Career-Pathways-For-Youth
October 21, 2021

Mississauga, Ontario – October 21, 2021 – Achēv, one of the largest non-profit providers of employment, newcomer and language services in the Peel Region with locations across the GTA, is pleased to announce it has been awarded $804,700 from the Ontario government in partnership with Project Liftoff. This funding will support youth facing barriers in Mississauga, Brampton and Toronto with digital skills training to prepare them for technology sector jobs.

“There has never been greater urgency for programs like Career Pathways for Youth and the work we do at Achēv,” said Ms. Tonie Chaltas, Achēv’s Chief Executive Officer. “Youth in the GTA, particularly racialized youth, continue to face numerous barriers to meaningful employment, and those barriers have been greatly exacerbated by the pandemic. Those barriers include lack of work-related networks, lack of job experience, challenges accessing learning and mental health needs.”

Career Pathways for Youth (CP4Y) is funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development through the Skills Development Fund. The program is in response to a growing need to fill the growing digital skills gap in the Technology Sector, which is expected to grow to 305,000 jobs by 2023.[1] Employers in the technology sector who are using Salesforce’s CRM need entry-level skilled talent, but they are struggling to find job seekers with the right skills. This program responds to that need and provides career opportunities for youth facing barriers in our communities. 

“With nearly 150 projects so far, the Skills Development Fund has been a tremendous success, helping 260,000 workers and job seekers around the province take the next step in their careers,” said Minister Monte McNaughton. “However, we know employers are still having difficulty finding the talented workers they need to stay competitive and grow their businesses. That’s why I’m so pleased to see organizations like Achēv stepping up and breaking down barriers to employment for young people in Mississauga and Brampton.”

Career Pathways for Youth is a collaborative partnership with Project Liftoff to create and implement a seamless job training and placement experience for youth facing barriers to successfully launch careers in the digital economy. Youth will have placement opportunities at multiple employers that use Salesforce’s technology. The program includes digital skills training and certification, hands-on training, job placements, employability skills training and career coaching. 

”As enterprise tech giants like Salesforce, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft continue to bring the worlds of business and technology together, ‘Working in tech’ will soon become, simply – Working”, said Marcus Bernard, Founder of Project Liftoff. “At Project Liftoff it’s our mission to prepare young underserved job seekers for that opportunity by providing the digital skills training and recruitment services needed to launch meaningful business and technology careers in the digital economy.”

As one of the largest providers of employment services, newcomer settlement and language services in the GTA, Achēv makes it easy for clients to get the support they need — all under one roof. Last year, Achēv served over 91,000 clients.  We provided 1-on-1 job assistance to over 3,000 job seekers and helped over 12,000 youth gain employment skills. Over 11,000 newcomers used our services to help them settle into the GTA.

To learn more about the Career Pathways for Youth Program, visit: Career Pathways for Youth – Achēv (achev.ca)


Contact:

Program information: Gwendolyn Fluker, CP4Y@achev.ca

Media inquiries: Kristen Neagle, kneagle@achev.ca


[1] Canada’s digitally skilled talent demand to reach 305,000 by 2023: ICTC Outlook to 2023 – Information and Communications Technology Council (ictc-ctic.ca)

October 5, 2021

We are pleased to extend a warm welcome to the newest members of our Board of Directors and Non-Director Committee Members. Each of them brings a wealth of experience and leadership expertise from diverse sectors. Achēv’s CEO Tonie Chaltas, Board Chair Andrew Gall and the senior leadership team, look forward to working together to support the delivery of exceptional youth, employment, newcomer settlement and language assessment services across the GTA.

The new Board Members are:

Ana Nunes, ICD.D, CFA, FCIA, FSA
Board Member, Vice-Chair of the Strategic & Risk Management Committee

Ana Nunes

Ana Nunes brings more than 20 years’ experience as a senior executive in the retirement savings industry. She held various leadership roles during her 10+ years at OMERS, including Senior Vice President of Plan Risk, Senior Vice President of Pension Services, and President of OMERS Investment Management. During her consulting career at Mercer, she advised clients on the full spectrum of pension plan issues.

Ana is a strategic thinker who is known for deep analytical skills and an ability to clearly communicate key issues. She has led multiple strategic initiatives that grew assets under management by over $2 billion. She brings extensive experience supporting Boards with the oversight of risk management, pension funding, large-scale administration operations and cybersecurity.

Ana is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees of the MoveUp/ICBC Pension Plan. She has been a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Benefits and Pensions Monitor and has volunteered her time to various charitable causes through the years.

In addition to being a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and Society of Actuaries, Ana is a CFA charterholder and holds the ICD.D designation.

 

Lawrence Eta, eMBA, MM, BSc
Board Member, Vice-Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee

Lawrence Eta

Lawrence Eta is the Chief Technology Officer for the City of Toronto. As a transformative leader and business partner, he provides vision, strategy and execution to modernize and deliver innovative technology solutions to enhance the customer service experience.

Over the span of his 20+ career Lawrence has been involved in a wide range of technology industries, holding various senior leadership positions including, Global Director of Customer Success within the Internet of Things (IOT) sector, Vice President of Technical Architecture and Director of Business Technology Solutions for an international business process outsourcing organization and Director of Information Services for one of Canada’s top 60 pension and benefits plans. Lawrence holds an Executive MBA from Lansbridge University, Master of Management from American Sentinel University, and Bachelor of Science in Technology Management from Staffordshire University

Lawrence is a TEDX speaker and member of Coalition of Innovation Leaders against Racism (CILAR). He is a passionate advocate of diversity and inclusion and creating equity and prosperity for communities. He has served on not for profit committees and boards including Canadian Cancer Society (BC and Yukon Division), Langley Hospice and Arizona Children’s Association.

 

Megan MacRae, M.I.R.
Board Member, Vice-Chair of the Human Resources & Compensation Committee

Megan MacRae

Megan MacRae is the Executive Director of Human Resources at the TTC. As a member of the TTC Executive Team she oversees the provision of all Human Resources services throughout the Organization.

Megan began her labour relations career in the Canadian airline industry and moved towards public transit first at GO Transit before joining the TTC in 2008. In her time at the TTC, Megan has held a variety of positions, including Employee Relations Consultant, Director of Compensation Services and Director of Employee Relations, and has led multiple rounds of collective bargaining.

Megan has been a Board member on the TTC Pension Plan since 2013 where she serves on the Governance Committee as well as the Investment Committee. Megan has contributed as a Board member previously with the Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association as well as Big Brothers and Sisters of Ajax Pickering.

Megan has her undergraduate degree in Industrial Relations from McGill University and her Masters in Industrial Relations and Human Resources Management from Queens University and holds an advanced certificate in trust management.

 

Melissa Qi, LLM, MFAc
Board Member, Member of Governance & Nominating Committee

Melissa Qi is an experienced professional specializing in risk, governance, policy, strategy and project management. With close to a decade of experience in the public sector, she has worked for the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, City of Markham, Region of York, Ontario Energy Board, and currently the City of Brampton. Melissa has advised elected officials and senior leaders on dozens of Boards and Committees.

Melissa is a member of York Regional Police’s Community Liaison Committee, and has served on York University’s Graduate Students Council and the Community Safety Council.

 

Kim Warburton
Board Member, Member of the Strategic & Risk Management Committee

Kim Warburton

Kim Warburton is a strategic communications and public affairs executive with extensive, broad experience building corporate reputation and brand, stakeholder relationships, and employee engagement. She has held senior global and national positions in the multinational, financial, telecommunications and advertising sectors, including roles with TD Bank Group, GE and Bell Canada. She has worked in the Ontario government focusing on workforce skills and economic development. Kim is a respected leader and trusted advisor known for managing complexity, coaching to unlock potential, and creating initiatives that inspire and motivate. She is currently an independent strategic communications advisor.

Kim is an inclusive, community builder. She is passionate about “joining the dots” to build perspective and create meaningful outcomes. Her interests include navigating the changing nature of work, economic participation and opportunity, and life-long learning. She recently served as Chair and Director of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and is a Director of Actua a national organization engaging youth in STEM to build employability skills and confidence. She has also served as advisor on Mississauga’s Economic Development Advisory Board, and as Chair and Director of the Trillium Health Partners Hospital Foundation.

 

Andrea Swinton
Non-Director Committee Member of Strategic and Risk Management Committee

Andrea Swinton is a not-for-profit CEO known for leading at the national and provincial levels, bringing a business focus to charities and building platforms that have doubled revenue in three years.

She serves on the board of directors for Hazel Burns Hospice and Endeavour Consulting for Non-Profits and is the Chair of their respective Governance and Fundraising Committees. She’s also been a panelist at a global health symposium held in Vienna, Austria, workshop moderator, conference speaker, and acted as a spokesperson in the national media.
Prior to transitioning to the not-for-profit sector, she worked in brand marketing for Canada’s leading loyalty program, and in direct marketing for a national home and auto insurance firm.
A graduate of Queen’s University, Andrea holds a B.A. in Sociology and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).

 

Marlon Blake, MBA, CPA, FCCA
Non-Director Member of Finance and Audit Committee

Marlon Blake

Marlon Blake has over 15 years of experience working in senior level leadership roles in not-for-profit, consulting, and financial services industries. He is currently the Director, Finance at ICES, responsible for providing financial and operational leadership, accounting expertise and guidance to the organization. Before ICES, Marlon was the Director of Finance at ACT, where he provided strategic leadership and vision for the financial functions of the organization. He also worked in senior roles at Optimal Growth Consulting, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, and the Government of Bermuda. He has strong leadership experience in financial reporting, strategic planning, analytics, project management, process automation, governance, risk, IT, mentoring and coaching people.

Marlon holds a Master of Business Administration from Oxford Brookes University, CPA, CGA designation from CPA Ontario, and he is a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant. 


Ruth Woods
Non-Director Committee Member of Human Resources and Compensation Committee

Ruth Woods has more than 35 years executive experience in professional services management, investment banking and consulting. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, where she is responsible for Finance, IT, HR, Facilities and Administration. Prior to Osler she was a founding partner of Hugessen Consulting Inc, Senior Vice President; Global Head of Human Resources at Scotia Capital; and a Founding Director of Women in Capital Markets. Ruth is currently on the board of Scarborough Health Network and has served on the Bishop Strachan School and Royal St. George’s College Boards of Governors as Vice-Chair and Chair respectively, and on the board of Kinross Gold Corp.

Ruth graduated from the University of Toronto with a Masters of Business Administration, and from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics.

 

To view all of Achēv’s Board Member profiles, visit our Meet The Board page.

September 28, 2021

Achēv is pleased to release our 2020/2021 Impact Report. The Report highlights our impact during the COVID-19 pandemic, an incredibly challenging time for everyone in our community. 

Since the start of the pandemic, we have worked hard to meet the rapidly changing needs of our clients and employers, with a focus on employment readiness, job skills and connecting people to employment.

Last year, Achēv’s dedicated team of nearly 400 staff supported over 91,000 people and worked with 3,600 employers. More than 3,000 job seekers received 1-on-1 job assistance and more than 12,000 youth gained employment skills.

Achēv conducted over 7,000 language assessments to connect clients to language training and enhance career opportunities. As the trusted first stop for newcomers in the GTA, more than 11,000 people used our services to help them settle into Canada.

Achēv brings together leading youth services, employment services, newcomer settlement and language assessment under one roof to make it easy for our clients to get the support they need. We are one of the largest non-profit providers of these services in the Greater Toronto Area.

We thank our clients, staff, funders and community partners for placing their confidence in us and look forward to continuing to build on our strong track record. 

To read Achēv’s 2020/2021 Impact Report, please click here: Achēv 2020/2021 Impact Report

September 27, 2021

We are excited to share that Achēv has been featured on the September 25th edition of the Toronto Star as part of the “Supporting Canada’s Newcomers” campaign in partnership with Mediaplanet. As a trusted provider of employment, newcomer, language and youth services, we shared how our free services can help immigrants and refugees smoothly transition to their new lives and achieve their full potential in Canada. Additionally, we shared our tips for newcomers to reach their settlement and employment goals.

This campaign also features Aladdin star, Mena Massoud, who shared his newcomer journey in Canada as an Egyptian immigrant. As an actor, Mena opened up about his career path into acting, discussed the importance of representation in the entertainment industry, and shared his inspirational message to newcomers in Canada.

Below is our full Toronto Star article!

Achēv job Fair
September 17, 2021

Mississauga, Ontario – September 14, 2021Achēv, a leading charitable organization that delivers employment, newcomer, language and youth services, has announced they will be hosting their largest hiring event of the year through top virtual event platform vFairs. Their Open For Business Job Market on Sept. 23, 2021, will aim to help job seekers and top employers connect through a highly interactive virtual environment in order to fill over 200 job openings.

Achēv’s Open For Business Job Market will help job seekers in the Greater Toronto Area find meaningful employment and ensure that employers have the right workforce to succeed. The event will feature a keynote presentation titled “Refuel Your Unstoppable” by Unstoppable Tracy, a Paralympian and corporate consultant with an MBA who has been inducted into Canada’s Hall of Fame, received the C-SASIL Lifetime Achievement Award, and featured on ABC, BBC, CBC, Citytv, Global News, NBC, and FOX. She will share her impressive story to help inspire others to embrace possibilities during their most challenging and vulnerable times.

In addition, there will be an employer panel discussion titled “Working in a Post-COVID World,” where industry experts examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way employers and employees view the new world of work, how organizations have adapted to the changes, and what they believe will be the “new normal” in the future.

The virtual hiring event is free to all job seekers and will give attendees and employers an immersive way to network and interview for open roles.

“We are excited to host the Achēv Open for Business Job Market, our largest virtual hiring event of the year,” said Tonie Chaltas, Chief Executive Officer at Achēv. “This event will connect diverse job seekers in the Greater Toronto Area with leading employers from a variety of industries. Job seekers will be able to discover hundreds of job opportunities, meet with employers one-on-one, present their resumes and participate in on-the-spot interviews. Achēv is fully committed to helping people achieve their employment goals and supporting Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery.”

“We look forward to helping Achēv and their clients achieve their goals through the vFairs platform,” said Muhammad Younas, vFairs CEO.

Job openings include positions in IT, Banking, Finance, Administration, Human Resources, Education, Retail, Construction, Customer Service, E-Commerce, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Warehousing, Travel and Tourism, Airport Operations, Sales, Project Management, Child Care and more. Participating employers include Architech, Chit Chats, CIBC, Citi College, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), Home Depot, ICICI Bank Canada, Levio, Lullaboo, Metrolinx, POLAR PAK, RBC, Scope Profit Solutions Ltd., Service Plus Aquatics Inc., Staples, TD Bank, Toronto Pearson, TravelBrands, Winobell Inc. and 6IXSENSES.

Event registration is open now.

About Achēv

Achēv is a leading charitable organization that delivers employment, newcomer, language and youth services. We offer comprehensive and personalized programs of the highest quality to help people achieve their full potential. Each year, our dedicated team of more than 400 staff serves over 100,000 clients through virtual services and multiple in-person locations across the Greater Toronto Area. We are committed to making a positive and lasting difference in the diverse communities we serve.

Media Contact:
Joy Qiu
Marketing Manager, Achēv
jqiu@achev.ca
416-518-8410

About vFairs 

vFairs strives to deliver top-class virtual events for all audiences, with an intuitive platform that recreates physical events through an immersive online experience. With a range of powerful features and dedicated support for users around the world, vFairs removes the hassle from organizing, exhibiting at, and attending events such as conferences, trade shows, and career fairs. vFairs is a 2021 Mid-Market Leader in the Virtual Event Platforms Category by G2.

Contact the vFairs team to learn more or request a demo to see a virtual event in action or visit www.vfairs.com

Media Contact:
Brianne Snell
vFairs
brianne@vfairs.com

Job fair
August 6, 2021

Job fairs and career fairs are great places to network with potential employers and learn about local job opportunities. It offers you a unique opportunity to speak directly with recruiters and make great first impressions that hopefully lead to a job interview.

However, these events can also be an intimidating experience, especially when you are competing with other potential candidates for the attention of employers. Here are 8 tips you can follow before, during and after job and career fairs to help increase your chances for success.

1. Have a Plan

To maximize the potential for success at the fair, you should always come prepared with a plan of action. Check online to see if there’s a list of participating companies so you know which organizations you want to meet with beforehand. By doing this preparation, you’ll ensure that you’re not wasting time talking to employers you are not interested in or who may not be a good fit for you. Instead, you’ll be able to take your time introducing yourself to your top companies. Make a list of all the prospective employers that interest you the most and work your way downward. This ensures that you have met the companies that were your top picks when you run out of time.

2. Do Research

In addition to creating a plan and listing your top employers, it’s also essential to start researching them ahead of the fair. When you’re doing research, make sure to learn what the company does, its mission statement and values, what interests you about the company, and what sets it apart from other organizations. If you’ve done your research, answering the questions: “Why do you want to work for this company?” or “what do you know about our organization?” should be easy.

3. Prepare List of Questions

Once you’ve learned more about the company, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your questions to each recruiter. You should come to the fair with a list of questions ready to go and, if possible, make sure the questions are tailored to your top picks. Compare it to a job interview situation. If you’re asking questions about the organization, it shows that you’re interested in the company, which can help make an excellent first impression.

Prepare questions so you’re not scrambling on what to say or ask. Some examples of questions you can ask are: “What is one of the job’s biggest challenges?” or “What does an average day on the job look like?”.

4. Create Tailored Resumes

While it may be tempting to mass print the same resume to give to employers at the fair, it is better to tailor each resume to each prospective employer. As mentioned earlier, if you have a list of your top companies and you’ve done your research, it should be easier to customize your resumes.

You can create tailored resumes by looking at specific keywords that each company focuses on and include those in your resume. You should also make sure that your resume is not only tailored but up-to-date, with no grammar or spelling errors.

5. Rehearse Elevator Pitch

Job and career fairs can be an intimidating experience, especially when you’re trying to stand out among hundreds of other participants. One way you can differentiate yourself from the competition is by creating a great elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a quick summary of your background, experience and skills. This short, professional introduction should only last between 20 to 60 seconds.

Prepare your elevator pitch in advance and practice speaking it out loud. You can even get your friends or family to listen to your pitch and receive feedback on areas to improve. Rehearsing in front of other people will allow you to become more comfortable with your pitch and increase your confidence.

6. Professional Clothing

Job and career fairs generally require proper, professional clothing. Dressing appropriately will make for a better first impression. Be sure your outfit is well-fitting and comfortable, especially your shoes, if you’re attending an in-person fair. Also, make sure you’re wearing minimal jewelry and cologne/perfume. Even for virtual fairs, it’s crucial to look professional.

When it comes to bags, don’t bring a bulky briefcase or purse. You want to ensure you’re not struggling with a heavy bag as you’re moving around. You want to have a free hand for handshaking. You’ll only need a small bag or purse and a folder to store your resumes and any flyers or information you pick up at the event. You should also bring business cards and a pen and paper for note-taking.

7. Introduce Yourself with a Smile

Always introduce yourself to recruiters and employers with a smile, even if you feel anxious or nervous. Smiling and staying upbeat conveys a more positive and inviting personality. A simple introduction such as, “Hi, I’m Ann. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” is enough. Don’t forget to make strong eye contact and offer a firm handshake as well.

After introducing yourself, present your elevator pitch and be prepared to answer some questions. When speaking with the recruiter, make sure you’re engaged, actively listening and showing interest in what they have to say. You can also ask about the next steps in the process. Offer your resume and business card, if you have one, and ask for the recruiter’s business card as well. If they don’t have a business card, ask for their contact information. The goal is to obtain the necessary information so you can follow up after the fair.

Be sure not to linger around too long. Once you’ve spoken to the recruiter, made your pitch, asked and answered questions and handed out your resume, quickly move on to the next company.

8. Write Thank-You Notes

Once you’ve met with all the companies on your list, the next step is to send thank-you emails. You can thank them for their time and further express your interest in the company and/or job. Make sure each email is unique and personalized to the company and recruiter. You can send a note roughly 24 to 48 hours after the fair.

Sending these notes is important because recruiters meet so many candidates at these events. Emailing a thank-you note to reiterate why you’re interested in the company, your skills and experience, and why you’re a good candidate can help them remember you and help you stand out.

Job fairs and career fairs are great opportunities that can help with your job search. To maximize your chances for success, you have to make sure you’re prepared to pitch your skills, answer questions and make a great first impression. At Achēv, we can help you explore your career goals, identify training needs and find the right job for you. Our Employment Ontario Services offers a wide range of resources to support your career and employment needs. Our employment centres are located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and North York. Contact us today to register for our free employment services.

Networking
July 19, 2021

Whether you’re a recent graduate, returning to the workforce or wanting to advance your career, networking is something you need in your toolkit to successfully land a new job. It can help foster strong relationships that may lead to job opportunities, referrals, and mentorship. However, networking can be a daunting process that takes a lot of motivation, determination and courage.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of networking is having access to jobs that may not be posted on an online job board. Many positions are only shared internally or through networking. Roughly 80% of new jobs aren’t listed, and sometimes the only way to find out about new openings is through networks. Therefore, reaching out to your contacts is crucial in finding out about these opportunities. A LinkedIn survey found that 85% of jobs are filled through networking.

Here are five networking tips you can follow to help increase your chances of landing a new job.

1. Compile List of Connections

One of the first steps you can take is to make a list of all the people in your network. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive; it can include family, friends, former coworkers, professors and former employers. Even if you’re straight out of school or building a network from scratch, looking into your contact list or through social media accounts is a great place to start. In addition, these primary networks can also introduce you to more people. For example, your friend can introduce you to their uncle who works in the same industry you’re seeking to join.

Once you’ve formulated a list of contacts, it’s time to start reaching out to them. Mention you’re looking for a new job, and make sure you specify what type of job you’re looking for and if they know anyone in the industry. Always keep your list of professional contacts up-to-date.

2. Build/Maintain Relationship with Network

Any relationship requires reciprocation, and networks are no exception. While you may seek their help regarding new job opportunities, don’t forget to offer assistance when they need it. Networking shouldn’t be one-sided; it should benefit both parties. Helping your network can strengthen your relationship and possibly increase the chances of them wanting to help you in return. Examples include reaching out if there’s a relevant job posting or connecting them to a potential contact.

Also, make sure you keep in regular contact with your network, if possible. A survey found that 61% of professionals say frequent interactions with their network can lead to potential job opportunities. Sometimes a simple email, text or call to catch up can go a long way. A friendly conversation may eventually lead to talks about careers, which can, in turn, lead to a job.

3. Take Advantage of Social Media

Social networking sites have made communication so much easier, especially when searching for and reaching out to potential connections. LinkedIn is one of the best social media sites to use for networking. It allows you to search for any company to connect with professionals. A survey found that 35% of respondents say conversations on LinkedIn Messaging led to a new opportunity. LinkedIn offers the following tips on how to use the site as a networking tool effectively:

  • Connect with people you know. Make sure to scroll through the “People You May Know” section to discover more potential connections.
  • Reconnect with contacts. You can send them a simple message wishing them well or interact with their posts.
  • Share experiences and insights. Make sure you post regularly and try to get your contacts to engage with your post.
  • Seek help from your network. If you feel comfortable enough, you can ask contacts to introduce you to their hiring manager.

Facebook is another excellent option as you can join specific groups related to your industry and start making connections there. Twitter is another platform for networking where you can connect with recruiters or hiring managers by engaging with their tweets. Before reaching out to hiring managers, make sure your personal social media profile is professional and current.

4. Expand Your Network

There are many events where you can make new connections and expand your network. For example, you can attend conventions, university alumni networking events, mixers or job fairs to meet other people within your current field. Take advantage of these situations by preparing a pitch and list of questions to make a great first impression.

Another way to meet new people is by joining clubs or groups. A professional organization can offer workshops and seminars on professional development and connect you with individuals within your current or future career field.

Volunteering is also another great way to expand your network because it allows you to work with a wide array of like-minded individuals. It’s a low-pressure environment where you can get to know your peers and create valuable connections.

5. Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a quick explanation of who you are, what job position you’re seeking, what you do and why you’re the perfect candidate. Pitches should be less than a minute long. Since elevator pitches are so short, you’ll need to explain what value you can bring to a company clearly.

Before you attend networking events, you must perfect your pitch and know it by heart. You never know who you will meet during these events, and you should be prepared for anything. A general template you can follow is to list a couple of skills and accomplishments related to the job that helps distinguish you from other candidates.

6. Follow Up

Whenever you meet someone new that you would like to add to your network, make sure to follow up. This can mean sending a LinkedIn request with a personalized message and commenting or interacting with their posts.

Similarly, everyone has different schedules, and sometimes a connection may forget to respond. Don’t be afraid to send a follow-up email or message on social media to catch up and remind them that you’re waiting to hear from them regarding a job or contact.

7. Stay Positive

Job hunting can be a lengthy process, and it’s easy to get discouraged and lose self-esteem when you’ve been rejected. However, it’s essential to stay positive, especially if you’re attending networking events or job fairs. When you have a positive attitude, you’ll come across as approachable and will be more likely to make a favorable first impression. An upbeat attitude can also help when interacting with your network, as people would be more willing to help you if you’re friendly and cheerful.

8. Request Informational Interviews

Informational interviews can be an important networking tool that many people often overlook. It’s not a job interview but a meeting to learn more about an organization’s culture, a particular position or the industry as a whole. The main goal of informational interviews is to meet and form relationships with people in your prospective field.

If you’re straight out of school, switching career paths or looking to reconnect with your career, informational interviews can be beneficial. You can get started by reaching out to a hiring manager and asking for an informational interview. If they agree, make sure you come prepared with questions.

Final Thoughts

Networking is an essential component in job hunting, and following these tips can help you in the employment process. However, if you require further assistance with other aspects of employment, our Employment Ontario services offers resources and guidance to support your career needs. Our employment centres are located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and North York. Register for our employment services today!

July 16, 2021

When you’re preparing for an interview, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about your answers, what you’re going to wear, and making sure you turn up on time. One of the most important aspects of any job interview is your body language. It’s easy to feel nervous, especially at this stage of your job search. Your body language is something that often happens unconsciously. You want to impress your potential employer by appearing confident and assured in yourself while showing that you’re engaged in the interview process.

We’re sharing nine body language tips to help you impress at your job interview.

1. Walk in confidently 

Your body language is a vital part of forming the interviewer’s first impression of you. Most people form their opinion of you within the first 10 seconds of setting eyes on you. Walk confidently into the room, with your shoulders pulled back, and take even strides as you walk.

Look at the interviewer and walk directly towards them, keeping your body pointed in their direction while maintaining eye contact. But make sure you’re not staring, which can be off-putting. Try to hold eye contact for a few seconds at a time.

2. Sit straight in your seat

Nothing looks worse than when a candidate is slouching in their seat during an interview. Sitting up straight gives you a more confident appearance and shows that you’re alert and listening. You might start slouching in your seat out of habit, but this can create the impression that you’re not interested in what the interviewer has to say.

Sitting back in your seat can help keep your back straight and prevent you from leaning forward. If you find that you naturally slouch, pretend that there is a string pulling the crown of your head up to keep you straight.

3. Use your hands to speak

Your hands are one of your best communication tools. Speaking with your hands and moving them as you talk suggests openness. You want to avoid fiddling with your hands or waving them around too much while speaking, as this can come across as nervousness.

You might feel like you need to sit on your hands, but hiding them can often come across as distrustful. Fold your hands as the interviewer is talking, and then speak with your hands to articulate your point.

Open palm gestures make you appear trustworthy and can portray you as an honest individual. Part of the reason we shake hands is to see each other’s open palms. It’s a behavioural quirk tied to our survival instincts.

4. Smile

Whether you’re doing an interview in person or over Zoom, you want to stay positive throughout your meeting. Smiling shows that you’re comfortable with the interviewer. You want to avoid being too timid or over the top with your smile – keep it natural.

If the interview says something funny as an icebreaker, don’t be afraid to laugh. You want to use your body language as a way of signalling that you’re actively listening and engaging with what they’re saying.

5. Avoid moving around too much

If you’re nervous, you might be tempted to fidget or move around as you speak. When you squirm in your seat, it can look like you’re bored or growing impatient for the interview to finish. You should sit straight in your chair and fold your hands in your lap if you think you’re prone to fidgeting.

Be careful not to cross your arms or legs, as this can appear defensive and make you seem unapproachable. Relax your shoulders and face the interviewer. You want to use your body language to focus on the interviewer. It might take a little concentration to resist moving around in your seat, but staying still makes it easier for both you and the interviewer to concentrate.

6. Keep your feet on the ground

You want to keep your feet fixed firmly on the ground. Female candidates should avoid crossing their legs over their knees and instead cross their ankles. It’s easier to switch your legs around without being too obvious when you cross them at your ankles instead of your knees. Scientifically, it’s been proven that answering complex questions is easier when your feet are on the ground.

7. The mirror image trick

One of the greatest tips for body language during an interview is to become a mirror image of your interviewer. This advice doesn’t mean that you should imitate or mimic everything they do but rather copy their style of body language.

Your interviewer is the person who guides your interview, so you want to take your cues from them. Nod while they’re nodding and shift your posture as they do. You want to keep your body language professional throughout the interview.

8. Avoid touching your face

When you’re nervous, you may find yourself touching your face or rubbing your neck. Touching your face, messing with your hair or rubbing your nose can give the impression that you’re disinterested.

9. Take time and breathe deeply

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to breathe during your interview. Focusing on your breathing is one of the easiest ways to control your body language. When you’re asked a question, take a deep breath and speak on the exhale. A deep breath allows you to calm down and gives you a moment to think. Before you step into your interview, take ten deep breaths to reduce your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.

Final Thoughts

Your interview is the most significant step of your job search and can help you get on the employment ladder. Body language plays a crucial role in forming all-important first impressions. At Achēv, our Employment Ontario Services offers a wide range of resources to support your career and employment needs. Our employment centres are located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and North York. Contact us today to register for our free employment services.

career change
June 4, 2021

There are many reasons in a person’s life that they will undergo a career change. Some change careers because they need a new challenge, while others change career direction because the job outlook for their current career has become inadequate. While career changes may sound a little intimidating to go through, they are actually quite normal. Here are ten of our top tips for a successful career change.

1) Leverage your Network

One of the best places to start is to find out as much as possible about careers you are interested in. Reach out to contacts in your network to chat about topics such as the job market, their responsibilities, and hard and soft skills that are important in their career. If you don’t have anyone in your network to ask for career change advice, consider developing a wider network through activities such as volunteering with community organizations where you’ll meet a lot of different people.

2) Consider Job Shadowing

While it may be difficult to break into some industries, a great way to get some name recognition and experience is through job shadowing or volunteering. This helps you learn some of the roles and responsibilities while also making contacts that could serve as references or inform you about open jobs. This is an excellent way to gain experience and build your network.

3) Make a List of Your Passions

One of the greatest ways to achieve success in a career search is to seek jobs that you are passionate about. Think about not only your skills and talents but also the things that you value. There may be a way to incorporate some of your passions in a new career. Review the list and think about potential industries or jobs that would allow you to work in areas you’re passionate about.

4) Find a Mentor

One of the most useful things when seeking a new career is finding a good mentor. This is something you may find from someone you already know or when doing job shadowing. A mentor can help provide important advice about your job search and things to know about how to get started in new careers.

5) Sign Up for the Second Career Program

The Second Career program is an Ontario government initiative that offers skills training and financial support for eligible laid-off workers, helping them find employment in high-demand occupations in Ontario. If you have been laid-off in Ontario, you may qualify for up to $28,000.00 for costs including tuition, books, living expenses, child care, travel, transportation, disability supports, and basic living allowance (during skill training). At Achēv, we provide eligible individuals with free, one-on-one assistance in applying for the Second Career Program.

6) Develop Your Pitch

You’ve likely heard of the term “elevator pitch.” While you probably will rarely give these in an actual elevator, it is a great networking tool to introduce yourself in a short amount of time to someone new. You’ll want to be able to briefly highlight who you are, your skills, and why you are the best person for your new career. Practice this in front of a mirror to increase your confidence. Brevity is key, as a good elevator pitch should be about 30 seconds.

7) Highlight Transferable Skills

When you market yourself for a new field, you may find that you do not have many experiences that directly relate to your ideal new role. However, an important part of your job search is being able to illustrate transferable skills. Many jobs focus on skills such as communication, problem-solving, leadership, project management, and other key skills that are applicable in many different industries. Thus, think about the jobs you’ve done and how the skills you displayed could benefit your new career.

8) Know How to Explain the Switch

When changing careers, one question you are sure to encounter in the job search is why you want to change careers. Make this a positive moment for you by highlighting what draws you to the new industry, new challenges that you want to take on, and new opportunities for growth. This is a great way to answer the question while elaborating on your skills and abilities.

9) Leverage Job Boards

One excellent way to see options available near you is to peruse your local job boards. There are many job boards; however, one excellent option is this job board for the Greater Toronto Area. Checking job boards can help you find openings in your future career, allowing you to quickly apply in hopes of landing an interview.

Final Thoughts

Changing careers may seem like a huge step, but it does not have to be a difficult one and can really be very rewarding. However, practicing some of these tips will help you excel at your job search and find your new career quicker!

Want to get one-on-one support from a Career Counsellor to help you find the right career and employment opportunities? Contact our Employment Ontario services today!

Job Search
June 3, 2021

Are you striving to turn a vision into reality? Are you tackling a small goal such as writing a cover letter or exploring a big goal such as returning to university to advance your career? Whatever size the vision is, job seekers always benefit from goal setting.

If you have already used Employment Ontario services, you might have been told about various goal-setting approaches. For example, the SMART goal method and the WOOP goal-setting technique are both very popular.

Recently Aydolu Simsek, the Resource and Information Specialist who works at the Achēv Parliament location, told job seekers about the GROW model for goal-setting. Aydolu develops and facilitates many of the job search webinars offered at Achēv and is always searching for new best practices to assist Employment Ontario job seekers.

The GROW model is a goal-setting method that was developed in the United Kingdom in 1992. What sets it apart from other methods is that it encourages job seekers to make changes according to current life reality. Since COVID-19 has changed the Canadian workplace, this reality is more important than ever before. The GROW model helps in overcoming fear, uncertainty, procrastination and hesitancy that might be encountered during a job search journey. GROW is a method that aligns goals with reality, outlines a plan of action to overcome major obstacles, and turns them into achievable options so job seekers can reach new opportunities.

Choices that might lead to opportunities for job seekers are always being made by recruiters and employers. For example, in a recent survey, employers confirmed that it is the resume that is the biggest obstacle when it comes to understanding who the applicant is and making a hiring decision. When asked about the best resumes, all employers agreed that the most impressive were the ones that were easy to read, told a compelling professional story, listed accomplishments instead of just tasks and responsibilities, and most of all did not use clichés.

Here is an example of how to connect the GROW goal-setting model to developing an exceptional resume:

1. G = Goal. What do you want?

The goal is to write a resume in order to impress employers by using fresh and relevant words instead of tired clichés.

2. R = Reality. Where are you now?

The current reality is that the COVID-19 lockdown is happening in Ontario, however Employment Ontario assists job seekers via remote services. Achēv Career Specialists support job seekers on a one-to-one basis with resume questions at Zoom meetings or during phone calls. Or you can attend a Resume Webinar conducted by a Resource and Information Specialist.

3. O = Obstacles and Options. What could you do?

By using the no-cost services offered by Employment Ontario, you can learn how to write a general resume and a tailored or targeted version for a specific job posting. Job seekers can discover what font size and style is best, what format to use, and how to change dull and over-used statements into descriptive announcements that illustrate accomplishments.

For example, “Excellent communication skills” can be transformed into “Presented information at in-person customer meetings using remote technologies and spoke to diverse audiences at college recruiting events”.

4. W = Way Forward. What will you do?

You can convert your options into action steps by thinking of the term “way forward” as an intention or commitment. Start today by contacting Achēv to register for a Resume Webinar or find out if you meet the eligibility to meet with a Career Specialist. Every year the Career Specialists, Resource and Information Specialists, and Staffing Specialists at Achēv assist more than 25,000 job seekers in the GTA. This is a statistic that you want to be part of.

In summary, if you are seeking a new approach for your job search try using the GROW model. By knowing your goal, understanding your current reality, acknowledging your obstacles and learning your options, you can pledge to follow through on your goal using willpower and determination.

Achēv Employment Ontario services are currently provided remotely at 6 locations across Toronto, North York, Mississauga and Brampton. Grow your job search by contacting Achēv today and learn more about how goal-setting can move you forward to employment success.

This blog was written by Lisa Trudel, Career Specialist, Achēv.

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