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For Anyone who Could use Some Inspiration

Hello all,

It has been a while since I’ve written a post, so I thought it was about time I came up with something to write about. I confess that lately, I’ve been struggling to find topics for this blog, and then it occurred to me that maybe I was overthinking things. Since it is the beginning of a new school year, and a time of year when many people are taking on new challenges (myself included!), I decided to compile some of my favourite inspiring quotations around the topics of success and motivation.  I hope they will be helpful to anyone who might be reading this, and is in need of a little push to achieve a goal.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.” – Oprah Winfrey

2. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

3. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

4. “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” – Dale Carnegie

5. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

6. “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!'” – Audrey Hepburn

7. “It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

8. “Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.” – Benjamin Franklin

There you have it, some of my favourite inspiring quotations. What quotations help you when you need a little boost? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

 

University Bound? This Website is for You

As part of my career coaching business, I am always looking for more resources I can use to educate both myself and my clients.  On that note, a while back I was talking to a woman about my business, and she happened to be a parent of teenagers. She told me about a website that she and her children had used as part of their research into universities and the various programs available, and she emphasized how helpful it had been in helping them to understand their many options. I had to check out this site myself, and it is truly excellent. I thought I would share it with you in this post.

The website is called eInfo, and can be found at www.electronicinfo.ca. This site is billed as a guide to Ontario’s universities for high school students, but would also be a handy resource for guidance counsellors. The website provides a wealth of information about university programs, admission requirements, and more. Users can search by program or university, and can also access information on finance (fees and scholarships), and the application process. The site also includes a handy video explaining the many ways in which users can search for information. Users can also print relevant pages of the website for future reference; these are available as PDFs.

After exploring the site on my own, I found it to be an excellent resource, but I would offer a few words of caution. Because of the exhaustive amount of information available on the site, it is probably best used by a student who is sure they want to attend university (as opposed to college or an apprenticeship), and feels pretty strongly about what they want to study, or what school they would like to attend. For a more uncertain student, the amount of information on the site might be too overwhelming and could lead to more indecision and confusion.

I would also suggest that the site would be helpful for parents who are wishing to gain a better understanding of their teenager’s post-secondary plans, or who would like to compare program offerings, fees, etc, without having to scour the entire internet. The site makes it easy to do this, by including an option to compare different programs or schools, by simply checking a box.

If you or someone you know is university bound, you would be wise to check out eInfo, and check it often, as the site is frequently updated with new information. I know it will make a valuable addition to my collection of resources, and I’m sure it can help you too.

Resume Writing: Putting it all Together

Having written a few posts addressing common issues for first time or teenage resume writers, I thought it might be good to wrap up the short series with a few tips to help tie everything together.

Before you start writing: First, a huge heads up before I provide any more specific tips. A first time or teenage resume writer might be tempted to embellish or invent details for the resume, but this is a very bad idea. Employers have ways of finding out if you have lied in any way on your resume, so make sure every detail you include is the absolute truth. 

That said, here are some other handy tips:

  • Your contact information should always be placed at the top of the resume, and should include your name, address, phone number, and email address. A professional email address is best, so if yours is anything like partygirl99@hotmail.com, you should create another, more appropriate address for your job search.
  • In your education section, it is a good idea to include your graduation date, i.e. Class of 2018.
  • When writing about your experience, whether work or volunteer, be sure to start each bullet point with a strong, active verb. Examples include maintained, organized, developed, etc.
  • The expected headings on a resume are education and experience (work and / or volunteer), but many others are possible. You might consider: skills, leadership experience, research experience, writing experience, computer experience, objectives, leadership, related coursework, etc. Choose the headings that best represent what you have to offer.

A few more things to keep in mind:

  • Always proofread your resume; you would not want to be removed from the running due to a careless typo or other mistake. Also, have someone else you trust read the document. They might be able to find mistakes you missed in your own proofreading.
  • Have multiple copies of your resume available: on paper, on a flash drive, and in your email. You never know when you might need one.
  • Update your resume often. Add new experiences, activities and clubs while you are still involved in them; this will help you to remember the relevant details more easily.
  • Be conscious of what you have posted on your social media accounts, like Facebook and Twitter. Employers can check these, so make sure you have updated your privacy settings, and have removed anything that could reflect poorly on you from your accounts. Or better yet, don’t post questionable or controversial content in the first place.

Whether you are writing a resume for a summer job, an internship, or co-op placement, these tips can help you craft the best document to help you land the position.

Resume Tips for the Uninitiated: Part 3

Welcome to part three of my series of short posts featuring helpful tips for those not accustomed to writing resumes. For this instalment, I thought I would address an issue I frequently encountered when reviewing the resumes of college students.

Several times, I noticed that students had included a “Hobbies” section on the resume. There are differing opinions on the use of such a section, so I thought I would share my view on it.

Personally, I do not feel that hobbies should be included on a resume. I understand that when an applicant does not have a lot of work experience to highlight, they might want to include some hobbies to fill out the resume. They likely think it shows that they are a well-rounded individual. There’s nothing wrong with this way of thinking necessarily; it’s more a case of using the resume to best showcase what you have to offer an employer.

For this reason, I recommend using the space to share information about volunteering, special projects worked on, or clubs you belong to. Each of these things can help position you as a fit for the job, in a more straightforward way than including hobbies probably could.

The exception I sometimes made to this, was to include hobbies only if they directly relate to the job being applied for. For example, video production as a hobby might be relevant to an event planning role, particularly if live streaming is part of the events or conferences the successful applicant would be planning.

In the end, you as the applicant need to ensure that each and every piece of information listed on the resume supports the employment objective and job being sought. You are encouraged to use your best judgment to determine whether including hobbies achieves this goal.

What do you think readers? Would you include hobbies on a resume? Why or why not?

 

Fostering Resilience in Youth

In my previous post, I wrote about the remarkable resilience of our Canadian Olympic athletes, and  touched on the importance of building this same quality in our young people. The ability to recover from setbacks and disappointments, and move forward in a positive way, is crucial to success in our careers, and lives in general. Here, I offer some suggestions on how you can help your children develop this important ability.

  1. Teach kids to problem-solve: I think too often, parents want to just swoop in and fix whatever problem their child might be facing. But rather than do them this disservice, why not teach them how to solve problems themselves? When a problem arises at school for example, help your child to think of strategies they might use to overcome the issue. Discuss what might happen if they choose a certain course of action vs. another one, and help them to choose the best option. Over time, your child will learn to evaluate these options on their own. Problem-solving is not only a valuable career skill, it is a crucial life skill as well, so the earlier you can teach your child to do it, the better off they will be.
  2. Don’t provide all the answers: This tip ties into the previous one. Just like problem-solving, being resourceful and finding answers oneself is a critical life skill. There isn’t always going to be someone around who can provide solutions, so knowing where to look for the needed information is key. Also, employers like workers who can take initiative and find their own answers, as opposed to those they must hand hold and supervise every step of the way.
  3. Let your kids make mistakes: The truth of the matter is that no one is perfect, and we all make mistakes. Do your kids a favour, and let them make mistakes once in a while. Making mistakes, and learning from them, is how we grow emotionally. I have made my share of mistakes in life, but I always try to take a lesson from them, and this has helped me greatly. Help your kids to understand that mistakes are just a natural part of the learning process, and don’t make them feel bad when they happen.
  4. Help your children manage their emotions: Perhaps one of the most difficult things for humans to do is learn how to experience our emotions, but not let them dominate our lives. We all feel such feelings as disappointment, happiness, anger and frustration from time to time, but the key is not to let any one emotion get too extreme. This can be especially important in the workplace, where certain expectations exist that we behave in an appropriate manner and according to established protocols. Rather than shielding your child from all emotions, help them instead to understand what they are feeling, and help them to put those feelings in an appropriate context.
  5. Model resilience: This is a big one. How can you expect your children to be resilient, if you lack that quality yourself? The next time you find yourself facing a setback, consider the way in which you handle it, and whether or not it sets a positive example for your child. Are you behaving in a resilient way? If not, what can you do differently? Children will emulate what they see, so try your best to model for them the qualities you want them to demonstrate in their own lives.

These are just some of the ways in which you can foster resilience in your child. None of these things can be implemented overnight, but with enough time, they will become easier and more automatic. The important takeaway is to empower your kids to bounce back from disappointment and failure, in order to move toward a more successful future.

With that in mind, what suggestions do you have for fostering resilience in youth? I would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

A Gold Medal in Resilience

Resilience: Ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy

The Winter Olympics recently wrapped up in Pyeongchang South Korea, and it was Canada’s best showing ever. Our athletes finished the games with a total of 29 medals, 11 of them gold. It was an excellent two weeks, with many highlights, but one major aspect stood out to me: the resilience of Canadian athletes.

A few examples:

  1. Kim Boutin. This speedskater won three medals overall, two bronze and one silver. She overcame online abuse, resulting from her being awarded a bronze medal after a South Korean skater was disqualified. Some Korean fans blamed Boutin for this development.
  2. Kaetlyn Osmond. Osmond won a bronze medal in women’s figure skating, but nearly wasn’t even in these Olympics. She almost retired from skating after breaking her leg during the 2014 season.
  3. Mark McMorris. McMorris won a bronze medal in men’s slopestyle snowboarding, yet just last year, he nearly died. McMorris was snowboarding with friends in March 2017 when he suffered serious, near-fatal injuries, which included a fractured jaw, fractured left arm, ruptured spleen, pelvic fracture, rib fractures, and a collapsed left lung.

All three of these athletes demonstrated remarkable resilience, managing to overcome injury and hardship to not only compete at the top of their sports, but also to win. All of us could benefit from their example, especially young people, who have not always been taught what it means to be resilient.

We’re living in a time of instant gratification, where young people often want to see results immediately, and aren’t willing to give things time. The rise in helicopter parenting has only compounded the problem, with parents often rushing in to protect their children from failure and disappointment. They are doing them a disservice however, since in the real world, failure is inevitable. Those who know how to cope with it, and use it as fuel to move ahead, will ultimately be successful.

Imagine if any of the athletes I mentioned above had decided to give in to frustration or despair, and had stopped competing. They never would have been at these Olympics and never would have experienced the triumph and pride in winning a medal for their country. They can look back and say they overcame these obstacles and are stronger for it.

When it comes to careers, being able to adapt to change and bounce back from disappointment and failure, is crucial for success. Further, people are increasingly finding themselves doing contract and freelance work, and full time positions are becoming harder to secure in many industries. Workers who are resilient will generally have an easier time navigating these challenges, and be more successful in the long run than those who are not. We need to do more to help our young people develop this quality, so that they are better prepared to face the future, and to thrive in whatever situation they may encounter.

For now, they could certainly benefit from studying the examples set by the athletes I’ve described here, and so many others like them.

A Brand New Year

Hello all!

I realize I haven’t written any new posts since the end of last year. Not to worry; I’m still here, and still committed to bringing you interesting and helpful content.

I have been spending the month on some very important learning, which will help me to better serve you, both through the posts I write, and the services I provide to you through my coaching. I am quite excited by what I’ve been learning, and look forward to applying it to my business.

Thank you to all of you who have followed this blog so far. I hope you will continue to come here for more tips and information about career development and how we can best equip youth to design careers that will be satisfying, fulfilling and sustainable.

Cheers to a brand new year, and to new possibilities for all of us!