Through the Back Door with Glassdoor

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

One message that's always driven home during the Calgary Public Library's interview and networking programs is simple: research the companies you have targeted. The information you collect can result in more meaningful and fruitful interactions and results. In addition to the Library’s databases that provide tools to take you beyond Google, Glassdoor is an example of a website that offers company ratings and employee reviews. This Canadian dvision of the California based website offers ratings for over 250,000 companies. This can prove handy when trying to get a sense of the pros and cons of a company, and in many cases employees will provide examples of interview questions and ratings on company culture, as is the case with Calgary's Golder Associates page. For example, a job searcher who was recently interviewed by a Golder three person panel was asked about expected salary. He advised to "make sure you know what you want, do the research, and be prepared to answer this question."

Glassdoor is also handy for researching average salaries, and often includes a breakdown of base pay and bonuses. Facebook users also have the option to identify and connect with friends who work for targeted companies. While many job searchers have yet to discover this website, recent articles point to its increased use and potential.

To make things even easier, the Calgary Public Library now has a partnership program with Glassdoor, which allows you unlimited access without having to sign up. One more tool to make your job search easier.

Getting Out of Your Own Way

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

A Taste of Coaching

—Presentation and Free Coaching Sessions

Wednesday, May 21, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Central Library 2nd Floor John Dutton Theatre

Thursday, May 22, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Crowfoot Library


In celebration of International Coaching Week, the Calgary Public Library is once again hosting our Taste of Coaching event on May 21st and 22nd, featuring free coaching sessions at two locations in partnership with the International Coaching Federation Calgary Charter Chapter. Following a 30-minute presentation on the nature and intent of coaching, participants will have the opportunity to sign up for free, 15 minute, one-on-one sessions with a professional coach.

For those who have never experienced what a certified coach can offer, this is a great chance to try it out. Coaches can help create focus on personal and professional issues, provide insights into dilemmas, and encourage a commitment to personal goals. I caught up with Lisa Holden Rovers, one of the coaches at the Crowfoot Library event, to ask her more about why and how she chose her career:

Lisa, how did you decide to become a professional coach?

While in my position in Human Resources back in 2000, I went to a workshop where I was introduced to the coaching process. It helped me realize that much the work I was doing (and enjoyed!) to support and advise both employees and managers incorporated many coaching fundamentals. Driving home that night I was struck by the fact that coaching was what I was meant to be doing. So I decided to finance myself to go through the 18 month course, and by 2005 I had my own coaching practice.

Have you worked with coaches yourself over the years?

Frequently, and they have been critical in helping me define and understand the important moments in my life. When I was trying to decide whether to form my own practice, one said to me “What I’m hearing is not if, but when you are going to make this move - pay attention, and be aware of, the importance of timing.” Sure enough, around the time when I was visualizing how I needed more harmony in my life, I was layed off. I knew that was my opportunity to take charge and launch my business.

What can a great coach offer?

I feel a good coach has the skill to truly listen, reflect back, and help you get out of your own way. Often we can forget where we come from and where we are meant to be heading, and a coach can help you realize and navigate through that. Sometimes we have our blinders on. We are too busy and there is too much noise in our life for us to always see our way. Coaches can help pave the path.


As an added bonus, we are also offering a follow up program—Creating Clarity for Career and Life Goalsfor those interested in taking their work to the next level:

Creating Clarity for Career and Life Goals

Saturday, May 24, 10:30 am to 12:00 p.m., Central Library

Interested? To register or for more information either visit our website or call 403-260-2782 .

Behaviour Descriptive Interviews

by Roberta - 1 Comment(s)

Interviews can be scary, but behaviour descriptive interviews can be terrifying if you're unprepared. This interview technique was designed to discover how you act and react in certain circumstances, and employers are looking for real life examples of how you behaved in situations relating to the questions they pose. Given that the City of Calgary and other major employers use this interview technique, we invited experts to give their best advice and recommendations as part of our recent Accelerate Your Career event at the Central Library on April 26th.

Our first presenter, Debbie, stressed one word: Prepare! Make sure you’ve got lots of relevant stories and examples to give your interviewer. The better you know yourself and the more reflection you’ve done, the better you’ll do in your interview. Know yourself, and research the company you’re interviewing with and the role you’re interviewing for.

David reminded everyone preparing for any interview to be prepared, but not so prepared and memorized that you end up sounding phony. Be genuine and yourself, be proud of your accomplishments, be aware of your strengths, and understand weaknesses or areas for improvement. And, before you leave the interview, know your next step. If the interviewer does not offer that before you leave, you should ask them. Go into every interview with a positive attitude. Remember: employers only interview strong candidates, so if you received an interview you are doing amazing. It will just be a matter of time before you land a job.

David and Debbie hosted such a lively session that we have made it available Calgary Public Library's YouTube channel.

Here are some great examples of possible questions from the Asper School of Business, while this article offers good advice on how to craft and tell your own story. For further research, our wide selection of interviewing books go into greater depth and offer a wider range of questions and strategies.

To Market, To Market: Logistics Careers in Alberta

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

According to a recent Calgary Herald article, "Canada faces a shortage of 357,000 workers for the supply chain sector—at least 50,000 job openings in supply chain in Alberta alone—between now and 2020." But awareness of the variety of jobs within the logistics sector eludes many, despite excellent websites dedicated to the industry, including the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council and the Supply Chain Management Association of Alberta. They each feature great career overviews and industry information, and highlight the huge demand for support occupations from a range of professions:SCMA Alberta graphic

To help you explore your options, we invited a team of supply chain professionals to take part in our 4th Annual Accelerate Your Career event at the Central Library on April 26th, as part of our Career Conversations. Drop by and chat one-on-one and find out more about the industry and explore the type of work available. They will be joined by 15 more professionals in industries such as oil and gas, information technology, accounting and insurance, as part of our career exploration event.

Return to Sender? Resume Advice for Job Seekers

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

Does your resume need your street address? Likely not, according to some local recruiters.

This past week I participated in a series of Job Search Boot Camps at Fort Calgary. One of the most popular features is always the employer panel, where people can ask advice from experts. This year I was surprised when they suggested that home addreses are no longer recommended for resumes, and to simply include an email address, phone numbers and perhaps a LinkedIn URL. This makes sense from a privacy point of view as well, as many security advocates strongly suggest omitting any personal information from resumes, especially if you are uploading them to online job boards.

Other tips of the day included:

  • Create a unique work search email, separate from your personal account. That way you are working with a dedicated email that is easier to track and check, and will not expose your personal email to the spam you might receive after posting your resume. And remember: keep your email address professional. No Foxylady@hotmail.com.
  • Omit personal references on your resume, as you are exposing them to security risks by doing so.
  • Presenter Lynn Berry also reminded job searchers to keep careful records of the jobs you apply for. This will help avoid those awkward situations when an employer calls for an interview and you have no recollection of the job you applied for months ago!

Need more tips? Want to shine up your resume with help from experts?

As part of our 4th Annual Accelerate Your Career event on April 26th, we have eight career coaches on hand to offer 30 minute resume sessions. Register online to reserve a time, or drop by between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm.

Free Instructor–Led Online Courses with Learn4Life

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

One of the Library's most popular and heavily used online products continues to offer Calgarians high quality courses that are never cancelled, never fill up, and support lifelong learning and personal growth on over 300 topics. All our cardholders have access to Learn4Life, instructor led online courses available from your home or office — at whatever times are most convenient for you.

175 expert instructors develop, lead, and interact with students in each course, which run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Courses are project oriented and include lessons, quizzes, hands-on assignments, discussion boards, supplementary links, and an optional final exam.

I recently chatted with Jim, a customer who took the Publish and Sell Your E-books course. "I thought the program was great, partly because the instructor had self published several titles, and had practical information on what the bigger vendors, such Amazon, look for. She also discussed the nuts and bolts of getting paid. It felt personal."

Courses are easily accessed through the Library's E-Library link from our homepage, under the heading of Job Search, Careers & Courses, or by clicking on the link on the left hand side under Recommended Resources. On the first page, you will find a step by step guide, along with a helpful FAQ to answer some of the most common questions.

Curious to learn more? Our Virtual Services team created this snazzy infographic to break down the details. Have you taken a course and and would like to share your experience? Contact me at roberta.kuzyk-burton@calgarypubliclibrary.com. I'd love to hear from you.

 

Mastering Calgary's Unspoken Work Rules

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

Mastering Calgary's Unspoken Work Rules

Are you new to the job market in Calgary or Canada? Do you sometimes find it a challenge to figure out how to succeed at work? Join Matt Adolphe, author of Canadian Workplace Culture, as he offers insights into how to navigate Canada's conflict averse culture.

Thursday, February 20
5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Central Library

The book makes for great reading, and offers insights into how workers are unaware of the unspoken, unwritten rules of workplace conduct. As the book summary reminds us, not knowing those rules can be the beginning of an employees undoing; breaking them, making the wrong impression on new peers can stand in the way of promotions and success in the workplace. This book explains the 10, generally unspoken, rules that enable employees to the workplace to fit in, become accepted and succeed. You'll discover why, in a non-assertive environment it is so important to put the feelings of others first, avoid conflict, be diplomatic, and build the strong rapport with colleagues that leads to success in the workplace.

Our careers team at the Calgary Public Library recently chatted with Matt to find out more about the process of putting the book together:

Matt, what prompted you to write the book?

I have a passion for helping people succeed. And I believe people must have the right tools in order to be successful. In this case, many people asked me how they could be a good fit for the job market here. After reviewing available literature, I realized that a clear and accessible hand book was needed to help people find the answer for this question.

In your opinion, how much is someone’s success at work dependent upon understanding and adapting to varying workplace cultures?

Very important. As we know, Canada is a wonderfully diverse country and within it are different cultures living and working side by side. Having said that, I just wanted to give people a picture of the expectations traditionally owned and operated Canadian companies have. And even though the cultures in companies may vary from place to place, there are still some general connections we can make. In the end, to survive you need to adapt to your environment. And in order to adapt, you need tools. I hope this book gives people some of the tools they need to be more successful in their work environment in Canada.

Matt, you have a very interesting career path. How did it help support the research for the book?

I have always been fascinated with history and culture, and that fascination has guided me throughout my studies, travels and work. As a result, I think this background helps me to see a culture in an objective way. And when I came back to Canada, after living overseas for years, I was able to see Canada from a completely different perspective—from the eyes of a newcomer. That is ultimately when the book started to take shape. If people want to get a job and keep a job, they need to know those unspoken rules in the workplace.


This program will start promptly at 5:30, and will be followed by our regular Thursday evening Strategic Networking session. And if you would like someone to review your resume, don't forget that our Career Coaching program also starts at 6:00 p.m.

Beyond the Criminal Record

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

According to recent statistics, roughly 13 per cent of Canadians have a criminal record.

These are usually minor offences that can create barriers for mobility, travel, and especially employment. Yet even with the strong demand for employees in Alberta’s bustling economy, there is often wariness or reluctance to hire these workers.

To explore why, the Calgary Public Library and Alberta Human Services are hosting a two part program: Committed to Work: Dealing with Criminal Records.

The morning session, Calgary's Overlooked Labour Pool, is geared towards career practitioners and employers and will focus on hiring strategies, best practices, and great stories, with representatives from Cargill and Devon Energy, lawyers, and more.

Calgary's Overlooked Labour Pool (for Employers)
8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Tuesday, February 25
Central Library, 2nd Floor John Dutton Theatre
616 Macleod Trail SE
(Access the theatre entrance from Macleod Trail)

Join us for a coffee, great conversations, and a reminder of the great resources available to support and encourage the engagement of this vulnerable population.

You can register either on the Library’s Program link, or through Eventbrite.

Beancounters Aren't Boring

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

Based on last year’s inaugural success, the Alberta Accountants Unification Agency is hosting its second annual Accounting and Finance Career Expo. I met with Nancy Green, Manager of Career Services with the AAUA, to chat about strategies and tips for this January’s event, which has attracted 30 employers:

Nancy, Robert Half and other surveys are showing steady growth in the accounting and finance fields. Are there any current hiring trends that job seekers need to be aware of?

The forecast is good for the industry, but companies are being careful with hiring decisions. While technical skills are important, they’re also focusing on soft skills such as critical and analytical thinking, leadership qualities, and the ability to develop and bring forward recommendations. It’s important that candidates think about these skills before the job fair, and to be open to looking beyond work experience to draw out these qualifications. Remember that you can pull out transferable skills from other areas of your life.

Nancy, we heard that last year there were still participants who could have been better prepared for the event. Do you have any suggestions?

For those who have registered online (do it soon!) we email you tip sheets and information prior to the event, and you are strongly encouraged to read them. As for tips:

  1. Know yourself and your skills, and be ready to speak to them
  2. Dress business casual or formal. A collared shirt is a necessity for men
  3. Come prepared by researching the company and developing specific questions to ask company representatives. Remember not to monopolize their time, and keep your interaction to 5 minutes
  4. Bring your business cards, notebook, pen and resume
  5. If you are offered a card or contact information by an employer, remember to follow up with them within a week. A simple thank you is a good first step
  6. Smile, be genuine, and have a firm handshake
  7. Leave the backpack at home!

You mention that job seekers can bring their resumes. Are all the companies accepting them?

Expect that most companies will refer visitors to their website or job boards. This doesn’t mean you can’t use the opportunity to talk to recruiters about the range of career paths within their company, or the key skills required for the jobs you are interested in. And remember that this is a great networking opportunity to talk to professionals in your industry.

Nancy, does your agency provide support to job seekers trying to improve their employment readiness?

Yes. If a job seeker is a registered CGA, CMA or CA member in Alberta or is a student registered in the CGA, CMA, CA or CPA programs in Alberta, they should email me at ngreen@albertaaccountants.org to see what services we have that can help, such as interview preparation or resume advice.


Need more networking tips? Calgary Public Library has a big selection of books loaded with inspiration and practical tips.

Need help finding them? Call our friendly staff at 403-260-2782.


Keeping Your Head and Nailing the Interview

by Roberta

A nice, fresh batch of career books recenty arrived, and there are some very solid reads in the bunch. Here are some of my favourites, and reasons why:

Keeping Your Head after Losing Your Job: How To Survive Unemployment, by Robert Leahy

The buzz: Advice and strategies to help boost your self-esteem and confidence, decrease anxiety and feelings of helplessness, and develop resilience and strength during unemployment. Dr. Leahy’s thesis is that by keeping your head and learning how to deal with your situation, you can learn how to live your life more effectively when you get a job.

What I love so far: How to accept uncertainty, challenging your reasons for worrying, dealing with unemployment as a family.

The Everything Job Interview Question Book, by Dawn Rosenberg McKay

The buzz: Strategies for hundreds of interview questions to increase your confidence, along with help on handling inappropriate questions, advice on questions to ask employers, and tips on handling remote interviews.

What I like so far: Behavioural interview questions, guidance on how to communicate what you can bring to the company, and follow up advice.

The Subversive Job Search: How to Overcome a Lousy Job, Sluggish Economy, and Useless Degree to Create a Six-Figure Career, by Alan Corey

The buzz: A narrative, unconventional, self depricating and humourous little book full of career advice and Corey’s sly techniques on how to create a lucrative job.

What I like so far: How he recovered from “financial implosion”, his boldness, and his “subversive job tips.”

The Essential Job Interview Handbook, by Jean Baur

The buzz: Offers detailed interview strategies and solid insights into the logic behind the questions, while encouraging thoughtful and extensive preparation

What I like so far: A Good, Better and Best strategy for examining questions, years of professional experience to back up the advice, and lots of pull out tips for quick reference.

21 Days to Success Through Networking: The Life and Times of Gnik Rowten, by Ron Sukenick and Ken Williams

The Buzz: Written to help you meet and prepare for the reality of successful job hunt by presenting scenarios through the perspective of a fictional character to learn how to extend, deepen, and effectively use your personal and business networks.

What I like so far: His method of pulling out critical and “Aha” moments to drive home important networking concepts, and a quick and effortless read that prompts contemplation.

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