A New Book

Sometimes a new chapter starts so suddenly had the big heading stating it was new chapter not been there you would have kept on going without noticing. In life these seem to be most common. Its the transition from birthday to birthday or Christmas to Christmas. Usually a big holiday or tradition brings us to think “Remember this last year when…?” It is only then that we become abruptly aware of the changes that have taken place since “when” and we panic a bit about how quickly time is passing. Sometimes, however, the opposite occurs, we become abruptly aware that nothing has changed since “when” and we panic a bit about how quickly time is passing.

Occasionally in life, changes are so large there is no missing the chapter heading, you know you are into a new chapter of life. These chapters are usually exciting moments, new beginnings. Think of the young child off to kindergarten for the first time nervous of being away from Mommy and Daddy for so long. Think of the new high school graduate now faced with the unique challenges of the “real world.” Think of weddings, the birth of children, the purchase of new car, moving, leaving an abusive or “not-a-right-fit” relationship, starting a new relationship.

Right now however, a new chapter doesn’t seem enough. There are so many new chapters occurring so quickly it appears to be time for a new book. Its incredibly overwhelming, stressful, exciting, and about a million others things I cannot find words for. I’m happy, I’m sad, I’m scared, I’m ready.

Since 2012 I have ticked a lot off the ol life to do list.

 

Bought my First Car-Check!

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Married the love of my life-check

Graduated University-Check!

Attended weddings- Check

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Grow another human with the help of my favorite human-check

Deliver that little human-Check

Fall In love with that little human-Check

Go visit other little humans after their birth-check

Lose a best Friend

lose another Best Friend

Get the Dream Career

Capture

Buy a House

Lose Another Best Friend

And another one

Its crazy to me how hard even the good things were/are. We made the choice to rehome Bailey and Rusko (the last two) as with being two working parents of a child under the age of 1 we no longer had the time they deserved from us. My heart hurts so bad especially for Rusko. He’s been my best puppy friend for two years. He cuddled with me when I was sick or sad (he never left my side through the whole pregnancy regardless of whether I was puking or not). He played with me when I was bored. He walked with me when I needed fresh air. He watched TV with me when I needed a break. It was the hardest choice I have ever made.

I feel like I have made a post similar to this before. The point however is not to say oh look at me Im not even 25 and I have my shit together. The point is to say as the builders finish building our house, as my family shrinks from loss of fur babies, as time with my son dwindles as he sleeps most of the time I am home, change is never easy. I often lay awake at night and think about the gravity of the choices I have made in the last two years. I’ve pushed myself so hard to have these things I have left people and things I care about behind. In two weeks we move to the new house and while I am excited, I am nervous because this new book is about to start and its daunting. Its just daunting. Its like one day Im standing at high school graduation thinking wow I have no idea what to do with myself and now 7 years later Im thinking wow I muddled through this far lets keep muddling. Plans fall through. I should have graduated university a year before I did. We put an offer on a house a while back that fell through. We should have had a baby 6 months earlier.

Life is a ride that is for sure, and I’m hanging on by dear life. This many changes this quickly is overwhelming. Just as you get used to life it changes. and Im sure just as we get settled in the home and feel that we are settling into a life where the chapters seemlessly run into each other another big change will come. But thats what your twenties is all about right? Creating the path. Trudging ahead. Making the choices that will affect you for the rest of your life. Its not easy. But with my best friend and wonderful son by my side, I’m sure we will get through just fine.

Are you ready?

Several years ago now my brother and sister in law announced they were expecting their first child. Perhaps to a complete outsider the timing would seem weird. They were living in a small one bedroom apartment in “the hood” but knowing these two people you knew that they were destined to be amazing parents and nothing else mattered. I remember distinctly one day when she was “very” pregnant asking her if she was ready. I’ll never forget her reply.

“Ready is a loaded word. We have all the necessities for the baby so in a physical sense, yes, we are ready. But am I ready to be a mom? I guess I’m about as ready as one can be. There’s never a perfect time. There are always more things that you could do. But sometimes you take the leap and you make the timing work for you rather than waiting for the right timing”

She went into labour shortly thereafter and as we all suspected was instantly a wonderful caring “textbook” mom. She and my brother have 3 children now and are amazing parents.

Her words have always stuck with me though. There is never a perfect time for anything. It’s about taking what life gives you and making it work. It’s about taking leaps and trying new things when others would cowar away. How many times have you heard people say it’s just not the right time? I’d love to go to grad school, but it’s not a good time to move away. One day we will get married we love each other very much but financially it’s just not the right time. We’d love to have a baby but it’s just not the right time. I’ve always wanted to be a ____ but its just not the right time to be starting a new job right now.

So I guess you have to decide who you want to be. Do you want to take a chance that life might pass you by while you are righting for the “right” time or are you willing to take a jump, realizing things aren’t perfect and never will be, and make the timing work for you.

I say all this because I am about to make a jump I never thought I would. I am leaving my beautiful, perfect son in 8 days to go back to work. As you know if you have been following this blog, my dream is to be a probation officer and in 8 days that dream is going to come true.  This has been the hardest choice I have ever made in my life. I have been so blessed with this amazing son and thanks to being a working Canadian citizen, was blessed with the ability to be paid to stay home with him for now. I’m choosing to leave “free money” (and lots of it). I’m choosing to leave my son with a friend during the day when he is only 4 months old (and still breastfeeding and not sleeping through the night!). I am making the choice to leave my care free days, naps, and pjs behind. Why? Because there is never a good time.  This choice means that my family will have financial security. It ensures a strong future for Jacob. This choice means we can purchase a home. This choice means that unlike so many people I know I won’t simply have a job, I’ll have a career, and not only that, I will have “the” career, the one that I have dreamt of and worked my ass off for.  Its true what they say, good things don’t come to people who wait, good things come to people who work their asses off and don’t give up.

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I always feared that as a SAHM I would lose my sense of self. Sure for the 5 years Id have Jacob before he goes to school I would have an amazing role. But what am I left with when the children are in school? I would be a mom with no kids to mother 8 hours a day 5 days a week and homemaking is not my strong suite. Before they go to school I would get to help my children grow and develop. My hubby and I would be the only ones that were teaching him to walk and talk. We would teach him his ABCs and how to say please and thank you. We’d get to share everything with him preparing him day by day to be ready for school.  Looking into his beautiful blue eyes and knowing that I am now trusting this care to someone else breaks my heart.  I know I can still do these things, and will still need to. I am still going to be able to take him to the spray parks this summer and take him camping. I’m still going to work with him to help him crawl, and walk and talk. I’m still going to help him learn his animals and colors and get to listen to him in the back seat of the car excitedly point out yet another truck. But its different. I’m terrified to lose that time with him. In fact, thinking about it almost has me in tears and I have been fighting them back for the last week since I made the choice to go back to work. I don’t know how I am going to say goodbye to perfect smiling face every day. I realize now the joy there is in “just being a mother” and how amazing that calling really is. I am so blessed to have had these four months at home with him to “Just” be his mother, to “Just” be a wife, to “Just” be the family chef and to “Just” be the family maid. The house has never been cleaner, the meals have never been healthier (no more quick processed fast foods) and I have truly never in my life been happier.  Of course I wish I had more time.

But it all comes down to timing. Everything always does. I was prepared to leave him at a year, so leaving him now seems like a cruel and unusual joke. But sometimes you need to take the leap and hubby and I have discussed it in detail and we believe that taking this leap is the best move for our family. Am I ready to leave him? Absolutely not. Am I ready to start my dream career? The thing I have been gearing myself towards and working my ass for for the last 5 years? Yes. I know I can be successful in this role. I know that if I have to go back to work this is where I want to be.  I know that there are literally hundreds of other people out there fighting to get this position that I have been offered. I am replaceable. If I don’t take this position who knows when or if it will ever come up again?

I have already been hassled by a few people that I have told. How on earth could I think about leaving my baby? How incredibly selfish of me. But I don’t see it as selfish. I think that in our very personal situation choosing to stay at home with him is much more selfish. He is going to be just fine without me, I’ll have him 2 days a week, hubby will have him 2 days a week and loved ones will have him the other 3. I’ll see him every morning and every evening. I’ll still get to give him a bath and snuggle up with him and read him a good night story. We will still get to have those nights where at 3am he finds himself in bed with Hubby and I and get to cuddle him and sleep smelling that amazing baby smell while he nuzzles in and holds my hand. I will still get to be there for him. and I will still get to be his mom. We are keeping him out of daycare. I am going to pump at work and he can still have all the benefits of breast milk.  He is still going to be loved regardless of whether he is with me 24/7 or not.  He is going to know is that his Mom loves him so much that she decided not be selfish and stay home when this amazing opportunity came up. We are going to be financially secure. We are going to be able to take him to Disneyland, Mexico, Europe. We are going to be able to put him in after school programs and give him a good home. And we are going to be able to give him our time because by taking this job neither hubby nor I will ever need to work 2 jobs again. When we are home we are home. We don’t need to bring work home with us ever. We will be able to give him our undivided time and attention. What is 8 months in the grand scheme of things? Nothing. Nothing at all when it leads to something so much better.

I’m scared. I’m sad. I’m happy. I’m nervous. I’m a giant ball of emotion. But I know perfect timing doesn’t exist. I know how important it is to just take the jump and make the timing work for you.

So how about you? Are you willing to take the jump when opportunity comes knocking? Or are you sitting back waiting for the perfect time that may never come?

Where to Look: The Public Sector

There are two basic areas where you can apply for jobs, the public sector and the private sector. Now we definitely learnt what this means in school but I have had people ask me to clarify so I will. The public sector is essentially working for the government.  The private sector is any job that is owned and operated apart from the government. So private businesses. Wal-Mart is a multi-billion dollar company but falls in the private sector, It is not ran by the government. There are three levels of government in Canada and you can find jobs at all three levels and the public sector will be the basis of this post.

The Municipal Government

The first is the municipal. This means at the City or Town level. So if you are working for the City of Edmonton or the City of Calgary or the Town of Morinville…you are working for the government at the municipal level. These jobs would include things like working in the recreation department (as I have previously done), working in parks (so mowing lawns, watering flowers, picking up garbage, snow removal etc), it could mean working in transportation and driving bus or train, the police or fire department, clerical work for any government organization etc. There are numerous opportunities working at this level. Opportunities range from entry-level clerical work to childcare to tradespersons. There are opportunities for people to work in political science field, trades, construction, accounting, business, etc. Think of all the things that are required to create a well run city or town…people have to work these positions.

The new (and in my mind dumb) way of applying for jobs is online. Therefore you can browse postings at the municipal government website. Here are some examples.

The City of Edmonton
The City of Calgary
The City of Red Deer
The Town of Tofield

Any town or city that you can live in should have an official website with an employment or careers section for you to find. I could never list them all. Be careful when searching though. If it says monster, kijiji etc. you are getting into the private sector (which I will talk about in a little bit). Public sector positions with the municipal level of government will be posted on an official page such as the ones listed above.

The Provincial Government.

Exactly as it sounds this means working for the government of a province or territory. Again you can find job postings online by googling it. Here is the Alberta website. There are similar ones from each province and territory. On here you are going to find jobs…surprise surprise that deal with things at a provincial level. Again, there is a wide range of positions available Probation, Peace Officers, Lawyers, Child Interventionists, Engineers, caseworkers, Clerical, Emergency Response, Board of Directors etc.

There is also a “grey zone” with the provincial government. For Alberta this would include things like Alberta Health Services. Some would classify that as a government job others wouldn’t. However they are so heavily mandated and funded by the government of Alberta that I personally would say this counts as a provincial job.

The Federal Government.

This includes being a “public servant” for the Government of Canada (or the United States etc.). Again these jobs are incredibly vast and can include a wide range of skills and services. Including things such as the RCMP, Post Office employees, Park Rangers, Parole Officers, Telecommunications, the Military, Statistics Canada, etc. And again go figure you can find jobs with the federal government on …*drumroll* the Government of Canada website. Which you can view here. They recently changed the format of this site and it a million times better and WAY more user-friendly.

Benefits to working in the Public Sector.

Generally speaking these jobs are unionized. Which can be a blessing or a curse. Personally I love the stability of a union. The union works both ways it protects the employer from lazy stupid employees (in theory) and it protects the employee from lazy stupid employers (in theory). The union will have a union agreement with the employer and the employer must follow what is written in the agreement. If they do not you have the right as an employee paying union dues to go to the union and file a grievance. As someone who has done this I appreciate the stability and don’t mind paying union dues. (So yes, if you are part of a union a small portion of each pay cheque will be removed to pay for the service).

Generally speaking these jobs generally pay more than equivalencies in the private sector. This means working in recreation for a municipal government will probably pay more than the YMCA (The City of Edmonton pays anywhere from $2-10 more per hour for recreation then the YMCA).

These jobs are THEORETICALLY more stable and get less stable as the level gets bigger. A municipal job is more stable than a provincial a provincial more than a federal. (This is just in my experience anyways). The reason I say this is that the government hires highly skilled individuals and needs to be picky. This means there are A LOT of temporary contracts out there. When I was working for the municipal government I worked in the same department for 6 years, over that time I was hired on 9 seperate temporary work contracts ranging from 2-8 months a piece. Which means that while I was never unemployed, one contract would end monday the next would start Tuesday, I was laid off and re-hired 8 times in 6 years. This can be extremely nerve-wracking for people who need stability. However, I always knew what to expect. I knew with plenty of time in advance when my contract was ending and when a new one was starting so to me it was very stable. I know other people may laugh at 9 contracts as being stable.

Governments know how to take care of their employees. There are going to be times where you are overworked but as an employer, each level of government offers plenty of room for advancement, good benefits (depending on the contract), and further training opportunities.

Cons of working in the Public Sector

You may feel like you don’t have as much as a voice as you will be bogged down by beurocratic red tape. What I mean by this is even though you may see a great way to boost morale, improve worker relations, improve program development or implementation your ideas may fall on deaf ears. Things are the way the are for a reason.

Stability (like I said it worked for me…I know it wouldn’t for a lot of people…the thought of being laid off 2-3 times a year is terrifying).

If you work for the Provincial or Federal government they can move you anywhere within that jurisdiction. This means while you were hired by the Government of Canada to work in Edmonton, generally speaking, they can ask you to relocate to Nunavut. This would be outlined in your contract agreement and the government will usually help cover moving costs etc. however if you need to be stable and cannot leave the place in which you currently reside anything above municipal government may not be for you.

Now if you are a twenty-something and just learnt that there are three levels of government, if this was brand new information….first of all I am frightened for you and wondering how you made it through high school. I am wondering if names like Alison Redford and Stephan Harper ring a bell…and am sincerely worried that you are not doing your due diligence as an adult to learn about your government and vote intelligently. But these are not issues for this blog…cause seriously you should have learnt this in school.

I simply cannot believe how many people ask me how I have gotten jobs in public sector and where to look. Google is your friend…use it! This was the easy part. The difficult part is getting the public sector to give you the time of day. We’ll look at that next time.

Creating a Target Resume

So now you have a huge mess of a master resume. Depending on your background/experiences it should be somewhere between 2-4 typed pages but don’t worry if its longer (if its shorter….like I was saying last time go volunteer get some more experience for sure, mine is 3.5 pages). Now you will use that to create a Target Resume. What is that? It is your opportunity to tailor your resume to an exact posting. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to throw everything out there. Their master resume and their target resume are used interchangeably. Think about it from a human resources/ hiring perspective…how many resumes are they going through? Do they really care about your high school dance team if the job has nothing to do with dance? Probably not. In fact they are probably going to skim your resume because no one has time to read it thoroughly and seeing those things could be a huge distraction. Keep it to the point. Show them why you are the perfect candidate for that specific job. I often heard people say I can look over your resume, or I can get so-and-so to look at it because they are in HR, the problem with that is they are probably going to look at your master resume which doesn’t really captivate a target resume and when you see a posting you only have so long to get it in before the deadline. Getting peoples opinions can be important but if you are looking for feedback…look and work fast!

Lets look at an example of how I would create a target resume.

Below is a posting I just pulled from the City of Edmonton Website (www.edmonton.ca/jobs) for Childcare Attendant, I have childcare experience within the City and the qualifications aren’t crazy so it makes this posting a really easy example. When I find a job posting I am interested in I like to print it off and attack it with a red pen. What you see below in bold is the kind of things I would write down on the posting in red.

Our Childcare Attendants have great opportunities to learn about childcare and child development through the City’s programs that include a variety of age appropriate activities As a Recreation Technician  and previous Childcare Attendant I worked for the city with children and youth varying from 6 months to 17 years old and environments I have worked in several locations throughout the City and at various environments including daycares, public parks, schools, community halls & events, public locations that encourage positive social development I have a degree in psychology and am a level 2 childcare provider. I have experience and education in social development and developmental milestones.  We are currently looking for Childcare Attendants to work at Kinsmen Sports & Fitness Centre, Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre and Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre. I drive and am willing to travel
 
Responsibilities include:
  • Creating structured and unstructured programming incorporating crafts, story time, songs, games, movement and other age appropriate activities 
  •      I have created craft manuals for working with children 6 months to 17 years old that are engaging and require minimal supplies, I have a history in music having 6 years experience in band/choir and having directed a small church choir for a while, I understand the importance of movement through my experience in recreation.
  • Being actively engaged in the safety, well-being and development of children 
  •       As a previous City of Edmonton Employee I understand that Policies and Procedures are set out for a reason and I understand that the well-being of children comes first. I am familiar with the City’s incident policies and have dealt with previous emergencies in a calm manner following all appropriate steps. I am always open to further training especially regarding policies specific to this position.
  • Encouraging children’s social, physical and emotional development in a positive manner 
  •     Touched on this with Psych degree and background
  • Maintaining the highest level of health and safety for the indoor facility, including the physical space (walls, floors, and all surfaces), toys, furniture, equipment and fixtures 
  •     Touched on this with policy and procedure. I understand that cleanliness is of upmost importance to the health and safety of the children and that cleaning thoroughly is part of this position
  • Other related duties as assigned

To visualize what it is like to be on our team, visit The City of Edmonton Talent Hub

 

Qualifications

:

  • Direct experience working with children preschool age and under  Check! Worked in 2 daycares, Recreation, and Childcare Attendant
  • Ability to interact with children in play activities and maintain a safe environment  Check (see above)
  • Must be at least 18 years of age or older  Check I am a twenty-something (note: they cannot legally ask you your age in an interview. One good way around this? Ask to see your high school diploma. You may have graduated when you were 17 but if you have been out of school for at least a year….)
  • Current Standard First Aid and Level C CPR are required prior to commencing employment  Check. Due for renewal June 2014 
  • First Aid in Child Care with Level C CPR is an asset  Silly City put the same qualification in twice!
  • All employees must be able to attend staff training and meetings   Check! I really want this position I will make myself available for all training opportunities
  • An original Police Information Check, including Vulnerable Sector Check, issued within the past 6 months that is satisfactory to the employer will be required before starting in the position. The new hire will be required to obtain this check from Edmonton Police Service. Please note, this may take up to 3 weeks to process Check! I still have one on file with the City that is current….otherwise I am willing to get a new one no problem!

 

Ok, so that helps direct both my target resume and my cover letter (which we aren’t going to talk about for a couple more weeks). When I am done  marking the posting all up I ask myself do I have any other skills that make me more desirable? Any areas that I can go above and beyond on that I didn’t already write down? Well not only did I work with children but I trained and supervised the people who work with children, I have formal customer service training, both daycares I worked at I was the “floater” meaning I had to gain familiarity with children and build repoire quickly across many different ages  I became adapt at switching my tone etc immediately to suite the age I was working with, I have experience working with children who have witnessed trauma including violence in the home and understand they may appear to be developmentally stunted and have trouble trusting/connecting with others.  etc.

 

Do you see how the target resume has kind of written itself now?  Knowing what they are looking for and how my skills line up (and how my skills go beyond) makes the next process easy. Open a new word document and save it immediately. I always save my applications as  my last name, resume and the competition number. So like Lightyear Resume Co 145678 but you can save it as whatever makes sense for you. Then start picking from your master resume. Copy over your education and the applicable jobs, skills, certificates, volunteer experiences etc.  Wha-la! A Perfect Target Resume.

The next question is how do you make your resume visibly appealing and how do you organize it all? We shall discuss that next time!

Get Involved Today!

This is kind of a double post because I want to talk about the importance of volunteer work on a resume for career purposes, but volunteerism is also so integral to happiness.  It breaks my heart a little bit when I find people that don’t volunteer their time at all ever.  Its such a win-win!! A good deed will make you feel good, it will increase your appeal to potential employers and it helps other people.

I’m really addicted to Friends so here’s the clip about no selfless good deed if you’d like to watch it.

From a Social/ Happiness Perspective

Social Psychologists have coined the term egoism for this underlying motive to increase ones own welfare (vs alturism which aims to increase another welfare). The problem with looking at helping others as purely egotistic is that you create circular reasoning, why do you volunteer–>for the good feelings and boost in my well being–>how did you know there would be good feelings–>Why else would I have volunteered? In my opinion and experience you can and should be simultaneously egotisic and altruistic about helping others.

Everyone has a passion and it is up to you to find somewhere you can give some time that you are passionate about. If you hate animals (is that even possible?!) the humane society is probably not the best place for you to volunteer however if you love animals its probably a great place to spend some time. The wonderful thing about volunteering? You can pick a place that works with your schedule and you can choose how much time to give and when to call it quits.

i remember as a child participating in the trick-or-treat for UNICEF campaign where we would wear the little boxes to collect money for UNICEF and I always thought it was a really great cause. The program has changed now for safety reasons but it does still exist.  A few years ago, I volunteered with UNICEF for just the month of October. I specifically went into different schools and got to stand in front of everyone at an assembly and give a presentation about who UNICEF is and help the kids get really passionate about the program by showing them how they can make a difference in the lives of children all over the world. This volunteer position was really rewarding for me, it brought me back to my childhood and helped me to get other kids passionate about this program. I specifically have a passion for UNICEF because I believe that with it being associated with the United Nations and a government led program rather than a religious based program gives it advantages that other similar programs don’t have.  But that’s just me. All these organizations do amazing work, volunteer with red cross or the Salvation Army. If you are passionate about children then this is a great way to go!  (P.S. If you are interested in volunteering with UNICEF click here for more information)

There are literally thousands of organizations out there that could use your help. Are you a trades person? Go to habitat for humanity. Want to connect with victims of sexual abuse? Talk to the sexual assault center or Zebra in Edmonton if you want to work with children, or the police victim services unit if you want to work with victims in general. If you have a passion for eating or cooking go volunteer at the food bank or a shelter. There are SO many options, big brothers big sisters, cross cancer or stollery hospitals, the zoo, Starbucks even (they have big community events where they plant trees and stuff!) etc. And if you don’t want to or can’t devote a lot of time to volunteering all of these organizations will have events a couple times a year where they could use volunteers. This could include one big fundraising day where they may just need someone to volunteer for the day to hand out balloons with their logo on it. It doesn’t matter where you volunteer or how much time you give to them the fact that you are there will benefit you and them. (Did you know that some of Edmonton’s biggest events need volunteers and reward their volunteers well. The taste of Edmonton for example will give you coupons so that you can go and try all the food if you volunteer for a few days…and quite a lot of coupons too! Some music festivals will let you watch the entire show if for free if you help clean up or stamp wrists!)

I can personally attest to the benefits of donating your time in a capacity like this, life is just better. Its like doing your homework, the worst part is opening your book. Then you remember that you chose this class for a reason, the subject matter is actually really interesting and you find yourself enjoying the study time. The hardest part of volunteering is walking out the door.

I mentioned in a previous post that I was amazed at the sense of community that you can find in a large city and said that if you don’t believe me you have never seen a crisis. The sad thing is that a lot of people wait until there is a crisis to help. People don’t care until there is massive amounts of  suffering. The girl with cancer doesn’t get noticed until she is directly related to you or on TV. I do believe the world is a good place. When times get desperate people help. However, together we can be proactive and help people without needing a catastrophe to kick us in the butt.  Husband and I have discussed our desire to get our son involved in the community at a young age. Whether that means making thank you cards for the local police or fire department, dropping off cookies to a senior center, or giving toys away to kids who need them more, we feel it is important to teach him at a young age the importance of community and altruism.  I hope that you feel the same about your family (future, potential or current) and that you understand the difference a couple of hours a week can make both in your life and the life of someone else.

From A Career Standpoint

I love the movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You” because I love the basic premise…we hear stories all the time about things working out in weird and wonderful ways and then we make erroneous conclusions based on that one incident forgetting that that situation was “the exception not the rule”

Some people graduate high school, go right to university (and possibly grad school) and land their dream career bam. bam. bam. They are the exception not the rule.  Repeat after me, they are the exception, not the rule.

What usually happens? People graduate high school and maybe go to post-secondary then squander around for a while bitching about the crappy job market, bad economy, and cry because they can’t get their dream job. I’ve heard this sometimes also associated with the so-called “education inflation” that is-more people have higher levels of education now than they did several years ago. Thus a job that used to need a GED now needs a college certificate, the one that needed a certificate needs a degree, the one that needed a degree needs a masters and so on. So from the way I look at it, you can stick your head in the sand and get a degree while spending a lot of time, money and energy partying with your friends and studying, graduate and then cry when you realize you have $50,000 of student loans to repay and can’t get a job or you could take initiative.

After discovering what I wanted to for a career as an adult (I think I previously mentioned I originally wanted to be a juniour high drama teacher, worked with kids and went nope can’t do this for the rest of my life and then decided a new career path)  I did what I needed to do to put my resume ahead of the rest. Everyone is going to have a resume saying they have post-secondary that’s a job requirement, but what have you been doing that sets you apart from everyone else? VOLUNTEERING!!!!!!! Once you have your piece of paper no one cares about your grades (unless you are going to grad school….that’s the exception). So think about what you want to do and do it. Any organization that you would want to be hired at will most likely take you as a volunteer. It might not be glamorous, you might be making coffee and doing photocopying BUT you are doing two important things. 1) Networking. If the people at this company come to see you as reliable, interested in the position, knowledgeable, personable etc. when a competition is posted you now know the people who you would be working with/the people interviewing and hiring you! If that isn’t an advantage I don’t know what is. Never ever underestimate the power of networking. Along those lines please watch yourself. Don’t post shit about other people on Facebook or talk about people behind their back unless it’s someone you really trust like your significant other or best-est best friend in the whole world. We all need to vent, and we have people that just drive us mental but people talk and your casual comment to an acquaintance 4 years ago could be the reason you don’t get a job. Been there. Done that. 2) Experience. Now when your name comes up for an interview you will be able to say “I have experience doing this job. Not a similar job, not a textbook understanding of how the job should work but an actual working understanding of this exact job. How the heck are other people supposed to compete with you when you have that?

Whether your dream career is a teacher, doctor, lawyer, police officer, garbage man, paralegal, zoo keeper, computer tech, etc. it is RARE to find a business that won’t take a volunteer if you truly want to be there and want to learn more about the position. In fact. One of the top reasons for receiving a deferral from a police service (a deferral is a length of time in which they basically say we don’t think you are ready you can apply again in ____ months/years etc.) is because the candidate doesn’t have volunteer experience. Why do you want to be a police officer–>I want to help people–>if you want to help people why haven’t you been doing just that?? Liar….differed! That easy.

Of course my advice is merely my opinion. An opinion that has been gained from research and careful observation of friends and family. But hey if you want to ignore me totally your call and if you want to just keep your fingers crossed that that piece of paper hanging on your wall is enough and that you will be the exception not the rule that’s cool but I’m going to keep sucking in every morsel of experience and knowledge I can find. Because after I have this baby and am ready to go back to work I don’t just want a job. I want a career.

Creating a Master Resume: Part 2

Well you should be well on your way to having a master resume now. If you missed Part 1 you can catch up here. As you know though, your past positions are not going to make up your entire resume so lets look at what else needs to go on your master.

Education

Here, as the name suggests, you want to write down your educational background (This can still just be jot notes in a notebook for now). Again lets start back a little bit (but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE no earlier than High School….While conducting interviews and reading resumes I have ACTUALLY found someone who put their daycare on their resume….we kinda made fun of her and while her interview was pretty good if we weren’t looking to hire so many staff we probably wouldn’t have even offered her an interview because of how ridiculous that was).

Ok so High School.

Where did you go? Did you graduate with honours or distinction? Did you attend AP or IB classes? Did you obtain skills in a second language (10-20-30 or immersion etc.)? Where you awarded any scholarships from your high school such as the Alexander Rutherford Scholarship? Did you take any options that may be particularly interesting? Make notes of all these things. Lets look at a fake example of Barbie.

Matel Academic High School-2007

  • Graduated with honours from a full IB Program
  • Fluent in French
  • Obtained the Alexander Rutherford Scholarship for grades 10-12
  • Obtained the Matel Academic Scholarship for outstanding academic performance
  • Directed the school musical “Toy Story”
  • Played French Horn in the Provincial honour band
  • Chair of the Grad committee

Again Keep in Mind this is your MASTER resume, this is WAY too much information to send out to employers.

Now, do the same thing with your post secondary education. List the interesting classes that you took as well, by title not by number (Psyc 281 means SO many different things)

For example, I have an arts degree. While I took classes in Music, Linguistics, Earth Sciences, Anthropology, Political Science etc. I’ll be honest, I took those classes because I had to, I didn’t care about then and got nothing out of them. Here’s a quick example of my master resume here.

Grant MacEwan University-2013-Bachelor of Arts-Psychology

  • Noteable Classes: Forensic Psychology, Advanced Social Psychology(A+), Advanced Research Methods (A+), Advanced Statistics, Criminology, Criminal Justice, Clinical Psychology, Positive Psychology, Psychometrics, etc.
  • Clinical Psychology Placement at the Grey Nuns University-Conducted (action word!!) research program regarding the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Program there for patients with Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Individual Study: Researched (Action word!) the association between inequality and response
  • Research Assistant: Assisted in numerous social psychology studies focusing mainly on gender inequality

(I didn’t get any scholarships, I did get a few bursaries but I don’t know what they were so I’m not writing them down).

Get the drift?

Certification

Have you taken any classes? Write them down. Right down some details (are you seeing how detailed a master resume should be?). So don’t just write I have first aid, say I have First Aid and Level C CPR this means I am trained to do CPR on anyone regardless of age. I took the class in Spring ____so it expires and I need to re-cert spring_____ Do you have any coaching certificates, Applied suicide intervention skills training etc. etc. It can be anything from a certificate in welding to a black belt in karate. Right down your certifications and some details about them (how long was the course even). Feel Free to subdivide this section as well. Do you have a lot of sports related Certification…divide that out into Athletic Recognition for example.

Volunteer Activities/Community Service

Again, write down your experiences and give lots of detail. It gets repetitive but get er done! I promise it will help you on the path to your career. If you don’t have any volunteer experience….well we’ll talk about it another day but I am disappointed to hear that! You want to frame this section the same as your employment. Where did you volunteer, what was your position, what was your role?

You can also create other sections that meet your specific needs such as Professional Associations, Interests and Hobbies etc.  This master resume will also form the basic of your curriculum Vitae (CV) if you are applying to grad school so it helps to take the time and do it right. (Keep in mind with your CV you will want to go into more detail about your research and educational background than you would on a regular resume)

Any questions? Its pretty straightforward right? Just get all the information written down in one place. Pay attention to dates and details. It takes time but it is definitely worth it!

Don’t Be Lazy: Create a Master Resume. Step 1

Before writing a post I do like to do a little research so that I can back my ideas up a bit… you know what they say one crazy person can always find another. But I am amazed at the high degree of crap on Google under the term “master resume”. A master resume is not a tool for you to use when you want to be lazy, it is a tool to help decrease the amount of time you spend writing your specific resume or target resume. Do not allow yourself to be fooled, even with a master resume you should take at least 30 minutes to submit 1 application (it takes me somewhere in between an hour and an hour and a half usually). If you thinking, “my god that’s crazy, no one has that much time on their hands” you’re wrong. The people who are getting interviews and selected for jobs over you are finding that much time. Your life is important, you should treat it that way.

Your master resume does not necessarily have to be pretty (however I do recommend dressing it up once you have collected all the information but we will talk about that another day). To start just grab a notebook. It can be the same one you used to write down what you are looking for in a job. (See what I did there? Now you have a cute little career notebook. You could even decorate it…I won’t judge. Promise. )

Think back to when you started working and make a list of every job you have had (or refer to the list you previously made if you did that). Start back right when you started working, chances are good you won’t put that on your resume but it is a great way to get you in the right mind set. For each job you will want to write down the business, your position and the dates you were working there down to the month if possible. E.g.) Wendy’s: cashier: March 2005-August 2006

Next think about action words that describe your key responsibilities for each position you held. E.g.) while i worked at Wendy’s I……ASSEMBLED sandwiches, COLLECTED money, CONTRIBUTED to a team environment, RESPONDED to the needs of customers, PROMOTED new and seasonal products. (See how even Wendy’s sounds cool now?) Every job you have ever had has taught you something, you have gained experience from it in one way or another. Your job right now is to figure out what that was. You can write this down however it works best for you. I’m a list girl so I just write down the page, some people are more creative their notebook may look more like a diagram. Kinda like this,

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Overwhelmed? Take a break. You don’t need to do this all at once. And remember your master resume is NEVER finished because finished doesn’t exist. It should always be a work in progress so take breaks think about it, add to this list change things around. Take time to examine the role each of your jobs has had on you and others.

Need help thinking of good action words? Here are some suggestions.

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