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8 Questions to Ask Yourself when Changing Careers

It is important to assess or clarify exactly what you are looking for short term and also where you want to be long term.  Remember when changing your career it also affects your family life and your social life.  Here are 8 questions to help you analyze your next career change:

  • What is your objective
  • What type of organization
  • Supervisory or not
  • Salary
  • Type of employment
  • Location
  • New technologies
  • You and/or your family

1. WHAT IS YOUR OBJECTIVE?

  • Are you looking to gain new skills?
  • Do you want to move into a leadership position?
  • What technologies do you like working with the most?
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years and what will help you get there?

2. WHAT TYPE OF ORGANIZATION?

  • Is there a specific industry you are interested in, ie finance, manufacturing, health, government?
  • Would you be interested in a large national/international company where there is room for transfers to other locations?
  • How about a start-up?  Do you have the skills that could take a start-up to the next level? Or just like the excitement of new and innovative environments?
  • Do you like bureaucracy or are you more comfortable in a family environment?

3. SUPERVISOR OR NOT?

Some people are made to be in a supervisory position, other people find it very challenging.  There is nothing wrong with either side.  It is important for you to analyze yourself and decide if you like and want the extra challenges that go with supervising people.

  • Do you like a challenging puzzle? If you like getting involved in a puzzle then supervising might not be for you.
  • Supervising means making time for people and their problems and idiosyncrasies.
  • You have to be tough and soft and fair.

4. HOW IMPORTANT IS SALARY?

  • Is money the most important thing in your life right now?  No shame in admitting this.  Money makes the world go round and helps you buy a house, go on a vacation, or pay off a loan.
  • Is learning a new skill more important than the salary?
  • Is this a good time to add extra experience and education to your resume and not worry as much about the salary?  Sometimes a long term career path means not necessarily going for the big pay cheque.

5. CONTRACT OR PERMANENT?

  • Do you like the security of a permanent position?  These can include scheduled raises, health benefits, vacation time, possibility for advancement.  Your job may be like your family.

OR

  • Are you more comfortable being a contractor and being your own boss.  Like having control of your salary and where the write-offs go.  The larger salary compensates for time off between jobs.  Do you like the idea of being able to take a summer off or travel for 4 months?  Do you find that new people, new systems, new companies enhance your work experience or do they stress you?

6. LOCATION – TO COMMUTE OR NOT?

Commuting is a big deal breaker on my list.

  • Do you like to drive?
  • Are you and the company close to public transportation?
  • How about the expense of car, parking, public transportation?
  • How long does the commute take?  Are you going to be happy with needing an extra 2 hours for transportation?
  • Don't forget to think about those long Canadian winters when you factor in commuting.

7. comfortable with NEW AND INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES?

Are you comfortable with the technologies you are using or do you want to train with the new technologies on the marketplace?

  • Keep up to date on new/emerging technologies and what companies/systems are using them.
  • What’s hot, what’s not?  COBOL, Java, Hadoop.  What companies offer training in the new technologies?
  • Read industry publications to keep up to date on emerging technologies.
  • Do you need to go back to school or take a course/certificate?

8. what about YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?

Times change and so do you.  Just graduated, no family ties – then long hours and travelling with your job are great.  Add a family into the scenario or have an older parent you need to help with.  Your needs change and so do theirs.

  • There is nothing more fun than coaching one of your kids at yours/their favourite sport.  Will the new job provide the opportunity to get home early enough for that?
  • Does the new company have a day care centre?
  • Health Benefits can make a huge difference in your life style.
  • Older parents, spouse’s career, are you at an age when you would like a little more time off.  These are all factors that you have to analyze when you are looking for a new position.

WHAT FACTOR IS THE DEAL BREAKER FOR YOU?

Everyone has different needs.  As you grow in your career your needs will change.  It’s important to analyze each factor for each time in your life.  Be honest!!  Changing careers and companies is a hard decision and not something you want to regret.
Start with these 8 questions and analyze each one.  


10 Simple Tips Prepare for Your Interview

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that can make a difference. You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause. You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them. And life throws you a curve ball. As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open. You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer's foot. All that great preparation flies out the door as your try to calm yourself down and relax.

Here are our 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:

1. Keep your dress professional

Seems pretty basic but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the cleaners.   Look your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:

  • Clean and crisp
  • A suit for the guys and a skirt and blouse or basic business dress for the gals - no sundresses or shorts. This is an interview not a date - don't overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry.
  • Guys shirt buttons done up, no gold chains hanging out.
  • Polish or at least dust your shoes off.

2. No Perfume or Cologne

  • Have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary, why? A lot of companies/businesses are "no scent" zones. 
  • Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne? 

3. How do you get to the Interview?

  • Google it, do a test run if you aren't sure.
  • If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby.
  • 9 am and 5 pm interviews mean rush hour.  Be prepared for it taking 30 minutes longer to get there
  • Check the weather - rain and snow can add extra time to your trip. 

4. Never be late for the Interview

  • It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.
  • Yes, there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them.  "The dog ate the directions" won't work in the business world.
  • Yes, you'd better have called to at least let the interviewer know.

5. Be Polite to everyone

  • That older lady in the elevator might be "mom" going to visit her son the interviewer.  You don't want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator.
  • The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers.
  • Be polite to everyone all the time.  It is a good road to travel down.

6. Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer's name

  • We live in a very multicultural country, let's try our best to pronounce names properly.
    Ask the recruiter or phone the company
    Write it down phonetically and practice

7. Keep your right hand free

  • Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview
  • Move your portfolio, purse, extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office

8. Just before you get to the Interview

  • Turn off your phone and tablet.

9. Chemistry is a very important part of the interview

  • It starts as soon as you enter the room.
  • Smile, firm handshake, speak clearly
  • Relax and take part in the conversation

10. Tell me about yourself

  • This question is totally about relaxing you. 
  • Take your elevator pitch and expand it "a bit".  The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones.
  • Keep it professional.

Don't let a little thing mess up your interview.  Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process.  Remember they liked your resume - you look good on paper - now is the time to shine in person.

Good luck job hunting!


How to answer

Companies are always interested in why you are looking for a new job. Depending on the answer they can get a good feel for you as a person and whether they want you working for their company.

  • Do you like to change jobs? bad attitude
  • Are you looking for advancement? good attitude
  • Are you trying to increase your knowledge? good attitude
  • Did you have an issue with your boss/co-workers? bad attitude

Positive, positive, positive - yes always try and keep your answers positive. Below are some guidelines that you can expand on by bringing the job opening and your skill set/goals into the answer.

  • I had reached the top of my level in my previous position and am looking to expand my knowledge. This position and your company will offer me the opportunity to do that.
  • The last company I worked for was very small and I felt it was time to move into a large corporate office to increase my challenges.
  • My last position was a wonderful place to work for right out of school, and now I would like to move my career into a new path.
  • My family life has changed and I am looking to work closer to home. Your company is closer to my home and still offers me the challenges and opportunities I need in my position. I am very excited about being able to utilize some new skills and polish up some old ones.
  • A friend sent me your job posting and the position sounded right up my alley. After researching your company I feel like I would be an ideal match for this position.
  • It is very important for me to be challenged in my position and it was time for a change. Your company is using a system I am looking to increase my knowledge of.
  • My last company went through a down turn and I realized that my position was being downsized. This has given me the opportunity to look for new challenges and after researching a number of companies, I feel that my entrepreneurial nature will fit in very nicely with your company...

It never pays to be negative. The last thing you want to do is sound whinny. You also don't know if there is a relationship between the position you are leaving and the one you are interviewing for.

  • I couldn't work for my boss anymore
  • My co-workers were impossible to get along with
  • They were always advancing their children

So remember:

  • Be positive
  • Answer the question
  • Follow it up with promoting your skill set
  • And finally why the new company is so much better suited to you

Yesssss!!! You’ve designed your Resume and your Cover Letter..Kudos!!! But wait… there are ways to continuously improve your Resume.

In Part 7 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, we discuss some Do’s and Don’ts while and after you have written your resume


In Part 6 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Jim Carlson discusses the much pondered and puzzled “Cover Letter”, the partner to your Resume..

Everyone has their version on the Cover Letter, a place to showcase who you, as a person, really are.

It gives the reader a little more insight and is a chance to get the reader interested in you further.

Listen on further to see how you can take your Resume up a notch.

Download the Cover Letter Example


In Part 5 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana talks about how you could present your “Work Experience”.

Don’t we all love stories, even when we have grown up?

Why not make your Resume a storyline of your projects, your experiences and a lot more!

Listen on further to see how you can take your Resume up a notch.

Download the CV Example

Download the CV Sample

In Part 4 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana continues her discussion on the Experience Section of the Resume.

The experience section should give a lot more insight into your work history in terms of company, industry, size of the company, your job and further details.

If your experience has been off-shore, make sure to mention some additional details so as to give the reader a comparative analysis.

Listen on further to see how you can take your Resume up a notch.

Download the CV Sample

In Part 3 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana talks about the most important part of the Resume - “The Work Experience”

Starting with the basics, Archana discusses some important things to keep in mind while framing your Resume.

Download the CV Example


In Part 2 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana talks about the next part of the Resume - “Education, Certifications & Technologies”

You have graduated from the best university, have the certifications for the latest technologies and have worked with some really cool technologies, but what happens if it is not presented well?  No one reads it..

Watch this video and learn how you can make your resume attractive…

Download the CV Example



Kicking off the 7 Steps to a Great Resume video series, Archana Ravinder, a Senior Recruiter with Planet4iT is going to walk us through the different sections of the quintessential marketing document, the Resume and how to make it stand out.

Download the CV Example



Jim Carlson, President for Planet4iT, brings to you a series of talks; our motto being “Recruit, Train and Retain”.

Planet4iT has been in business for 20 years and has seen the evolution of the industry from “Candidate Recruitment” to a “Career Building” Industry from many different angles.

But one thing has remained the same…

The Resume…

The Resume, a carefully crafted document does 3 things:

  1. Express who you are
  2. During an interview, lets you describe that to the interviewee
  3. Makes you feel great about yourself!!!

And this comes together as positiveness, which reflects in the interview.

Our first series is about this first step towards your next great career move..


Looking for a new opportunity? Looking for a new challenge? The right candidate for the right job? 

Stop! Think, Decide!

Seek help from the professionals at Planet4iT and Planet4Digital... Follow our 7 Step Video Series on Building a Great Resume! Stay tuned for Part 1.