DID YOU EVER HEAR ABOUT MOUNT MAZAMA?

August 25, 2014

That’s what I asked my dentist last Thursday. He had. He told me that it was one of the volcanoes in the Cascade Range of Washington, Oregon, and California. Other volcanoes in the range include Mt. Shasta, Mt.  St. Helen, Mt Hood, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Baker as examples of live volcanoes that have been erupting off and on for the past 400,000 years.

As I mentioned to the doc, Mt. Mazama is one of those that underwent a colossal eruption 7,700 years ago that resulted in the creation of Crater Lake – a famous seasonal resort in Oregon. The Doc said that there were rocks the size of Volkswagens that became part of the landscape in central Saskatchewan.   

That was one big blow, I said.

I told him that archaeologists often uncover a lens of ash that can be fingerprinted by trace minerals to belong to the same volcano. That’s a good sign. Anything found below the ash layer is older than 7,700 years, and anything above it is younger.

“Why did you come in here to tell me that?” He asked. “Can’t you see I’m in the middle of a root canal?”

I thought that you might like to know, because i have a molar next to a wisdom tooth that did a pretty fair imitation of Mt Mazama over the weekend.

“Hmmm,” he said. “Does it hurt?”

“Not now, I said. But I have a feeling that if the remnant fills up with water, speculators will want to open a resort.”

A quarter of an hour later, I was in his chair while he probed the depth of my new geological landform. He took an X-Ray and proclaimed that it must have been quite a show. He also said that my tooth is legally dead, and it needed to come out on Saturday morning at 11:00.

Now I’m grieving my tooth. I took it home to donate it to the SFU Archaeology Department.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

THE LAST LAUGH

August 17, 2014

A while ago I wrote an article on a fitness phenomenon called Laughter Yoga that you can read at http://www.alive.com/articles/view/23493/laughter_yoga .  Naturally, when it came out I told everyone about it. This means that I had to tell it to my Saturday Morning Interval Training  class in the weight room  at West Point Grey Community Centre in Vancouver.

My participants  coerced me into incorporating it into my class. “If you say laughter is so great for our fitness, you have to put it in our class.

Ever since, I have been treating the class to The Last Laugh. After stretches at the class we reach overhead and I would tell a brief zinger from current events. Then we would all relax and exhale with a belly laugh.

The problem is that I have never had a funny bone in my body, so coming up with a one liner is becoming increasingly difficult. Perhaps that’s an artifact of aging. After all, I am turning 65 next week.

I rely mostly on current events. Rob Ford, the runaway mayor Of Toronto has given me weeks and weeks of mirth  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/rob-ford-soaked-in-ice-water-for-als-ice-bucket-challenge-1.2738734, If he doesn’t get elected in the next election there, I may need to retire.

Senator Mike Duffy is another laugh generator. http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/07/17/mike-duffy-to-be-charged-by-rcmp-suspended-senators-lawyer-says/

Then I need to start making stuff up.

For example, a few weeks ago we had the Vancouver International Folk Festival. Joan Baez was to be one of the headliners. Unfortunately she had to cancel out. The sie

The site  the festival was less than 500 meters away from my class, so I told my class that they had hired Rob Ford and Mike Duffy to sing a duet: The Band’s 1969 song , “The  Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnyeqyCiLdo.

I was really hard pressed after that  – except that I bought some masking tape at the dollar store that I use to prepare my class. I hang signs on each station. The signs were fluttering all over the place. There wasn’t enough stickum. I told my class there are three things you should never by at the dollar store:

  1. Masking Tape – There’s not enough stickum
  2. Batteries – They run out too quickly
  3. Condoms – Those short people call me “Gramps.”

This morning I told them that everyone will need to take the class more seriously next week. I will no longer be a wet-behind-the- ears neophytic whippersnapper. As I turn 65 on Tuesday, I’ll be an honest-to-god geezer who needs to learn to geeze.

Next week, my motto will be, “Fitness is the easy part, it’s comedy that’s hard.”

  Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

WRITE YOUR OWN DAMNED RÉSUMÉ

August 3, 2014

I have been following a conversation on line of my linked-In groups, Careers Debate. Should one write their own résumés? Most of the respondents said that they should. As someone who supplements his income by writing résumés for people who would like to make changes in their careers or lives, I agree. They should write their own résumés.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Hey Mike, what’s the matter with you. You’re writing yourself out of a job. I was thinking of getting you to write one for me. You can’t be serious.”

I am serious. When you write your own, you have the opportunity to list all the skills you have, your experiences, your education, your values and your interests. It’s an exercise in introspection that everyone should undertake at regular intervals in their careers.

“Well, why are you in business then?” you ask.

Because most of the home made résumés don’t work. They are outdated, they are loaded with errors, and they generally do not do a good job of presenting what you may have to offer an employer. Here are a three reasons to drop what you’re doing and take that tome you’re working on to a professional résumé writer:

1. Make use of another set of eyes.
I speak for myself here. When I look at a resume for someone I try to expand the document so my client could be presented as a candidate for a number of different vocations. I do this by really examining the skills they had with what they have been doing. For example, I am an archaeologist with a degree and 13 years of field experience. I took the skills from here and became a street social worker for another 14, then an employment counsellor, and then an employment specialist, then a vocational counsellor for a health authority.

If one were to hire me, I give the advantage of knowledge of most sectors of the labour market, and I could help that person identify several areas where a person can extent their career. The resume that you made, along with some shrewd interviewing questions on the part of yours truly, some interesting opportunities can emerge.

2. Marketing advantages.
Again, I have to speak for myself. I think most resume writers have a good sense of the labor market, and I also believe they know what skills are required for specific jobs. They might even have a good idea of how to make that resume competitive in the marketplace. For example, a document with a heading like “OBJECTIVE” isn’t going to cut it these days. Objectives, by definition tell and employer what you want. Do they care? Employers want to know what you are already, and also what can you do. This can be done in less space than cluttering up with an objective, which is ultimately a lie. The truth is all you want is a job.
You don’t want to lie on your résumé

3. Correcting mistakes.
Most of the résumés I see have good spelling, but they are wordy. The profiles that I see often have sentence structure that you would find in formal writing like essays and novels. By contrast résumé writers have, by convention dictated by the labour market that says to HR personnel, “Thou shalt not spend more than two nanoseconds on a résumé unless it’s a really good one. You want your recruiter to read your profile, read your experience, then jump back to the profile, then education and back to the profile, etc. You want him to have his eyes dancing all over the document to prevent it from being launched into the circular file. That means you want bullets.
A résumé writer can help with this. Then you can free up your own writing time to write the Great Canadian Novel.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

ZEN AND THE ART OF INTERVIEWING

July 21, 2014

Many of my clients have difficulty with interviews as they suffer from anxiety. Sometimes, a client will have a perfect resume that tells the story of a professional with three degrees and an employment history that includes decades of professional work – often including public speaking. Yet the thought of having to do an interview causes profuse sweating, shaky hands, and tongues that dry out to the consistency of shoe leather and clatter on the roofs or their mouths.

I try to deal with this by going some mock interviews, thinking that over time they will overcome the fear, ace the interview and get the job. I wish it were that simple.

“So tell me a little about yourself,” I’ll say, hoping they’ll tell me a little of their experience, their education and training, and maybe a little bit of what they do in their spare time.

“I hate that question,” they’ll say as they begin to sweat and hyperventilate, Once, a client who was perfectly calm when she came into my office, sprinted for the door when I asked the question. She called a few weeks later to reschedule a meeting.

“Should I come up with another interview question?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “I have that one under control now.”

Clearly, I needed to come up with a set of tools that a client can use to get rid of the anxiety before the interview. That way they can better compete in the market place.

I call the set of tools the Zen and the Art of f Interviewing. I use the following three steps to help them gain some control of their emotions.

1. Make them feel powerful.

Back in the ‘50s there was a television show staring George Reeves called “Superman.” At the beginning of the show, George would stand with his hands on his hips with his cape flowing behind him. I get my clients to do this before  the mock interview when I ask the dreaded question. (Actually, I do this before I teach fitness classes. It keeps my knees from collapsing.)

2. Help them feel centred.

Learning breath control can help them relax before the interview. It’s something that they can practice during the interview, providing they don’t fall asleep.

3. Learn how to cheat at the  interview.

Even people with profound anxiety can find success at interviewing if they can find a way to get someone else to do them. The trick is to do it without letting them know they’re doing it. They can assume the personality of someone they admire and answer the questions in a way they would imagine that person  answering them. In 2011 I wrote a blog posting called (How to cheat at your interview that you can read at: http://mikebroderick.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/how-to-cheat-at-job-interviews/

 Many of my clients have had success with this – except one who used me as a role model. “You really should get better control over your language,” she told me as we were writing a thank you note.

  Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

 

WEASELING OUT OF TROUBLE AT WORK

July 6, 2014

Many people have knack for getting into trouble in the workplace. I am one of them. Most of my trouble stems from uttering something that ought to have been left unuttered. Whether I utter something to emphasize a point that I find important, or whether I say it for comic effect, there is always someone around to take offence. Sometimes, it turns out, they should take offence. It gives me a chance to practice weaseling out of it.

Sometimes my workplace is a stage in a gym where I lead fitness classes. In fact, my inspiration for this piece came from the 9:00 AM Circus Training  class I lead at West Point Grey Community Centre in Vancouver. The class is in the weight room where participants are determined to get fitter in spite of me.

Today’s topic  was how I managed to get a complaint from the staff at one of those glittery private gyms that  at the time had one of those mirrored disco balls spinning on a spindle that reflected those little beams of light all over the stage. I was just finishing  the class by leading participants through a series of stretches, including one that had everyone pressing their chests to the floor while having both legs forming a 180 degree angle to their trunks.

“Make sure you do this stretch slowly,” I chanted into the microphone. “Just relax into the stretch. Stretch slowly. Always do them s-l-o-w-l-y. I do everything s-l-o-w-l-y.”

Suddenly I sensed the opportunity to drop one of my bombs. I pitched my voice up half an octave to break the chance and said, ”Except for one thing.”

My class laughed this morning, but there were a few in the glitter gym that didn’t see the humour at all, and I found myself in front of the coordinator explaining that I thought the joke was pretty good. “Self-deprecation is the second simplest form of humour.” I said.

“What is the simplest form?” she asked.

“Repetition,” I said

“Go with the repetition,”  she said.

Notice what happened. I saw an opportunity , took it, and accepted responsibility for it. That was the end of it until I brought it up again this morning. If a complaint should arise out of that, I will explain to the coordinator that part of the class involve not only fitness theory, but also history of fitness, and stories about fitness personalities since the 1950s – of which I continue to be an active member.

I’ll bet Chip Wilson could use a crash course in weaseling out of trouble. A few short months ago the Chipper – one time owner of Lululemon Athletica , got into trouble for explaining the pilling  and eroding of the material.

He said that his apparel doesn’t work for some of his customers. He insulted his customer base. Then he gave an apology:

http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2013/11/lululemons-chip-wilson-apologizes-for-controversial-comments-over-womens-pants-video/

His apology, however, was to his employees, not the customers. There was one good part. He said he was sorry for ‘Chipping’ away all the success they garnered over the year.

What he could have done was made an apology, then fund a video of be putting duct tape on the threadbare portions of my spandex fitness shorts. That way he could have used humor to weasel out of his customers’ ire and not having his board of directors take the company from him.

Let me know when you buy the company back, Chip. We’ll talk about a retainer. I’ll call my company Weaseling Out 101.

  Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

 

HANDLING THE WORST INTERVIEW QUESTION: WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?

June 29, 2014

Believe it or not, some HR people still ask, “What is your greatest weakness.” To me this is a cop out question. It is like the gym teacher who hasn’t planned anything so we have to spend 40 minutes playing murder ball. There are three reasons for asking it: they want to see whether their candidate is creative, they are nosey, or they are sadistic and want to see their interviewees squirm as they decide which skeleton to whip out of the closet for all the world to see.

Whatever the reason, once it is asked, it has to be answered. Some candidates say that a good answer is that they have the tendency to work too hard, but have developed a plan to develop their skills at time management and their ability to prioritize tasks. The problem with that answer is that it is unlikely that the interviewer has learned these skills and they don’t want to get shown up.

Another favourite is, “I don’t have any weaknesses.” This causes the interviewer to think, “Arrogant bastard. Even I could have answered it that way.”

I always liked the answer, ”My greatest weakness is working with computers, but I found that if I read manuals and take courses I can get the hang of them.” The form of the answer is correct. It shows that you can do something about it.

Unfortunately, nobody will believe that you did. Who would ever sit down to relax with a manual. Isn’t there more to life than that?

I have always thought that the best answer to this question would be, public speaking.

I hate public speaking.

In part, I think my own relationship with public speaking goes hand-in-hand with me being a neurotic introvert at heart. I cured this by becoming a fitness instructor. Nothing cures both neurotic introversion and fear of public speaking faster than parading yourself in front of 40 women in sports bras wearing nothing but a muscle shirt and spandex shorts yourself – especially if the shorts are misbehaving and giving everyone a glimpse of life in the fast lane.

(Here’s a hint. If you’re going to patch a pair of spandex shorts with duct tape, make sure to do it from the inside out. It may feel uncomfortable, but it’s better than peeling your hide off with them after class).

Luckily for applicants, one doesn’t need to become a fitness instructor to get over the fear of public speaking. For the price of a dinner at Macdonald’s, you can join a toastmaster’s club, and that sounds great at an interview.

Here are some tips to be a better public speaker that I’ve picked up from being a fitness instructor:
1. Know your facts: Before you can teach, you learn a lot about theory. Remember it and use it
2. Know your audience: They come to you as informed consumers. Sometimes they are famous, so try not to get stage fright
3. Rehearse: Be prepared with your moves and what you say about them
4. Prepare to ad lib and tell jokes and stories: One time I was leading my class in a stretch, “Do this slowly.” I said in my hypnotic fitness instructor voice. “Always stretch slowly. I always de everything slowly – except for one thing,” Later I got a complaint for being too sexy. But on the plus side, somebody noticed.
5. Anticipate questions: There is no point in being an expert if nobody asks questions
6. Single out a friend in the audience: It’s good to have ally in the crowd, but don’t focus all your energy there. Scan the room and find others. That way you’re including everyone in your Tomfoolery

If you memorize some of this, you will definitely have the upper hand with that worst interview question whether you’re wearing a $500 lets-talk-about-it-suit or a $20 pair of spandex shorts.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

NETWORKING: IT’S NOT WHO YOU KNOW, IT’S WHO THEY KNOW.

June 23, 2014

A few millennia ago, while I was in my senior year at high school, I was asked by the once Homecoming Queen to dig a ditch to raise money for the grad party. I was I suppose I was thinking that if I dug the ditch well I might ask her on a date to recount all the excitement of ditch digging. After all she was once the Homecoming Queen. I agreed.

“Then it’s agreed,” she said. “You and five other suckers will spend Saturday digging an access ditch that 100 feet long and 18 inches deep. You will dig for free, and the school will get er  …   let’s see. … A fair bit of money.

I showed up on Saturday at 8:00 with my shovel and chalk line. Nobody else showed up. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Sucker!””

Not really. Three things happened that day. First, the digging was easy once I broke through the sod. The property was actually an archaeological site. In fact, it was a shell midden so I was digging through loose shell. I was also finding artifacts. I was so interested in this, that I eventually got a degree in archaeology and spent 13 years as a field archaeologist.

Secondly, people saw me working, and they kept calling me. I suppose they thought that if I could dig a ditch, I could build a fence, or mow a lawn, or scythe a field, or bail some hay, or wash some windows. I worked every day that summer, and I found there was other fish to catch that the former Homecoming Queen. There was no time. She had no math skills.

Third, I learned the power of networking. I have often heard the old mantra amongst job seekers that “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts.” You can have all the skills and book learning in the universe, but if you don’t know people, your chances of finding employment are bleak.

I didn’t know anyone while I was ditch digging, and I got a whole pile of work that I didn’t expect. I also got to meet some anthropologists and archaeologists in the process that I also didn’t expect, and after getting a degree or two, I began to make some theoretical contributions to the science. I think this is networking, and I can now change the mantra to, “It’s not who you know, it’s who THEY know that counts.

I often attend networking sessions at boards of trade and chambers of commerce. I tell some success stories about what I did that month to give people the impression that I find jobs for people with mental health disabilities – all the while telling prospective employers that I have people who really want to work as part of their rehabilitation. If they have a job, they can attend all those summer barbecues and say with pride that they dig ditches or work in a warehouse or work on a farm or work as a lawyer rather than saying they are on disability.

Do I get these jobs from people who attend these meetings? No. I get them from the people they know.

 As a last note, these meetings usually have a few people looking for work. They couldn’t come to a better place. They often put the people they meet on their Linked In list of contacts. That way they can contact individuals and companies who may not yet be advertising.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

HERES A THANK YOU LETTER, WOULD YOU LIKE AN INFLUENCE LETTER WITH THAT?

June 15, 2014

A few months ago I did a résumé  for a Social Worker who happened to be a participant in my 9:00 AM Saturday Circuit Training Class at a Vancouver community Centre. She had several interviews and landed a position with Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

This morning, on my way to class, I thought about doing a piece on Thank You Letters, so in the middle of class I asked her if she wrote a Thank You Letter after her interview for her life-altering job.

She told me she didn’t, and added, “What’s a Thank You Letter besides a way for you to bilk more money?”

I suppose she caught me napping. I always tell my résumé clients that after their interview, if you don’t want the job, don’t write a Thank You Letter. “When you have an interview,” I tell them, “If you don’t want the job, don’t write a Thank You Letter.”

A Thank You Letter is a strategy to get an interviewer to remember you when it comes to decision time. Ideally, it should be written in a manner that it arrives on the interviewer’s desk right after they have completed their interviews. Most often, if you ask what the next steps would be at the end of your interview, they will tell you where they are in the process. Use this clue to reintroduce yourself. “Well, isn’t that nice. A thank you letter. We should hire him.”

Of course, they may not have liked you as much as you thought.  “Isn’t that creepy?” they might think. “A stalker.”

A Thank You Letter is generally a very short letter thanking them for the interview and telling them how much you enjoyed meeting them. You tell them you liked their interview style and that you hope you answered their questions to their satisfaction.  Then you write a few words to remind them of who you are and something about your experience. Then wave good bye.

 This week, Allison Doyle, one of my Linked In contacts and Alive.Com Job Searching Guide introduced the concept of an Influence Letter. She mentions a few situations where it might be a good idea to embellish your Thank You Letter http://jobsearch.about.com/od/influence/fl/when-to-write-an-influence-letter.htm?nl=1 . According to Doyle, an influence letter is warranted if:

1. You had a strong interview.

If you can add a paragraph or two about your knowledge of the job, or ask some thought provoking questions  without seeming like a jack ass or worse, a know-it-all, the influence letter gives you license.

2. When you know the employer has reservations.

I know I shouldn’t have put my feet on your desk and said, “Avast you squid-faced son of a bitch, how are you doing?” That was my Vancouver term of endearment and it shouldn’t  give you reservations about what I can accomplish for you in the field.  Hmm … That actually might have worked 30 years ago when I said it, but résumés weren’t even invented then.

When you feel the interview didn’t go well.

That happens as well. You choke up, forget references, or miss-answer a question that left a panel of puzzled panelists with raised eyebrows at the interview table.  An Influence Letter can give you a chance to redeem yourself – provided you remember the question you screwed up.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

 

WHO KNOWS WHAT A STEEPLEJACK DOES?

June 8, 2014

About 25 years ago, while driving through downtown Vancouver, I spotted a whit panel van with the words, VANCOUVER STEEPLEJACK SERVICES” and a telephone number written on the side.

“What the heck is a steeplejack?” I thought. I went to the nearest payphone and called the company. I learned  that a steeplejack is a guy who is contracted to do maintenance and minor repair  on smoke stacks.

That certainly explains why there are no steeplejacks. There are very few smokestacks. They were the first to go once we became conscious of carbon footprints. Chimney sweeps may also be an endangered species as it is difficult to get a permit for a wood burning fireplace these days.

But there is still the railway, When you live in a train town like Port Coquitlam, you see all sorts of people working on the railway. While I have seen small gangs of people with 8 pound hammers driving spikes into railway ties. Most of the work is now doe by huge machines. . I don’t think they’re called  “gandy dancers” anymore.

The other day I had a new client in my office. She was a lawyer with a fair bit  of experience coordinating the defences for people who were likely guilty. This was likely giving her some sort of an identity crisis, and she thought she would like to do something more meaningful. She wanted to work outdoors, and she wanted to do something somewhat scientific .

Being an archaeologist, I made some calls to people I knew would be heading into the field to dig holes in the ground. My lawyer friend was quite pleased about this as I left message after message telling people that I had a legally trained “pit bunny” for their crew. (I did warn them, however, not to refer to her as a pit bunny to her face. A charge of sexual harassment might ensue. These are these times, after all.

I went a step beyond archaeology in her case. Biologists also head for the field at this time of year. I phoned a company that specializes in preserving stream habitat. A lot of streams in British Columbia both rear salmon and act as a freeway for returning spawners. This, in turn, attracts bears. I phoned the company and asked if they were going into the field, and if they were, would they be interested in hiring some “bear bait” – someone to get attacked by the bear preferentially to the biologist.

There was a chuckle at the other end. “I don’t hire bear bait, he said. I hire ditch monkeys.”

I didn’t dare ask what a ditch monkey was, but I emailed her resume to the guy. Hopefully a job as a ditch monkey, a gutter sniper, or even bear bait would help her get  the urge to do scientific research out of her system.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

KNOW THE LIMITS OF YOUR RÉSUMÉ – STRETCHING THE TRUTH

May 26, 2014

Many people approach me as a résumé writer because they want me to tell lies for them on paper. They think this because my company is called The Spin Doctor Résumé Service. A spin Doctor, they reason, is someone who lies. They will take a resume and say you have credentials you don’t , and have done things that you haven’t.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. One hires a Spin Doctor to put their life so far into the best possible light. A Spin Doctor can use the power of words to make a dull career look like as adventuresome and muscular as a romance novel. They will take an undergraduate and a master’s degree in economics and help a person sculpt a position like the Prime Minister of Canada when most Prime Ministers have Law degrees. No job is too hard for a Spin Doctor except helping someone lie on their résumé

 A new client wanted to hire me to help them apply for a position as a software trouble-shooter.  She wanted me to con the unsuspecting  employer that she had an undergraduate degree in Computer Science – a minimum requirement for the position. She didn’t. She had an undergraduate degree in Business Management.

The job was to troubleshoot a program used in the automobile sales business. The program, used in that industry for decades, was a multi-screened database program  called Reynolds and Reynolds. My client didn’t know that.

“How long do you think you would last on the job if they hired you?”  I asked.

“Long enough to show that I could do the job,” she said. “I’ll just go to the help menu and work my way through it. They’d never know that I don’t have the Computer Science experience because I’m smarter than they are.”

I wondered how long it would take for my smart client to outsmart herself.

“Why do you want to work for them?”  I asked.

“I have friends who work there. I met them at school.”

“When do you expect them to ‘rat’ you out?”

“Probably never,” She said.

“Who will you use for a reference?”

I’ll find someone,” she said.

“You know,” I said. “I don’t think you’d last through the interview before they found out. What was your concentration when you were doing your degree?

“Sales and marketing,” She said.

“What was your involvement with computer database programming when you were there?

“I created databases of clients and was able to track purchases over time, then interface that with a program that generated reports and forecasts.”

“Here’s what we can do.” I said. I proceeded to generate a sales and marketing résumé that highlighted her skills and abilities. She had a profile that described, in depth, how she was an effective team member and sought opportunities to assume leadership roles. I went on to describe her leadership style, and went on to compose a cover letter saying that she was writing that company on speculation that there might soon be a position opening for a sales and marketing professional.

A week or so later, she called me to say that she had an interview with the company. She made an appointment  to come and see me for some interview tips. The most important one I can give her would be, “Don’t talk about  Reynolds and Reynolds.”

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.


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