Archive for February 2014

One essential strategy to use when looking for a job

Based years of job searching and trying to find jobs for family members and friends, I have realized that one of the best and unknown

One essential strategy to use when looking for a job: look for companies that are desperate!

One essential strategy to use when looking for a job: look for companies that are desperate!

ways to get a job is to look for companies that are desperate. Let me explain what I mean by this. When a company suddenly has a need to hire an employee, whether it is to replace a sudden departure or out of pure need for extra staff, you are much more likely to get the job, all other things being equal.

Ok, you may be thinking that it is all common sense and nothing revolutionary.  After all, most hiring are born out of need or desperation on the part of the company. Sure it is but most people don’t think of it actively. That is, they don’t act on it.

When a company needs to hire immediately, chances are they will overlook many shortcomings in prospective applicants that they would otherwise insist on. And the shorter the hiring window and the number of applicants the easier it will be to score the job.

I have personally seen this happen with my own job search as well as with my wife, sister, friends and others. For most of us, although we were generally qualified to take on job, we may not have been the best candidates for some of these jobs. Not even close. But somehow we got the jobs based on how soon we applied for these jobs, shortly after they were posted. A lot of companies, when faced with a sudden and urgent need to hire someone, would rather hire from the very first applicants-assuming they meet at least some of the criteria-than to wait and risk losing time and customers. Desperation leads to panic for some hiring managers and HR department and that panic may lead to a quick hiring decision: be sure to put yourself out there when this is the case.

This is especially the case for the food and IT industries, where certain positions are either very specialized or the business can’t go even one day without a replacement.  If you are looking for a job in of these two industries and you spot an ad for a company that is urgently looking for new staff, be sure to apply right away. Always look for the date the ad was posted, as the earlier you reply the better your chances are to score that job. You can also take advantage of special email alerts from the different job sites out there (Indeed, CareerBuilder, Workopolis etc.) so you are notified of that special job you are waiting for or are interested in.

Another way to use this strategy to your advantage, and similar to what has already been mentioned above, is to look for the wording of these ‘hiring’ ads. Are they using special keywords like ‘urgent’ ‘start right away’ ‘need urgently’ etc.? These tell you that the company or business doing the hiring is a little desperate and you should jump at the opportunity.

And last, new businesses that are just opening or getting started, are often desperate to find the right staff to start the business. Be sure to look out for those. A new restaurant opening in your neighborhood can’t open without the required kitchen and serving staff. They can’t just open and worry about that part later.

Got your own special tips for getting a job? please share them with us in the comments section.

Can you use your TFSA account to make extra monthly income?

TFSA (short for Tax Free Saving Account) was introduced in Canada in 2009, allowing each individual (18 years of age or older) to save up to $5,500 per year and earn interest on their money, without having to pay any taxes on the earned interest.

TFSA can be a great source of a secondary income.

TFSA can be a great source of a secondary income.

As of 2013, the maximum annual amount has been bumped to $5,500. So in theory, if you were to max out your limit every year, you would now have $31,000 in a TFSA account and not be paying any taxes on any earned interest. As a couple, that is up to $62,000.

With saving interest rates sitting around 1.5 to 2%, you could make up to $1240 in interest annually and not pay any taxes.  That is not a terrible amount after all, considering that we are at historical lows when it comes to interest rates. Imagine how much more can be earned when interest rates inevitably start to climb back up.  But even at these historical low rates, a couple can expect upward of $100 per month in income from tax-free interest on their savings. That is enough to pay for a bill or two.

But it gets better. Despite all the confusion surrounding TFSA, it is not strictly a savings account. It can be used for a variety of other investing purposes. For example, just like an RRSP, you can use your TFSA to buy GICs, mutual funds, stocks, bonds etc. And whatever you earn from these investments, will be tax-free. As long as you stay within your annual limit.

Assuming TFSA are here to stay and their annual limit increases to account for inflation, you could be looking at a more potential income in the future from these tax-free accounts.  For example, in 10 years, TFSAs will have been around for 15 years.  For a couple, that could mean some $160,000 in a saving account, generating tax free interest income. Assuming an interest rate of 5% , this could mean some $8,000 in extra income every year, from interest alone, or some $650 or more per month. That is a significant amount as a second source of income.

And if you account for compounding interest and other money gained from investments made within your TFSA, you could be looking at a lot more cash flow from your TFSA, without having to pay a single penny in taxes on them.

Lesson to take away from all of this? Make use of your TFSA. Even if you can’t max it out, this is the beauty of it: you can always catch up later. Your contribution room never goes away. You can always add to it later. Just remember to be careful and not over-contribute or lose track of how much room you have left.

This article will not go into all the technical details of TFSAs and how they work. For more information on that, you can read this TFSA FAQ page on