Jane Lambert

The Wisdom of Eddie the Eagle

I recently watched the movie Eddie the Eagle on Netflix, the story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, a ski jumper who represented Great Britain at the 1988 winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta.  He was the first ski jumping competitor to represent Great Britain in the Olympics since 1929 and the only member of his team. Eddie finished 73rd out of 73 competitors in both the 70 metre and 90 metre jumps. So, why would anybody make a movie about someone who finished last?

Image result for eddie the eagle

I remember Eddie and his appearance at the Olympics. Although he did not win he became a symbol for doing your best and having a positive attitude. He became a beacon of positivity and a joy to watch. In the end, he was possibly the most revered participant at the Olympics that year.


According to the movie, Eddie wore leg brace as a child and also endured and overcame many barriers on his way to the Olympics. Almost everyone told Eddie to give up on his dream of going to the Olympics.


When people told him he couldn’t do it, he kept going. When people told him he couldn’t go, he just kept saying that he was going. When the British Olympic committee raised the distance necessary to qualify for the Olympics, in hopes of eliminating him, Eddie tried harder. In spite of all odds, and in the face of all obstacles, Eddie persevered.


Obviously, Eddie will not go down in history as a great ski jumper, but he will be remembered for his tenacity, his willingness to keep trying and his undeniable positive attitude. When Eddie did what others considered a terrible jump, Eddie chose to focus on the fact that he had set a new British record.


In my mind, we can all learn something from Eddie the Eagle. Too many people put forward the least amount of effort possible and then bemoan the fact that they have failed. Sometimes people only try once and then determine that the world is against them. Instead of listening to their inner voice and their own self-knowledge, they listen to the voices of those who tell them that they can’t.


I have seen this many times, mostly in people’s approach to their life and their career. They put forth a half hearted effort. They can’t be bothered to update their skills to stay competitive. They can’t be bothered to make a resume specifically for the job they want. They can’t be bothered to go out and talk to people and find out how to move themselves and their career forward. Then when they fail, they see themselves as victims of the system or the Labour Market.


Recently, Eddie returned to Calgary to mark the 25th anniversary of his Olympic glory. Waiting for him were some children who had seen the movie and knew Eddie’s reputation. They saw him as an inspiration and a role model.  To them, Eddie was a hero.


What would happen if we all put forth our best effort and just kept trying to do our best? What would happen if we had a positive attitude and projected a positive attitude out into the world? What would happen if we kept going towards a goal, towards a job, towards a life? You may only find out if you follow the wisdom of Eddie. Just jump!


Trendspotting – Staying marketable in an increasingly challenging Labour Market

I love trends. Trends tell us about our own behaviour. They inform us about where we have been and possibly where we are going.

In today’s challenging Labour Market, spotting trends can provide a job seeker with information on how to best achieve their career goals. If we pay attention to the signs we have a better chance of successfully making our way through the employment job search morass.

I see trends everywhere: on TV, in articles, new items and the general social discourse. I am also privileged to hear anecdotal stories of the Labour Market that come to me through my clients. I’m always amazed at the fact that I often hear a storey of someone’s experience while working or looking for work. Sometimes the story sounds too weird to be true. But soon enough, along comes another person with a very similar storey. And then another…..

trendspotting pic

Some of the trends have become very familiar; youth unemployment, immigrant unemployment and baby boomer unemployment; and of course, serious underemployment for legions. These are now well-established trends that have been around for some time. As the Labour Market constricts, new trends emerge.

One trend that I see lately is the need to keep abreast of technology. I am now seeing clients who are well qualified for the job that they want, EXCEPT for the lack of technical skills. I recently assisted a site superintendent on a large construction project. He was hoping to find work in another city. At about 55 years of age; he arrived with his smart phone in hand and proceeded to do business on his phone. He ran the whole project on his phone. He told me was that any person managing a large construction project needed to be able to do everything on their phone. By his account, many older, very qualified managers were now being eliminated from jobs due to their lack of technical savvy.

Recently, I had another client who wanted to apply for a job at the university. She had many of the required skills to do the job and years of experience doing a very similar job. However, on closer examination, I realized that she had none of the software skills required. After some discussion, I advised her not to apply for the job. The cost and effort needed to apply for the job outweighed her chance of getting an interview.

I think the moral of the story is not to wait for an employer to update your skills; do it yourself! If you use any kind of technology in your field, keep updating to the latest software. If you have not had any technical training, or have not had any for a long time – update.

People with the most up-to-date skills are harder to overlook on a job application. It’s time to invest in yourself.



Take this job and shove it!

Take this job and shove it signOk, so this is sort of over the top, but I’m willing to bet there are many people who have had EXACTLY that thought. Raise your hand if you’ve thought about this.

Of course, there was a time when you could act on this sentiment.  It used to be easy to leave your job and find and new one; sometimes the same day. However, in the decades since those glory days, things have changed. Jobs are difficult to land and people think long and hard about leaving their job, especially if they have no job to go to. More often than not, people put up with jobs that for one reason or another are soul-sucking and/or abusive.

As a Career Counsellor, it is my job to stay abreast of trends in the Labour Market. In the past few years I have seen many people who were very discouraged by their work situation, but were not willing to leave their job for fear of not finding another. However, in spite of the precarious nature of the current job market, I am now seeing a trend – people who have had enough! Enough of disrespect and enough abuse! Some people are so fed up with their job that they are willing to take a huge risk and simply quit their job. I don’t recommend this strategy.

Although it’s very scary, changing jobs is still something to consider. Life is too short to spend a significant amount of your time and energy at a job that sucks you dry and leaves you feeling abused. However, I think it’s a good idea to have a strategy for changing jobs instead of just throwing in the towel. It’s important to do research to find out what job possibilities are out there for you. Don’t just look for job postings that seem suitable. Read the job positing thoroughly, word for word, and make sure that it is a really good fit for you and your skills. Try to imagine yourself doing the job. Research the company to see if it looks like a place that you would enjoy working.

If you conclude that you want to apply for the job, make sure you do nothing less than a spectacular application, including a resume and cover letter, targeted specifically at that particular job and the needs of the company.  Use your resume and cover letter to prove to the company that you are capable of doing the job and making a contribution. Remember, you may be competing with more than 100 other people, so you need to make sure that your application will be noticed and will land you an interview.

Is changing jobs worth it? You won’t know until you do it, but I encourage everyone to explore the possibilities that await you.

Why hire a professional resume writer?

Why Hire a Professional Resume Writer?

Your resume is more than a piece of paper. Your resume is a marketing tool. You use it to convince an employer to give you an interview. Most people find it difficult or impossible to write their own resume.  A professional resume and cover letter are an investment in your future and your career success. They can bring you better jobs, higher pay, more rewarding work and an opportunity to make a change in your career path. Professional resume writers understand what hiring managers are looking for in a new hire and know how to write resumes and cover letters that will be noticed. The bad news is that not all resume writers are professional or even honest. Many scams spring up to prey on unsuspecting job seekers desperate for help finding a new job, so you’ll have to do your homework to find the best one for you. Beware!

  • Beware of resume services that make guarantees. Resume writers who promise that you will land a job within 3 months, or some other random timeline are bogus. No one can make that promise. I never make a promise of landing a job, but I do have a good track record of getting people in for an interview.
  • Beware of cheap resume writing services. Some resume services offer $49 resumes. I’m not sure what they are doing for that price. It takes hours of work to compose an excellent resume, and no professional is going to slave away over yours for an hourly rate that works out to be less than minimum wage. You get what you pay for.
  • Beware of resume writers who do not offer free edits. If you are not satisfied with your resume you should be able to have some changes made at no extra charge. You should be happy with the resume. It is your main marketing tool.
  • Beware of unethical resume practices. Resume writers who will offer to embellish or lie for you on your resume should be avoided. This is never a good idea. Avoid these people at all costs.

Remember, you have only one opportunity to get the employers’ attention. Don’t blow it by sending in  a resume that is not up to par.

from memory stick 054

Generation Jobless – Why are so many young people jobless?


There’s no one reason for the high number of unemployed young people in North America today. Certainly the global economic downturn has had a lot to do with the lack of jobs for everyone, not only young people. The implications of the current Labour Market are both broad and long ranging. With fewer jobs available at any given time, it falls to the job seeker to go to unprecedented lengths to land a job.

looking for a job

One reason for the lack of jobs in young people is their passive approach to job search. I often see ads on Kijiji posted by young people looking for work. These postings are usually unfocused, poorly written and somewhat desperate. Many don’t write in full sentences and/or have a multitude of short forms or spelling mistakes. I often wonder how many of those young people who post “job wanted” listings on Kijiji actually get jobs as a result of their posting. I can hardly imagine an employer sitting down at their computer to look through the long list of half-hearted pleas by young people offering their services, to find a star job candidate. NO! The onus is on the job seeker to respond to the needs of the employer, not the other way around.

So, one reason for the lack of jobs for young people is that they have not bothered to address the needs of employers by creating a resume and cover letter that clearly demonstrates how they can contribute to the success of the business or to the organization.

Another reason that young people miss out on opportunities in the job market is the reputation established by many young people who have been successful in obtaining a job. Many business owners, managers and supervisors have reported a serious lack of work ethic amongst younger workers. They seem to want the job, but they don’t want it enough to show up for work on time or all of the time. Or they take days off for personal reasons at a rate much higher than the rest of the population. They don’t seem to understand that the duties that they are required to do on the job are crucial to the success of the business. In other words, they don’t take work very seriously. Many employers would rather hire an older person for a job because generally speaking older people make more reliable employees and they take their responsibilities more seriously. This leads me to another reason for the lack of jobs for young people.

In many cases young people lose out on jobs to older people, some of whom are forced to take jobs traditionally held by younger people, due to a shortage of jobs in their field and a serious need to pay bills and keep a roof over their head. People who are forced into this position usually take landing a job very seriously and will go to any length to keep their lives together. This serious approach is not usually held by younger people, who typically don’t have the same level of responsibility. Ironically, it’s often the parent taking on the entry-level job to help support their young adults who stay at home because they are unable to land a job.

So, although there is a lack of jobs in the current labour market, there are some jobs that are open to young people. If they want these jobs they need to not only do a spectacular presentation in the form of an excellent resume and cover letter, but they must overcome the common perception that they will be unreliable.

The best way to do that is to establish a good track record in all areas of their life. Even if they take on grass cutting jobs or babysitting jobs, they need to prove that they are reliable and conscientious. They can also do volunteer work to establish a track record and a positive work history. A successful track record at school can also be seen as an indicator of dedication and hard work.

In short, young people need to start preparing themselves for the job market well in advance of looking for work. And when the time comes to apply for a job they need to take the application process seriously and make sure that their resume and cover letter address the needs of the employer and spell out what good employees they will be. Then they need to follow through with an outstanding performance on the job so that they can work towards the next job.

Oranges and Fruit Baskets and Shopping for a Job

Think of applying for a job as shopping. You are shopping for a job and the employers are shopping for employees. When employers are looking to hire new employees, the job description that the employer posts is their shopping list. Let’s just say they are shopping for oranges.


What most people do to ‘sell’ themselves to an employer is send them a fruit basket. Their resume is their fruit basket. It includes some oranges, but it also includes all sorts of things that the employer is not looking for. Maybe it’s their old resume or a resume that they send out for every job application. They include everything they’ve ever done on it, just in case. The job seekers’ hope is that the employer will look through the fruit basket and find the oranges that they want.

Unfortunately, in this Labour Market, sending out ‘fruit baskets’ is likely a waste of time. There are so many people applying for the same job that you need to send a basket of oranges to get the employer’s attention and to get an interview.


What that means is that you must read the job posting very carefully and respond on your resume and in your cover letter by providing information about the skills, abilities, accomplishments and qualifications that you have that they are looking for. These types of resumes are called ‘targeted’ resumes. They are written to directly address the needs of the employer. The more ‘oranges’ you send them, the greater the likelihood that you will be offered a chance to interview for the job.

One of my specialties is helping people identify what ‘oranges’ they have to sell to the employer and putting them into a resume and cover letter in a way that appeals to the employer.

Many more people get interviews and jobs because they went to the trouble of finding their oranges and selling them to the prospective employer.

Dream Jobs and Nightmares

Dream Jobs and Nightmares

For many years career counsellors have promoted the theory of finding your “dream job”, and we career counsellors and coaches were keen to help people find them. The theory was that there was a “perfect” job out there somewhere, and with our help people could get the job of their dreams. We were excited by the prospect of helping people get the job that would fulfill them and make them happy to leap out of bed each morning and work happily at that job all day. And that is still a great idea and a good goal. However, the labour market has been changing.

Back in the early 1900’s jobs were scarce and people were happy to get a job; any job. When Henry Ford offered the possibility of earning up to $5.00 a day for labouring in his Ford Motor Company, thousands showed up to get those well-paid jobs. No matter that they were gruelling, unrelenting jobs. They were a job and they were well paid. Never mind that you weren’t cut out for the work. If you could get this job, you were happy to take it.

Over time, jobs became plentiful and people were able to pick and choose between jobs. In the 1960’s and 70’s a person could set out to find work in the morning and be working in a new job by afternoon. If they didn’t like that job, they could leave and get another one the next day.

With the bounty of jobs ripe for the picking, the notion of an ideal or “dream job” evolved. People began to understand that they could actually find a job which would make them happy. We career practitioners were delighted to have the opportunity to guide people to those jobs. We had the tools and the expertise to get through the morass of possibilities.

In recent years, however, the notion of a “dream job” has faded as the economy slows and social changes impact the Labour Market. Jobs are fewer and farther between and harder to get. According to the laws of supply and demand employers can set specific requirements for available jobs and only consider applicants who meet their criteria. Conversely, job seekers are sometimes forced by financial constraints to take jobs that are not a good fit for them. We do what we have to do to survive.

Does this mean that people should give up on finding work that will suit them and fulfill them? I don’t think so. It is still important to aim for satisfying work; however, it is more important than ever that people take their job search seriously. Research and self-knowledge are two important components of finding work that is a good fit.

Once realized, it must be followed up with nothing less than a spectacular resume and cover letter. This is not the time to send in your tired, old resume. You only have one shot at making an impression with the hiring personnel. It is also important to realize that the hiring process is far different from that of even a decade ago. It’s important to research how hiring is done and how to manage the perils of the internet and on-line applications.

So, don’t stop looking for your “dream job”, but don’t let the process turn into a nightmare.

What are you waiting for?

At long last, I am joining the on-line world of ideas and information. I am called to do this in answer to the distress and confusion that I have seen in my clients when they are trying to find work, apply for a job or navigate the politics and personalities in their work place.

I call my business AccessAbility because I help people “Access their Abilities”. I do this as a Career and Life Coach and as a Life Skills Coach and Training Facilitator. I find that most people are blissfully unaware of their abilities, their skills and the gifts that they have and how they contribute to the world at large. How sad! My goal is to help people see how great they are and how they can use them to their personal advantage.

It seems that many people, maybe most, are not sure of what their abilities are or how to maximize on them in the workplace. Sometimes people need guidance to understand their world and how to navigate it.

So that’s what I hope to achieve with this blog. I will be posting current information on all aspects of the Labour Market and living a successful life.

What are you waiting for?

Indeed, what are you waiting for? Is it time to take a good look at your life and see if it’s still working for you? Do some parts of your life seem to be out of alignment with your expectations? Maybe it’s time to take stock and set some goals for yourself instead of waiting to see what happens.

In many cases people seek out my help when they have lost their job or are in great distress over some aspect of their life. Why wait for life to happen to you? Why not be the one deciding how your life will manifest?

It’s time. It’s your move.