how to create safe spaces for Black employees
February 15, 2024

Canada, known for its diversity and inclusivity, offers a welcoming environment for people from various backgrounds. However, the importance of creating safe spaces for Black employees cannot be overstated. In this blog post, we will explore ways to foster inclusivity and support within workplaces to ensure a positive experience for Black employees.

Understanding the Challenges

Being aware of the challenges faced by Black employees is the first step toward creating a safe and inclusive workplace. Systemic racism, unconscious bias, and microaggressions can create hurdles in professional growth and job satisfaction. It is essential for employers and colleagues to educate themselves on these issues and actively work towards eliminating discriminatory practices.

Promoting Diversity and Representation

Representation matters. Employers should make conscious efforts to diversify their workforce at all levels. This includes leadership roles, where Black employees can see themselves reflected in positions of authority. By showcasing diversity in leadership, organizations send a powerful message of inclusivity, fostering a sense of belonging among their employees.

Implementing Inclusive Policies

Creating a safe space involves more than just verbal support. Employers should actively implement inclusive policies that address discrimination and harassment. Develop a zero-tolerance policy for racism and discrimination, and ensure that all employees are aware of these policies. Regular training sessions can help educate staff and reinforce the importance of creating an environment free from bias.

Encouraging Open Communication

Building safe spaces requires open communication channels. Employers should encourage employees to share their experiences and concerns without fear of retribution. Establishing regular forums, such as town hall meetings or anonymous suggestion boxes, can provide a platform for employees to voice their thoughts and contribute to the ongoing improvement of workplace culture.

Mentorship and Networking Opportunities

For immigrants and newcomers, mentorship can be invaluable. Establishing mentorship programs that connect experienced employees with newcomers helps in navigating the nuances of the workplace. Additionally, creating networking opportunities within the organization and the community can help build a support system for Black employees, fostering a sense of community and collaboration.

Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Events

Organizing cultural events and celebrations within the workplace not only promotes diversity but also helps in creating an inclusive atmosphere. Acknowledging and appreciating various cultural traditions can foster understanding and unity among employees. These events provide an opportunity for people to share their unique experiences and promote a sense of belonging.

Addressing Microaggressions

Microaggressions, though often subtle, can have a significant impact on an individual’s well-being and sense of belonging. Employers should take a proactive stance in addressing and eliminating microaggressions within the workplace. This can be achieved through training programs, awareness campaigns, and fostering a culture where employees feel comfortable calling out such behavior.

Creating safe spaces for Black employees is a collective responsibility that requires ongoing commitment from employers and colleagues alike. By fostering inclusivity and support, workplaces can become nurturing environments where every employee, regardless of their background, feels valued and supported.

At Achēv, we are committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace and our communities. Achēv Inclusion works with organizations to attract and retain top talent, build a best-in-class workplace and create cultural competency trainings to further their progress toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Learn more about Achēv Inclusion at: https://inclusion.achev.ca/

man smiling in front of a laptop
January 25, 2024

LinkedIn has rapidly turned into a major resource used by recruiters to identify new talent. While the site typically has over 14 million open jobs, 87% of recruiters regularly report using LinkedIn to find qualified candidates. Here are eight ways to make your profile stand out to recruiters.

Have a Quality Headshot

Your photo is the first thing that someone sees on your profile. It’s very important that you use a quality headshot. Getting one from a professional photographer is often more affordable than people think. However, if you don’t want to go this route, you can have someone take one for you. Stand against a plain background and take a picture from your chest up in work attire with your head looking slightly to the side. Don’t use a selfie.

Make Your LinkedIn Profile Easy to Read

If a recruiter looks at your LinkedIn profile, they’re going to want to be able to skim it fairly quickly. Thus, you want to ensure that it’s easy to read. Use short paragraphs and concise writing to keep people’s attention. Bullet points are also a great way to organize information.

Grow Your Network

There are many benefits to having a large network on LinkedIn. One advantage is that more recruiters may notice you as you’ll be more likely to have connections in common. You can grow your LinkedIn network by making it a habit to send connection requests after meeting someone. Additionally, connecting your LinkedIn to your address book can help optimize connection suggestions for you.

Giving Endorsements Gets Endorsements

A great way to stand out to recruiters is to have endorsements. Many people wonder about the best way to get endorsements. While it’s perfectly fine to ask someone close to you to provide you with one, the best way to get endorsements is to give them to others. Look through your network and identify people you’ve worked closely with that you can endorse for a particular skill. Typically, people will want to return the favor. This is a great way to quickly rack up some endorsements.

Engage in LinkedIn Learning

It’s no secret that organizations typically value people who are lifelong learners and spend time on their own professional development. There are great ways to showcase these qualities to potential employers, one of which is by completing courses on LinkedIn Learning. In addition to being a great way to learn new skills, LinkedIn Learning allows you to add a course completion certificate to your profile. This is a great way to further advertise the skills you continue to accumulate.

Share Content to Your Feed

Getting noticed by recruiters on LinkedIn involves getting noticed by LinkedIn’s algorithms. Being more active on the platform is one way to help increase the chances of your profile showing up when recruiters search for people with your skills. A great way to begin doing this is by sharing content to your feed. Watch your LinkedIn feed and share interesting content when you see it. Be sure it’s something relevant to your industry or the types of jobs you would hope to attract. This is a great starting point for garnering more attention.

Provide Well Thought Comments

A great way to further enhance your engagement on the LinkedIn platform is to comment on the posts and shares of others. If you read an interesting article, feel free to comment. The key to a good comment is that it’s thoughtful, reflective of what has been shared, and helps further the conversation. Additionally, be sure to positively engage with people when they respond to your comments. This discourse will help you connect with others and raise your performance with LinkedIn’s algorithms.

Understand Your Target Audience

One of the most critical aspects of creating an engaging LinkedIn profile is understanding your target audience. If you’re looking to be hired by recruiters, make sure that your profile is written with them in mind. LinkedIn is quite different from other social networking sites in that it’s aimed at the professional world. Think about the words you use when designing your profile and ensure you’re using language that highlights skills and experiences that recruiters in your field would look for.

Final Thoughts

LinkedIn can be a powerful resource in your search for a job and can continue to link you to many opportunities for years to come. However, getting noticed by recruiters means ensuring that your LinkedIn profile is optimized for them to find you. These tips are great ways to ensure your LinkedIn profile stands out to recruiters.

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.

January 3, 2024

As the New Year unfolds, it brings with it the promise of growth and new opportunities. If you’re looking to enhance your skill set and embark on a journey of self-improvement in the coming year, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to gain new skills and set yourself up for success.

Identify Your Goals and Interests

Before diving into skill development, take the time to identify your goals and interests. What are you passionate about? What skills align with your career aspirations or personal interests? Reflecting on your objectives will help you choose skills that are not only valuable but also meaningful to you.

Create a Skill Development Plan

Once you’ve identified your goals, create a skill development plan. Break down your objectives into manageable steps and set realistic timelines. Whether it’s learning a new language, acquiring technical skills, or improving soft skills like communication and leadership, having a structured plan will keep you focused and accountable.

Explore Online Learning Platforms

The digital age has brought forth a wealth of online learning platforms that offer courses on a vast array of subjects. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning provide opportunities to acquire new skills from the comfort of your home. Explore these platforms to find courses that align with your goals, and consider both technical and soft skills to create a well-rounded skill set.

Engage in Professional Development

If you’re looking to advance your career, professional development is key. Attend workshops, webinars, and conferences relevant to your industry. Networking at these events not only exposes you to new ideas but also connects you with professionals who can offer guidance and mentorship. 

Practice Regularly and Apply Your Skills

Skill development is not just about acquiring knowledge; it’s about applying what you’ve learned in real-world scenarios. Look for opportunities to practice your new skills through projects, volunteering, or even in your current job. Practical application enhances your understanding and reinforces your learning.

Join Professional Associations and Communities

Become an active member of professional associations and online communities related to your field. Engaging with like-minded individuals provides a supportive network for sharing experiences, gaining insights, and staying updated on industry trends. Many associations also offer workshops and events that facilitate skill development.

Utilize Skill Development Resources at Work

If you’re currently employed, inquire about skill development resources available at your workplace. Many companies offer training programs, workshops, or financial assistance for employees seeking to enhance their skills. Take advantage of these resources to align your professional growth with organizational goals.

In conclusion, gaining new skills in the New Year is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. By identifying your goals, creating a plan, utilizing online platforms, seeking mentorship, practicing regularly, and maintaining a growth mindset, you’ll not only acquire valuable skills but also position yourself for success in the ever-evolving landscape of work and life. Embrace the opportunity to become a better version of yourself in the coming year!

December 12, 2023

In the fall of 2023, the Advancing Equity for Women and Girls team, in collaboration with SEASONOVA, facilitated a series of impactful training sessions titled “DEIA in Action: Towards an Equitable and Inclusive Workforce.” In this blog, we’ll delve into the key strategies that employers can incorporate to support immigrant and racialized women in the Canadian labour force.

Why Embed DEIA into the Organization?

The business case for DEIA has been established numerous times, and the data points to the following: increasing diversity in the workplace gives organizations a competitive advantage and supports innovation and creativity. However, for organizations to benefit from bringing diverse individuals into their workforce, they have to go beyond numbers.

To truly unlock the benefits of a diverse workforce, organizations must embed DEIA into their policies, practices, and overall culture, thereby reducing barriers and creating an environment where immigrant and racialized women can thrive.

Organizational DEIA Assessment: A Vital Step

During the training sessions, participants were guided through how to kickstart their DEIA journey by doing an Organizational DEIA Assessment. This self-assessment tool serves as a catalyst for ongoing DEIA dialogues within organizations. It also offers valuable insights into the current workplace culture, existing initiatives, and workforce composition, allowing organizations to pinpoint areas for improvement to achieve meaningful organizational change.

Some of the questions an Organizational DEIA Assessment can include are:

  • What is the current state of your organization’s openness and attitudes towards DEIA, including its workplace culture?
  • What DEIA-related initiatives or infrastructures exist in your organization?
  • What is the current workforce composition, including representation levels from employment equity and diversity groups?

DEIA Action Plan: Translating Commitments into Action

Participants, equipped with insights for the assessment, embarked on the development of their own DEIA Action Plan. A DEIA Action Plan outlines the organization’s commitments to DEIA in practical terms, including:

  • Strategic commitment statements and goals,
  • Tangible actions and tasks,
  • Numeric targets, and
  • Resources, including human and financial resources

While developing and implementing a DEIA Action Plan can be challenging, support is available. To guide employers through this process, we’ve developed a toolkit titled “Paving the Way,” offering a comprehensive guide on strategies and considerations for supporting immigrant and racialized women in the Canadian labour force.

Learn More with the “Paving the Way” Toolkit

For a deeper dive into strategies supporting immigrant and racialized women in the Canadian labour force, access our toolkit for employers, “Paving the Way: A Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Guide.”

About Advancing Equity for Women and Girls

Funded by Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), Advancing Equity for Women and Girls supports a feminist response and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 on the employment of immigrant and racialized women in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) by contributing to systemic change to promote women’s economic prosperity and equality.

Contact Us

For any questions regarding the project, contact us:

Read more about our program here: Advancing Equity for Women and Girls – Employment Services

building your personal brand for job search
December 8, 2023

When you think about a brand, you probably think about major companies and their advertising campaigns. However, establishing a brand is no longer just for major organizations. Having a brand is important for anything you want to sell. When dealing with your career, what you are ultimately selling is your own story, experiences and skills. Thus, you should strive to build your own personal brand to help your job search. Here are seven tips for doing this.

Identify Your Brand

Before you set out to build a personal brand, you have to identify what that brand will be. If you act without completing this step, your efforts will likely be haphazard and send the wrong message.

Begin by brainstorming how you want to be perceived in your career. What do you excel in? What skills do you pride yourself most in? What do you most enjoy doing? What personal characteristics do you have that make you stand out? Ask yourself these questions to come up with what you want to be known for.

Understand Your Audience

To build your personal brand, you have to communicate it. In order to communicate it effectively, you have to understand your audience. One of the first questions you should ask is who your audience is. Do you want to reach people in a certain industry? Recruiters? Someone at a specific company?

Once you’ve identified your audience, seek to understand it. What does your audience value? How does your message resonate with that audience? These questions will help you effectively establish and communicate your brand.

Strengthen Your Social Footprint

In today’s world, one of the ways that people establish their personal brand is through social media. Yes, you also communicate your brand through in-person interactions; however, someone’s first interaction with you will likely be virtual.

This is where you should really seek to optimize your LinkedIn profile. Sharing content that reinforces your brand is always a good strategy, as is commenting on the content of others. If you’re a good writer, you can create your own content. Those active on other platforms like Twitter and Facebook, ensure that your content and actions reinforce your brand image.

Tell Stories

Ultimately, the secret to building your brand is storytelling. People are naturally enraptured by stories. They catch our attention and move us in ways that facts, figures, and statements simply don’t.

Building your brand through storytelling can take many forms. It can include sharing your thoughts and experiences. It can also include sharing the stories of others that reinforce your brand, such as people you have helped or organizations you have succeeded with.

Consistency Is Critical

Building your personal brand means that people need to think of your brand when they think of you. The key to accomplishing this is consistency. Everything you do and say should help reinforce your brand. The more someone encounters you and a specific message together, the more likely they will associate the two.

In this sense, it’s incredibly important that your brand aligns with your own personal values. Failing to be consistent will send mixed messages. People will either fail to see your brand or, even worse, think of you as not representing it.

Look at Examples

When trying to establish a personal brand for yourself, it can be helpful to look at examples of people who have succeeded. This is not to say that you will copy others’ examples. After all, your personal brand is unique from theirs. Rather, you can look to these examples for guidance.

Maybe you follow other professionals in your field who have a strong brand. What do they do to reinforce it? You can look at how a particular celebrity or athlete cultivates their brand and get ideas from their efforts.

Help Others Tell Your Story

One of the most influential ways to grow your brand is through the words of others. For example, if you want to be known as a strong data analyst, you have to work hard in your field and produce high-quality work. If people see value in your skills and work ethic, they will tell your story to others.

The best form of PR is word of mouth. It’s free, and people often trust it more. As you begin creating a personal brand for yourself and getting that out into the public sphere, having others tell your story will start to come to fruition. Just ensure that your interactions with others facilitate your brand.

Final Thoughts

Creating a personal brand takes its root in the lessons of marketing. Ultimately, you are marketing yourself to others professionally using a common theme or values. Building a personal brand is a long-term project that you have to work on continually. However, you will see improved rewards over time. Keep at it and this strategy can pay off significantly in furthering your career.

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.

Skilled Trades Worker
May 12, 2023

Are you looking for a career in the skilled trades that is both in-demand and rewarding? You’re in luck! There are currently a variety of jobs in the trades that are in high demand, and you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. From electricians to welders to machinists, there is an array of opportunities in the skilled trades that can give you the satisfying career you’ve been searching for. Achēv holds regular job fairs, information sessions, and webinars for skilled tradespersons. Contact Achēv today to learn how Achēv can help you land a career in the trade of your choice in Canada.

Read on to learn more about the top 8 in-demand jobs in the skilled trades.

Electricians

Electricians are skilled trades professionals who install, maintain, and repair electrical systems. These systems include wiring, lighting fixtures, circuit boards, and other electrical components in homes and businesses. They also inspect existing systems to ensure they are up to code and locate potential problems. Electricians are in high demand due to the rapidly growing demand for energy in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. In addition, electricians can specialize in various fields, such as security systems, data communications, renewable energy, and lighting. With the increasing complexity of modern electrical systems, electricians must stay abreast of the latest technology and techniques to meet the needs of their clients. As such, electricians can expect to benefit from a strong job market for many years.

HVAC Technicians

HVAC technicians are highly trained professionals who specialize in installing, maintaining, and repairing heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. They are in demand because their expertise is necessary to maintain comfort in residential and commercial settings. In addition, with technological advances and the growing popularity of green energy solutions, HVAC technicians need to understand the latest trends to Design and install efficient systems. With the ever-increasing demand for these services, there is an ever-increasing need for skilled HVAC technicians.

Plumbers

A plumber is a skilled trades person responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining a building’s plumbing system, including piping, fixtures, and other components. They also call them upon to install appliances such as dishwashers and water heaters and work on heating and cooling systems. The demand for plumbers is increasing due to the increased construction of new buildings and the need for repairs in older homes and units. As the population grows, so does the need for plumbers to provide necessary services. Additionally, the demand for qualified plumbers has increased due to cities and municipalities introducing more complex water systems, which include water softeners, water treatment systems, and sprinkler systems.

Welders

Welders join, fabricate, and repair metal and other types of weldable material using specialized equipment. Welding is in demand due to its continuous need in many industries, including aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding, and construction. Welders must have good eyesight and can interpret blueprints and drawings accurately. Major infrastructure projects are rolling out across Canada, increasing the need for welders.

Due to the prevalence of welding in many sectors, the demand for trained welders is increasing. Additionally, older welding machinery is becoming obsolete due to technological advances, creating a need for more highly-skilled welders. Welders are a skilled trade who play an essential role in the development of renewable energy sources. Many renewable energy sources require specific welding techniques. With the rising popularity of green energy initiatives, the demand for skilled welders will continue to increase.

Pipefitters

Pipefitters are skilled tradespeople who install and maintain piping systems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings. They are responsible for installing and maintaining pipes used to transport a variety of liquids, gases, and other materials. Pipefitters may also be responsible for repairing or replacing faulty pipes. They may also weld and solder pipes and inspect new pipe systems to ensure they are up to code. The demand for pipefitters is rising due to the increasing number of industries that need their services. The growth of energy, water and waste management industries has created a greater need for pipefitters to manage their networks.

Many provinces are introducing regulations requiring more rigorous inspections and maintenance of existing pipelines, creating additional demand for qualified pipefitters. With the growing popularity of renewable energy sources there is an increased demand to help install and maintain these systems. Pipefitters with specialized skills such as welding and brazing can also find additional job opportunities.

Boilermakers

Boilermakers are skilled trades workers specializing in constructing, installing, and maintaining large containers holding liquids or gases. These containers, called boilers, are used in many industries, such as manufacturing, power plants, and oil refineries. Boilermakers must have the technical skills to understand and interpret complex drawings correctly. They also require specialized welding and cutting skills to construct the boilers correctly. Boilermakers are in high demand due to their technical skill set. Industrial sectors are continuing to grow and expand, causing an increased need for skilled boilermakers.

As existing plants and refineries’ infrastructure ages, experienced boilermakers are needed to help maintain and repair existing boilers. As new boiler projects appear and older boiler systems need continued care, the demand for Boilermakers continues to grow.

Machinists

Machinists are skilled professionals who specialize in manufacturing and repairing precision tools and parts using machine tools. Often working from blueprints and CAD (Computer-Aided Design) drawings Machinists fabricate intricate components. These components can include anything from tiny parts for medical equipment to more significant components needed for industrial machinery. The demand for machinists has increased in recent years due to various factors. Automation is a powerful driver in the increased demand for machinists. The machinist role will continue to be critical as the need for human oversight and complexity of created components grow.

Additionally, the aging population of skilled machinists is creating an even greater need for skilled new Machinists. With the rise of new technologies such as 3D printing, demand grows for machinists who use computers to create intricate parts. Furthermore, manufacturers rely more on outsourcing, which has resulted in an increased need for machinists to help meet production demands.

Maintenance Workers

Maintenance workers are essential members of the skilled trades team who specialize in the upkeep of various structures and equipment. These workers keep the daily operations of businesses, homes, and industrial sites running smoothly. Procedures can include maintenance of air conditioners, boilers, heating systems, elevators, electrical wiring, and more. The demand for maintenance workers is rising as people continue to invest in their homes, businesses, and industrial sites. As technology advances and new materials become available, maintenance workers must ensure everything runs properly and efficiently. Maintenance workers are in high demand due to the need for regular upkeep and preventive maintenance of various structures and equipment. Often required for emergency repairs, maintenance workers may work on jobs such as restoring power during an outage or fixing a broken water pipe. With the need for continuous maintenance, many businesses rely on experienced maintenance workers to keep their operations running smoothly.

Achēv’s Employment Services’ career counselors can help you find the career of your dreams in the skilled trades sector. Click here to reach out to an Achēv career counselor today and take the next step in your journey toward a professional tradesperson career in Canada!

You can also click here to learn about the other career, language, women, and newcomer services Achēv offers!

people lined up for job interview
June 20, 2022

Many of us have that fear of accidentally saying the wrong thing during an interview. While that often doesn’t happen, there are some common mistakes people make when answering or asking questions in interviews. With this in mind, here are six things you should never do during a job interview.

Ask Basic Questions about the Company

While it’s perfectly acceptable to ask many types of questions about the company, you should never ask basic questions that could have been answered with a simple Google search or by viewing the company’s website.

Before going to an interview, you are expected to do your research. This is important in helping you prepare. Doing your research also shows that you’re genuinely interested in working for the company. Asking basic questions such as, “what does the company do?” is a good way to get looked over for the role because they don’t feel you are serious about the job.

Speak Poorly about Previous Coworkers or Bosses

You may get a question such as, “Tell me about a time you had to deal with a workplace conflict.” When answering the question, it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about how you handled miscommunications or differences in working styles. However, you should never speak poorly of a previous boss or coworker during an interview.

If you do make the mistake of speaking poorly about someone, you are likely doing damage to your image rather than theirs. Even if you did have a toxic boss, that’s something you want to keep to yourself when being interviewed.

Overuse Buzzwords

Virtually every industry has buzzwords and jargon. However, some words or phrases are so overused that they become clichés and should be avoided during job interviews. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about a strong talent you have. Rather, you should find another way to phrase it.

For example, instead of saying that you “think outside the box,” say you have “strong critical thinking skills” or “creative solutions to resolving problems.” Then back this up with an example of a time when you were able to use these skills at a previous workplace or during a prior project. This answers the question without using buzzwords and provides a concrete example of your success.

Bring Up Potential Problems

The interview is not the time for you to negotiate or bring up specific issues. For example, you shouldn’t state that you have a vacation planned for next month or that you may not be able to meet the typical nine-to-five schedule. While you can ask general questions such as “are flexible hours a possibility,” don’t go into depth about your own situation.

You should only bring these issues up if and when you are offered the job. Then you can negotiate things such as a flexible schedule or specific time off. These are things that you want to do after an organization has already decided that it wants to hire you, not before.

Use Profanity or Inappropriate Stories

You would think that not using profanity would be the basic assumption for interviews, but you would be wrong. There are countless times when people have used profanity, and it doesn’t end well. It can make you look unprofessional and will generally be seen as a red flag. It’s something you should never say during a job interview.

Additionally, when telling stories in response to interview questions, be sure that your stories are appropriate for the professional atmosphere. While you may want to use a personal story to describe a time you used your communication skills, ensure that you’re not sharing too much personal information.

Not Asking Any Questions

After the interviewer is finished asking their questions, they will typically ask you if you have any questions. You never want to be the person that says you don’t have any questions. Even if they have already answered your main questions during the interview, not asking questions can convey a message that you aren’t that interested in the job.

Part of preparing for an interview involves doing some research about the organization and coming up with some questions. Be sure to have a few questions to ask when the time comes. Asking questions can also provide you with an extra opportunity to make additional points or further express your excitement about the opportunity.

Final Thoughts

When participating in a job interview, it’s important to perform your best. While there are many things you want to highlight to sell your skills to an employer, there are also a number of things that you never want to say during a job interview. These six things are among those that you should always avoid.

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.

Covid effect on racialized women
May 26, 2022

Achēv is excited to introduce the new project, Advancing Equity for Women and Girls, funded by Women and Gender Equality (WAGE). This new project supports a feminist response and recovery from the impact COVID-19 has had on the employment of immigrant and racialized women in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) by contributing to systemic change to promote women’s economic prosperity and equality.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, immigrant and racialized women were disproportionately affected in their employment

In March 2020, during the onset of the pandemic, women accounted for 62.5% of employment losses. This is due to the overrepresentation of women in sectors that were the most affected by the pandemic, such as accommodations, food service, retail, and wholesale trade. Jobs in these sectors are often low-paying and require face-to-face interaction between customers and workers, making it difficult to transition to remote work. This resulted in many women working in frontline occupations with inadequate access to personal protective equipment (PPE).

The disproportionate gendered division of housework and care work that is present in many Canadian households resulted in women taking over more family responsibilities and childcare during the pandemic. When the impacts of the pandemic became long-term, many women left their jobs to care for their families. For women that continued to work in a remote capacity, it is likely that their productivity declined due to the demand of completing housework and caring for their children.

The pandemic pushed immigrant and racialized women to unemployment, low-skill jobs or even unstable employment. Studies show that women experienced an interruption in their career trajectory due to layoffs, increased housework and care responsibilities, as well as decreased job opportunities.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, immigrant and racialized women faced barriers to employment

Many immigrant and racialized women face barriers to employment. When immigrating, barriers to finding job opportunities in the Canadian labour market pushed women towards underemployment and deskilling. Women are likely to find themselves securing low-wage occupations with low job security that often do not equivalate to their education and work experience in their country of origin.

Women are impacted by several barriers to joining the Canadian labour market, from having difficulties transferring their foreign credentials, discrimination based on the lack of local work experience, lack of access to networks, and discrimination based on gender, race and immigrant status.

Advancing Equity for Women and Girls aims to address these barriers

Our project aims to address these systemic barriers to employment and, in turn, support women’s equality through:

  • Advancing inclusive policies and practices in the labour market
  • Supporting positive distribution of authority, voices and decision-making power
  • Increasing networks and collaboration to accelerate systematic change to advance women’s equity

During the first phase of our project, we will conduct broad consultation with GTA stakeholders, including women, business leaders and employers, to gain perspectives on existing practices and barriers faced by immigrant and racialized women in employment. The information gathered from the consultation will directly inform the resources we will create for employers, such as workshops and a toolkit to implement inclusive practices.

Join us in addressing systemic barriers to employment for immigrant and racialized women in the GTA

Share your story with us! We want to hear your experience in the Canadian labour market, the impact COVID-19 has had on your career path and your suggestions on how to address systemic barriers to employment.

Complete our survey: https://bit.ly/AEWGsurvey

Register for our focus groups: https://bit.ly/AEWGshareyourstory

Contact us

For any questions regarding the project, contact us:

Hodan Mohamed, Coordinator: hmohamed@achev.ca

Mayela Lozano, Community Liaison: mlozano@achev.ca

resume mistakes to avoid
May 25, 2022

We all know that resumes are the key to getting employed. A quality resume will enable you to get your foot in the door for that valuable job interview, which gives you a chance to further sell your experiences and how you will fit within an organization. However, making mistakes on your resume can ruin your chances. After all, you want to stand out and not go into the rejection pile. Here are some common resume mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Focusing on Your Job Responsibilities

One of the most common resume mistakes people make is using the valuable space to highlight their job responsibilities. However, this is not what will get you noticed by an employer. Instead of documenting your roles, you need to use this space to highlight your achievements.

You should describe how you excelled in this role. Things that can be quantified are particularly useful to mention. Discuss how you improved an organization rather than simply stating your responsibilities. These are the things that will truly stand out to employers. After all, every applicant with a similar position will have similar responsibilities, but your achievements are unique.

2. Using an Objective

Traditionally, resumes have included an objective statement; however, this practice hasn’t been common for over a decade. After all, the objective of the resume is very clear: to land a specific job. Thus, the objective statement that used to be recommended is redundant and a waste of space. If you have an objective statement on your resume, you should remove it.

In its place, put a professional profile, which is a short section that highlights your major expertise and skills. This provides a concise summary of the core assets that you will bring to an organization. It should give a potential employer a quick summary of what you bring to their team.

3. Using Unrelated Experiences

One of the biggest resume mistakes people make is filling their resume with completely unrelated experiences to the job they are applying for. In many cases, this occurs due to people using only one resume when job hunting. Resumes should be tailored to the job you are applying for. This doesn’t mean you need a unique resume for every role, but you should at least have different resumes for different types of roles.

Before sending in your resume, be sure to give it a look over and ask yourself if the experiences on your resume are directly related to the job responsibilities of the role you are applying for. If they aren’t, use that valuable space to tailor your skills and experiences to the job. Doing this will make you much more marketable.

4. Grammatical and Formatting Errors

Regardless of the role you are applying for, attention to detail and accuracy are important competencies to have. A resume with grammatical or formatting errors can quickly land you in the reject pile. Be sure to carefully read through your resume to catch spelling mistakes that spell check may have missed.

In terms of formatting, make sure you are using acceptable fonts. It’s good to use a widely recognized one such as Arial or Times New Roman. Additionally, stick with black ink and avoid bright colors and graphics, as these can distract from the written content you are trying to get across.

5. Using an Unprofessional E-mail Address

This is a quick way to get looked over and a huge resume mistake many people have made. Your e-mail address conveys a message about you, and that message should be that you are professional. Is your e-mail address unprofessional? If you find yourself wondering, the answer is probably yes.

An easy remedy is to create a separate e-mail address that you will use for professional communications. Get a free address from a provider like Gmail and use your name as your e-mail. Combinations of your last name and initials are typically good to use. If you have a common name, you may need to add a number at the end.

6. Exaggerating the Truth

You may have heard people say it’s ok to exaggerate a bit on resumes; however, this is a mistake. Outright falsehoods are easy to verify. However, exaggerating can get you into trouble in a number of ways.

First, large exaggerations typically reveal themselves during an interview or reference checks. Second, exaggerations may lead you to land a job you aren’t well qualified for, leading to poor performance that can hurt you.

Final Thoughts

If you are finding yourself having difficulty securing interviews, it’s a good idea to look at your resume for these common resume mistakes. Additionally, it’s always helpful to have an extra set of eyes take a look, as other people may notice things that you miss. Happy job searching!

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.

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.

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support