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 say during a job interview.

Asking 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.

Speaking 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.

Overusing 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.

Bringing 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.

Using 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.

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.

LinkedIn
May 31, 2021

In a world so connected, we can still wonder how to connect. How do you meet the right people? Do you have to be in the right place, at the right time, to open that door to employment?

There was a time when job searching required you to know the right people or at least have someone introduce you to a person who could open that door for you, the door to a bigger professional arena or a new career path. While this still plays a crucial role in making the right connections for employment, fortunately, you also have a few new and effective ways to find a job.

It’s recommended that you connect with our Employment Ontario Services when you’re job searching. Our personalized employment services will give you the support you need throughout your job hunting process. However, when you’re looking for employment, using every tool in your toolkit is important.

This is where LinkedIn comes in. The platform has been around since 2003, but there can still be some confusion around exactly what its purpose is and how to use it. LinkedIn is a social media networking platform with a focus on business. It allows people and businesses from around the globe to connect with other professionals. The platform is designed to share information, market products and services, find employment and form business-to-business relationships.

Before we elaborate on these ten steps, it’s important to remember to authentically represent yourself. It’s not only about the content of the information. A well-represented and authentic profile delivered in a professional context can create more employment opportunities. Your LinkedIn profile is a powerful self-branding tool. If a recruiter within LinkedIn or outside of the network type your name into the search engine, you now have a personal brand showing in the search results.

Here are 10 tips for using LinkedIn to find employment opportunities:

1. Use LinkedIn As a Search Engine

It’s important to remember that LinkedIn is a search engine. With this in mind, you can use keywords to help your job search and narrow down the companies you want to work with. The ideal employment situation is just around the corner if you are willing to go looking for it. It’s also a great pre-interview company research tool. Use it to your advantage and rock that interview!

2. Create a Compelling And Up-To-Date Profile

It’s often referred to as a ‘living profile’. Make sure you’re constantly keeping it current and fresh with new content. Complete your profile as well! You want to stand out and get noticed. If you have an unfinished profile, even with a CV or resume uploaded, it won’t be enough to impress.

Bonus tip: This is also a great time to clean up your other social media accounts. Have your personal brand positively reflected no matter the platform recruiters land on.

3. IncludeProfile Picture

This is often overlooked but a profile with a photo is clicked on 14 times more and contacted 36 times more than a profile without a picture. Keep it professional. It’s not required that you’re in a suit and tie but shouldn’t be a picture from the wild Christmas party last year. A well-thought-out professional headshot can make the right first impression.

4. Sell Yourself In The Headline

Spend some time thinking about what to write here. The headline is the first thing people see after your name! You want to avoid using terms like ‘Job Searching’, ‘Job Seeker’, ‘Unemployed’, etc. For some recruiters and hiring managers, there is a fine line between actively searching and coming across as desperate.

Instead, take this opportunity to use keywords to highlight your achievements and include a value proposition. Speak about who you are, what you’ve done and where you’re going, and direct it to your target audience. (Who do you want to notice you? What type of employment are you searching for?)

5. Make Your Summary Shine

This is your next opportunity to separate yourself from the crowd. You can let your accomplishments take center stage. Talk about your accomplishments, awards, highlight your skills and any other noteworthy recognition. Instead of using only bullet points, try weaving your successes into an engaging story (professionally, of course!). When done correctly, you’ll be memorable for all the right reasons.

6. Promote All Of  Your Skills (fill out all 50!) 

If you know anything about SEO, you know that keywords are crucial. A recruiter searching LinkedIn for their next hire could type in a skill like MS Office. If MS Office is listed as a skill, LinkedIn can find your profile as a relevant fit to what they are specifically looking for. This is why filling out all 50 available spots in important. This greatly increases your chance of being seen by a recruiter. There are over 700 million users on the platform but only a small percentage of those users are relevant to your job-search purposes. You need to make it as easy as possible to be found and noticed.

7. Reach Out And Make Connections 

Take advantage of LinkedIn’s real-time connection to professionals all over the world. With some guidance on how to make those first impressions, you can build lasting and valuable relationships.

8. Have Someone Vouch For You

Get endorsements and recommendations. The skills you’ve added to your page can be validated with endorsements from within your network. Reach out to your network or those you have worked with and request a written recommendation. This notoriety boost will help your profile stand out when your job searching.

9. Network Your Way Into Employment

The more people you have in your network, the more exposure you get. If Sally knows you have marketing experience, she’s 100% more likely to refer you to her boss when a job opens up if she knows you! Making connections and good impressions can go a long way in finding employment.

10. Engage In The Community 

LinkedIn groups provide a place for professionals and businesses to cultivate a valuable community. Professionals in the same industry or of similar interests can group together for quality interactions. It can allow you to establish yourself as an expert in your field in a group outside your immediate network. Be mindful of your activity (don’t overwhelm the forum with a post every 15 minutes), be professional.

Your job search should be a multi-faceted operation. You can leverage our free Employment Ontario Services to help you find you find your next job. We have Employment Centres located across the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and North York. You should also be leveraging your personal network to discover any potential opportunities there.

The most important and most effective strategy would be to maximize the platform that LinkedIn has built. By using these tips and bringing your best foot forward, you can find the ideal employment opportunity and end your job search with the dream job you are looking for.

Using laptop
May 17, 2021

Job searching is a multi-step process that requires problem-solving with insight and determination. Sometimes by diving in using outdated methods, results for job seekers can be misspent effort and errors that need to be fixed to produce positive outcomes.

The famous inventor of the first practical telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, is attributed to saying “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the one that has opened for us.” Job searching in 2021 can be like this for many job seekers. We encourage you to be mindful of the following three job search issues and take new actions so you can open new employment doors. These points should become part of your job search plan along with a dose of persistence and patience.

1. Spending too much time writing your resume.

Are you devoting the greatest amount of your daily job search time rewriting your resume? Are you trying to showcase your skills using current buzzwords so your application can pass applicant tracking systems? Do you rarely hear back from employers?

New Action: If your answers are “yes”, then it is time to connect with an Employment Ontario Career Specialist at Achēv. They assist job seekers with creating a general template and provide advice on how to mention professional milestones that a new employer might value. Our Career Specialists will encourage you to spend most of your time networking and following up on new contacts to increase referrals. One referral might become that special person who passes your resume to a hiring decision-maker so you can secure an interview.

2. Limiting yourself by answering job postings.

Answering job postings with a customized cover letter and resume is only a very small step in a job search plan. Statistics prove that there is only a 5% success rate of securing a job interview if you are a stranger answering a job posting.

New Action: Also, according to recent statistics, more than 80% of all jobs are never posted online. They are only available to people who network. Your Achēv Career Specialist supports job seekers by promoting the value of researching online networks and conducting informational meetings or coffee chats. By spending time developing professional relationships you can open new employment possibility doors, discover fresh ideas and overcome shyness.  Focusing on finding potential contacts is one of the best steps to incorporate into your job search plan and can turn limitations into helpful resources.

3. Creating a basic LinkedIn profile.

Did you create your LinkedIn profile a few years ago and has it just been sitting there ever since?  Is there no photo or banner background photo posted?  If you know your LinkedIn profile is lacking, you know what the next “new action” will be!

New Action: It is time to either add impressive words and photos on your LinkedIn profile or take it down altogether. How you present yourself on LinkedIn gives the potential employer an idea about your productivity, creativity and potential. LinkedIn is constantly adding new features to better showcase job seekers, so you need to keep current with this platform. For example, be sure to turn on the “#open to work” feature that goes around your photo. Experts state that if you do not plan on using a LinkedIn profile, it is better not to have one. To learn more about LinkedIn, attend a webinar at Achēv or speak to an Employment Ontario Career Specialist about how you can improve it.

In summary, if you are struggling with your job search and want to problem solve so new doors will open, be sure to consider these three new actions. They are only a few steps in a process that will always require persistence, patience, and a plan.

Achēv Employment Ontario services are currently provided remotely at six locations across Toronto, North York, Mississauga and Brampton. Plan to contact Achēv today to start shifting your job search in a positive direction.

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

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