So you have a job interview coming up? Well congratulations! We too have been in those shoes before and here are some good tips about Federal Government job interviews that we have learned that has proven helpful …
[This Article was originally written in Jan. 2010 but reposted in 2013 by request]
Writing an effective Geomatics Resume
So I will assume that if you are reading this article then there is a pretty good chance that you may either be getting ready to apply for your first Geomatics job or have had some trouble getting yourself a Geomatics related job recently. And if it is the latter that happened to describe you then do not get discouraged, Job Searching for Geomatics jobs can often be much harder then the actual jobs and I see people every day that fall into this category, yes even graduate students and people with all the right knowledge and skills.
Do not assume that your new degree automatically qualifies you for a Geomatics job (do not get me wrong, it will help but it is no Golden Ticket). The majority of us spend thousands of dollars in order to learn the latest and greatest often complicated technical skills while attending College or University but most often none of that money is spent on learning how to get a job after we are proficient with all those technical skills. Now that you have worked hard, learned a great deal of information, and are no doubt ready to get on with your career, what do you do? Here I have compiled some information based on my experience to get you started with writing your Geomatics resume.
The first thing that you need to learn to do is how to envision things from an employer’s perspective. As a general rule, Geomatics companies hire people that have the desired technical skills needed to do the particular job along with several extra attributes that makes a great employee, personality qualities that can contribute to the organization, ones that can indicate that the prospect will be around for a while and skills that indicate that they do not need any baby sitting or constant instructions. Hence it is very essential that you can clearly indicate to potential employers that you have all the right skills, knowledge and attributes that will help them be more successful, after all most companies do not offer jobs just to help you out but more so that you can help them out.
Your Geomatics resume is the career tool that you use to inform employers that you are the one that they need to hire, or in other words your first impression (after all we all know how important first impressions always are). If you have a good Geomatics resume then it can be the key to providing you with that call for an interview where the employer will learn how you are the best fit for their needs. Since your resume in most cases is your first line of communication about yourself, you must clearly relate your education, activities, and work experiences to the specific job qualifications that geomatics employers are looking for.
Identify the Skills & Qualifications from the job description
Start off by asking yourself why should this company hire you for this job?
Take some time, sit down and really look at the job description, scan it for key skills and requirements that the company is looking for, highlight them and then write them down on a separate sheet of paper. Now make a list of all them, ranking the key and required ones higher then the less desirable ones etc. At this point, you should not be worrying about the format or writing at this point, just ensure that you have all the keywords and skills covered, with quick notes; you can clean it up later.
Now match and assemble evidence on how you meet those requirements to prove that you have those desired skills. A Geomatics employer will most often be looking for a combination of technical and non-technical skills. Technical skills are usually the core geomatics knowledge and skills that are needed to do the job (e.g. GIS software knowledge, or programming languages) and will be clearly mentioned in the job ad. Make sure that your resume can clearly reveal that you have the core knowledge and skills for this particular job (do not generalize, be specific). The other skills are a little different but should describe your personal skills or how you get tasks done (e.g. leadership, hard working, dependable, punctual etc.). They are often more difficult to prove but it is important that you make them believable on your resume, and do not just a simple list of them.
Now is a good time to double check your list against the job qualifications in the job ad; Do you even qualify for this job? If at this point you can not find enough evidence why the company should they hire you for this job, if not then do not waste your time, move on to another job ad that you do qualify for. It is pretty normal to not have every one of the desired skills and requirements that a company is looking for, it will make it harder for you to get that job, (not impossible …) but if you are missing the key ones then your resume will not be considered anyway.
It would be like a carpenter trying to get a job as a mechanic, yes he does use tools but can he fix cars? Not necessarily …
Writing an effective Geomatics Resume – [part 2]
Create a Skills Summary
A skills summary section is a good place in your resume to quickly sell your strongest qualifications by summarizing skills and also provides you a way to show you match the employers desired skills with key words (remember not everybody will read your resume all the way through, some just glance at first, so you want to ensure you have key strengths right up front to make them want to read on).
Emphasize Education & Work Experience
When you are a student there is a good chance that you will need to stress your education and research projects more then your work experience because in most cases your experience may not be directly related to Geomatics or you may not have enough to compete with others applying for the same job. Therefore place your education above your experience to demonstrate the program and school that you got it from, and some key points about it.
Do not just list the school and the program, how will that separate you from the others who took the same program? Add a few key points about your program, specialties you took, awards, key points etc. If you finished top of your class, did something a little different then the others or was in charge of some certain aspect then here you can add a brief note about it and keep the employers interest (then elaborate more about it in your cover letter or portfolio).
As time goes on and you accumulate more work experiences then you will want to emphasize that aspect over your education and you can reverse the order of these sections on your resume. It is important to have your key strengths on the up front on the main page, if you’re a student then it will most likely be your education, if you have worked in the industry for a few years then it shouldn’t be your education anymore.
Most often you will want to put your work experience in chronological order; include your job titles with the names of the employer, general work location and approximate dates. You do not need to have the exact address or date of when you started and ended unless the company explicitly asks for those details. Your work experience should focus on skills and achievements but most often will be the general tasks performed. This section is a great place to insert the desired skills that you found on the job description. Employers are not looking for exact details of every single thing task you did at a particular past job but they do want to get a general concept of what you would have been doing that will allow them to envision you performing similar ones for them.
Add the Extras to Give You a Competitive Advantage
The key to writing your geomatics resume is to include what makes you stand apart from the competition, because most often you will not be the only ideal candidate applying for the job. Include any information that can make you stand out from the rest, mention awards that you have won, special courses you took, presentations that you gave, professional memberships that you obtain, promote your online portfolio info etc. the possibilities are endless here but you have to remember there are many others with your same skills so you need to out sell them and make your resume stand out among the rest.
Format, Edit, and Polish the Draft
Now that you finally have done all the brain storming, made your lists, and gathered all the information that you need, you can start actually writing that resume. Do not spend too much time and worry about the formatting at first; just get all the important information in there. Once it is all gathered and written then you can start to format it and clean it up to make it more presentable.
Start with name and contact info at the top (include the URL to your online portfolio or website as well), next add your quick skills section. Your education would come next followed by your experience if you’re a student or have little relative experience; other info (publications / professional memberships etc.) can follow that. Keep things under two pages if you’re just starting off and make sure it flows clearly and is not confusing or cluttered. Do not get too over worked on fonts and other minor details. You want to stand out and be a little different but it is the content that you want to work for you not the layout.
Proofread Your Final Resume
Now make sure that you do not just spell check your resume, you must fully proof read it, does it make sense when you read it? Spell check will spell the words correctly but not ensure that you have the correct words or have them in the correct order. Have someone else read it over as well, because often you have looked at it so many times, that it can be really easy for you to over look even the smallest details.
Nothing looks worse then reading a poorly written resume from someone with higher education who should know better.
Convert Your Resume to other Formats
When you are happy with your product then you should have it converted into PDF format (It is easy to do and often there are free software that you can use if you can not afford the paid Adobe version). A PDF version of your resume will hide any formatting that may be used in a word processor to make the layout look good and it will ensure that anybody can open it because not everyone uses Microsoft Office products after all. However keep in mind that you deliver your resume in what ever desired format the employer asks for, if they request a word document then do not send them PDF version (you could send both versions though, as they may not have thought of PDF versions).
If you are applying to online jobs (and I am sure most of you will), then it is always a good idea to create a text version of your resume for when you have to enter the info into an online web form, copying word processing data from a formatted document can often have all kinds of strange formatting that will make a plain text resume look pretty awful. Having multiple versions of your resume will keep you prepared for all situations.
And Finally Make that Resume work for you
Well this part does not have so much to do with writing a Geomatics resume, but it does help provide some help into what to do with it now that you have made it. You should always have a digital copy of your resume available online (the internet is almost always available 24 hours a day 7 days a week) especially in this day and age where is so easy and affordable to have a little web space and your own domain.
You can have your resume available to anybody in the world for less then fifty dollars, a wise investment if you consider the job that it can help you get. Chances are you will not always be carrying your resume around with you, should you come across a time where you meet someone who you wish you could have given a copy to; instead provide them with your domain name. This will show you have initiative and skills to succeed, and while they are checking out your resume online they can also see your portfolio and other pertinent information.
Another great idea is to create a business card that includes who you are, what you do, your contact info and the URL to your resume and online portfolio, after all it is much easier to carry around a few business cards then a pile of resumes and you never know when you will run into a potential employer.
Get out and meet people who are also in Geomatics, attend events or conferences, presentation etc. It doesn’t always have to be formal events, there are many casual things planned for people to socially interact with others of the same interests. Check websites like GoGeomatics & LinkedIn.com and you will find many groups and events like these providing you with amble opportunity to meet others and many potential employers.
When you network, you never know who is connected to who or who has the power to hire people but make sure you never come right out and ask for a job, that can make some people uncomfortable and most people do not have the power to provide you a job without going through some sort of process. However do make sure that you mention your job searching status in conservation, and still talk about it but instead ask for advice or suggestions (that way if they are looking to hire someone, then they may ask you instead).
Probably something many of us in the geomatics sector often come across in our careers is whether or not we should be highly specialized on a specific geomatics aspect or should we diversify and become competent in a multitude of geomatics related disciplines.
Now, one particular problem with being really specialized in something is that although you become an expert in something you can often be too focused, and potentially closing other doors or limiting possible career paths. When you diversify you can still become specialized in things but at a lesser extent yet work with more components of the industry.
A Geomatics Career Change
The job market has been slowly recovering but layoffs and high unemployment rates are still causing many people to change their career to an area outside of their college major. The good news is that even when you make a career change, you can still find work and be successful. And luckily enough Geomatics is one of those unique disciplines where one can add to an existing background and branch out into other areas.
Every working hour of every day, about 1,530 people lose their jobs,” According to The Age. “But it’s OK because also Every working hour of every day, about 1,550 people get a new job.
The Wall Street Journal says the average person actually changes careers about five times in their lifetime, most of the time ending up outside of the scope of their college major. However, this figure can be hard to define because a simple job switch is not the same as a complete career change. The good news is that no matter how many times you change careers you can always learn from the experience.
Many recent college graduates that begin working in their area of study feel they have a lot to prove. They work countless hours and give up much of their personal lives. If this sounds like you, a career change may be just the thing you need to show you that there is more to life than your career. Sometimes it takes breaking away from your initial career to see that it’s OK to have a personal life. You can still be fully dedicated during your working hours; however, having some time to yourself will make you a better all-around person. Get outside and put some fun into those maps that you find your self making every day.
Each New Job Helps to Define You
Even if you have had 10 different jobs over your working career, it’s important to realize that each experience has taught you invaluable skills. According to BusinessInsider.com, what you bring to the table at your new job is valuable and unique. Your experiences define you, so embrace every job you have had. Sometimes the entry-level jobs you may be embarrassed by have taught you your most valuable skills. For example, working in a support role teaches you an amazing amount of patience dealing with clients, and working as a technician or analyst requires a keen attention to detail.
Learn About Yourself
If you have spent the past decade in the same field, you may think you are not qualified to work in another position. However, necessity can bring surprises you never expected. You may even discover a hidden talent that you never knew you had. Whether you are thinking about changing careers because you are unhappy, or you are forced to look for something else, you will undoubtedly discover new, surprising things about yourself.
It’s important to always be learning and growing. With each new job change, you will grow and develop as a person. Remember, your past has made you who you are. Embrace it and you are sure to be successful. Geomatics jobs are out there but they are becoming more specialized with the need to have a diverse background, so don’t be afraid to switch your career and join the growing Canadian geomatics industry.
Article provided by Melissa Maranto. Melissa studied English at UCLA and is now a magazine editor who still loves the beach as much as she did as an undergrad.
The largest city of Newfoundland and Labrador, located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula is St. John’s. It is also the most populous Metropolitan Area of the province, and also the second largest in the Atlantic Provinces (only smaller then Halifax).
Thanks to many recently discovered oil and gas fields, the province has changed from a “Have Not” one to one that supports others thanks to an economic boom that has spurred population growth and commercial development. Geomatics is one of many industries that has been able to benefit from the economic boom and you can often find many GIS jobs offered in and around the St. John’s area.
Although Lindsay is a small town, you will often find GIS jobs in the Lindsay / Peterborough Areas, here are some recent GIS job postings in Lindsay …
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