I will walk you through on how I update CV, content-wise.

Some of the tools that I like to use when building out a CV are below. Feel free to bookmark them as they will not only be useful for the job you want to get, but they will be helpful for your whole career.

Helpful Tools you will want to bookmark

I love the Visual CV. I usually buy a subscription every six months for one month, just to keep it updated, and then within the browser, you can download your CV into a PDF. It’s not the most efficient or cheap way to edit it, but I love the templates. LINK IS HERE

If you can’t afford a subscription, then the next best thing I have used is the CV template on Microsoft Word. You can update your photo and all details without paying to update it every time. There is a bit of a learning curve with the formatting of the template, but its by car the cheapest way to continue updating. LINK IS HERE

The worst thing I have seen on CVs is grammar mistakes. I am sure there are some mistakes in this blog, but the worst thing is to apply for a job and your CV includes errors scattered throughout. I utilize an app called Grammarly that checks my tone, verbs, and all grammatical errors. It has helped me an insane amount of the last few years.

Lastly, this one, I think, is quite essential. Your photo on your CV. This is so important to keep updated. The worst thing is to show up for an interview with a 10-year-old photo on your CV where you look nothing like.

If you live in Montreal and looking for a super fun photographer to take your headshot, I couldn’t recommend Sherina more for the job! I am far from loving my photo taken, but she captures your personality well through her lens.

LINK IS HERE

After my recent post about technology to invest in for a better work from home experience, posted here. I wanted to show you a step by step approach on how to do a virtual whiteboarding for your customer meetings or internal meetings utilizing the Wacom Intuos.

I find somehow when I use the combination of talking over video while drawing out what I am trying to explain, it makes for way more interactive meetings, where people are not falling asleep. I am sure there is a statistic out there that proves this.

After being in meetings where people are using an IPAD pro with the $200 electronic pencil and trying other tablets and testing the latency, I have noticed there is quite some lag on Zoom Whiteboarding and Teams with those products. I decided to go one step forward and test out the Wacom Intuos that I purchased from Dell.ca HERE. From other solutions, this comes at an affordable price at $139.99. I purchased it from Dell because that is where I work! #iwork4dell

If you want to see all the specs and why it’s so great, go check over at the link, they will tell you better than I can!

I wanted to show you steps on how to set this tablet up!

Steps on Whiteboarding on ZOOM

Step 1: Run Installer

Plug in your tablet into a USB drive and download and install the driver to “Run Set up Wizard.” If you want to review the steps on how to do the install, Wacom made a helpful video on how to set that up.

Step 2: Software Settings

After the drivers are installed and you have reset your computer, you can now open Wacom Desktop Center software on your computer.

In this software you will be able to do the following things:

  • Screen control settings
  • Pen Settings
  • Redeem free software
  • Express Key Customization
  • etc

Step 3: Customize On-Screen Control Settings/Mapping

The most important thing that I have figured out is that you need to map where your whiteboard is going to be on your screen. For most of us, we have more than 1 Screen. You will need to Click OnScreen Control Settings.

From here, you will then see a ribbon at the top that will show an option of mapping. Click Mapping

When you are in the mapping section, it will show all your screens that you have. Now you can decide, do you want to share on Monitor 1, 2 or 3. I find it way easier to just have the whiteboard usable on one screen; that way, the pencil is easier to control.

There are lots of features in this section that it could take pages of screenshots to show you all the options. If you want something specific, please feel free to comment below, and I can help.

Step 4: Set up on Zoom/Test on Zoom prior to meeting

Set up a meeting with only you as the participant. When you have an empty zoom meeting set up, click Share Screen

After you have selected Share, a pop up will open up on your screen asking you to choose a window or application that you want to share. Click whiteboard, and this will open up a blank white canvas to start sharing your whiteboard.

Make sure that you drag the whiteboard to the screen where you selected the mapping up above.

Step 5: Start practicing your whiteboarding skills, you can only get better as you continue to use it.

Thank you for reading! If you have any best practices on white-boarding for clients or co-workers, please feel free to share below!

Initially, I was going to write what you should invest in for working from home, such as an ergonomic chair or a proper desk. However, I deem this essential and almost not worth mentioning. I took some time to think of what I would write, and what I believe is the most important to focus on is, what things you should buy for a better customer online experience.

I would also like to state that I have not been sponsored to mention any of these products; this is just what I have tried and experienced.

Some companies had managed to stay ahead of the digital transformation curve when all their meetings turned remote, not much changed for them. On the flip side, I am seeing lots of organizations struggling with this new normal.

Here are a few things you should invest in to make your meetings from okay to an exceptional experience.

NUMBER 1: a Headset with noise cancelling

Most of us have some sort of communication device. However, these range from speakerphone on your laptop to the free headphones included with your mobile phone purchase.

The reason why your internal speaker on your computer doesn’t do the job is that it picks up so much external noise from your room. Most of the time, it has a challenge picking up the correct audio in the room. I have participated in numerous meetings, and the customer rarely raises the concern of sound during your sales pitch to say they can’t hear you well. I find headphones such as beats and apple AirPods also not up for the job for these types of meetings unless you are just listening.

My point is to invest in a headset where the company primarily sells communication devices that you have been tested in this type of environment and know works well. I have selected the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC. I have used it now for almost two years and absolutely love it because I get feedback from customers that the audio is excellent. I have also had some experience with Jabra and love Logitech! Even some budget-friendly headsets that work well.

NUMBER 2: An External Webcam

A lot of sales executives have needed to pivot from onsite meetings to over the phone. As you know and from your experience of the last three months it is not the same experience for our customers. It is going to be different.

I decided to invest in a decent steaming web camera that I could place above my monitor so the customer would see me front in the center. I have a lot of internal meetings with my team, and I have been viewing the side of their face for about three months. It is excellent for connection to provide eye contact with your team and customers. Trust me; it makes a difference.

The one I have been using and have tested is the Logitech HD Pro C922, and it seems to be working well, minus the fact that I cannot use Zoom backgrounds.

If you don’t want to invest in a webcam, my only suggestion is that you sit in the direction of your built-in webcam as you have these customer calls.

NUMBER 3: A wacom Tablet

Remember the days of whiteboarding in a customers office or on a scrap piece of paper? Well, those days are over in Canada for a few months or even potentially until 2021.

I am not sure when customers are going to want us to come in for a visit, so we need to adjust how we communicate our message and our sales pitch.

I have looked at Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and they both have whiteboarding features. With the Wacom tablet, it offers you no lag time when whiteboarding your meeting. I am in the middle of writing another blog post on how to set it up and the best practices on how to use it.

If you only want to invest in one of these three, I would suggest the Wacom Tablet, and it is so beneficial to draw out or write out what I am talking about with a customer or internal co-worker for training purposes.

What is some tech that you have been using during this time? I am curious about what has helped you connect with customers in a different new way?

I have only been working professionally for ten years, so that doesn’t make me an expert on dishing on advice on how to grow your career, but it does make me an expert on what I have been doing with my career in the last 10 years.

I wanted to share with you the top 5 most comfortable things to start doing to enhance your career.

Number 1: Public Speaking

Practice public speaking. Earlier in my career, I remember participating in a sales pitch contest and coming in almost last place. I was shaking and couldn’t look at the audience, just praying that it would be over before it started. What I realized after this is if I wanted a successful career in sales, I would need to know how to speak in front of people confidently.

When I was working for a previous employer, I decided to sign up for Toastmasters. I hated it for about six months because I was a nervous wreck. Once a week, when I knew I had to practice speaking for an hour. What I realized is that we are all people, and I was sitting in a room full of supportive people. It is all about practicing and understanding the feedback to get better.

Now I haven’t been back to toastmasters in awhile, so I practice by making Youtube videos about these topics! Trust me, it’s not easy! If you don’t practice and receive continuous feedback you will never get better.

Number 2: Track your Goals

Use a task manager for your personal development. At the start of a new fiscal year, I create a Trello board of all the things that I would like to work on this year. This way, I can keep tabs on my results and ensure to keep promises to myself. No one in this industry is going to chase you to be accountable. The positive thing about keeping tabs on yourself is that when the time comes for you to ask for a raise from your boss, you will have a full list of your successes over the last year.

Number 3: Audio Books

Subscribe to an Audiobook provider. I can not speak on behalf of other platforms. However, I am an Amazon subscriber; I tend to stick to the same platforms. This subscription is a one-credit once a month, that is good for one audiobook. I tend to pick an audiobook that will cost more than 16 dollars, so I get my money worth. I am not very good at listening to Audiobooks and working at the same time. For constant travellers, this is a great thing to listen to in the car when heading to a customer site or to drive home from work. Due to Covid-19, a lot of us are working from home, in this case, I listen after work.

If you want my list of books, let me know, and I can make another post about it!

Number 4: Be Modest

I remember working with a colleague when I was 23, and he was very good at this job. It seemed almost effortless. He would crush his target quarter after quarter, and the only reason you knew was that the manager would go through the numbers weekly. It was so attractive to look at someone that knew they were only as good as their last deal. Today the people I meet that are the most successful in their careers are because they live with this quote drilled in their brain.

“I am only as good as my last deal, last service, last performance.”

Number 5: Hire a Coach/Therapist

If you are over the age of 50, you most likely are cringing at this comment. When I used to tell people I go to therapy once a week, they thought I was crazy. Well if you have areas in your life that need improving a business coach or therapist could be your answer. I hired one about three years ago and it has completely changed my mental health.

So many of us face different challenges in the workplace; for example, working on projects, having an outside led to an inside relationship in sales or dealing with a difficult manager or a large quota. Most of these difficulties all come down to our emotions. When I talk to my therapist about business challenges, she helps me see it from other perspectives or helps me come up with different solutions.

These are a few things that I started doing for a while now, and I am curious to hear of the things that have helped you grow your career. I wouldn’t suggest starting all these at the same time, try to pick one goal to focus on at a time and master attending or doing the things that can help you get there. Sometimes if you look at the top of the mountain, the first step will look to big. Just take that first step!

– Jessica Pettigrew

Today, our routine look’s anything but ordinary. However, we must have a schedule. I have been working remotely for quite some time. I don’t call it working from home but running an operation from home.

I wanted to share my schedule with you and how I can stick to it. It is crucial to have organizational skills to maintain your working environment. It doesn’t take a few weeks to master, but months and for some of us years. The number reason I have a schedule is to put in boundaries of how many hours I day I work to ensure I don’t burn out. My plan and this blog post is based on my role in sales but is practical for all functions.

First things first, If you are new to operating at home, create a list of all the Pros and Cons of working in an office, here is mine for some inspiration:

ProsCons
– Faster Response time with colleagues
– A Clear start and Finish
– Coffee Breaks
– Have a clean working environment
– Free Internet
– Collaboration
– Building Rapport with colleagues
– Too many distractions throughout the day
– Commuting to Work
– Too much food and drinks to eat
– People stealing my cables




Okay, there are a lot of pros to working in an office, but the list of working remotely is much more detailed. However, at this point, this post is not regarding what’s better; it’s only about building a schedule.

Now that you have the PROs list created, it is crucial to incorporate these into your weekly schedule, remotely.

Tip #1 Pre-Schedule the Things that Matter

How I do this is by scheduling in the below re-occurring meetings weekly. Whether you are using outlook or Gsuite, this can be done through the settings. Here are the things that I pre-schedule. If these things are important to you, you should rarely skip them.

  • Weekly Touchpoints with Manager, & Account Executive
  • Monday Morning Coffee Break with the full team
  • Lunch Break
  • 1:1 Coaching Session with Mentor
  • Manufacture Meeting – Sync up
  • Internal Team Meetings

Tip # 2 Block your non-working hours

“I cannot log off at 5:30 PM, due to my colleagues and my customers sending in requests”

I never did this before COVID-19, but today I am finding it crucial for me. Due to all my colleagues working from home, it seems everyone is working crazy long hours.

When working in Switzerland for three years, I learned it was rude to send emails on the weekend or after 5:30 PM in their culture, unless something was really on fire. Now, I pre-set all my emails to send in the morning if I am working past 5:30 PM. It is a simple courtesy to help your customers and co-workers have a break at the end of the day to disconnect. I have difficulty not to check my emails at night, so this helps everyone.

Here are two excellent links on how to set your working hours in your calendar.

GSuite Working Hours Link Here!

Outlook Working Hours Link Here!

Tip #3 How to Communicate your Schedule

Having a great schedule built out is excellent, but not communicating it to your manager is half of the planning. If your manager doesn’t buy into it or support your schedule, it will end up not working out.

Notify your colleagues and customers of your response times and working hours so that there are no misunderstandings. This process can be done slowly over time, through phone conversations and just training how you respond to people’s requests.

“I can’t stop working at 5:30 PM because the requests just keep coming in”

The worse thing is to leave someone hanging when they need to get a hold of you.

Here are my tips on creating a schedule, feel free to leave a comment below, with some best practices that you are currently doing. I would love to learn from you!

JP