Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Sunday, December 11, 2016

"How to gain an edge when a job opportunity arises"/ Three keys to success: teamwork, flexibility and creativity"

Nov. 28, 2016 "How to gain an edge when a job opportunity arises": Today I found this article by Brian Scudamore in the Globe and Mail:

Even with the economy in recovery mode, finding a job can be brutal. An average of 250 people apply for every corporate job opening. Scarier still, 80 per cent of resumes are rejected within 11 seconds.

Given those odds, it’s imperative that you impress the big boss when you finally land an interview. Although I’ve handed off the hiring duties to my company president and HR team, I’m still involved in the hiring process for many of our leaders.

From almost 30 years of leafing through resumes and sitting through interviews, here are my tips for standing out to a CEO and getting the offer of your dreams.

Be above average

It sounds simple, but just getting noticed is an essential part of the application process – even qualified candidates can slip through the cracks in the early stages if they fail to make an awesome impression.

So think about what you can do differently – send in a funny video about yourself or make a stunning website. Or take a page from Sumukh Mehta’s playbook: The innovative man from India landed his dream job at British GQ by turning his resume into a beautiful, 20-page magazine.

My opinion: You should see the cover.  I like it.

This concept works for sales, too. When 1-800-GOT-JUNK? was applying for a huge refrigerator removal contract, we delivered a fridge to the company’s headquarters with “WE WANT THIS JOB!” written out in magnets. They loved our oversized “junk” mail ... and we got the job.

Study for your test

Even though it’s never been easier to access information, it’s amazing how many people don’t do their homework. A whopping 47 per cent of interviewers said they’ve disregarded an applicant because they didn’t know enough about the company.

Preparing for your interview means doing obvious things like exploring the company’s website, reading industry journals and investor reports, or asking a current employee for the lowdown on culture. But everyone has access to this information, so getting a unique perspective is what will set you apart. Call the front desk or sales centre to find out how employees talk about the brand. If they’re selling a product or a service, try it out yourself so you have first-hand knowledge to draw from. Walking into an interview with deep knowledge about the business is the best way to show you’re actually passionate about the gig.

Challenge the status quo

I’m always impressed by candidates who aren’t afraid to ask questions and speak their mind, because that’s what our company culture is all about. When I interviewed Gabe Villablanca, who now leads our digital marketing team, he told me that our website was outdated and didn’t convey the spirit of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. Then he shared his plan to make it better. It’s likely that many applicants before him thought the same thing, but he was the only one brave enough to say it.

Good leaders are looking for people to fill in gaps in their skills and knowledge. So show the CEO you’re not just a yes-man or woman.

Employ Etiquette 101

Seth Godin says catching someone’s eye means being truly remarkable. For example, imagine you see a purple cow in a field of black-and-white ones – what will you remember? To make a lasting impression and land the job, you have to stand out before, during, and after the interview.

One thing people often overlook is good, old-fashioned courtesy. I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve had where I didn’t get a thank-you card or note after. Ninety-one per cent of employers enjoy receiving a thank you, even via e-mail; a full 22 per cent will turn down a candidate who doesn’t send a note. As powerful as your first impression can be, it’s your last impression that will make the biggest impact. Make it a good one.

These tips are all empty gimmicks if you can’t back them up with experience and culture fit. But when you’re facing stiff competition from other equally qualified applicants, every little edge counts. That’s when a few tiny tweaks can put you ahead of the pack and grab the CEO’s attention for all the right reasons.

"Three keys to success: teamwork, flexibility, and creativity": Today I found this article by David Masson in the Globe and Mail:

In the military reserve and as an intelligence officer and private sector businessman, I’ve learned that sound leadership – one that embraces teamwork, creativity and flexibility – can get you far, whether you’re protecting local businesses from malware or fighting front-line national security threats.

Over the past 25 years in civilian government service, military reserve service, and periodic overseas service, and now with Darktrace, I’ve seen extraordinary changes in the threat landscape, encompassing the Cold War, organized crime, terrorism, espionage, extremism, and state-sponsored terrorism – threats that transitioned from analog to digital.

Today, I’m focusing on helping businesses identify and mitigate the most sophisticated cyber-threats. And believe me, they’re out there.
Whether protecting nations or businesses from the bad guys, three principles have always rung true for me. If you want to be a successful leader in high-stress environments, you have to have teamwork, encourage flexibility, and inspire creativity.

It all starts with teamwork

I’ve always been a firm believer that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The people on your team and how efficiently you collaborate are vital elements of success. As a leader, it is crucial to build your team with strong members who share your values and are dedicated to a common purpose. You need to understand your teammates, too. By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, you can assign the roles and responsibilities that play to their strengths.

There’s a big difference between being a leader and being a taskmaster. Leaders give autonomy to their team, which in turn fosters trust. By trusting your team, you give them the confidence to solve problems, be creative, and rise to the challenge, ultimately bringing success to the entire organization.

Make flexibility part of your DNA

I’ve worked in a number of unique roles and, without flexibility, I would have never been able to succeed. Internalizing flexibility allows you to adjust when things aren’t going right. Fluid thinking keeps you from getting stuck, which in turn opens the door to greater possibilities.

Most importantly, being flexible allows you to deal with change. Change is a fact of life, and how you handle it greatly impacts your ability to succeed – especially in business. Over the years, I’ve seen dramatic changes in the threat landscape. To succeed, I had to learn new approaches and problem-solve my way through tricky situations, but approaching change with flexibility allowed me to get through it.

Bring creativity to your everyday

When you have all the right pieces in place – a great team that embraces flexibility and feels empowered – you have the freedom to be creative. At Darktrace, I look for people who can think creatively about our business and our customers. Creativity is a key component to success in both the public and private sectors. Creativity isn’t just painting a pretty picture. It’s thinking differently about problems, identifying unique scenarios, and questioning the status quo. Being creative in the business world allows you to discover unique solutions for you and your clients. At the same time, creative thinkers are experts at improvisation. They immediately recognize when Plan A isn’t working and swiftly move on to Plan B, or even Plan C.

My career and leadership style is grounded in my experiences, which have allowed me to see these principles as true drivers of growth. Most importantly, these guiding values have allowed me to successfully shape my career on a code which stems from my Scottish-Canadian heritage. The motto of Scotland is “Nemo me immune lacessit,” or “No one provokes me with impunity.” The late Scottish writer William McIlvanney once suggested that the motto be changed to “Wait a minute, that’s not fair!” No matter the exact wording, much of my career has been dedicated to upholding the tone of these mottos by keeping the bad guys from harming nations, businesses, and people.


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