SEO- Search Engine Optimization
June 3, 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.

You probably thought I made a mistake with the title of this blog.  Twenty years ago it started to be popular to encourage job seekers to think like a CEO in order to plan for the future and to become the champion of your own career. This is still something that you should do, however in 2020 it is also time to think like an SEO.

SEO means “search engine optimization”.  Many job seekers hear that it is important to have keywords on resumes, yet what are keywords? What happens to your resume when applying to a company that uses an applicant tracking system or ATS scanner to screen out candidates? The answers start with understanding how resume writing has changed.

Think of resume writing like writing a text message or the “about” section of your LinkedIn profile.  There are only a certain number of characters that are allowed. ATS scanners are the same and count characters, not words, so it is extremely important not to waste any space that could make the difference between your resume ending up in a trash bin or the “to be considered” file. For example, there is no need to put brackets around your phone number area code since this wastes two valuable character spaces.

It is also critical to recognize that your career story is arranged with keywords that an ATS scanner and then a hiring manager will be looking for.  Thus every time you apply to a job posting, you need a slightly different cover letter and resume that uses keywords that are in the job description. These include soft skills, hard skills and industry-specific words and expressions. For example, if the job posting is looking for someone with “advanced communication skills” be sure to list your language skills and how you used these abilities to help previous employers solve problems or increase sales.

Not all companies use SEO practices to screen out applications, however, almost all employers will be reading your resume for accomplishments and successes instead of tasks and responsibilities. One way to do this is to start each line with an action verb and then quantify your achievement. For example, instead of stating “Answered inquires and directed calls” you could state “Streamlined communication and time management process when responding to 50+ calls every hour by identifying problems and developing procedures to direct inquires to appropriate project teams”.

When crafting your resume think like an SEO, and when crafting your career think like a CEO. Develop the tactical and confident thinking it takes to pivot successfully in order to survive the shift that COVID-19 has created.  Surround yourself with smart people, become comfortable making well-informed decisions, and acquire resilience to continue through adversity.

To register for a resume webinar, or to connect with a Career Specialist in order to be the CEO of your career, or to learn more about how ATS scanners have changed resumes,  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.

Industry professional working in the office wearing mask
April 29, 2020

Since converting our organization to a remote delivery model our job seekers are asking us “What does this pandemic mean for me?  Our response is to listen to what the pandemic is telling us.  For those who are job searching, or are in the middle of a career transition, the pandemic could be an opportunity.

1. Weigh the Pros and Cons

Writing down the pros and cons allows you to look at them head-on, and often it’s like a light went off and the solution dawns on you right away. A pandemic can often create innovation, allow for more time to do things that time didn’t allow, change a habit or behaviour, access free or low-cost resources.

2. Brainstorm Solutions

Brainstorming is a great way to solve problems. The question you should ask yourself is “What is the problem I am trying to solve?“instead of “How can I solve this problem?”  When brainstorming about your job search, it helps if you get a variety of ideas from a selection of people that are not connected to the problem. Ask a teenager, ask a senior, ask your mother or ask a neighbour. You will be surprised at all the possible solutions and different ideas suggested that you never thought about. Those possibilities might very well be the ticket to success.

3. Seek Assistance from a Professional

Ask for help from a professional.  We use professionals in all other aspects of our lives but for some reason find it difficult to get help from the “experts” when it comes to our careers and livelihood.  There is no shame in unemployment! There is no stigma attached to getting advice and admitting you may need some help. ACHĒV has trained and qualified Career Specialist is ready and happy to assist you.

We are staying at home to take care of ourselves and each other. This is the perfect time to take care of your career success too. So keep listening to the pandemic, reach out to us and let us know what it’s telling you!  We would love to hear.

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.

LinkedIn job search
April 27, 2020

Physical distancing can equal paying attention to the news, watching Netflix movies, and looking obsessively at various fads on social media such as how to create a face mask or shield guard. It might also equal paying attention to embracing a new era of using innovative job search methods.

Even though COVID-19 has caused temporary layoffs, hiring freezes and a huge upheaval across all sectors, employers are still hiring. However, the job search methods that resulted in success just a few months ago, might not be as effective right now so it is time to find creative ways to stand out from the crowd.

Here are 3 approaches to welcome into your job search toolbox:

1. LinkedIn:

Applying to a job posting as a stranger already had very little success pre-COVID-19. Using LinkedIn was previously proven to be one of the most successful ways of securing an interview. Just a few months ago LinkedIn was not necessarily mandatory. Today it is, especially if you are aiming for remote work. If you don’t have an impressive LinkedIn profile, be sure to put this onto your “to-do” list while you are physical distancing. Start with creating a strong headline, writing an impressive “about” section and ask two of your connections to write and post recommendations about how great you are to work with. If you need to learn or review how to effectively use LinkedIn, attend an ACHĒV LinkedIn webinar

2. Video Conferencing:

The traditional techniques of networking by connecting with people in groups and or having a coffee with someone at Starbucks is no longer a possibility. Instead, it is time to learn Zoom or Skype. You will need to know these platforms for job interviews, so today instead of watching a 2-hour movie, spend 2 hours setting up a professional background in your home office area. Make sure that what a potential employer or networking contact sees behind you looks professional and well-lit. Every time you are on the camera it is still a formal interview or networking meeting, so your appearance, outfit and surroundings need to reflect this. Potential employers will be judging you visually and by what they can see around and behind you. Test out all the functionality of your video conferencing settings, including screen sharing and camera access. Be prepared to present yourself as a communications professional who can support companies to sell their services or products without any technical difficulties from your end. You need to bring the same level of enthusiasm, professionalism, and communication that you would in an in-person interview to a video conferencing platform. It is truly a new era of interviewing so be ready to Zoom or Skype.

3. Empathy:

Everyone worldwide is struggling with both personal and professional challenges because of COVID-19. Each of us has a story about how it has impacted our lives so be mindful of the fact that many companies have only recently transferred from brick and mortar offices to remote communication. Being sensitive to this global pandemic is one way to demonstrate that you are fully aware of the circumstances everyone is in. By acknowledging your understanding of these difficult times you demonstrate your emotional intelligence. This is paramount in order to be a candidate that is selected for a remote project, a delivery service job, or a frontline food service position.

Continue physical distancing and entertaining yourself with comedy and music, however also consider revising networking and outreaching approaches that make sense in our new era. You might not embrace what has happened, however, you can adopt new job search strategies that are probably here to stay.

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.

For more information, or to register for a webinar, or to start one-to-one career coaching with us.

Number 555
April 15, 2020

The number 5 has always been part of my life and career coaching style. I am from a family of 5 siblings, my hometown is 5 Provinces to the West (British Columbia!), and I believe in the 5 Stages of Grief and the 5 Habits of Successful People. Every job seeker who has sat beside me has heard about the “555” goal-setting method.

The 5 Stages of Grief: proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969, this model can be used to navigate our recovery due to personal grief and for sorrow due to unemployment. The stages are denial and shock, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Right now, due to COVID19, we are all experiencing some type of grief as our world shifts into a new era. Some of us might still be in stage one. Eventually, we can all get to stage 5 to move forward. If you are experiencing grief and sorrow due to unemployment, you can get to stage 5 and move ahead with a new approach to career planning.

The 5 Habits of Successful People: created by Jack Canfield in 2016, this model can be used at any time during the job search process:

1. Believe in yourself:

resumes alone don’t get us the job. We need confidence in our transferable skills and the ability to become a remote worker, or delivery driver, or new occupation that was never on the radar before.

2. Set goals:

planning maintains our power of focus, and distractions including the current global crisis can fade away for a few hours and be replaced with productivity. For example, set a target to complete one module of a free online course every day and before long you can add a new Certificate to your resume and LinkedIn profile.

3. Go the extra mile:

instead of the attitude of “what’s in it for me”, try the mind-set of “what you can do for others”. We are all in the COVID19 pandemic at the same time. Consider becoming a volunteer by researching: www.volunteer.ca or sparkontario.ca

4. Take action:

the world does not pay you for what you know; it pays for what you do. It is all about putting your goals and ideas into action. However, you don’t have to do this alone. An ACHĒV Career Specialist can help coach you with a personalized career action plan.

5. Practice appreciation: one daily thank you or gesture of gratitude can go a long way. For example, try reaching out to your LinkedIn connections. Maybe it’s time to write a recommendation for one of them.

The “555” Goal Setting Method:

ask yourself “Where do I want to be in 5 weeks? 5 months? 5 years?” This month, many of us have the gift of time to reflect on our career future and to prepare for the interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

In summary, the number 5 has many meanings. It symbolizes balance, it indicates someone who is full of energy, and it can mean freedom and change.

There is no doubt that all of us are in a cycle of change. Give yourself a new change of direction today and contact ACHĒV in the next 5 minutes if you haven’t already. We are ready to serve you virtually with career coaching, online webinars and lots more!

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.

What next
April 14, 2020

Hi Job Seeker:

Have you heard of “Book Spine Poetry”? It’s a popular and fun way to create original poems using titles written on the spines of books by stacking them into an arrangement that can be read from top to bottom.

I dusted off some old career counselling books and created the following job search poem for you. I call it “What Next: It’s Your Move”.

What next? Career Strategies for the new world of work, get life without sacrificing your career. Beyond traditional Job Development, the art of creating opportunity, the panic free job search, man’s search for meaning. It’s your move

If you have any books at home, give it a try to get your creativity flowing to see how you stack up! Keep safe and continue physical distancing!

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.

Indian Doctor
April 9, 2020

For Internationally Trained Individuals arriving in Canada, two of the main barriers to finding employment are not having “Canadian experience” or the lack of Canadian education and accreditation.

At ACHĒV, it is our mission to empower and support Internationally Trained Individuals, from both regulated and non-regulated backgrounds, to quickly re-enter the Canadian labour market. Our Career and Training Counsellors in the Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Loans Program specialize in finding the right financial support, as well as career and educational program information.

We hear it almost daily from our clients, “I’m a Doctor back home but I’m working at Amazon because I need a survival job”. It is frustrating, discouraging and stressful to feel like you have come so far in your education or career only to have pushed the reset button, and told to start from the beginning.

Our program is unique in that it provides both free one-on-one career counselling, as well as a loan to complete the training you require to succeed in your career.

When Charanjeet arrived from India with his wife, he knew that becoming a Dentist in Canada would require time and money;

“I was a little worried about finances required for future exams,” said Charanjeet. With the support of a Counsellor, Charanjeet was able to secure the funds he needed and is now a student at the University Of Toronto, Doctor of Dental Surgery program; “my loan got approved and I was able to support myself and my family during my extended examination period. I would definitely recommend this program to anybody who is eligible and is in need like I was.”

ACHĒV offers low-interest microloans of up to $15,000 through the FCR Loans Program to individuals who have:

1. Completed any education outside of Canada/have relevant Skilled Trades work experience

2. Permanent Resident, Canadian Citizen or Convention Refugee status

3. An interest in working in your previous area of employment or an alternative career

The educational loan can be used towards expenses related to your accelerating your career in Canada:

1. Living and travel expenses

2. Short-term bridging programs/ courses

3. Books/materials

4. Accreditation and

5. Association and examination fees

FCR Loans Counsellors (R-L): Laura Dantsis, Cindy Taylor, Ruwaida Al-Kubaisi

The settlement process can be extremely overwhelming especially when trying to secure a stable job that matches your skills, education and experience. Sometimes the hardest part is not knowing where or how to begin the process of job searching.

Working with a Career and Training Counsellor can help you by:

1. Assisting you in the job search process, recommending efficient job search strategies and creating a realistic action plan

2. Supporting you in creating a strong resume, cover and LinkedIn profile which highlight your strengths

3. Practising your interview skills and giving you the confidence to showcase your abilities at your next interview

Giving you tips on Networking, Canadian Labour market information, Life Skills and job retention

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 for a job in a laptop
March 31, 2020

The month of March 2020 started with calm and familiar words. Expressions such as “career planning”, “employment preparation”, and “resumes and cover letters” were common in all my conversations with job seekers.

As the month of April starts, there are new words and expressions around us including “flattening the curve”, “community spread” and “social distancing”.

When you are unemployed in these times of uncertainty, here are 6 tips to consider:

1. Reset your expectations: there are many jobs available right now however they might not be your dream job. Grocery stores, delivery services, online Call Centres, and replacement machine operators are just a few of the areas that are hiring.

2. Update your resume and LinkedIn: even for a survival job, you will need a current resume. If you are seeking remote work, organizing your LinkedIn profile is essential.

3. Expand your knowledge with online resources: limit the news channel and instead give yourself 3 to 4 hours a day of online learning in a course or webinar.

4. Connect with your network contacts: in-person gatherings might be suspended, yet there are still online groups and people to reach out to. Remember, people, respond better when you focus on them and less on yourself. It is about being interested versus interesting.

5. Keep current with your sector: we are in an unprecedented time in history and changes in the economy are occurring. If your dream target has been hit due to COVID19, consider transferring your expertise to another sector.

6. Reach out to a Career Specialist: if you need assistance with your resume and LinkedIn profile, or want to learn more about online resources or how to reshape your job target, consider contacting ACHĒV to find out if you are eligible for free job search services. During the new frontier ahead of all of us, ACHĒV continues to support job seekers using remote communication.

Keep safe, continue physical distancing and maintain an optimistic mindset!

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.

Assessment keyboard
February 25, 2019

So, you have booked an appointment at an official Assessment Centre to have your English or French language skills tested and be referred to a government-funded language training program. Now What? You have been given basic information about your appointment, the type of ID you will need to bring, directions to the assessment centre, and told that your appointment might be up to 4 hours in duration. You may now be wondering how to prepare for this assessment and make the best use of the time you have before the date of your test. It is not unusual for people to get nervous or even stressed in the anticipation of a test. It is normal if you are feeling that way, and it usually means that the language assessment is important to you.

There are at least 3 ways in which the Canadian Language Benchmarks Online Self-Assessment (CLB-OSA: www.clb-osa.ca) can help you get better prepared for the official CLB assessment, control your stress levels, and perform well on the test:

1. Get Your Unofficial Results Online:

For your own awareness, take advantage of the CLB-OSA, or its French equivalent, that is available to everyone in Canada and abroad at no cost. Currently, there are 3 versions of the Reading and 2 versions of Listening of online tests available in English. This web-based tool provides an approximate indication of the language ability in Listening and Reading upon successfully completing the online test. Online results are considered unofficial and cannot be used for academic, employment, and immigration/citizenship purposes or placement to most government-funded language training programs. Completing the online tests will help you become familiar with the testing format and some of the types of tasks to expect at the assessment centre.

2. Understand Your CLB Score:

Once you have completed an online self-assessment, your CLB results will be immediately displayed on your screen indicating a range of 2 benchmarks to describe your approximate CLB score. Move your mouse over the CLB results on the screen, and a drop-down menu will show a list of what a person should be able to do in English at that particular CLB Score. You are also encouraged to explore the benchmark section of the CLB-OSA website to look at descriptions of individual language skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing) across the CLB levels to see how each next CLB is more elaborate than the previous one. You can also look at the CLB Charts at-a-glance to look at all four language skills at once at a particular CLB level. Knowing your approximate CLB score can be very helpful when planning your language learning and/or making decisions about it.

3. Explore Additional Web Resources:

In addition to Reading and Listening tests on the CLB-OSA website, and information about CLB as a system of standards used for language assessment and training, you will find useful links to resources designed for newcomers with info about the settlement, job search, credential evaluation and more. You will also find links to websites that will help you study English on your own.

Remember, the CLB assessment is neither a test that you can pass or fail nor it is a test of your memory. So, it probably isn’t a good idea to try to memorize a dictionary or grammar book just before your test. This assessment will simply measure your level of proficiency in a second language and assign a benchmark score based on your performance. The test is based on authentic communication tasks which mean that you will be assessed on how well you can use your English in real-life situations that would normally come up in your daily interactions at home, at work, and/or in the community. You are now well equipped with the tools to better understand the CLB, find out your approximate CLB range prior to taking an official language assessment, and benefit from relevant and useful links to resources listed on CLB-OSA website and feel more confident when you do your official CLB assessment. All the best!

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your connections.

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.

Brand
January 4, 2018

Fifteen years ago I found a pair of bright blue eyeglass frames before coloured frames were in style. My colleagues started to call me the “Blue Framed Career Specialist”. Suddenly my visual brand was set. I captured the attention and developed my brand simply be seeing blue!

Branding can be visual, or it can be in the words you write in the content of your LinkedIn profile, or it can be in your interview attitude or impression. However, you capture attention, having a brand is essential. Every time you talk with a potential employer you are competing for attention with hundreds of other priorities so learn to tailor your message and use your brand to be remembered.  Your brand is part of your whole job search picture.  What’s your brand?  Is it blue frames too?

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.

diversify your investment
December 4, 2017

As 2018 starts, there is no doubt that the Canadian workplace is now a blend of contract, relief, casual, part-time, temporary and precarious work.

One of the best ways to manage this complication is to consider what I call the “octopus effect” or keeping your arms outstretched toward lots of opportunities. It means to diversify your income streams to create a solution to the current workplace reality. This is not a new idea since successful people often have more than one income or self-esteem source. Yet it is becoming more common for everyone since one secure and steady job can be rare for many occupations.  Even if your second source is a volunteer job, it could be the perfect bridge to eventually getting to where you want to go.

This year give yourself the goal of never rejecting possibilities. Try the octopus effect and diversify your income streams and see how many opportunities you can manage.

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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