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.

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.

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.)

"You're Hired...Now What? An Immigrant's Guide to Success"

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

"You're Hired...Now What? An Immigrant's Guide to Success in the Canadian Workplace" by Lynda Goldman is a thorough and comprehensive resource that offers newcomers practical tips and strategies on how to keep their job and succeed at it once hired. Many newcomers are not aware that they are about to enter a different business culture and will most likely encounter behaviours and habits that will surprise or puzzle them. This book provides them with information on the cultural differences in the Canadian workplace and thus increase their success at keeping their job.

I would highly recommend this book for people who work with newcomers and for employers who hire workers from diverse cultures. Besides offering tips and advice on the more overt business practices in Canada, such as the infamous firm handshake, the author put a considerable amount of effort into researching and sharing minute details of the types of situations newcomers may encounter in their new Canadian workplace environment. For example, she covers how to tip porters and bellhops at North American hotels when travelling. I would never have thought of covering this detail in my workshop to newcomers on managing the Canadian workplace! In another chapter, a newcomer is made aware of the different types of outfits to wear for different industry or business events. The author also does not hesitate to cover issues such as proper hygiene, office romance, religion practices and other sensitive topics.

Each chapter highlights a specific and interesting Canadian business concept. Although the language used in the book is more geared to native English speakers, the author thoughtfully includes a section in each chapter listing buzz words that may be foreign to newcomers. Did you know that according to the Oxford ESL Dictionary there is a difference in meaning between the sounds Uh-huh and Uh-uh? Each chapter concludes with a set of questions that could be used to generate discussions on the topics presented.

Newcomers new to the Canadian workplace face many challenges, but with the information provided in "You're Hired...Now What?" they will acquire the awareness of the differences in their new workplace and hopefully be prepared to better understand and deal with these differences. I congratulate Ms. Goldman on her foresight to write a book with information invaluable to newcomers and Canadian employers alike.

Lidia Bomba-Sorbo is a Career Practitioner for the Centre for Newcomers and has been volunteering for the Career Coaching program at the Central Library for several years. Lidia facilitates workshops for newcomers on e-job search tools training and Canadian workplace training with a focus on cultural differences as well as one-on-one interventions.

Best in Books: August

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

This month’s Library book review is from local career consultant Joy Cohen. Joy recently presented a LinkedIn seminar at the Central Library, where she talked about one of her favourite book series: Knock ‘em Dead.

Knock ‘em Dead Secrets & Strategies for Success in an Uncertain World is a satisfying read that offers practical advice that I have found to be personally instrumental on my own career path, as well as a helpful tool with my clients. Interestingly, I’d been a huge fan of his Knock ‘em Dead series, so I networked with the author through LinkedIn and he sent me an autographed copy!

Martin Yate emphasizes a straight forward, no nonsense, step by step approach to job search and career management advice suitable for new graduates and seasoned workers. I really enjoy his writing and have found that his enthusiasm is contagious and he possesses a flair for constructing creative, well written resumes and cover letters that get positive attention. He does, however, bluntly claim that this book will provide everything you need to take control of your life, which I found to be rather broad and subjective.

Three of the most important key concepts in Yate’s book emphasizes include:

1. Self-Responsibility

Successful career management and job search takes time, daily work and planning. If you’re stuck, then get practical help from a Career Coach to help keep you on track and motivated.

2. Producing Effective Resumes

Target and focus your resume and cover letter to each job posting. Yate discusses this in detail and his solution is TJD: Target Job Deconstruction for reconstructing a resume that employers will want to read. Generic resumes and “to whom it may concern” cover letters are extremely ineffective and usually do not result in many job interviews. Effective, relevant, worthwhile resumes contain key words and phrases that entice the reader to call the candidate.

3. Network, Network, Network!

It’s all about relationships. “The success of your job search depends on getting into conversation with people in a position to hire you, as quickly and as often as possible,” stresses Yate. This book contains little gems on how to bypass gatekeepers and make contact with decision makers. Quite simply, if you are not networking and following up with employers, i.e., finding names and contact information of people who can help you get resume requests and job interviews, then learn how to do so. Etiquette is also critical and will distinguish you in either a positive or negative way from other candidates. For instance, if you think that a thank you letter, card or email after an interview is a waste of time, think again. Lastly, if you have been attending job interviews and have not received job offers, then ask for feedback about your interview performance and make necessary changes.

Joy Cohen BPA-HS, RSW Career Consultant/Résumé Writer

Web: http://everydayjoycohen.ca/Tel: (403) 244-8771 Toll Free Canada and US: 1-888-534-5405

Best in Books: July

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

New! The Calgary Public Library is excited to share reviews of its print and electronic career resources. These reviews are written by local career practitioners and will give you the inside scoop on some of the Library's best resources for job search and career planning. The following book is available through the Library's website as an eBook: see below for instructions.

Social Networking For Career Success 2011: A Choice Works Book Review

If you are looking for a user-friendly, systematic narrative on how to leverage online tools to grow your professional network, generate job search momentum, manage your online identity or craft your personal brand, then this book is well worth your time. Miriam Salpeter provides refreshingly clear and focused guidance for job seekers. With Social Networking for Career Success 2011, you can begin to explore the value of incorporating social media into both active and passive stages of work search. This is an excellent resource designed to educate and inform. It avoids tacky self-promotion and succeeds in meeting the dynamic needs of recent graduates, experienced professionals, career explorers, small business owners, consultants and those considering encore careers.

Packed full of relevant sources for readers to explore in depth, this book also offers time saving tips gained from the practical experiences of the author. Expect to find how-to segments to begin using Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, Blogging and Social Bookmarking, strategies for crafting your Personal Brand, methods to manage your online identity and introductions to many other online tools. Challenging the belief that social media is merely the latest way to damage your professional credibility and get yourself fired, Salpeter causes readers to rethink career possibilities and evaluate their own attitudes toward social media’s transformation of our society. I consider this book a must-have, big-picture gem for those interested in capturing the best of what the online world has to offer.

By: Samantha Schellenberg, Alberta Employment & Immigration Career Development Workshop Facilitator, Designer and Presenter. Director, ChoiceWorks Rehabilitation Solutions Ltd.

Note: This book is one of many career books available as electronic books (eBooks) from one of the Library's subscription databases called Learning Express. You can download these books for free onto your home computer. Click here to learn how to access these publications.