Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Marketing Job Seekers, II

Again, let me dig into Seth Godin's principles at What do you know? This time I consider two (because the first one I consider seems so obvious in connection with marketing job seekers).

Godin says, ‘A product for everyone rarely reaches much of anyone.’

Some job seekers ask us to write cover letters for them, the implication usually being that this one letter will be used in applying for all jobs. It's sin enough to use the same unaltered résumé for every job for which one applies; to package the résumé with the same cover letter should get prison time.

Cover letters that might be thought to be ‘for everyone’ probably reach no-one. The point of crafting a cover letter is to make it as clear as possible to an employer that the prospective employee could match the vacancy.

And Godin says, ‘People are selfish, lazy, uninformed and impatient. Start with that and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.’
  • Selfish: Employers want to know how the prospective employee will benefit them. It's only a relatively small fraction that appears to understand that knowledge of each applicant's own (sincere) aspirations, values, and so on would make it clearer who to hire. Assume selfishness.
  • Lazy: Employers don't learn interviewing skills; in many cases they don't even check references, let alone network to learn about an array of prospective employees in advance. They crib the same, tired interview questions from whatever source seems convenient and never trouble to think whether they are relevant. Assume that you and the client will need to do most of the work (in spite of the fact that employers have much to lose when arrangements fail).
  • Uninformed: Many small- to medium-sized business enterprises will advertise for a 'computer programmer' or 'software developer' when they really need someone to do user support, or network and systems administration, or technical sales, or ... you name it. Since they are uninformed (and did I mention lazy), when they do the interview they cannot tell whether the specimens they have attracted fit the desired category (or will in time prove to be just what they advertised for). Assume that employers are stunningly uninformed about what they need, or at least about how it should be described, and be prepared to investigate on their behalf.
  • Impatient: Use two pages in a résumé only if you've been president of a successful, big software start-up. Otherwise, keep it short, eh.

    ‘I discard a résumé as soon as I find the first typo or grammatical error.’

    ‘If an applicant for receptionist lives west of Yonge Street [Toronto] I toss out the résumé. We don’t pay enough for those people to drive cars and there’ll be days in winter when they don’t make it in.’

    ‘Can you come in for an interview at 9:15, 10:00 or 10:45? I don’t have any afternoon slots left and we need this done by Friday.’

    Don't expect scintillating conversation at any point in this sequence. And don't expect anyone to ask you for clarification. Clients: memorise your script.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What Do Employers Ask For?: Sales Clerks

The previous post indicated that the greatest number of job vacancies on the Job Bank in April was in NOC category 6421. There were 107 advertised vacancies there. Why don't we ask ourselves what 'Specific Skills' employers were asking of applicants.

To answer this question I gleaned the complete list of 'Specific Skills' entries from April's advertisements and split the list for each advertisement (at the commas in them) to yield sets of individual specific skills. Then I counted those individual specific skills. Here are the results.


81 Customer service oriented
53 Provide advice about merchandise
51 Suggestive selling
Operate cash register
46 Set up displays of merchandise in windows or display cases
45 Work with minimal supervision
Process money
cheque and credit/debit card payment
25 Suggest ways to care for goods
11 Operate computerized inventory record keeping and re-ordering systems
10 Provide cost estimates on materials
9 Arrange for repairs to products or equipment
8 Promote and sell memberships
4 Provide advice on home entertainment systems and other electronic equipment
Provide information on computers and associated equipment
2 trade-in allowances
warranties and delivery dates
Negotiate credit terms
Perform minor repairs to products or equipment
1 Provide advice on wedding plans/services


I cannot say whether this list adds anything new to our knowledge of the requirements for these jobs. It does, however, indicate something about their shares of mind for employers. In short, most want people who can work well with customers and, not surprisingly, operate cash registers and other payment systems smoothly.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Counts of Hamilton Jobs for April 2008

This table summarises advertisements that appeared on the Job Bank in April for Brantford and area, Hamilton and area and Niagara and area.

For instance, 107 advertisements were recruiting for NOC occupation 6421, 'Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks'. 72 were seeking NOC 6242, 'Cooks' and another 72 6661, 'Light Duty Cleaners'.

Let me know if this is of use to anyone. Better still, let me know what supplementary information I could provide that would make this more useful.


107 6421 Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks
79 9619 Other Labourers in Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities
72 6242 Cooks
6661 Light Duty Cleaners
62 7411 Truck Drivers
49 6453 Food and Beverage Servers
45 6641 Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers and Related Occupations
38 1414 Receptionists and Switchboard Operators
37 8612 Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance Labourers
34 1411 General Office Clerks
7452 Material Handlers
7611 Construction Trades Helpers and Labourers
33 7414 Delivery and Courier Service Drivers
29 1453 Customer Service, Information and Related Clerks
6411 Sales Representatives - Wholesale Trade (Non-Technical)
27 7265 Welders and Related Machine Operators
25 6435 Hotel Front Desk Clerks
23 4212 Community and Social Service Workers
6623 Other Elemental Sales Occupations
6663 Janitors, Caretakers and Building Superintendents
22 6471 Visiting Homemakers, Housekeepers and Related Occupations
6651 Security Guards and Related Occupations
20 5254 Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation, Sport and Fitness
19 6221 Technical Sales Specialists - Wholesale Trade
6611 Cashiers
7311 Construction Millwrights and Industrial Mechanics (Except Textile)
17 2225 Landscape and Horticulture Technicians and Specialists
8431 General Farm Workers
8432 Nursery and Greenhouse Workers
16 1433 Customer Service Representatives - Financial Services
6233 Retail and Wholesale Buyers
14 2253 Drafting Technologists and Technicians
6662 Specialized Cleaners
7321 Automotive Service Technicians, Truck and Bus Mechanics and Mechanical Repairers
13 1122 Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management
1431 Accounting and Related Clerks
2131 Civil Engineers
2233 Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Technologists and Technicians
6452 Bartenders
12 1471 Shippers and Receivers
6433 Airline Sales and Service Agents
7231 Machinists and Machining and Tooling Inspectors
11 1441 Administrative Clerks
6241 Chefs
7441 Residential and Commercial Installers and Servicers
10 1111 Financial Auditors and Accountants
3152 Registered Nurses
4214 Early Childhood Educators and Assistants
5241 Graphic Designers and Illustrators
6465 Other Protective Service Occupations
6671 Operators and Attendants in Amusement, Recreation and Sport
9612 Labourers in Metal Fabrication
9 1241 Secretaries (Except Legal and Medical)
7282 Concrete Finishers
7421 Heavy Equipment Operators (Except Crane)
8 3233 Licensed Practical Nurses
4131 College and Other Vocational Instructors
6683 Other Elemental Service Occupations
7621 Public Works and Maintenance Labourers
9617 Labourers in Food, Beverage and Tobacco Processing
7 1231 Bookkeepers
1473 Production Clerks
1474 Purchasing and Inventory Clerks
2133 Electrical and Electronics Engineers
2174 Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers
2175 Web Designers and Developers
2232 Mechanical Engineering Technologists and Technicians
2241 Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technologists and Technicians
4141 Secondary School Teachers
7241 Electricians (Except Industrial and Power System)
7313 Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics
9495 Plastic Products Assemblers, Finishers and Inspectors
9511 Machining Tool Operators
6 1435 Collectors
1472 Storekeepers and Parts Clerks
2234 Construction Estimators
3235 Other Technical Occupations in Therapy and Assessment
4142 Elementary School and Kindergarten Teachers
5221 Photographers
6252 Bakers
6271 Hairstylists and Barbers
6681 Dry Cleaning and Laundry Occupations
7271 Carpenters
7294 Painters and Decorators
8256 Supervisors, Landscape and Horticulture
9483 Electronics Assemblers, Fabricators, Inspectors and Testers
9514 Metalworking Machine Operators
5 1114 Other Financial Officers
1221 Administrative Officers
1422 Data Entry Clerks
2132 Mechanical Engineers
2221 Biological Technologists and Technicians
2282 User Support Technicians
4167 Recreation, Sports and Fitness Program Supervisors and Consultants
7219 Contractors and Supervisors, Other Construction Trades, Installers, Repairers and Servicers
7263 Structural Metal and Platework Fabricators and Fitters
7281 Bricklayers
7291 Roofers and Shinglers
7312 Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics
7412 Bus Drivers, Subway Operators and Other Transit Operators
4 1463 Couriers, Messengers and Door-to-Door Distributors
2141 Industrial and Manufacturing Engineers
2172 Database Analysts and Data Administrators
2261 Nondestructive Testers and Inspectors
6211 Retail Trade Supervisors
6231 Insurance Agents and Brokers
6451 Maîtres d'hôtel and Hosts/Hostesses
6483 Pet Groomers and Animal Care Workers
6622 Grocery Clerks and Store Shelf Stockers
7242 Industrial Electricians
7261 Sheet Metal Workers
7443 Automotive Mechanical Installers and Servicers
9213 Supervisors, Food, Beverage and Tobacco Processing
9414 Concrete, Clay and Stone Forming Operators
9496 Painters and Coaters - Industrial
9613 Labourers in Chemical Products Processing and Utilities
3 1212 Supervisors, Finance and Insurance Clerks
1213 Supervisors, Library, Correspondence and Related Information Clerks
1215 Supervisors, Recording, Distributing and Scheduling Occupations
1225 Purchasing Agents and Officers
1243 Medical Secretaries
1432 Payroll Clerks
3414 Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services
4216 Other Instructors
5244 Artisans and Craftspersons
6215 Cleaning Supervisors
6474 Babysitters, Nannies and Parents' Helpers
6482 Estheticians, Electrologists and Related Occupations
7251 Plumbers
7272 Cabinetmakers
7342 Tailors, Dressmakers, Furriers and Milliners
7351 Stationary Engineers and Auxiliary Equipment Operators
7622 Railway and Motor Transport Labourers
8253 Farm Supervisors and Specialized Livestock Workers
9442 Weavers, Knitters and Other Fabric-Making Occupations
9461 Process Control and Machine Operators, Food and Beverage Processing
9482 Motor Vehicle Assemblers, Inspectors and Testers
2 1224 Property Administrators
1226 Conference and Event Planners
1475 Dispatchers and Radio Operators
1476 Transportation Route and Crew Schedulers
2242 Electronic Service Technicians (Household and Business Equipment)
2271 Air Pilots, Flight Engineers and Flying Instructors
3143 Occupational Therapists
4163 Business Development Officers and Marketing Researchers and Consultants
5124 Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications
5133 Musicians and Singers
5212 Technical Occupations Related to Museums and Art Galleries
6212 Food Service Supervisors
6431 Travel Counsellors
7217 Contractors and Supervisors, Heavy Construction Equipment Crews
7232 Tool and Die Makers
7292 Glaziers
7322 Motor Vehicle Body Repairers
7331 Oil and Solid Fuel Heating Mechanics
7332 Electric Appliance Servicers and Repairers
7334 Motorcycle and Other Related Mechanics
7335 Other Small Engine and Equipment Mechanics
7371 Crane Operators
7422 Public Works Maintenance Equipment Operators
7437 Air Transport Ramp Attendants
7445 Other Repairers and Servicers
8255 Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance Contractors and Managers
9412 Foundry Workers
9436 Lumber Graders and Other Wood Processing Inspectors and Graders
9451 Sewing Machine Operators
9462 Industrial Butchers and Meat Cutters, Poultry Preparers and Related Workers
9486 Mechanical Assemblers and Inspectors
9493 Other Wood Products Assemblers and Inspectors
9498 Other Assemblers and Inspectors
9611 Labourers in Mineral and Metal Processing
1 1121 Specialists in Human Resources
1223 Personnel and Recruitment Officers
1232 Loan Officers
1242 Legal Secretaries
1423 Desktop Publishing Operators and Related Occupations
1424 Telephone Operators
1434 Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Clerks
1442 Personnel Clerks
1461 Mail, Postal and Related Clerks
2147 Computer Engineers (Except Software Engineers and Designers)
2152 Landscape Architects
2231 Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians
2243 Industrial Instrument Technicians and Mechanics
2273 Deck Officers, Water Transport
2274 Engineer Officers, Water Transport
2281 Computer Network Technicians
3142 Physiotherapists
3222 Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists
3411 Dental Assistants
4152 Social Workers
4153 Family, Marriage and Other Related Counsellors
4161 Natural and Applied Science Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers
5134 Dancers
5226 Other Technical and Co-ordinating Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts
5243 Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit and Other Creative Designers
6213 Executive Housekeepers
6214 Dry Cleaning and Laundry Supervisors
6216 Other Service Supervisors
6434 Ticket Agents, Cargo Service Representatives and Related Clerks (Except Airline)
6463 By-Law Enforcement and Other Regulatory Officers, n.e.c.
6621 Service Station Attendants
6672 Other Attendants in Accommodation and Travel
6682 Ironing, Pressing and Finishing Occupations
7211 Supervisors, Machinists and Related Occupations
7246 Telecommunications Installation and Repair Workers
7247 Cable Television Service and Maintenance Technicians
7252 Steamfitters, Pipefitters and Sprinkler System Installers
7253 Gas Fitters
7315 Aircraft Mechanics and Aircraft Inspectors
7343 Shoe Repairers and Shoemakers
7344 Jewellers, Watch Repairers and Related Occupations
7383 Other Trades and Related Occupations
7413 Taxi and Limousine Drivers and Chauffeurs
7432 Railway Track Maintenance Workers
7433 Deck Crew, Water Transport
7444 Pest Controllers and Fumigators
7612 Other Trades Helpers and Labourers
8611 Harvesting Labourers
8615 Oil and Gas Drilling, Servicing and Related Labourers
9411 Machine Operators, Mineral and Metal Processing
9422 Plastics Processing Machine Operators
9444 Textile Inspectors, Graders and Samplers
9465 Testers and Graders, Food and Beverage Processing
9471 Printing Machine Operators
9473 Binding and Finishing Machine Operators
9485 Assemblers, Fabricators and Inspectors, Industrial Electrical Motors and Transformers
9491 Boat Assemblers and Inspectors
9494 Furniture Finishers and Refinishers
9512 Forging Machine Operators
9513 Woodworking Machine Operators
9614 Labourers in Wood, Pulp and Paper Processing
9616 Labourers in Textile Processing

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Marketing Job Seekers

If you are interested in marketing, advertising and sales then Seth Godin writes a blog that you will want to read every day for inspiration. I do. A day or two ago he republished What do you know? which, AFAIAC, is a mother lode of good stuff about marketing. I'm going to dip into it from time to time for this blog, starting today, to explore how Godin's ideas apply to the task of marketing job seekers.

Here's one maxim that you might find useful from Godin's collection:

Living and breathing an authentic story is the best way to survive in an conversation-rich world.

I can think of two ways of using this idea without much effort:

  • Being dumped from a job is no picnic and, until we come to terms with it some of us have a way of sounding as if we're suppressing truly Wagnerian emotions when we speak to prospective employers. One approach to this problem involves working towards creating a bullet-proof, true story about what happened. The result might be the size of a novel by Tolstoy but we would not usually tell all to an employer. The main idea is to know what's authentic in order to be able to speak out of that truth.

  • The other way is probably more obvious. When we develop marketing materials with or for clients we need to begin with an adequate understanding of the client's life story and how the plot line seems to be developing. Authentic is authentic but what constitutes a readable, comprehensible story seems to me to be a matter of culture. Godin touches on that too.


Here's a video of Seth Godin speaking at ted.com. Take a look at the other interesting people there too! Steven Pinker caught my eye and I couldn't resist starting to read his books.


Seth Godin

TED | Talks | Seth Godin: Sliced bread and other ...
TED Talks In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin ...