Tips to Help You Regain Your Focus After the Holidays

With the holiday season coming to an end, reality is setting back in. It is no longer acceptable to eat and drink whatever you want, our bank accounts are lower than usual and everyone is heading back to work. Getting back into the work and life routine is not easy. It can be hard to get focused and switch your mindset from holiday mode to work mode.

I have created a list of tricks to help you get focused the first day back at work. These tips can be used whenever you need to redirect your attention to work or personal life, and not necessarily just after the holidays! Here is what I do when I cannot focus, or feel overwhelmed at work.


  1. Lists! Lists! Lists!

I am at times, a LIST QUEEN. Lists are great for any day of the week, but especially helpful on a Monday returning from the holidays. You may find that when you arrive at work you have a million things to do. Here’s my tip to you; Take a deep breath and write it all down. Write a list of everything you have to accomplish that day. As a recruiter I am constantly writing lists of what I have to do, who is available to work, what my clients need and more! Lists will help you visualize what it is you really need to do, rather than having a bunch of thoughts floating around in your mind. One thing I do too, is when I’m feeling overwhelmed I take the easiest tasks on my list and complete them. It really makes you feel like you have accomplished something, and it feels good to stroke them off the list!

  1. Prioritize

After you have created your “To Do List”, prioritize it!! Here in the office we typically like to colour coordinate. Green highlight means it must be finished immediately! Yellow highlight means it is important but not urgent. And Red means it has to be done but could wait to be done last. This really puts into perspective your work load and allows for you to manage your time better.

  1. Declutter

I find if my work space is clean my mind feels clearer. If you have the opportunity to tidy before you go on holidays, it is good to be proactive. It will make coming back to your workspace that much easier. Tidying your workspace can make a world of a difference. If your feeling overwhelmed, cleaning allows for you to take a break from work and still be productive, allowing you to clear your mind and your workspace.

  1. Eat Healthy

A lot of us are guilty of indulging a little TOO much over the holidays. When it is time to come back to work on Monday and you still have turkey brain, staying focused and staying awake can be challenging. As much as it is ok to indulge, ensure when you are back in the workplace you are consuming healthy foods. Fruits, vegetables and good proteins will you to get your body back in balance after weeks of alcohol, carbs and sweets! (Three of my favourite things). It is also important to stay hydrated! Water is very important and will help you stay focused at work, and overall make your body feel better. Dare I say it but to add to healthy eating, working out will also help you get back in the rhythm of your personal or work life.

We all get distracted at time, you are not alone! If you have had a few weeks off of work due to the holidays it can be even more challenging to be motivated and focused your first day back. Hopefully these tips can help you. If you have any questions of the above content or would like to share your own tips that help you regain focus, send me an email at, thanks for reading!

Tips for Setting Your Career Goals


Goal setting is an important contribution to the success of your career as well as personal growth.  Setting goals will help you have a satisfying career.  Your goals, and the steps you take to achieve them, are your road map. Don’t make the mistake to delay setting long-term and short-term goals for your career. People with goals are successful and achieve success. Setting and achieving meaningful career goals provides three essential career benefits: increased job satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and improved quality of your life.

A short-term goal ranges from six months to three years.  You may need weekly, monthly or quarterly time frames.  Long term goals have a longer time line; they can range such as three years, five years or twenty years.  Use your imagination to envision the career you want and aim high.  Write it all down or use a vision board. Don’t forget to review your goals regularly to monitor growth – monthly, quarterly and annually.

Tips to Increase Your Chances of Achieving Your Goals

It is much easier to define a goal than it is to achieve it. Your hard work toward achieving it  plays the biggest role in your success, but if you don’t formulate your goals properly, it will be much more difficult to reach them.  A simple way to think of this is to use the SMART acronym; goals need to be: Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Time-bound.


  1. Your goals must be specific.Make to do lists and a plan to quantify.
  2. Set Timelines. Make long term goals and then determine your short term goals to achieve those.
  3. Be Positive. Make sure your goal is something you want rather than something you want to avoid.
  4. Keep your goals realistic. Make sure your long-term goals are compatible with your abilities and skills.
  5. Tie an action to each goal. Read books, blogs and sign up for on going education or classes
  6. Be flexible about your goals. Review and modify your goals as your career, job and technology changes.

Goal-setting techniques are used by successful people in all fields. By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure your progress and continuously motivate yourself to progress toward the vision you have for your ideal work life. You will be able to see forward movement in what might otherwise feel like a long, pointless grind. By setting and taking action toward your goals, you will raise your self-confidence.

The Benefits of Implementing a Leadership Development Plan in Your Company

Leadership Development is a topic that a lot of HR professionals are talking about. This is no surprise, with 59% of organizations saying that Leadership Development is their #1 priority at this time. If you are not talking about it or considering Leadership Development in your organization, then you should start. I’ll be telling you about a few benefits of implementing a Leadership Development Program within your organizations.

Currently the labour force is made up of three generations; The Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials. With a large number of Boomers and Gen Xers occupying managerial and executive level roles in our organizations, and less Millennials in entry level positions, we will soon be faced with an employee dilemma in our labour force. The Millennials that are entering the workforce do not have the suitable skills and experience needed to fill all of the roles upon the retirement of all the Baby Boomers. Frankly, there just aren’t enough people!

Some companies have been proactive over the years, recognizing this trend early enough and have worked on developing successful Leadership Development Plans. It is becoming essential that all companies consider some form of Leadership Development in their workplace. A plan that aligns with the succession and HR planning in the organizations that promote their strategic goals and brand is essential to the success of your company.

I am here to provide you with the benefits of implementing a Leadership Development Plan in your organization. I have narrowed down, in my opinion, the top three benefits of Leadership Development.


  1. Increase in Skills and Experience in Millennials

With the lack of proper leadership training in schools and the current work place, Millennials lack suitable skills to take over the senior level roles in our workforce.  Millennials have been sheltered growing up, with access to information at their fingertips and instant communication. Which has resulted in lack of proper communication, and interpersonal skills that is required to lead an organization. This is where the Leadership Development Program comes into play. With an emphasis of Millennial development, your organization will see a huge increase in the knowledge and skills. Like any training or development program, if done correctly you should see a result in your employees understanding of their job requirements. This can be measured typically through productivity and employee sales. Leadership development specifically targets mainly millennials, as they are the leaders of our future work force.

  1. Increase in Employee Retention

Every company is always looking to retain employees. There is no better way to do this, than with a Leadership Development Program. A program like this, will typically offer employees a fast track to senior level positions. When one can see these positions in the near future, they are more likely to stay with an organization. A leadership program allows for both the employee and company to invest in one another. In result, the employee is more likely to stay loyal to the employer.

  1. Increase in Employment Engagement

Your Leadership Development Plan, as stated above, includes an investment from both the employee and employer. With that comes constant feedback from both parties. This is a great way to get employees engaged in what they are doing. This engagement can be measured through retention and productivity levels. A Leadership Development Program will make employees feel valued and appreciated within the organization, and this in turn will make them engaged.

Leadership training can come in many forms; Networking events, Online Modules, Situational Testing, Mentorships, Job Rotation, etc. It is about finding what works best in your organization and running with it. Every company and every person is different. People learn in different ways, and it is just a matter of developing a plan that correlates with your employees learning styles with the companies Succession and HR Plan.

If you have any questions regarding Leadership Development in Millennials, please email ! Thank you for reading ????



Dessler, G. & Chhinzer, N. (2016). Human Resources Management in Canada. Ontario, CA. Pearson Canada Inc.


The importance of References

References are so important when applying for a job.  Many people disregard the importance of references or simply don’t understand how to use references properly. I can’t tell you how many times candidates have had no idea what references are relevant to the job they are applying for.  For example when applying for an office position, don’t give your recruiter a reference from your first job at a bakery.  It’s not relevant because (1) it was 10 years ago, and (2) the fact that you can bake good bread and smile at customers does not help you in an advanced office position.   There is nothing wrong with working at a bakery but it’s just not a relevant reference.

A second common response I get from candidates is the 10-minute story about why they couldn’t supply me with a reference or references from the most recent jobs on their resume. NOTE: If there was bad blood between you and your last employer and you make up a crazy explanation – STOP.  It is an extremely awkward time for the both of us and the more complicated your explanation, the less we believe. Make it simple and honest.  Things got bad between you and your last employer.  Life happens and sometimes you didn’t leave your last employer happy but save the stories.  No one will believe you unless your explanation is simple and to the point.

My third beef is the reference list that goes on forever. I can tell you without exaggeration, I had a candidate who gave me a reference list so long it took THREE pages.  This is too much information. Make it tight, recent and pay attention to the 4 W’s (who, what, where, why).  I do not want a list that gives me 15 references. It is a waste of my time and yours. When you apply for a new job, supply only those references that are relevant to the position.

The number one rule in applying for work is to be organized. Don’t just throw references out there that aren’t relevant. Be thoughtful in every step of the process – it might take a bit more time preparing your resume, but it will save you much more time in the end. If you are confused on what references might be relevant, that is what I am here for!  Recruiters will help in the whole process.

Any questions? Contact me and let’s chat –


List of Red Flags to to be Aware of During an Interview

Interviewing is a fine art. If done correctly, it allows for you to learn a lot about a potential hire in a short period of time. Quite often, the interview is the deciding factor of

whether to hire or reject a candidate. Ideally, after a positive interview an employer will want to hire and move forward with the candidate.

Below is a list of Interview Red Flags; looking for these signs can save your company a lot of time and money in the long run. An interview could be going very well but one negative comment or omission that seems insignificant at the time, can have much larger impact further down the line, and it’s important to know what to watch for.

1 – The candidate is late.

If a candidate shows up late for the interview you can bet they will show up late for work. Being late for an interview also does not show appreciation of the interviewees time. However, it is important to remember that everyone has good and bad days. If a candidate is late, but calls ahead and has a sincere reason it’s a red flag but not a deal breaker.

2 – Candidate provides TOO much personal information.


If a candidate informs you of a lot of personal information during the interview, this is a bad sign. The information they are supplying may be too informative, or inappropriate. This shows a lack of interpersonal skills and is a sign that they may cause unnecessary drama in the work place.

3 – Candidate left previous jobs for bad reasons.

As you talk through the candidate’s work history, make sure to ask why those other jobs ended. A candidate may give vague answers for one or two, out of respect for the employer and in an effort to not speak badly about the manager or brand, so be flexible. However, a red flag may be if the person has unexplained dismissals. My favorite personal excuse is “I forgot why I left that role”. THIS IS NEVER A SUFFICIENT ANSWER.

4. Candidate has large unexplained time gaps in their work history.

Large time gaps in work history can be caused by a lot of reasons. Some acceptable explanations may be, death in the family, severe illness, travelling, or childbirth. If the candidate cannot provide you with a valid explanation of their absence from the work force or if they blame it on not being able to find work, they could be unmotivated or hiding something. This is not the type of person you want to join your team.

5 – Candidate shows an overly high interest in pay and benefits.

The person you are interviewing is of course looking for a paycheck. This is understandable, however, if their only concern or question is regarding pay and personal benefit, this is a bad sign. These types of questions display lack of interest in the position and a low level of motivation and dedication. If a person only cares about money they are likely going to leave your establishment when a higher paying position becomes available.

Those listed are just a few red flags to look for when interviewing a candidate. Others may include, bad attitude, poor posture, foul language, too much enthusiasm, etc. The bottom line is follow your gut. If you feel there is something off about the candidate, there is a reason, do not move forward with them. Always follow your intuition and be sure to follow up with references for credibility.

If you have any questions about the interview process or what to look for when interviewing a candidate please call 604-606-1831. One of the recruiting specialists at Career Contacts will be happy to help. Please see our other blogs at for more hiring tips! ????


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