Hot Off the Press: February 2012

by Cher K - 0 Comment(s)

ACT: Strategies, Practice, and Review 2012

This essential ACT guide provides focused strategies, practice, and review so candidates score higher on test day--guaranteed. This book covers all material tested and includes two full-length practice tests, an online diagnostic quiz, detailed answer explanations, and more.

New GMAT Premier, 2012-2013

The GMAT is changing in June 2012. The new GMAT will have a new Integrated Reasoning section that will have interactive questions that test a student's ability to analyze and interpret charts, spreadsheets, graphs, and data. This book will help students study for the June 2012 test change and ensure they are prepared.

Business School Essays That Made a Difference by Nedda Gilbert

Most top business schools require multiple essays, and this book is your best bet for acing them all. This book contains actual student essays that tipped the balance between admission and denial, as well as interviews with admissions pros and with students who've been through the process and made it to business school.

Job Interviews for Dummies by Joyce Lain Kennedy

Does the thought of interviewing for a new job send shivers down your spine? It doesn′t have to! Whether you′re searching for your first job, changing careers, or looking for advancement in your current line of work, this book shows you how to use your skills and experiences to your advantage and land that job

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? by William Poundstone

Poundstone guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging job interview questions, Zen-like riddles, and other interviewing techniques candidates need to know. The book covers the importance of creative thinking, ways to get a leg up on the competition, and much more.

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko—the last career advice you'll ever need

by Janice

Poor Johnny Bunko. He got a proper education and landed a great job but despite excellent planning and years of hard work he's unfulfilled professionally, unsuccessful and—worst of all—completely miserable.

Sound familiar?

Either you've been there (can I see a show of hands?) or, and I hate to be the one to tell you, you will be there at some point in your professional life.

Daniel H. Pink has written a few books on life and career. His The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: the last career guide you'll ever need is a fun-to-read graphic novel containing some of the best career advice I've read in a long while (and I've read countless books and articles on career topics).

When the hapless Johnny separates a set of chopsticks to eat his lunch one day, he is magically visited by a beautiful (if somewhat pushy and foul-mouthed) pixie named Diana. (Yeah, that's right, a pixie.) Diana gives Johnny six more sets of chopsticks and with each set of separated chopsticks she reappears to provide Johnny with another invaluable piece of career advice.

Now I don't know about you, but I'd be thrilled to have a brash pixie appear in a flash of light to guide me forward in my career and life. Since I imagine it's unlikely this will happen any time soon, I'm grateful that Daniel Pink created this book.

Johnny Bunko has been billed as "America’s first business book in the Japanese comic format known as manga – and the last career guide you’ll ever need," and won a American Library Association Great Graphic Novel for Teens award in 2009. It is the perfect career book to give to any young person (don't let on that the book is a book on career advice, just let them think it's a purely fun graphic novel) and, surprisingly, a fantastic book with career advice that would be useful for anyone at any age, any stage in their career, and any level of English language comprehension.

About the advice? While I strongly advise you to read the book to get more details and a surprising amount of insight (plus the book is a fun way to spend ten minutes and may just include other valuable career advice), I'll post the six career lessons below (with my responses in italics):

The Six Lessons of Johnny Bunko

  1. There is no plan. Huh? So I've been banging myself over the head for years over not having a stong enough plan for nothing?
  2. Think strengths, not weaknesses. I like this one. I’d be happy to think less about my many weaknesses, thank you very much.
  3. It's not about you. Okay. I don't like this lesson ONE BIT. (But I know it's true.)
  4. Persistence trumps talent. I contribute to the Writer's Nook blog and as we constantly say (truly, ad nauseum): you have to actually write (and keep writing) to be a writer.
  5. Make excellent mistakes. Excellent advice about not being a perfectionist.
  6. Leave an imprint. Well. A particularly profound lesson. As they ask in the book: "Did I make a difference? Did I contribute something? Did my being here matter?" For me, the most important lesson in the book.

Sound pretty straightforward? These six lessons apply equally well to every aspect of life: Don't take things personally. Work hard at what you love to do. Don't worry about making mistakes. Follow your bliss. Make a difference.

On his website, Daniel Pink has some free discussion guides for teachers or career practictioners who wish to use to use Johnny Bunko with students or in business settings. This book would be useful for anyone to read as a book of career advice or even as an introduction to graphic novels.

As for me, I plan on taking Diana’s Daniel Pink’s lessons to heart. I may even discreetly put a copy of this book on the coffee table in hopes that my kids will accidentally read it. (And everytime I pull apart a set of chopsticks, a tiny part of me might just be hoping a pixie guru will appear.)

Help with the Academic CV

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

We aim to please! One of the Calgary Public Library's volunteer career coaches, Saudah Chan, suggested that we purchase her favourite book on academic CVs, and it just arrived. Here's her review of a book that handles the tricky field of academic disciplines:

For the academic job search novice, The Academic Job Search Handbook, 4th edition would prove useful as a general overview of preparation required two years before completion of one’s PhD, the hiring and application process, and interview considerations. Also useful are the newly added sections of dilemmas facing dual career couples and family planning. While the introduction indicates that its contents are geared towards American academic applicants, it would still prove useful as a generalist perspective.

The book also has delightful new additions including more CV samples, as well as sample teaching statements and non-academic resumes. For teaching dossiers, Surviving Your Academic Job Hunt by Kathryn Hume would provide more in-depth advice, and could also be considered by those in other disciplines such as physical and life sciences, including the summary of teaching evaluation samples provided.

Overall, this book is must-read for those who wish to demystify the academic job hunt, and wish to prepare early on for the next stage in their career.

Saudah enjoyed advising PhDs on the academic job search for five years at the University of Toronto Career Centre as coordinator of the Graduate Dossier Service and her presentations on How to Apply to Academic Jobs. Currently, she continues to assist PhDs with their job related inquiries.

Essential Skills in the Workplace

by Janice - 2 Comment(s)

Come join us on Friday, February 17 from 11:45 to 1:00 on the Third Floor of the Central Library as Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton discusses Essential Skills in the Workplace.


Sarah Elaine Eaton, Ph.D.How is workplace literacy being defined by HRSDC?

Today’s definition of literacy goes beyond traditional notions of being able to read and write. Literacy and Essential Skills is the umbrella term used by Human Resources and Skills Development Canda (HRSDC) to define the skills needed by all adults in Canada today, regardless of whether they are working, stay-at-home parents or retired. There are Nine Literacy and Essential Skills:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Document Use
  4. Numeracy
  5. Computer Use
  6. Thinking
  7. Oral Communication
  8. Working with others
  9. Continuous Learning


Employees need to have skills in all nine areas to be effective in today’s workplace.

What is the number one issue concerning employers regarding workplace literacy in Canada today?

The number one issue for employers is finding and keeping employees with the right skills to do their jobs safely and effectively. The Fall 2011 Labour Market Bulletin published by HRSDC reports that Calgary has failed to recover the same employment rates that it had before the 2008–2009 recession. While the province overall is recovering, the Calgary labour market lags behind other areas of the province. The Calgary job market requires high-skilled white collar workers with higher than average skills in reading, writing, numeracy and digital skills.

What are some of the costs to employers for not having employees trained in literacy and the essentials skills?

These can be difficult to quantify since people have lower levels of literacy and essential skills will often try to hide their lack of skills. This behaviour is not uncommon, as there can be feelings of shame and failure associated with low literacy skills. For that reason problems in the workplace can be difficult to trace back precisely to lower level skills.

Some studies have shown that employers who focus on building employee skills can see up to a 15% increase in overall workplace productivity and larger organizations may have even higher increases in productivity. One study revealed that over 80% of employers who engaged in workplace literacy programs felt that the benefits of the training outweighed the costs in terms of increased productivity leading to higher revenues for the buseinss, less wastage and less down time.

What are 3 resources for workplace literacy that employers and employees have access to?

Three of my favorite resources are:


Sarah Elaine Eaton is an educator, consultant and research specializing in adult learning, literacy and twenty-first century trends in training and education.

Job and Career Coaching

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

In celebration of International Coaching Week, Calgary Public Library is partnering with the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches to offer free 15-minute coaching sessions with experienced professional coaches. These valuable individualized sessions can focus on various topics such as: career, business, team and personal relationships.

This is the first event of its kind in Calgary and will be offered at two Library locations on February 8th and 9th, 2012.

Register online or by calling 403-260-2620. The regular Career Coaching program offered at four library locations offers further opportunities to access career advice from our experienced volunteers.


Calgary coach and human resources professional Tanya Snow answers some of our questions about career coaching:

Tanya Snow

What exactly does a career coach do?
A career coach can help you to take your career to the next level, assist you in finding a career that aligns with your interests, skills and values, or to make a small career shift to ensure a good fit.

What is the difference between an Executive Coach and a Career Coach?
A Career Coach would typically have clients from all walks of life and would be focusing on career related issues and barriers. An Executive Coach would deal specifically with senior management clients and would look at issues and barriers preventing them from achieving professional and personal goals.

When I hire a coach how much of my time is coaching going to require?
Typically Career Coaching consists of an initial assessment, and then three to five 1-hour sessions, depending on the type of change required.

Where do I find a career coach in Calgary?
The Calgary Association of Professional Coaches (CAPC) site has a Coach Referral Service that can help you find a certified coach that fits your needs.

What is price range for a Career Coach?
Prices can vary depending on qualifications and experience but typically you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $250 a session, or a flat rate per month of approximately $500.

What do you find personally satisfying about career coaching?
I find it very satisfying and rewarding to work with clients to help them achieve satisfying career goals and to find a career that fits their individual values, interests and skills.

Tanya Snow is a certified Human Resource Professional and with over 10 years experience in the areas of career development, job search strategies and resume development. Tanya is also a Certified Executive Coach specializing in Career Transition Coaching, Leadership Development and Career Management Coaching.

Free (that's right—FREE) Coaching Sessions at the Library

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)


In celebration of International Coaching Week, Calgary Public Library is partnering with the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches to offer complimentary 15-minute coaching sessions with experienced professional coaches. These valuable individualized sessions can focus on various topics such as career, business, team and personal relationships.

This is the first event of its kind in Calgary and will be offered at two Library locations on February 8th and 9th, 2012.

Register online or by calling 403-260-2620.



Why coaching?
If you're not sure how a coach could help you, read more about the program below and take a look at our previous blog posts in which we interviewed local coaches on the topics of Leadership and Team Development Coaching, Personal Development Coaching and Job and Career Coaching.