Career Edge Blog

More than employment expertise

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Career Edge Organization would like to thank the University of Toronto Mississauga Career Centre for inviting us to participate in a panel discussion yesterday.

As a panelist, our own Janice Rudkowski, Director of Marketing and Communications, shared her experiences in the marketing industry with eager, wide-eyed students who came from a variety of academic backgrounds from business management to anthropology!

One of the key insights Janice offered was on the topic of networking. Job seekers are often told that persistence and networking are the key to penetrating the job market but as employers, we all know how frustrating it is to be bombarded with pleading emails, voice-mails and LinkedIn requests from people you have never met. In a competitive environment like this one, employers may begin to feel like everyone is asking something of them.

“Ask yourself, what can I do for them?” Janice suggested to the would-be marketers.

She stressed that it is quality, not quantity that counts when it comes to building relationships, pointing out that relationships built on mutual benefit are the way to go, not networking for the sake of building a contact list.

Janice also told the group not to take it personally if an interview doesn’t result in a job offer, saying that it is often a matter of fit rather than qualifications and that “they may actually be doing you a favour!” Because working in an environment where the fit isn’t right is not an experience anyone wants.

Claire Westgate, Coordinator and Employer Services at UTM, organized the “Careers in Marketing Night at the University of Toronto Mississauga” in partnership with their Student Marketing Association, and did a fantastic job moderating the panel discussion.

Janice holds an MBA and has an extensive background in marketing including private sector experience in Brand Management, Category Management, Licensing, Sales and Retail across a number of industry sectors including Consumer Packaged Goods, Toys and Consumer Healthcare.

CEO gets “Brazen” with young professionals

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Since Brazen Careerist was kind enough to feature our post on their blog today, we thought we’d take the opportunity to let employers know about this interesting new website and career management tool.

Founded by Penelope Trunk, Ryan Healy and Ryan Paugh in August 2007, Brazen Careerist is a social networking site for young professionals looking to share more than their profiles. It’s a bit of a hybrid of various popular social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, all wrapped in one.

Brazen Careerist describes itself as “an online community and career center for Generation Y.” It’s a place where young professionals can exchange ideas and insights about topics relevant to the next generation. It is also intended to be a tool for managing their online brand. Creating a positive and professional online presence is a key issue for the Facebook generation as they transition from student life to work life. Brazen Careerist is accessible to employers who wish to learn more about Gen Y and witness unrealized talent at work.

Today’s youth face a challenging work environment. Many graduated in a recession and saw youth unemployment skyrocket. They have little relevant work experience and are generally stereotyped as being transient, demanding and unwilling to pay their dues. Our study (which you can read about on Brazen Careerist) showed that these stereotypes are not true and the employers we work with know that recent graduates bring talent, education and a fresh perspective to the workplace. It is wonderful to see this generation has created a forum where they can properly represent themselves.

Paid internships: A postgraduate education

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Career Edge Organization Alumni Network Logo

Earlier this week, Career Edge Organization reached out to nearly eight thousand of its former interns to introduce a new initiative, the Alumni Network.

As part of our continuing efforts to give more to our stakeholders, we want the individuals who have gone through our program to know that we haven’t forgotten about them and that we have more to give.

Many of our Alumni have become Host Employers who now hire interns from us. We launched their careers and now they are doing the same for others. Our Alumni have also participated in past reunion events and mentoring programs. Due to the excellent level of engagement we saw, we have decided to offer more.

To kick things off, we made a call for volunteers to sit on a committee that will steer the direction of the programs and services we offer Alumni. I couldn’t believe the positive response we got and want to thank everyone so far who took the time to complete an application.

Among the interesting responses I received, several people asked this question: How can a career services organization have Alumni? So I did what anyone would do – I Googled the word Alumni.

As defined in most places, an alumnus can be a graduate of an educational institution or can refer to a former employee, member, participant or contributor. In our case I think any of those definitions can apply.

Our three programs give recent graduates and internationally qualified professionals their first relevant Canadian work experience. When they complete an internship they have advanced from one of the most important educational experiences of their lives.

A paid internship isn’t just a contract or a temporary job. Our partner employers provide a career-launching experience in a supportive learning environment. So when they complete their internships, in a way, they have graduated.

We don’t give them caps and gowns and we don’t play pomp and circumstance as they leave the office, but we know that our Alumni have advanced through a competitive process and we want to continue to celebrate their future successes.

Vital Signs Weak for Youth Employment

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“The future economic prosperity is in the hands of this generation,” according to Sonja Stockton, head of recruitment for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In an interview on their website, Stockton was addressing the global issue of rising youth unemployment.

A report released earlier this month by Community Foundations of Canada found that youth employment was declining faster than any other demographic.

Canada’s Vital Signs 2009 reports that the unemployment rate is 16.3 per cent for youth, around double the unemployment rate for the general population.

It’s no wonder Millennials have been dubbed “Generation Y Me?”

Stockton went on to say:

“It will not be a quick fix, but if we get it right, we could have a generation that has learned some of the hardest business lessons, quicker and more effectively than many of the generations in full time employment.”

Many of the perceptions about this generation of youth are false stereotypes perpetuated by studies that look at Gen Y as a homogenous group, not taking cultural diversity into account. Older studies on Gen Y may be obsolete now anyway, as the recession and current youth unemployment rates have a significant impact on attitudes and values about working in Canada.

In our upcoming posts, we will be using the blog to share insights about Generation Y from our recent study conducted with Porter Novelli and Angus Reid Strategies (click here to read the press release), so stay tuned!

An open door policy

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Communicating with our stakeholders is not a new concept to us. We have an e-newsletter that is circulated to more than 25,000 subscribers and are frequent participants in employment-related workshops, conferences and other events.

The tools through which we communicate are changing, and Career Edge Organization has embraced this by embarking in new social media. This blog, our LinkedIn groups and our twitter account are just a few examples of how we are strategically leveraging social media to better communicate with you.

We observe the Canadian employment landscape from the perspectives of all our partners and stakeholders, including employers, government, agencies, thought leaders and job-seekers – in turn providing us with spectacular insights. We have our fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in Canada’s economic and labour market environments. Our staff is led by a management team of accomplished executives with a passion for progress and openness to change. We have also invited leaders and experts from the field to contribute from time to time. So while I will be the primary administrator of this blog, know that the viewpoints expressed here come from an excellent vantage point.

We decided to call this “The C.E.O. Blog” for a number of reasons, the obvious one being that the letters CEO are an acronym for Career Edge Organization. We recognize however that those letters represent much more to many people.
They represent thought leadership, knowledge and accountability – virtues we hope to convey through our communications here. The Chief Executive Officer or CEO is also one of the highest-ranking positions a person can aspire to in their career, and we like to think that the careers we launch here belong to the future leaders of tomorrow. Finally, C-level executives are ultimately the decision-makers who champion innovative and progressive hiring practices. They represent employers like you whose partnership over the years is the reason Career Edge Organization has been a true Canadian success story.

As we have developed strong relationships with major Canadian employers, post-secondary institutions and employment agencies, we are always kept in the loop regarding business, HR and employment-related events, studies and news. The great thing about having a blog is not only do we now have a forum where we can share this valuable knowledge with you; we have also created a community where you can share with us and join the conversation.

Welcome to The C.E.O. blog! Questions? Comments? Our door is always open.

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