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The big quiet bail out – Euro/Japan central banks propping up stock markets, is the US next?

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You’d think that the golden age of markets, if there was one, would be something like the post WWII economic expansion era. That was pretty impressive, driven by baby boomers and the gigantic wave of consumption that enveloped them. Never before in history had parents worried so much about the outfits that New Baby would wear, and it only got crazier from there.

Fundamentally though, the late 1700s were far more earth-shaking. Not in the consumerist sense; those austere horse-travelers managed to survive somehow without the likes of either Apple or Lululemon, for example, but consider the free-market achievements of that period. The United States came into existence, a profound new experiment in governance and free(ish) markets. In academic circles, famed economist/philosopher Adam Smith coined the term “the invisible hand of the market” in his book The Wealth of Nations. It was a reference to the ability of a market economy to provide benefits far beyond those that accrue to the creator. That is, an inventor of something that becomes wildly successful enriches not only the inventor, but society as a whole. Plus, it is an indirect reference to the ability of markets to efficiently allocate capital.

We tend to forget that wonder of capital markets, particularly as the world drifts into one defined more and more by government intervention. Since the 2008 financial meltdown, governments have gone kind of berserk in attempting to keep the financial world afloat, causing markets to gyrate in increasing spirals through wild-eyed policy guidance as the dollars at stake become stupefyingly large. We no longer have economist/philosophers at the helm; we have economist/desperados who have convinced the world their alchemic ways will work, and they don’t know that it will, but they’re really really hoping.

The new breed of economist has introduced an all new Invisible Market Hand – not one that provides infinite benevolence, but one that is like a forklift driver feeling confident in his/her ability to pilot a fighter jet because the seats are similar.

The strategy of which I speak began in Japan over the past decade. After years of trying to kick start the Japanese economy in various ways, including dropping interest rates to zero, the central bank began buying up treasuries as a means of supporting debt markets. When that didn’t get things going, they took the next step and actually began buying up equities to prop up stock markets. Since then, Europe has started a similar program. And yes, you heard that right – in those jurisdictions, if stock prices fall too much, the market is prevented from self-correcting, and governments are, in effect, breaking the fingers of the original Invisible Hand.

They appear to be stepping in to keep critical sectors of the economy in good shape, and also to enhance the “wealth effect”. The wealth effect refers to how citizens tend to spend more drunkenly when they feel wealthy, and for many that means a healthy portfolio. If someone sees their retirement nest egg shrink from $100,000 to $50,000 in a severe market downturn, those people tend to lockdown spending – a wise reaction. But as we’re seeing, the world keeps turning because we are consumers, and like it or not, consumption makes our world go round. So by making those portfolios stay healthy one way or another, governments seek to put the population in a semi-drunken spending stupor in order to keep the party going. Anyone who’s witnesses a true boom economy will recognize the phenomenon – at the peak of the oil boom 6 or 8 years ago, there were direct flights from Fort McMurray to Las Vegas, and thousands of twenty-somethings were purchasing vacation properties. Suffice it to say that those days are gone.

Don’t expect the new Invisible Market Hand to bail you out if your brother-in-law convinces you to load up some hot stock tip he got from a friend who got it from a friend who got it from a friend, because the “friend” at the end of that chain will be some dubious stock promoter that may or may not end up in jail, and even panicked governments won’t save those souls.

With the new strategies for propping up markets however, we’re starting to see the lengths governments will go to in order to maintain financial stability. You’d think the mountains of debt will lead to a day of reckoning, but, emboldened by the global government response to the 2008 financial crisis, the high priests of finance are becoming more emboldened. That our fate depends so heavily on a squadron of tweedy economists is truly frightening, but we’re all in the same boat, so enjoy the ride…

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Terry Etam is a twenty-five-year veteran of Canada’s energy business. He has worked at a number of occupations spanning the finance, accounting, communications, and trading aspects of energy, and has written for several years on his own website Public Energy Number One and the widely-read industry site the BOE Report. In 2019, his first book, The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity, was published. Mr. Etam has been called an industry thought leader and the most influential voice in the oil patch. He lives in Calgary, Alberta.

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Tips From Tundra – Optimize Your Resume For ‘The New Normal’

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The landscape of employment for job-seekers has changed dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic in Alberta. As of May 2020, the Alberta Government reports an unemployment rate of 15.5%. Combine that with experienced employees furloughed from various sectors, new graduates and those seeking a new career direction may have a steeper hill to climb than before. We continue to discover what is the new normal for Alberta post-pandemic, we revisit the topic of how to put your best foot forward when optimizing your resume for your job hunt.

Tundra Technical Solutions is a global recruitment agency headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Since 2004, Tundra has grown quickly, today operating offices across North America, Europe and Asia. They work with top global partners actively seeking the best talent in multiple sectors such as finance, insurance, healthcare, technology, retail, energy, utilities, construction, mining, telecommunications, transportation and government to name a few. 

 

Ever considered utilizing the skills a recruitment agency may have to offer? It may be the right time considering the volume of applicants in the hundreds on certain job postings, as shown in the image below. We spoke with Christina Esposito, Marketing and Communications Lead and Internal Recruiter for Tundra Technical Solutions on ways to optimize your resume for recruiters in the new normal.

(Source: LinkedIn Job Search)

Should your resume be written chronologically or functionally?

The key difference here is whether or not your work experience should be written as a timeline of your previous positions or should it be laid out in the form of what experience you feel is best suited for the position you are applying for. From a recruiters perspective, Christina mentions:

“We like to see a reverse chronological order of previous work experience. We recommend placing all of your technical skills right at the top of your resume, and then go into your most recent experience.”

 

 

Should you tailor your resume for the specific job you are applying for?

Say you are actively applying to open positions, tailoring your resume can be a time consuming task if your objective is to apply to the first 10-20 open positions you find. To that point, applying to everything you see can be detrimental to your efforts when utilizing a recruiter. Keep in mind, there is a human processing your candidate profile, and their efforts are to find the best talent for their employers. Christina offers a recommendation that can mitigate time for both the job seeker and recruiter:

“ we absolutely want to see someone tailoring their resume that matches the job description. A good tip for someone who might not want to go through a whole overhaul, is to first make sure that the job you’re applying to is relevant to your experience, recruiters can see if you’re applying to the first jobs that pop up for example. It becomes clear they haven’t really looked into the position they’re applying for. So, a lot of care and detail should go into those applications if you want to have the greatest success. Ultimately you want to make sure that the job description lines up with your skills…” 

 

 

What is the best resume format that can be read autonomously through recruitment software?

As mentioned above, some positions can receive hundreds of applications. If you haven’t been made aware by now, recruiters utilise software called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or what is referred to as resume parsing, which allows the hundreds of resumes to be read and processed, thus creating a candidate profile highlighting the most relevant information to send to an employer. Say you spent endless hours on the most aesthetically pleasing resume to give that ‘wow’ factor, that may have been a solid practice in the past, but ATS systems have difficulty processing these resume formats, thus your candidate profiles could be lacking important information.

“I would recommend against a PDF format. The reason being is that Microsoft Word documents are the most legible and easiest to parse with. The way the ATS works is, someone sends in the application, the ATS picks those keywords from their resume and matches them to the actual job description. Inserting images or a lot of text can make it difficult for recruiters to look up your profile in the future.”

 

What should NOT be included on your resume?

Some of these you may already know, but let’s be clear, having a resume with only relevant information is your best chance of success. Working as a retail store manager I had received countless resumes from individuals seeking employment. During that time, I had encountered some of the most outrageous and creative resumes from all walks of life. By no means am I a recruitment specialist, but sticking to the basics was a winner for my new hires during that time. Christina offers the perspective of a recruiter for what not to put on your resume:

“Jumping right into things like objectives or hobbies is fine, but we would recommend against it because the longer you make your resume, you can decrease the chances of someone reading the full document. Best practice is to always keep your resume one to two pages with only relevant information. For industry veterans that have lengthy work history, you should only list the most recent and relevant experience.” 

 

Should you include links to your social media?

Social media plays a significant role in the recruitment process for both agencies and hiring managers. LinkedIn has become a major part of what we call this ‘new normal’, with more than 20 million companies listed on the site and 14 million open jobs, it’s no surprise that over 75% of people who recently changed jobs used LinkedIn to inform their career decision. When it comes to social media, Christina offers her recommendations:

“90% of the time, recruiters are looking at your LinkedIn or Twitter. We want to make sure we get a holistic view of the applicant. 40% of our hires last year were candidates we sourced directly from LinkedIn. We have situations where we have candidates that look great on paper, but after we do some investigating. He/she doesn’t actually prove to be the person he/she was saying on paper. It’s a point of validation and puts a face to a name. My recommendation would be to keep your social media profiles clean, descriptive and showcase your accomplishments, especially if you have a public profile.”

 

This information should offer you some insight into how the employment landscape is changing and what best practices to implement for your job hunt. Who wouldn’t want to save time and effort on what can be an arduous task?

 

 

If you would like to learn more about Tundra Technical Solutions, speak to one of their experienced recruiters or to view their available positions in Alberta, check out their website here or message them on their Facebook below.

 

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Business Spotlight – Calgary Entrepreneurs Bring The Gig Economy To Alberta

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Gig work has been a popular subject as of late, interesting that younger generations of Albertans are up against a lot, including a historical economic downturn, a major decrease in unionized and salary jobs, competing with experienced furloughed workers and are simply left scratching their head after putting in thousands of hours and dollars to get a formal education. Combine that with an unemployment rate of 15.5% reported as of May 2020, up from 6.7% the same time last year, we are left with a pretty grim outlook for younger generations of Albertans. 

 

What Is Gig Work?

Gig work can be referred to as self employed or simply contract, consulting or freelance work, where you as the service provider offer your skills at a preferred rate. This type of work is not new, but not only does it already consist of thousands of Canadian workers, Statistics Canada’s most recent data reported 1.7 million gig workers in Canada in 2016. Not the security we were taught to seek in our youth, but can offer a new level of freedom for those who wish to choose their work schedule, offer their skillset and grow their own personal brand.

Source: The Accelerator – From Left: CEO, Karshil Desai, CCO, Sara Mir, CSO, Shawn Moghaddami and CMO, Ankit Patel.

Incredible Minds Can Do Incredible Things 

Meet the Skilli team, a group of four like minded entrepreneurs collaborating to bring the gig economy to Alberta. Having worked in Fort McMurray in Alberta, they experienced the extent of what ‘hard work’ means for our citizens while spending time working in the Alberta Oil and Gas industry. Respect to the many hard working individuals who have overcome fires and floods in that area over the last number of years, their community resilience is inspirational. CEO Karshil Desai speaks about witnessing an opportunity while living there that would prove to be the foundation for Skilli:

“…working in software and automation in the oil and gas sector in Fort MacMurray, I was around a lot of people who made good money offering their unique skills and services…due to the economic downturn, it was unfortunate to see so many people getting laid off, but still needed to pay their bills…I noticed a huge gap in how skilled services were offered and how they were hired by the consumer..”

 

Skilli is a mobile platform that provides freelancers, contractors and service providers a place to market themselves as their own brand. There can be many challenges with traditional methods of gig work, such as finding who can provide the service you need, getting their contact details, scheduling the service, quality control of the work and invoicing for payment after the fact. I am sure there has been millions of dollars spent from word of mouth referrals for what was actually a poor quality deliverable on too many occasions. Validation is a crucial part of the Skilli process for those offering their service, as part of that process, they put the service provider first, thus providing the highest level of customer satisfaction to the end user. CSO for Skilli, Shawn Moghaddami mentions:

“…we see the value of the gig economy in Alberta, with such a large talented workforce here…for us, it is ultimately about putting the service provider first so the customer is the one that benefits…we provide the tools they need, they have the platform behind them and the support to build their own brand.” 

 

The Skilli App You Need To Watch Out For

Combining passion to help a wider community, their experience around contract work and their education on the gig economy, the team have developed their app where the platform can be utilized from anywhere. As mentioned, this type of self employment can offer a higher level of freedom than the traditional 40 hour nine-to-five. Work for yourself and lean on their knowledge base for resources on how to establish your profile, process payments, professional validation and build your confidence as a freelancer or contractor. Unfortunately the app is not available yet in Alberta, however they are proactively validating service providers for the launch of their newest version in early July. There is hope for those who can offer services and are having difficulty finding employment. Something we can all look forward to in these trying times.

 

 

Invest In Yourself

Want to be a part of what will be established as the ‘new economy’? Now is the time to re-evaluate the value you possess. Take a course, improve your skills, invest in supplies you need to offer a service as an individual or begin to construct a portfolio of previous work. Contract work has been around for a very long time, the stigma of it not being a successful career choice for your whole life is dying. Take control of your future by working for yourself. The gig economy is here and will continue to become a major part of what we call the ‘new normal’, to that point everyone here at Todayville wishes the Skilli team the best of success with the launch of their new app and look forward to their launch in early July. 

Considering becoming a service provider or seeking information? 

If you would like to learn more about Skilli or their new app. Visit their website here or social media links below.

 

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