Cover Letter Strategies - Achēv
March 19, 2021

Does this sound like you? You found your dream job posting and completed an impressive targeted resume. Now you are staring at the blank screen, trying to write a cover letter. You have started with the date, who it is being sent to, and got as far as “Dear Human Resources”. Now what? If you are a job seeker who panics when writing a cover letter, Achēv is proud to provide you with six clever ideas to put you on the right track.

1. Remember the goal

A cover letter is a mandatory business document that always escorts the resume. It should be 250 to 400 words on one page and concise enough for someone to read in 10 seconds. A cover letter is a chance to describe your professional story in a conversational tone that is compelling, easy to understand and captures the attention of the employer.

2. Go beyond your resume

There is no need to repeat or summarize your resume in a cover letter. According to recent surveys, this is one of the reasons many employers disregard the cover letter. Instead, your letter is a place to provide more details and context. Focus on the employer, showcase your skills instead of your education, and present 1 or 2 examples of how your experience will support their company. In Canada, volunteer experience is just as important as employment experience, so include how you champion your community or how you are involved with professional associations.

3. Focus away from “I” and toward “them”

If every sentence of your cover letter begins with “I” or “my”, you need to change the direction of your writing. Think of your cover letter as a sales pitch. Instead of composing a letter that is about yourself and your needs and wants, consider the needs of the employer. Ask yourself why the company is hiring for this role. Try to relate to the needs of the employer and position your examples and skills as the solution.

4. Use numbers and statistics to back up your claims

Your cover letter should describe the impact you had on previous experience. Did you increase sales? Did you organize an amazing number of meetings or events in a short time period? Did you create a new workflow process 30% more efficient? These types of numbers will make your cover letter stand out.

5. Write in their voice

Your cover letter is an opportunity to show that you understand the culture and environment of the company you are targeting. Every company is different and some are casual while others are traditional. Research their website and read their social media posts before you start writing. Have a sense of the company tone, language and culture, so you can select words that connect to the employer.

6. Finalize with a call to action

Cover letters are often concluded with the throwaway line of “I look forward to hearing from you”. Instead, use the last paragraph to emphasize your enthusiasm and wrap up points that you could not fit into the previous paragraphs. Be courteous by thanking the reader for their time and ask them to take action. For example, “Thank you in advance for considering my application. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more businesses have moved their workforce online and I would very much like to discuss how my remote communication expertise can support your goals.”

In summary, cover letters are part of all applications and where you can explain issues including gaps in your employment, or interest in relocating to a new city, or ability to adhere to the new health and safety regulations created by COVID-19. In a workplace where employers are inundated with applications, write a clever cover letter that grabs the attention of the reader.

Achēv’s Employment Ontario services can provide you with assistance in writing your next cover letter and resume. Every year, our Career Specialists and Staffing Specialists assist more than 25,000 job seekers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Our services are delivered virtually and in person at 6 employment centres located across Toronto, North York, Mississauga and Brampton. Contact Achēv today to learn more about cover letters and all employment preparation essentials!

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

Job Search - Achēv
March 8, 2021

Is your job search on pause? Have you traded checking emails to asking Alexa to play sad ballad music? Do you feel that you are on a job search treadmill that is taking you into unfamiliar territory? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, reading this blog is exactly where you need to be! Achēv is proud to provide the following 6-step checklist to support your ultimate aim of employment success. It’s time to get let go of 2020 and move into the new era of 2021!

1.Embrace remote communication

Remote work is here to stay in almost all areas of the workplace. Thus, it is time to be prepared for a possible combination work style of “in the physical office” and sometimes “at home”. Adapting to unexpected, changing priorities and including your expertise with remote technologies are two skills to add to your resume.

2. Review contact information

When an employer calls, you need to be found quickly. First, ensure your email address is job-ready by creating one that sounds professional and does not include your birth year. Secondly, make sure your voicemail message is clear and concise. Use your own voice for your message, especially if you are seeking a position where you will be using verbal customer service skills.

3. Improve your LinkedIn

LinkedIn can be your superpower when job searching. 98% of employers look for talent on LinkedIn so post a current photo and an impressive background banner. Rewrite your “about” section to grab the attention of the reader. Include at least two recommendations and use a title that describes where you are going, not necessarily where you have been.

4. Become comfortable networking online

Before COVID-19, networking events were in-person opportunities where you could shake hands to meet someone. In 2021, you need to join in the conversation by seeking out free virtual events, webinars, professional association groups and meet-ups. By practising on various platforms such as Zoom, WebEx, or GoToMeeting, you will be better prepared for online interviews and collect networking partners along the way.

5. Boost your skills

Nowadays, there are many opportunities to learn from home. Use this time to participate in free Micro-Credentials programs, whether fee-based or free courses. For example, have you considered completing free Health and Safety courses? Talk to an Achēv Career Specialist at one of our six employment centres in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to find out how to proceed.

6. Adjust your resume

Everyone has dealt with this global pandemic and there is no reason to shy away from it on your resume. For example, in your “summary” section, include a line such as “Adapted and incorporated Zoom meetings with clients during COVID-19 initial lockdown in March 2020 resulting in continued customer satisfaction”.

In summary, by using this 6-step job search checklist, you might start to feel uplifted and able to change your employment preparation from pause, to play, or even fast forward. Jumping away from the traditional job search plan that worked before COVID-19 can be frightening. Achēv’s Employment Ontario services can provide you with the support you need to successfully find and maintain a meaningful job. Each year, our Career and Staffing Specialists provide free and personalized job search assistance and career counselling to over 25,000 people in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Our services are delivered virtually and in-person through six employment centres located across Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and North York. Learn more about our Employment Ontario services for job seekers today!

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

September 23, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that the Centre for Education & Training (TCET) has a new name and a new look. As of September 23, 2020, we will be operating, and known, as Achēv. The change is a result of a rebranding effort designed to mirror the growth and transformation of our organization.

Pronounced like the word “achieve”, our new name better reflects our goal to help all clients and businesses achieve their potential and the success they want in their lives. As our clients and business partners achieve their goals, we achieve our purpose. Our name has changed and our vision has been renewed, but our core programming, level of service and commitment to achieving results remain our highest priority. As Achēv, we will launch a new chapter that focuses on innovation and extended services into new areas that better serve our community.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. We are excited to involve you in this next evolution of our organization and cannot wait for you to see everything we have in store for our new brand. We look forward to continuing to make positive impacts on the clients we serve, the businesses we support and the communities we work with!

Fight Covid-19
August 26, 2020

An expression trending this summer is “COVID fatigue”.  We probably all know someone who is tired of being careful, or who is experiencing “angry resistance” to physical distancing.

Staying in our bubbles can be exhausting, and if you are experiencing unemployment, COVID fatigue can be amplified.  Healthy behaviours deliver healthier outcomes so here are 3 steps to infuse into your job search plan to help achieve wellness instead of fatigue:


If you ignore your feelings of fear you can lose control, so take this time to connect with a Career Specialist who helps with employment preparations essentials. They provide advice on how applicant tracking systems screen out resumes and what employers expect from candidates.  Career Specialists create career plans which can include reminding you to find references, reviewing how to build networking contacts and recommending webinars to improve your ability to appear on Zoom. The odds are that your next job interview will be on a video conferencing platform so become an expert at using it to increase your chances of achieving employment.

Constructive Thinking:

You might think that it is COVID that is the cause of your depleted feelings but feelings and attitudes come from thoughts. No one can change the COVID situation but you can adjust your thinking. For example, if you get frustrated when you are out in public trying to physical distance and you see others without face-masks on who is acting as if there is no pandemic, remind yourself to control the things you can,  and that you cannot control other people.  Say to yourself “For every person, not face-masking, look at all the people who are.”  Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, and if you need to talk to someone to develop positive and productive thinking consider connecting with one of the free services listed at

Avoid Time Travelling:

When life is uncertain, there is a tendency to spend time thinking about the future. COVID can be time to prepare. There is a difference between preparing for the future and pretending it is already here.  If you catch yourself worrying about what life will look like in 2 or 5 years, readjust your thinking to the moment you are in. For example, register for a free online course, or reach out to someone in your network. Instead of letting your emotions run away with things you cannot control, slow down and pause. Contact your Career Specialist who can provide job search advice based on your goals and needs.

If you find yourself moving toward COVID fatigue, stop and consider your health. You might have to stay in your home bubble for a while longer or wear a face-mask while shopping, however, you can reframe exhaustion to replenishment. Fight COVID fatigue by putting your health and job search first.

If you want to speak with a Career Specialist about how to do this, contact us.

Achēv offers free weekly events and workshops to help you achieve your employment and career goals. Visit our Events Calendar to see all of our upcoming events.

Woman walking on virtual career ladder
July 10, 2020

Have you heard the expression “career ladder”? Do you know what a “career lattice” is? Are you curious to learn how to boost your “career intelligence”?

The answers to these 3 questions were in a recent Ontario Labour Market Report in an article about the new workplace reality. It was a commentary that focussed on how COVID-19 has impacted countless sectors yet also highlighted occupations that are now in great demand including healthcare workers, shelter workers, face-mask makers, cleaners, floor decal designers and Acrylic Plexiglass protective barriers manufacturers.

If you cannot see yourself in any of these areas it is time to review the following 3 career expressions:

1. Career ladder:

This term was common in the Canadian workplace until the 1990s. It means a traditional career path that takes you to a higher position in one company over a certain period of time. Often because of performance evaluations that might have emphasized accomplishments of never taking a sick day or daily punctuality, employees were able to climb up the ladder in terms of salary, responsibility and title.

2. Career lattice:

This phrase became common in the 2000s. I first read about it in the 1998 book “Career Intelligence” by Canadian author Barbara Moses. It means pursuing a career path that moves laterally, horizontally, and vertically. Similar to a garden lattice, careers can be connected yet flexible and allow for ideas and recognition to flow in different directions.

3. Career intelligence:

This expression also originated with Barbara Moses. In her 2003 book “What Next?” she encouraged job seekers to think like independent agents or entrepreneurs. Career intelligence means that all job seekers need to be prepared to live in an uncertain world, where the only certainty is you and your capacity to adapt to change.

Because of COVID-19 career ladders and lattices probably will not exist in the same forms as they once did. Instead, career paths have been replaced with the need for many job seekers to reset expectations, to re-evaluate career intelligence and to craft your future at what you are already good at.

For example, if you used communication skills in your previous jobs and enjoy talking with others, you might want to consider becoming a remote worker or Live Chat Agent and interacting with others using video conferencing platforms.

If you have been a Manager or have a background in Human Resources, you might want to shift your career and become a Health and Safety Consultant. All Ontario workplaces must now adhere to new health and safety regulations. To get started, you might want to participate in the free online training that the Province of Ontario recently launched to promote safe workplaces. It is a virtual approach to safety training and includes topics such as infection control and how to conduct health and safety incident investigations.

The workplace of 2020 might not have career paths that fit neatly on a career ladder or lattice, however, everyone can still boost career intelligence by reflecting on the new expression: “agile adjacency”. This means a career path that can be redesigned by viewing accomplishments in a new way and by not limiting yourself to the work you have always done.

As Barbara Moses urged more than 20 years ago, stay curious instead of fearful when it comes to careers. COVID-19 might have changed your occupational target, yet you can still advance your career intelligence by contemplating an adjoining career that you might not have ever known was there.

If you want to speak with a Career Specialist about how to do this, contact us today!

Achēv offers free weekly events and workshops to help you achieve your employment and career goals. Visit our Events Calendar to see all of our upcoming events.

Skilled trade workers
July 7, 2020

It’s a very good idea. Now and even after the pandemic, careers in the trades will be in demand.

An Apprenticeship is absolutely the way to go if you have an interest.

What is an Apprenticeship? You take classes and learn a trade of your choice by working under the direction of experienced workers, while also earning a living. The completion of an apprenticeship can lead to job prospects with high earning power.

Interested men and women can pick from over 150 occupations within the categories of construction, service, industrial and motive power – with 55 of them being Red Seal Trades. Receiving a Red Seal means that once you complete your designated hours and pass your exam, you can work anywhere in Canada.

Where can you start? Your local community, newspaper, construction site or new build that might be close to your home – go talk to the site supervisor. Unions that represent your field of interest can also be an excellent place to look, as well as trade associations and trade journals. The official trade bodies that regulate the fields are always in touch with employers in the field. If you are affiliated with a local secondary school or college, check them out for opportunities – some administer apprenticeship sessions, pre-apprenticeship sessions, in-class sessions, including connections with employers.


Job Developers at our 6 employment centres are able to present and explore hiring incentives, funded through the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, to potential employers. These financial incentives help to encourage and support employers in hiring you on as an apprentice.

Achēv offers free weekly events and workshops to help you achieve your employment and career goals. Visit our Events Calendar to see all of our upcoming events.

Dusting Books
June 17, 2020

Like many people during COVID-19 and the isolation of staying in my home bubble, I have watched too many Netflix shows, and re-watched too many old movies. So last week I changed tactics and looked at my dusty bookshelves.
As I dusted off each book and tried to decide to either keep the book or donate it to the Little Free Library or Free Book-Sharing Box down the road from where I live, I came across a classic: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. Originally published in 1989, it is a business standard for anyone who seeks insight into how to adapt to change and how to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.

Flipping through the pages, I realized that Covey’s wisdom is still relevant in 2020 and his book still bursts with inspirational quotes including:

“The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves.”

“The key is not to prioritize what is on your schedule,
but to schedule your priorities.”

“You have spent years of your life learning how to read and write, years learning how to speak. But what about listening?”

This third quote is the one that grabbed my attention. During COVID-19 and the reopening of Ontario in 3 stages, it is important that job seekers listen to what is happening to the economy and local workplace. The daily news can sound pessimistic however while waiting for our new normal to begin, there are still many habits to review including the following two.

1. Be proactive

Job seekers can take control of employment preparation by dusting off resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. Success still equals preparation for the opportunity. The summer of 2020 might be the best time to prepare the practical items that are still needed and often neglected. For example, do you have 3 local references? Are you ready for a job interview using a video conferencing platform such as Zoom? Are you prepared for networking online by introducing yourself with a new elevator pitch or 30-second commercial?

2. Begin with the end in mind

A job search should have a clear destination. Covey encourages using imagination to develop a vision of who you want to become. Self-awareness is empowering and once found, you can live your life the way you want instead of based on the standards or preferences of others. It might require some re-scripting which is recognizing the ineffective scripts that have been written for you possibly by your parents, teachers or friends. Try changing those scripts by writing new ones that are built on your own values.

For example, I was encouraged to study music, theatre, literature and performance, and was told that success was defined by an applauding audience. I enjoyed this first career however, I did not want to be an entrepreneur which is what an artist is. After reading Covey’s book, I seized what I wanted which was to be an employee who used creative resourcefulness for an audience that did not applaud with a standing ovation but showed appreciation with written or verbal words of thanks.

It might be time to dust off your classic business books and to use the inspiration of the past to move forward into a new future. If you want to speak with a Career Specialist about how to do this, contact us.

Achēv offers free weekly events and workshops to help you achieve your employment and career goals. Visit our Events Calendar to see all of our upcoming events.

Man looking at corona virus
June 17, 2020

When the challenge of COVID-19 and social distancing presented itself in March of 2020, our Care for Newcomer (CNC) Project was left unsure as to how they could continue to serve our community. This was a challenge they had never faced.

Feedback from parents indicated that they found themselves at a loss with no school, children home all day unable to go outside, along with many other factors.  Upon examining these factors, it was determined there was a need for virtual assistance which CNC was determined to provide.

The CNC team created a master list of all clients who had utilized CNC services over the past two years and reached out to them via phone and email offering Achēv’s support.

As the first SPO in Ontario to deliver CNC virtual services, it was determined that our mandate would be to provide socialization for the children, educational concepts and reinforcement, creative exploration and a much-needed break for parents. One of the first endeavours was to organize the distribution of craft kits to our client’s homes. Parents emailed their requests and CNC prepared 67 customized kits for the children basing the contents of kits on age-appropriate games and crafts.  Staff delivered 67 kits to Brampton, Burlington, Malton, Milton, Mississauga, and Oakville over a 3-day period in the first week of June.  The feedback was positive, instantaneous, and it was truly amazing how very appreciative both children and parents were to receive the craft kits from CNC/ACHĒV!

The CNC team also collaborated and developed a bi-weekly calendar of virtual activities for children kicking it off with a home-made sock puppet show written and performed by CNC staff. It was delivered on May 22nd and approximately 100 clients registered for this first and very successful event. Children’s activities take place on ZOOM every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and range from crafts and games to dancing, music, and even story time written by CNC staff. Registrations so far are close to 40 for each event. Many more innovative ideas are being explored every day and the team is excited to bring them to fruition.

Feedback has been extremely encouraging and the team is excited to continue building this virtual concept during this challenging time!

Achēv offers free weekly events and workshops to help you achieve your employment and career goals. Visit our Events Calendar to see all of our upcoming events.

June 10, 2020

This is a good question, but a problem that is easy to overcome. The good news is that everyone is trying to stay healthy by staying in and self-isolating, but making face-to-face or in-person connections has become difficult if you are looking for work. The truth is, companies are still hiring and networking and meetings can still be done virtually. Here are 10 ways to make start to make the best use of your time while at home:

1. Use LinkedIn to Introduce yourself to employers

2. Call up your references and reconnect about what you have been up to

3. Reach out to friends and family by the phone or email

4. Polish up your LinkedIn profile so potential employers can find you

5. Learn how to set up a virtual meeting using Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp or Facetime

6. Develop an email campaign to let employers know you are available

7. Spend time doing your research on the companies you want to work with

8. Make a list of informational interview questions

9. Write a value statement and email to employers

10. Offer to help someone else – you never know how it will come back to help you

Don’t let the Pandemic put a stop to your networking efforts. If you continue to make those important connections, you will be far ahead of the competition to get that job of your dreams.

Achēv offers free weekly events and workshops to help you achieve your employment and career goals. Visit our Events Calendar to see all of our upcoming events.

career counselors
June 4, 2020

A career counsellor is the sous chef of the employment world. They help you prepare, gather your tools and market yourself well so employers will see your value.

If you are struggling with where to turn next to accomplish the next career objective in your life, reach out to a Career Counsellor. They provide a whole variety of solutions for you. In their briefcase of employment assistance, they offer career clarification, long and short-term goal setting, skills and interest assessments, and access to interview and employment opportunities. They can also link you to coaching and mentoring opportunities that will help you get a job or keep a job.

It’s an exciting way to approach your goals because the counsellor will help you explore ideas and identify places you might not have thought about and help you uncover the hidden skills and abilities you might not realize you have. You will want to tap into someone who knows what’s happening in the community and labour market, who has up to date information on your rights, your obligations and workplace culture. They should know all about professional accreditation, language credentials and prior learning assessments if that is what you need.

By meeting with a Career Counsellor, not only will you gain support and receive guidance, you will learn how to organize and polish your resume, answer those tough interview questions, obtain additional job search resources, participate in career exploration sessions, and gather an emotional supporter, confidante, coach and cheerleader. Find one at any of the Employment Ontario funded Employment Service sites.

Achēv offers free weekly events and workshops to help you achieve your employment and career goals. Visit our Events Calendar to see all of our upcoming events.

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