Jeffrey Bunn | FreshGigs.ca
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Author Archives: Jeffrey Bunn

How To Ask For A Raise, And How Not To

Getting-a-Raise-Canada

Asking for a raise is one of the most important and necessary skills an employee can have (especially one early in their career). And yet despite the importance of acquiring this skill, it remains an elusive, terrifying mountain to conquer.

Many of us know what we should do in order to increase the odds that we get a raise. Yet knowing what to do and actually following through are two very different things.

If you’re trying to be average then by all means go ahead and group yourself with everyone else.

This article isn’t going to tell you what to do; it’s going to tell you what not to do. I’m writing this with the hope that you notice things you’re not doing, rather than seeing things you need to do. It’s a subtle difference, but I believe that shining the light on bad practices can be a better motivator than showing the perfect way forward.

If you’re going to take action after reading this article, make sure you do the opposite of what I describe. Here’s how not to ask for a raise.

1. Forget about timing.

Whether you’re still on probation or 6 months into a new job, it’s never too early to ask for a raise. The most important thing (really, the only thing that matters) is that you’re well compensated.

Companies look favorably upon employees that ask for raises early and often. Stand out from your coworkers that ask only once per year and make it a priority to increase your pay. After all, what else matters? Continue reading

The Art of Leadership Conference Review

I recently had the pleasure of attending The Art of Leadership conference on April 11, 2013. This event was “designed to teach and provide leaders with directly related, easily applied tools and techniques that can be implemented within any corporate culture”.

The speakers were entertaining and informative with each approaching leadership in a very different way. I’ve compiled below a short biography on each speaker and the most interesting ideas I took from them.

(photos copyright of The Art Of)

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John Mackey

CEO of Whole Foods Market
Author of ‘Conscious Capitalism’

Premise:
• To be most successful, businesses must adopt a model of conscious capitalism.
• This is a framework where all stakeholders – customers, shareholders, suppliers and communities – benefit together.

Notable Quotes:
• Business is inherently good, yet big business is the 2nd least trusted societal institution in the United States (only Congress ranked lower).
• Choose purpose first, then strategy.
• Go from profit maximization to purpose maximization.
• The secret to success in business: build your business around your customers.
• Embrace transparency because in today’s age, you can’t hide anything.

marcus-buckingham

Marcus Buckingham

Author of the New York Times Bestsellers First, Break all the Rules, Now, Discover Your Strengths, and Standout.
Continue reading

How to Get Hired (And How Not To)

Getting-Hired-Photo

The job seeker and the hirer have common goals. One wants to gain employment; one has the ability to grant employment. In theory, the hiring transaction should go off without a hitch. In reality, however, even though the goals of both parties are the same there can be a disconnect.

Why? In this article, I find the fault mainly in the job seeker. The job seeker is the proactive party; the one expected to polish, approach, and convince the hirer that they’re the right candidate for the job. The hirer is simply expected to entertain and evaluate the job seeker.

Like speed dating or handing out business cards at a typical networking event, a lack of personal attention almost guarantees that a genuine connection won’t be made.

It stands to reason that the job seeker would put in a ton of effort in order to give themselves the best chance to get hired. In practice, however, this isn’t always the case.

The following are some of the most common, yet also most ineffective, approaches job seekers use in their quest to get hired.

Typical Ineffective Job Seeker Strategies

1. Blasting Out Applications in Bulk Continue reading

5 Reasons to Exercise Before Work

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I don’t think I should have to sell you on exercise. Study after study has confirmed the physical and mental benefits regular exercise provides. The human body is not, as I once read of a belief that Donald Trump holds, similar to a battery in that the more you use, the less you have left.

Unfortunately for Donald, studies say he’s got this one backwards. The more you exercise, the more energy you will have. This is no secret and has, in recent history, been realized by employers. Exercising before (and during) work has a positive effect on productivity, employee mood, and even absenteeism rates.

If we, as a society, need a stimulant to get us through the mornings, the healthier choice would be exercise.

It’s too bad that all employers haven’t yet embraced the exercise philosophy. We all know we should exercise, but time is scarce and exercise doesn’t often top the list of priorities. I’m sure the day will come when exercise is an encouraged activity across all industry’s, but until that day, we have the responsibility of motivating ourselves to exercise instead of our boss doing it for us.

So why exercise before work? Continue reading

What Does Financial Security Really Mean?

Financial-Security-Canada

Financial security is a particularly hot topic these days. Since the recession of 2008 many people have been forced to take a good hard look at their finances. Assets that used to be considered ‘safe’ have lost a significant portion of their value. Workers have become job seekers. Pensions have shrunk. Seniors are leaving retirement for the workplace.

And so on and so on.

It’s also about being able to take advantage of opportunities and lead a rewarding life.

Financial security is not a concept that we’re taught in school. The only way the media seems to portray financial security is in the form of ‘hot’ stock tips, celebrities and business moguls. This has resulted in many people defining financial security as having millions of dollars in the bank.

How the Canadian Government Defines Financial Security

According to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, “financial security is about achieving material well-being. It’s about having an adequate income to meet basic needs such as housing, food, and clothing. It’s also about being able to take advantage of opportunities and lead a rewarding life.” Continue reading

Why a Resume Isn’t Enough Anymore and What To Do About It

Resume-Writing-Tips

Resumé: ‘a brief account of one’s professional or work experience and qualifications, often submitted with an employment application’

The resumé is an integral part of today’s business world and absolutely an expectation of anyone seeking employment. The resumé-writing industry itself is chock full of self-help books, interactive seminars, and courses in schools all over the world. A resumé is non-negotiable. But it wasn’t always this way, and I believe it won’t always be this way either.

From the days of Leonardo da Vinci to broadband Internet access today, the resumé has grown and evolved. With the new medium of the Internet, the resumé stands to change again.

From the days of Leonardo da Vinci to broadband Internet access today, the resumé has grown and evolved. With the new medium of the Internet, the resumé stands to change again.

A Brief History of the Resumé

  • Leonardo da Vinci wrote the first recorded resumé in 1482.
  • The word resumé was first used to describe a letter of introduction.
  • In the early 1900’s resumés were a very informal and non-required process.
  • In the 1940’s resumés included height, age, weight, marital status, and religion.
  • The 1950’s saw resumés become expected in the workplace.
  • The 1970’s saw more professionally designed and sales oriented resumés.
  • The 1990’s saw the Internet, Monster.com, and email change the resumé landscape.

Resumés are now flown around the world millions of times a day, delivered in mailboxes, inboxes, online job sites like FreshGigs.ca, company websites, and in person. Resumés are truly a staple of the job economy. Continue reading

6 Tips to Become a Better Writer

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It is very difficult to be a good writer. And the main problem with writing is that everyone can do it. We can all write stories, articles, papers and, more recently it seems, texts and tweets. We accept that not all of us can become a competitive gymnast, for example. But because of the fact that we can all write, many of us are under the delusion that we are good writers.

Writing well is a skill. Sure, it takes talent, but don’t make the mistake of confusing talent with skill. Talent is a gift. Skill is something you attain after hours and hours of working at your craft. Writing is no different. If you desire to be a good writer, you must work at it. And this brings us to the first sure-fire way to become a better writer.

I made writing a habit. For 30 days I wrote 1,000 words per day. Some days the content I wrote was bad. Some days it was awful. And some days it was surprisingly good.

1. Write More

Much more. You don’t see a competitive bodybuilder working out 2, maybe 3 times a week, do you? If someone dreams of becoming a competitive bodybuilder, they are in the gym for hours a day, 4-6 days a week, putting in the time.

Writing is no different. If you aspire to be a great writer, you must make writing a habit. And this habit won’t be like the flossing habit you promised your dentist you would make. (Seriously, can you remember the last time you flossed?)

Learn the writing habit. Make writing so important that it’s front of mind throughout your day. Get up 30 minutes before you normally do and get in some writing. I used to aspire to be a better writer. I thought, ‘one day I’d love to write a book.’ After several years, I realized that the ‘one day’ I was dreaming about was simply that – a dream. Continue reading

10 Tips to Become More Creative

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What is your creative process? Are you aware of it? Creativity is one of those processes that seems to have a shroud of mystery around it. Some people demonstrate regularly creativity, while others search for creativity.

I believe creativity is a muscle; not a gift. I believe that everyone has the ability to be creative, however for many reasons they don’t believe this.

Start with one day. Rest your mind and turn off the television. Read a book instead. Clean up. Exercise.

Having said that, sometimes it’s tough to be creative. Sometimes you need a push. Just like working out, you’ve got to change things up to produce the best results. Here’s 10 tips to boost creativity.

1.) Workout (Everyday)

Exercise is a wonderful thing. The benefits are incredibly vast and extend beyond purely physical. From engaging in a brisk walk to a heart-pounding gym session, exercising relaxes the mind and allows you to think clearly. For me, the best ideas tend to come after exercising.

Get outside and get sweaty. But don’t do it just once – make regular exercise a habit. Exercise for 5 minutes a day, every day. That’s all. The cumulative benefits are incredible.

2.) Throw Out The Trash

I’m talking about television here. Facebook. Your social media addiction. Watching television has been linked to lower levels of creativity, as measured by the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. And don’t even get me started on the amount of time wasted every day watching television. (Spoiler: an average of 5 hours per day).

Start with one day. Rest your mind and turn off the television. Read a book instead. Clean up. Exercise. You’ll be amazed how much time you gain from cutting out television. And the effect on your brain, stress level, and attitude will be extremely positive. Continue reading

How Volunteering May Be The Ticket To A New Job

Volunteering
verb
“Freely offer to do something.”
“A person who performs a service willingly and without pay”

Willingly and without pay

I know what you’re thinking.  Looking for a job is difficult.  You try to take in all the information you can – any tip, any ‘system’ and any book.  And when the words “willingly and without pay” appear together, it doesn’t appear relevant.  But bear with me; this advice may be exactly the unconventional nugget you’ve been looking for.

Why Do We Volunteer?

Volunteering has been around for a long, long time.  It’s in our very human nature.  The concept is quite simple: in order to survive as a species, mutual self-help is a vital component of living in groups as humans do.  Whether it’s begrudgingly volunteering your around-the-house fix-it skills for a neighbor or altruistically giving your time for a cause you believe in, the volunteering ethos has been passed down for generations.

When it comes to finding a job, however, volunteering isn’t as embraced.

When it comes to finding a job, however, volunteering isn’t as embraced.  In our western society the lone ranger is idolized.  One against the world, who perseveres against all adversaries, who achieves the familiar rags to riches story, dominates our thinking.

Volunteering comes down to helping others.  We’re trained to help others and expect nothing in return.  To a motivated job seeker this simply isn’t on the priority list.  But it turns out that helping others can be one of the best ways a job seeker can help himself. Continue reading

Inside Jobs: The Job of A Community Manager

The Community Manager has existed since the advent of newsgroups, but it is only in recent years that this position has exploded in popularity.  Today, the Community Manager is the most popular role among social media teams.  Businesses want to hire Community Managers.  Job-seekers want to be Community Managers.

What is a Community Manager?

The Community Manager’s specific day to day responsibilities vary greatly between demographics, geography, and type of organization, among many other factors.  But the crux of the position rests on one important skill – communication.  The Community Manager constantly communicates with customers, users, potential users, and the organization’s internal team.

As a full-time Community Manager the average salary as surveyed in January 2012 here was $51,647

The Community Manager is a people person.  Though the tools of today have largely moved these positions behind a computer sending out blog posts, Twitter conversations and Facebook discussions, the fact remains that it is a position that requires people skills.  The most successful Community Managers know that they are communicating with people, not anonymous computer users.

The Community Manager’s role is focused on three main areas. Continue reading