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Author Archives: Mitzi Figueroa

5 Mistakes That Could Be Costing You a Job Offer


What do you do when you’ve sent out several resumes but you’re not getting any interviews? Or maybe you’ve made it past the interview stage but you still haven’t landed the job. There might be a few things you’re getting wrong.

The good news is, most of these pitfalls are easy fixes. In “9 Mistakes that Could Sabotage Your Chances at a Job Offer,” Emily Co outlines a few critical slip-ups you could be making that could be costing you a job offer.

1. You’re not networking.

It’s been said over and over again that networking can be incredibly beneficial to your career. In today’s market, you need to do more than just submit a resume to land a job. In fact, when done right, networking can even help you land your dream job. Having an inside referral can help move your resume from the bottom of the pile to the top and also lead you to potential opportunities that you didn’t know existed. If you’re not quite sure how to get your foot in the door, start by attending industry events, meeting up with potential connectors, and utilize LinkedIn. Take an inventory of who you know and then go from there.

A tastefully designed cover letter and resume can help you stand out among the pile of other applicants and help you get that crucial second look from a hiring manager.

2. Typos and other careless mistakes.

Unfortunately, typos happen. Although a typo doesn’t usually have menacing consequences at a job, it could potentially keep you from getting a job interview. Do everything you possibly can to eliminate typos and other careless mistakes in your resume and cover letter. Get a second reader to look over your application before you submit it and be sure to research the company thoroughly to make sure all of your facts are straight. A potential employer is less likely to believe you’re detail-oriented if there are spelling mistakes in your cover letter.

3. Your resume is boring.

A typical hiring manager looks over hundreds of applications for every position they post. That means you’re competing with many professionals for one job. Without an inside connection, your perfect typo-free resume still stands a chance at catching a potential employer’s eye. This is where design can help. A tastefully designed cover letter and resume can help you stand out among the pile of other applicants and help you get that crucial second look from a hiring manager. Continue reading

How To Increase Productivity When You Don’t Feel Like It


We all have days where we wake up and just don’t feel like doing any of the work in front of us.When tasks both small and large have piled up into a daunting mountain of work but all you feel like doing is binge-watching TV on the couch all day.”

For some, caffeine or an energy drink is enough. But when that doesn’t work, Ken Daum of Inc. has some tips to help you stay motivated in The Best Way to be Productive When Your Energy is Gone

Studies show that music can improve your mood, increase concentration, and even inspire new ideas.

1. Start by doing something that you actually want to do.

Although you may not feel inspired to work, there are usually a few small, straightforward tasks that you can get out of the way first. Kevin Daum of Inc. recommends starting there.

“When I really feel sluggish, I take five minutes and write down the two tasks I have been most motivated about tackling. Then, I make a pact with myself to complete them both that day. Now here’s the trick. I start my day with one of those tasks agreeing that I don’t get to start the other one until I work through all the not-so-interesting work that I also have to complete.”

2. The Pomodoro Technique

Named after the tomato kitchen timer, the Pomodoro technique has been around for decades and has garnered fans across all types of industries. Once mastered, the method should help you keep track of time and even train you to estimate how many “pomodoros”, or 25-minute blocks of time, a project will take to complete.

The technique is simple: work for 25 minutes straight on a single project (no stopping!) and after the 25 minute pomodoro is up, take a five-minute break. In order to be effective, you must stop whatever you’re doing at the end of the 25-minute timer, even if you’re right in the middle of a sentence. During the five-minute break, do something completely different such as checking your social media feeds, going for a quick walk, or refueling. Once the five-minute break is up, start another 25-minute work sequence (a new pomodoro) over again. Continue reading

Stopping Career Autopilot: 5 Steps to Finding a Job You Love


Do you feel unsatisfied and uninspired at your job? Do you feel restless and disengaged with your daily duties? Have you often wondered, “How exactly did I get here?”

For some people, it takes a major transition moment, like getting laid off or moving to a new city, to spark that thought process. For others who may be caught up in the day-to-day grind, they might not realize their career is on autopilot until many years in. Regardless, at some point, you may find yourself wondering if what you’re doing is really what you want to be doing.

Given that we spend most of our day at work, it’s important to think about how our work makes us feel.

Serena Kappes, author of Finding a Job You Love: How to (Really!) Do it, recommends undertaking regular career check-ins, even while you’re employed, to help you set out some career goals. “You may come to the determination that the job you have isn’t really utilizing all your strengths or the goals you had earlier in your career may no longer be the ones you have now.”

Here are five tips to help you figure out if your current job is in line with what you really want to do:

1. Identify your goals and values

Identifying your goals and values will help you figure out why you may be unhappy or unfulfilled with your current job. This may seem like a daunting task but it is invaluable when it comes to discovering your ideal career path. Take the time to consider a few important questions and write out a personal vision statement:

  • What kind of people do you want to work with?
  • What makes you feel engaged and happy?
  • What kind of impact do you want to have?
  • What do you need to do to align your work with what you care about?

If, when writing your vision statement, you begin to recognize that your current job is misaligned with your values, then it might be time to consider making some changes. If you’re working in a profession or workplace that doesn’t align with your values, it’s likely that you will feel unfulfilled and unsatisfied.

2. Visualize and plan out the steps you need to take to reach your ideal career vision

Once you’ve set up some goals, outline specific steps and micro-goals that you would need to reach in order to make your ideal career vision a reality. By breaking down your larger career vision into several smaller action steps, you will feel more inspired and you’ll be setting yourself up for success. “You want to be SMART about setting goals—that is, goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely,” says Kappes.

Ask yourself what kind of experiences you would need to equip you to reach your goals. For those considering a career change, this can sometimes involve an educational experience or further training. Ask yourself what kind of relationships will help you reach your end goal. Start networking and develop relationships with those who can help you get to where you want to go.

3. Figure out what you’re good at

It’s easy to focus on the negative aspects that need improvement but rarely do we lead from our strengths. Some people don’t even know what their strengths are because they take them for granted. Stop and consider what tasks or jobs in your daily work that come easy to you. Are you able to whiz through emails and admin tasks easily? Or, perhaps you’re good at project management, sharing a vision, or connecting with others. Once you’ve identified these skills, seek out opportunities to utilize them and flex those muscles. Continue reading

A Creative’s Guide to Toronto’s Best Cafes to Spark Creative Work

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For those juggling freelance work, the temptation to roll out of bed at noon and work from your couch in your pajamas is daunting. But we all know that this doesn’t really lead to a productive day. So when your couch or your home office isn’t inspiring creative thought, there’s no better place to set up shop than at a local coffee shop.

We’ve selected our top five favourite Toronto coffee shops to find free wifi, ample working space, and the perfect ambient coffee shop buzz.

Apart from the free wifi and a healthy caffeine fix, studies show that moderate ambient noise–like that found in a coffee shop–can boost your creativity. In fact, the background noise actually encourages people to think more imaginatively, according to a recent survey published by the Journal of Consumer Research.

Here at, we understand how important it is to nail down the perfect place to spark your next big idea so we’ve selected our top five favourite Toronto coffee shops to find free wifi, ample working space, and the perfect ambient coffee shop buzz.

1. Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar

We’ve all been there. You pack up your laptop, power cord, and every other necessary element you need to set up your mobile office only to discover upon your arrival, that there’s no room for you to actually sit. This shouldn’t be an issue at Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar. The large café offers plenty of seating including lots of two-seater tables and enough communal tables to keep things interesting. The free wifi, large windows, and friendly baristas, make this café a hard one to beat.

2. Boxcar Social

If you didn’t know it was there, you might just miss Boxcar Social, a quaint spot located in the Summerhill area of Younge. The renovated two-story café has enough hustle-and-bustle on the main floor to keep you motivated and energized. But the real draw to this unique space is the second floor. A juxtaposition to the main floor, the second floor has enough nooks and crannies to get lost in. The large, open room has great lighting and might be one of the most peaceful shops in the city where you can get some serious work done. The café is also run by a few of the most pleasant and outgoing baristas in town so be sure to give them a warm welcome when you arrive. Continue reading

How to Do Cool Sh*t and Other Tips from the SociaLIGHT Vancouver Conference


By now, you’ve read enough about millennials — those born between the early 1980s to early 2000s — to know that they seriously want to shake up the marketplace and change the world while they’re at it. The Gen Y workforce is not interested in climbing the corporate ladder the way their parents did. In fact, studies show that millennials are even willing to take a pay cut if it means they could work for a company that has a strong commitment to environmental or social impact. In today’s unpredictable job market, social entrepreneurship never looked so good.

We create labels and self-imposed limits to save ourselves from fear. You can live in the stories you tell yourself or you can face your fear, that’s our power.

Enter, Theresa Laurico. As a prominent producer at Much Music, a music-driven television network beloved by pre-adolescent Gen Yers, Laurico had an epiphany that would prompt her to trade in her modern luxuries for a chance to make a global social impact. In 2012, she launched the SociaLight conference in Toronto and gathered the brightest stars in the entrepreneurship arena including: bestselling author and marketing superstar, Seth Godin; founder of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson; and international bestselling author and founder of Zappos, Tony Hsieh. After three consecutively successful events, Laurico took the conference to the west coast with the first ever Vancouver SociaLight conference on June 7th.

With a focus on startups, entrepreneurship, and small business success, the conference aims to inspire leadership that empowers people, planet, and profit. “At SociaLight, we look at what’s possible for you, what’s possible for the world and what’s possible for humanity,” said Laurico in her opening remarks. Continue reading

8 Lessons From the Digital Strategy Conference – How to Master Content Marketing


We all know that the name of the marketing game has changed. In this day and age, marketers must also act as publishers and produce share-worthy blog posts, video, and multimedia content that shares a brand’s story.

According to research by MarketingProfs, just 42% of marketers say that their content is effective. This staggering statistic proves that as marketers, we’re not alone in this quest for better, more effective content marketing strategy.

The secret to creating content that others will share is to capture their attention and entertain them.

In this new world order, two brave strategists have risen above the ashes to inspire and lead marketers in their quest to master content marketing. Enter Andrea Hadley and Kelly Kubrick, co-founders of the Digital Strategy Conference, a multi-day event held in Ottawa and Vancouver. Featuring speakers and panelists from all over the world, Vancouver’s three-day conference gathered together marketers from all kinds of industries to share and inspire. Topics ranged from integrating mobile technology, mapping out a company’s digital maturity, and how to master paid, owned, and earned media.

The impressive roster of speakers included experts such as: Author of Content Rules and Chief Content Officer for MarkeingProfs, Ann Handley; Social Media Director for Sustainability at Coca-Cola, Tim Goudie; Author of Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy and CEO of the Rockley Group, Ann Rockley; CEO and Mr. Content Wrangler himself, Scott Abel; and many more.

Here are a few nuggets to that will help you master your master marketing plan:

1. The power of social media must never ever be underestimated. I’ve seen it in action, I’ve smelled the tear gas.” – Tim Goudie
Social purpose becomes the single more important factor in distinguishing you from your competitors. Use social media to deliver your sustainability model and build trust among your customers.

2. Take small steps to get it right. You don’t need to boil the ocean with clichés. – Brian Flanagan
When developing a mobile strategy, think about your business and how it makes sense for your customers who are not at their desks. Continue reading

Lessons From The Art of Marketing Conference – How To Be The “Best Damn Marketer You Can Be”


Many would agree that a marketer’s role isn’t easy to define. In fact, if you ask the average person what a marketer does, I’m sure you would get a variety of cryptic job descriptions that have something to do with sales or “driving the bottom line.” Marketers are asked to define the undefinable, use their right brains and left brains, achieve a job that is so ambiguous but also produces calculated results.

 This fear of failure keeps us from jumping off the cliff which paralyzes our ability to innovate.

Although it’s not always easy to define our roles, most can agree that becoming the “best-damn-marketer-you-can-be” requires thinking outside of the box. And if anyone could challenge a room full of marketing professions to do so, the speakers at the Art of Marketing Conference in Vancouver would surely know how.

The impressive lineup of speakers included the industry’s brightest: bestselling author and marketing heavyweight Seth Godin; communication expert and author Nancy Duarte; author and president of Twist Image agency, Mitch Joel; marketing consultant and founder of Duct Tape Marketing, John Jantsch;  founder and CEO of Kiip, Brian Wong; and bestselling author and founder of Ferrazzi Greenlight, Keith Ferrazzi.

To kick off the morning, Ron Trite, the host of the conference, leveled out the playing field and reminded us all how we got there in the first place: “Like pornography, nobody ever chooses to be in marketing. You kind of just end up there because one day you realize that you’re kind of good at this.” A sentiment all too true.

Here’s a few more takeaways from the conference that will surely yield gain.

1. “Mass marketing is for the masses, and the masses are boring.” – Seth Godin
Mass marketing is becoming ineffective because consumers are starting to ignore it. The rules are different now and mass marketing is going away because average people aren’t interested anymore.

2. “Sheep aren’t good marketers.” – Seth Godin
As marketers, your job is to find a tribe, commit to where they are going, create a culture, challenge where they are going next, and to be clear with them about what is going on. Marketers don’t follow trends, you create them. You don’t join tribes, you lead them.

3. “Waiting until it’s the right time paralyzes our ability to innovate.” – Seth Godin
You’re never ready to launch a big idea. In the back of our minds, there is a heckler that is waiting for you to fail. This fear of failure keeps us from jumping off the cliff which paralyzes our ability to innovate. Important work always ships before it’s ready and we need guts to launch.

4. “The best way to resonate with someone is through story.” – Nancy Duarte
Have you ever heard someone say, “that story really moved me”? It’s a fact, we all physically react to stories and we must be intentional about communicating our brand stories.

So many of us stop ourselves from building relationships, both professional and personal, because we don’t think we deserve it.

5. “The audience is the hero.” – Nancy Duarte
Every good story needs a likeable hero. For us, the audience or consumer, is the hero and we, the communicators/marketers, are the mentors that help the heroes find their way.

6. “Communicators change the world.” – Nancy Duarte
If you’re not in love with what you’re communicating, you need to find something that you are in love with so you can practice communicating well.

7. “Wake up every day and ask yourself how you can create value for your consumer.” – Mitch Joel
When you create value for your consumer, you get value back. Focus very clearly on the value of a direct relationship.

8. “Have sex with data.” – Mitch Joel
You can create value with whatever data your consumer is giving you back to you. Use that to produce a customized marketing experience for your consumer. Continue reading