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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ideas about Employability

There's a great post about employability, complete with some references, over at Careers—In Theory.

Employment & Job Finding How-To's, III

Consider using the custom Google search labelled 'Search for how-to's and tutorials' when you need advice about doing something. It's available from the right-hand column.

Since it's a custom search it filters out a lot of stuff by favouring those sites that have higher concentrations of tutorials, examples, samples, lectures, and so on.

I've just added two more sites that help with 3-D modelling and graphics, amongst other things. Give it a spin.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dazzling Careers

OK, I'm no genius and, chances are, you aren't either. But that's no excuse for the schlock that's offered in secondary schools, or most undergraduate courses, for that matter. For one thing the topics covered give much the wrong impression about what's possible and I suspect that a lot of people who think they have 'no mathematics ability,' for instance, are simply unaware of the vast array of mental aptitudes that are covered by mathematics.

You might have more than you think!

Did you know that map folding had anything to do with applied mathematics? (I didn't.) That's the Miura map fold in the picture, invented by astrophysicist Koryo Miura. Much better than ordinary folded maps, you can open and close it just by pulling and pushing at two corners. I learned about it from an interview of Professor L. Mahadevan of Harvard University on American public radio—who points out that nobody uses folding maps anymore anyway.

So why mention Mahadevan? Because I looked at the list of his recent publications. And I also watched this video. Mahadevan is living proof that there are people that use a whole variety of mathematical ideas outside of what we see as high school or undergraduate students and that they apply them to fascinating problems in the real world. Of course I'm not a Mahadevan; maybe you aren't either. That's why you should look at the list of MacArthur Award Winners for sources of inspiration in other kinds of careers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

StatsCan: Survey of Older Workers, 1st Results

Statistics Canada has published the First Results from the Survey of Older Workers, 2008.

"The Survey of Older Workers (SOW) is a new survey that was conducted in October and November of 2008. The survey was conducted on behalf of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada with the objective to develop a statistical database providing estimates surrounding the issues of work and retirement as perceived by older workers in the 10 provinces."

"The report looks at labour force attachment and detachment (both voluntary and involuntary), as they pertain to Canadian workers aged 50 to 75."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Global Education Conference

"The 2010 Global Education Conference is being held November 15 - 19, 2010, online and free."

Go here to see the sessions available for your timezone. And here to verify that your computer is set up so that you can participate. (You won't need a microphone or webcam.)

Look under 'Sessions' in the main menu, then 'All sessions' for tracks for teachers, students, policy and so on. There is a huge variety of offerings for teachers.

If you have never participated in an on-line seminar or course then this is a good way to try this kind of thing out. All sessions use the same software, namely Elluminate.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

3 Toronto Jobs: Job Developers, Information Officer

See TheConstellation jobs page. Not much time left!

Thanks again to Patricia Martin of Career Essentials.

Scannable Business Cards

A friend, Duane Borden, alerted me to the appearance of a CBC article about the many applications of QR matrix codes this morning. Here's another. Business cards have long been scanned into databases using a variety of techniques. Why not make it easier to connect the business card to the information of your choice? Here's an ugly sample.

I've used the kaywa1 service to make a a QR matrix that encodes my LinkedIn profile page. If I were a job seeker and this were my networking card I could have encoded a link to my portfolio. If I were representing a company I could encode the company's web address.

As pointed out in the CBC article even iPhones today can read these things.

1Thanks to wiretotheear for the pointer to this service.

Monday, November 8, 2010


The topic of grieving might seem to be some distance from those usually discussed in connection with employment and careers. However, it can be argued that the loss of employment may lead to feelings related to grief.

In Grief Myths Vaughn Bell1 points to a paper, and provides the main results, about prominent myths about how people deal with grief and some of the findings from actual research. Worth perusing.

1no relation

Friday, November 5, 2010

Giving and Receiving Help is a site that links nonprofits with small jobs they can't afford to do with volunteers willing to do them. Here are a couple of the jobs, which sparked calls 'challenges' that I was offered when I just visited. Write an ad or write a vision statement. I could choose from hundreds of others.

Why mention it here? Because some of my readers are non-profits and some of my readers are jobs seekers. If you're a non-profit the benefits of this site will become obvious if you visit. (Lots of free expertise and services.)

If you are a job seeker then volunteer to do a few of these small jobs and add the results to your profile.

Trends in Journalism

This is posted on with the title The End of Journalism with the following caption: "Annabel Crabb, one of Australia's best known journalists, has made the move from print to digital media. She is an example of the 'new' journalist, able to deliver her unique take on national politics across a range of different platforms. In this thought-provoking (not to mention entertaining) lecture at the University of Melbourne, she discusses the future of journalism in this new and ever-changing media landscape. The A.N. Smith Lecture in Journalism commemorates Arthur Norman Smith, a leading political journalist. October 2010"

Ms Crabb has lots to say that will be of interest to people contemplating careers in journalism. But watch members of the audience too. For the most part, people beyond a certain age don't get it, do they?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Online Portfolios: Spiffing Example

Özge Karaoglu showcases her interest in teaching children as well as demonstrating her mastery of a variety of computer technologies in wiki form. She has lots to say about the value of e-portfolios themselves and uses a creative, appealing video to express herself.

For a huge list of tools that enhance collaboration see her blog. That's how I happened upon her portfolio this morning.

Women in Games

There's a website for women in games and I notice there that a 1400-strong LinkedIn group exists for people with an interest in this as well as a facebook group.

Good for me to see! The first programming group I worked in consisted almost entirely of women many years ago. As far as a Canadian presence is concerned I notice one interview of a Toronto games pro.

Online Portfolios: Thoughts

What's a Portfolio?

It's a display of items that show off your best work or capabilities to employers or others who would be likely to pay for your services. Online portfolios are really good for many reasons: lots of media are usable, you can organise them in various ways and make them very rich, you're not risking the loss of original documents, etc.

What's Its Value?
  • If nothing else you can always review them prior to a job interview for reminders.
  • You can suggest that employers look at them—ain't this obvious when you're marketing yourself!
  • You can expand on ideas that you mention in your résumé and networking card.
  • At the risk of repeating myself you can use graphics. A picture of something you have created, or of the people you have teamed with or of the benefits you have provided will say a lot.
  • On the down side a portfolio can go some way toward masking other, possibly unfortunate aspects of your 'net presence.
  • Employers can review your portfolio in their own time.
  • Creation of a portfolio demonstrates your skills with software and office tools. Don't be too worried about this one. Employers are not looking for stellar skills necessarily. Usually they simply want to know that you have the basic skills. (Obviously if you have more skill flaunt it!)
Where and How

There are many ways of building portfolios and lots of places to host them. Here are a few.
  • Use Microsoft Powerpoint to build a slide show and upload it to Slideshare, or to MyBrainShark. If you don't have Microsoft Office you might be able to use Open Office for this purpose; I haven't tried it yet.
  • Use, a commercial product.
  • Use the camera on your computer with various software products to produce a video and upload it to youtube or one of the other places that hosts videos.
  • Make a portfolio on Google Presentations.
  • Make a blog on, or one of the other places for free or paid blogging platforms.
  • Build a free website on officelive or Google.
  • Do some graphics on coroflot.
  • scribblefolio is a commercial place for posting writing portfolios.
For the many things I've left out in the way of tools, try the New Tools Workshop.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Good Stuff from Journal of Career Assessment

I found two gems in the November edition.

Gem 11

Professor John Krumboltz, who is famous as the inventor of 'happenstance' amongst other things says: "The supply of occupational information appears to exceed the demand."

I dunno: is he joking? Or are we all missing the point? The flood of questions on places like LinkedIn, Aardvark continues. Is it that no-one is interested or that no-one ever thinks of using available stores of information?

Anyway nobody wanted to use the 100-odd videos that Professor Krumboltz refers to and now they've been moved here. Typical titles are Athletic Trainer, Casino Dealer, Chef, Child Psychologist and Carpenter. In the unlikely event that anyone would want to look at some of these let me mention that there are even some Canadians amongst the people featured.

In the astronomically unlikely event that anyone would want to sample an even bigger collection of videos on the same site look here.

Gem 22

Professors Kevin Glavin and Mark Savickas announced the availability of Vocopher. 'The Career Collaboratory is an Internet-based website that contains free career instruments and educational materials intended for practitioners, researchers, and teachers of career development.'