Moving On and Up

by Roberta

It's Your Move—a personal and practical guide to career transition and job search for Canadian managers, professionals and executives

This month’s Library book review is from Calgary Public Library career coach volunteer Blaine Hrabi.

Since coming across It's Your Move about 4 years ago, I have found it to be the book that I regularly refer to and recommend in my work as a career practitioner. It comprehensively deals with career transition in a very linear, step-by-step approach. Author Marge Watters covers everything from dealing with sudden job loss, determining your strategic advantage, marketing yourself, sealing the job offer, and managing all the important details in between.

Her approach offers numerous activities to help take inventory of your skills, determine the most appropriate career path, differentiate yourself in the job market, and effectively network to help achieve success in your job search.

This book is primarily geared towards Canadian executives and professionals. It has excellent examples of resumes, cover letters and networking letters, including rationales as to why each document was approached in a specific way.

The new, hot-off-the-press, 4th edition (which is available at a number of Calgary Public Library branches) has many new features, including up-to-date advice regarding the effective use of social media including LinkedIn.

Whether you are a fellow career practitioner or a job seeker looking for a book to help you figure out what to do next, this book is a worthwhile resource.

Blaine Hrabi is a Career Coach and Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant with a specialty in transition, career assessment, professional profile development, transferable skills analysis and counseling for career satisfaction. He works as an independent practitioner and as a consultant for clients across Canada.

Keeping it Positive

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

Join us at the Central Library on Friday, October 19th when we host Dr. Anna-Lisa Ciccocioppo's lunch hour discussion on how to apply a positive psychology perspective to enhance career counselling, as part of our ongoing partnership with the Career Development Association of Alberta. We asked Dr. Ciccocioppo's more about the topic, her research at the University of Calgary, and how this branch of psychology continues to evolve:

Dr. Ciccocioppo, positive psychology is a relatively recent branch of psychology, and there seem to be varying definitions. How would you describe it?

I would describe it as the scientific study of human strengths and what goes right in life. Psychology has traditionally focused its research on diagnosing and treating problems, so the Positive Psychology approach turns this around and focuses on assessing an individual's character strengths and how they can further enhance our lives.

Given that many of us are experiencing huge changes in the workplace, can these strategies help with optimism towards new concepts or workplace practices?

There is a lot of uncertainty in the labour market, and changes in the workplace can be challenging to navigate. Learning more about our character strengths can serve as an important part of the self-assessment process, and having that self-awareness is an essential part of career development. When we become more aware of the character strengths that are most important to us, it gives us valuable information that helps us to make good decisions and to seek out new fulfilling opportunities. My research colleagues (Dr. Janet Miller and Dr. Sonya Flessati from Mount Royal University) and I have presented on how Positive Psychology can be used in our own personal and professional development as career practitioners and with team building in the workplace.

Certainly stress and negativity don't help foster creativity at work. Is this part of its appeal as well, and how?

Yes, I believe that Positive Psychology's approach encourages us to harness our strengths to assist us with problem solving and enhance our overall well being, which in turn fosters an environment in which creativity is encouraged and nurtured, and people are more engaged in their work.

Dr. Ciccocioppo, you’re an accomplished national and international speaker. What drew you to this topic, and how to you think it will develop and evolve?

Dr. Miller, Dr. Flessati and I have been exploring how to integrate this perspective into our career counselling research and practice for nearly ten years. Positive Psychology's new perspective was intriguing, and we saw ways in which its focus on strengths was very much in line with what we as career counsellors strive to do. Both Positive Psychology and career counselling look to empower individuals with a greater awareness of their character strengths and how to make choices that align with them. In the last few years, greater attention has been placed on the use of Positive Psychology in career counselling. I think that with ongoing economic challenges and instability in the labour market, it is more important than ever to be aware of our strengths, to be adaptable, and to focus on employability rather than employment. The Canadian Positive Psychology Association is brand new and the first national conference was held this past summer. It will be fascinating to see how Positive Psychology's impact on our work grows and evolves.

Calgary Public Library has a wide range of books and audio material on postitive psychology, including The Happiness Advantage. For help in researching more on this topic, call the Central Library at 403-260-2782. and we would be happy to assist you.


Loving the Legal Life

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

In anticipation of the Central Library's full day Law Connect Event on October 17th, we talked with local lawyer Gillian D. Marriott QC, to offer her take on law as a profession, and the importance of making law accessible to all Calgarians.

Gillian, the upcoming Legal Grounds clinic is an amazing opportunity for Calgarians to access free legal advice. It also aligns perfectly with your work with Pro Bono Law Alberta an organization that promotes access to justice by creating and promoting opportunities for lawyers to provide free legal service to those of limited means. Why is it important to you personally to volunteer your time to community events and organizations that offer this type of service?

As a lawyer, I believe that I have a responsibility and an obligation to give back to my community. I have been given the privilege of developing a skill set and an ability to provide legal advice, something only a lawyer can do. My view is that as a lawyer the best way I can give back is to provide that advice to individuals who might otherwise not be able to access it. The Legal Grounds Clinic is an excellent opportunity for me to do so, as it is for the volunteer lawyers from Norton Rose Canada LLP who assist us in Calgary.

Do you think that events such as these help make the law and lawyers more accessible, perhaps helping remove perceived barriers?

Yes. Many individuals don’t realize that the problem they are dealing with is a legal problem. The opposite is also true: many people think they have a legal problem when they don't. The first step is to actually have an opportunity to talk to a lawyer. That is often difficult and somewhat intimidating. Events like this held in public spaces such as the Library make it easier for individuals to engage with the lawyers and receive the advice they need.

Did your career path as a lawyer play out as you envisioned when you entered law school?

No, but I am not sure that I had a vision. I talked and argued a lot, and thought Perry Mason was pretty cool. I started out thinking I would be a corporate solicitor, but have practiced criminal and family law as well as general civil litigation. However, regardless of what type of law I was practicing I was always involved in community organizations or legal clinics that allowed me to utilize my skills as a lawyer to help others. When I was offered the job as ED of PBLA it was an opportunity to do that full time. I was given the chance to take on something that I’m passionate about, which is working towards ensuring that individuals have access to legal services and therefore access to justice.

Gillian, we understand that you also volunteer your time by mentoring. How does offering that kind of support and experience help young lawyers?

Mentoring young lawyers is so important. The practice of law is very different from law school and young lawyers need to be prepared for that. Law school is largely about dealing with abstract concepts along with intellectual exercises. A law practice means dealing with people and their problems. It’s about using common sense and practicalities to effectively, efficiently and calmly finding the solutions that work for clients who are often confused or can’t find their way.

People generally go into law because they want to help others and I believe that should be nurtured. Lawyers have to remember that and they need to be encouraged to do so on an ongoing basis. They really need to be given the opportunity to continue with the "feel good" work as well as the work that they do generally. Mentoring gives me the opportunity to help young lawyers figure out how they want to practice and to encourage them to help the people who otherwise wouldn't receive their assistance.

What advice would you give those wanting to enter the legal profession?

My advice to someone who wants to enter the profession is to really think about why you want to go to law school and why you want to be a lawyer. These are two separate questions. Then work to become the best lawyer you can be, while remembering that it is a privilege that carries with it obligations and responsibilities: to be a lawyer with strong legal skills, to be ethical and have the highest integrity, and to give back to your community. You have to determine how you will define being a "successful lawyer" and then strive to achieve it. Remember: it’s not always about how much you can make.

Jobs! Oil and Gas Services

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

On October 16th and 17th, the Oil + Gas Services Online Career Fair will connect job seekers across Canada with oil and gas services companies hiring for some of the industry’s most in-demand occupations.

This will be a great opportunity for job seekers to learn more about the possible career options in this busy sector, meet recruiters from companies, post your resume, and apply for jobs.

There are 5 exhibitors hiring for approximately 500 positions. The final list of companies participating is:

- Baker Hughes

- Calmena Energy Services

- Cameron

- CanElson Drilling

- CGGVeritas

- ClearStream Energy

- Ensign Energy Services

- Halliburton

- Hallmark Solutions

- Nabors Production Services

- Patterson – UTI Drilling

- Precision Drilling

- Tervita

- Titan Drilling

- Trican Well Service

The information booths point include:

- AlbertaWorks

- Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors

- Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Companies

- Petroleum Services Association ofCanada

- Careers in Oil + Gas

Along with their interactive website, more information can be found at

Be prepared , and research the companies before you go online. Remember: the Calgary Public Library can assist with company research and offer suggestions for interview preparation materials.

As well, This Globe and Mail article has an excellent overview of virutal job fairs and their rise in popularity, along with strategies on how to prepare.