Business As Usual

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Central Library Career Programming

Due to our recent fire on the Central Library's third floor, we have been answering many calls from customers wondering if our career related programs are still taking place.

They are!

Our Thursday evening Career Coaching, Networking, and Computer Help programs have been temporarily relocated to the 5th floor and take place at the same times. The remainder of the our weekly career tours and career programs have been shifted to the main floor or other program rooms.

For more information about any programming changes, please call 403-260-2782.

Career Advice from the Front Lines

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The wealth of career programming at Library locations throughout the City is due in large part to our strong and ongoing partnership with Bow Valley College's Career Connection. Their experienced team of career practitioners visit Library locations to deliver Career Basics programs on resumes, job interviews, social media and job seach, mid life career change, and LinkedIn. Recently, we interviewed Carolyn to quiz her about some of the common questions addressed during her classes, and for insights into recent employment trends.:

Carolyn, you have been a career practitioner for over 10 years. How have employer expectations changed in regards to resumes and their formats?

I would say that the most significant change I have noticed is that employers want applicants to read and understand the job posting and target their resumes to the position. Employers do not want to take the time to ‘mine’ an applicant’s resume for relevant skills and experience to determine if the applicant is suitable for the position posted. A resume that is developed with the job posting in mind will effectively communicate to the employer that the job seeker understands what is required and has highlighted the skills that the employer needs to know about to determine the applicant’s suitability for an interview.

The solution? Use a resume format that places your Objective/Profile Statement and Highlights of Qualifications at the beginning of the resume. These two sections will allow you to profile your relevant skills and experience, as well as accomplishments, so that they are front and centre for the employer to see. If these sections are well written the employer will be drawn into the resume and will be keen to learn more about the intriguing candidate that is applying to their company.

Most employers like to see a concise and targeted two page resume that allows them to see the applicant’s employment history for about the last 10 years. A professional with more experience may expand their resume to beyond 2 pages. It is key for you to remember that a resume is a marketing document, and to avoid including (in great detail) everything that has been done in one's career. Emphasize what is relevant to the targeted position, and briefly mention or omit information that is not going to strengthen your position as a candidate.

More employers are posting jobs on Kijiji. How would you rate Kijiji as a job board, and do you recommend that your clients upload their resumes there?

Kijiji has become more popular over the last year or two as a job search site. As on all sites, one should be careful when applying for jobs or uploading resumes. It is important to verify who the employer is by looking up their company name in a phone directory or checking to see if they have a website. As a general rule, I do not recommend uploading resumes to job search sites. I think it is best to pick and choose who sees your information. Apply for positions that you locate, feel comfortable with, and have researched to determine if they are a good match for your skills and experience.

We’ve heard that over 90% of employers want a chronological resume. Do you agree, and why?

Yes, the majority of employers I have spoken with have said that they prefer a chronological resume. I agree that it’s an effective format, and the benefit to the employer is threefold: It allows them to see how your career has progressed, where you have gained your skills and experience, and the context in which they were acquired.

Some job seekers are distressed when they hear that a chronological resume is the preferred format of most employers. They may have had some gaps in their work experience and feel that this will negatively affect their ability to be invited for an interview. There are ways to develop an effective chronological resume if you have a gap in your work history or have had recent jobs that are not relevant to the position that you are applying for. Creating a section in your resume entitled relevant work experience allows you to profile early in your resume the jobs that you have held that are directly related to the position you are applying for while still allowing the employer to see the string of your work history. Having a relevant work experience section will still provide the employer with your work history, but the focus will be taken off the gap or less relevant work and put on to the work that you have done that makes you a great fit for the job.

Many Library customers come with concerns about short term employment contracts, usually 3 months or less. Is that a red flag to employers? Should those jobs be included on a resume, or do you have any strategies or suggestions for that predicament?

Short term contracts allow clients to gain experience in a variety of workplaces, work with diverse groups of people and sometimes be exposed to different types of computer software. This can be viewed positively by employers. I do not think that most employers would be concerned about short term contracts as long as the client states beside that job title in their resume that the position was a contract position with a limited term. Doing this allows the employer to understand that the applicant was not fired but was in a short term position. I think it is best to include short term contract work, especially if it is relevant to your job target.

There are varied opinions as to the importance of cover letters. Are employers really reading them?

There seem to be two types of employers when it comes to cover letters – those who disregard them and go straight to the resume and those who put a lot of weight in the cover letter. The dilemma here is that one never knows which type of employer is receiving their cover letter and resume. I always suggest to clients that it is better to send fewer applications and take the time to submit a well written targeted cover letter then to send a generic cover letter with each application. You will stand out from the crowd with a targeted cover letter and resume.

 

 

 

 

Job Search Boot Camp

by Roberta

On September 18th and 19th, Calgary Public Library will be participating in the Job Search Boot Camp, focusing on Oil and Gas jobs. We interviewed the coordinator, Lynn Berry, to find out more about this event's unique focus.

Lynn, your popular Job Search Boot Camps are noted for having focused themes. What is going to set this Oil and Gas Virtual Career Fair apart?

We will be preparing job seekers to participate in a Virtual Career Fair that is being sponsored by the Petroleum Human Resources Council and the Alberta Government in October. It is an opportunity for individuals to learn about and apply for work using an on line software program. We will be explaining what that means and sharing tips to be successful. It is a method most of us haven’t experienced when looking for work. I am excited to be learning something new also.

How will participants learn to improve their job searching skills?

We will be using some mini lectures, a panel discussion, individual activities and group activities for people to improve their skills. Some of the topics we will cover are: What is a Virtual Career Fair? Creating your introduction, Oil & Gas Sector Overview, Skills/Benefits/Uniqueness Statements, Who is hiring and how do I find out about them? Whip Your Resume into Shape, March Confidently into an Interview, and Job Search Coaching Tips by HR Professionals. We will provide them with some of the ‘best practices’ for each topic so they are knowledgeable and confident when applying for work.

Will your ever popular employer panel be returning?

Yes, we will be having Human Resource professional from Oil and Gas companies attend to share their advice and tips on what a job seeker can do to be more successful in their job search. It is a chance to ask questions that may be difficult to find the answers in books.

Lynn, one of the perks of your events is that they offer valuable networking opportunities. What words of advice would you give those attending?

I think one thing for job seekers to remember is that whenever they are out in public they could potentially meet someone who can help them in their job search. This means they should dress appropriately, perhaps wearing clothes suitable for the work they are looking for or even dressing up a bit. People should make sure their personal appearance is clean and tidy. I also recommend individuals come prepared with a business card or resume available to share if the opportunity presents itself. What I have observed is that the individuals that get the most out of this experience are highly engaged and display a positive attitude. We know it is difficult to be looking for work, as it can be frustrating and disappointing if someone has been unemployed for awhile. They need to remember that employers hire people they want to work with. Job seekers need to make sure they are confident and pleasant so people say ‘yes, I would like to work with that person’. First impressions matter.

Are you an ENFJ kinda gal?

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Recently, one of my coworkers shared a laugh with me during a meeting and commented that I must be an ENFJ, given some of my remarks during a presentation. Luckily, I knew exactly what she meant, as years ago I had taken The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) test, a self-assessment exercise designed to identify a person's personality type, strengths and preferences.

On September 12th, Crowfoot Library is hosting Personality Types: Understand, Connect and Work Better. Participants will learn how Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) can help gain insights into their own and others' personality types and be happier at work. I asked presenter Emma Geoghegan, (M.Ed) more about MBTI, and how it can play out in the workplace:

Emma, more than 2 million people take this test annually. Why do you think it’s so popular?

I think it really helps people understand themselves and others better. This knowledge has lots of utility. It can be used as a tool to enhance communication, make better career choices, and increase a team’s effectiveness.

Can MBTI help employees figure out how they can thrive and perform at a higher level in the workplace?

The MBTI can help people understand their strengths and areas for growth. When we understand our natural aptitudes and what motivates us we can make career choices that allow us to manage our career and pick roles we are likely to thrive in!

What about helping workers better understand better why their coworkers behave or react to situations in a certain way? In other words, can understanding people’s personality types help avoid conflicts in the workplace?

Not only can awareness of different personality types help us avoid conflict but it can improve communication and relationships. When we have a better understanding of how a person processes information, arrives at decisions, and is likely going to behave in a situation, we are better able to anticipate and meet their needs. Likewise, when our colleagues understand us and our needs they are better able to support us.

Is one personality type the "best" or "better" than any other one in the workplace, or valued by employers?

There is no one personality type that is better. Each personality type has different gifts, and the importance is to understand and value your own gifts. We need people of all personality types in the workplace, as it can strengthen the organization as each individual and personality type offers unique insights and strengths. If we all thought the same way or behaved in the same manner, we would not have the innovations we have in today’s society.

Does your assessment result often change as you age, have children or experience significant changes in your life?

According to Myers and Briggs’ theory, personality is innate, so therefore it should not change overtime. However, we can become more skilled or better able to adapt to the demands of our environment. For example, perhaps my innate way of being is that I focus more on the big picture and overlook the details, but if I worked in a detail oriented role, such as bookkeeping, I may enhance my ability to work with details. My skills may become so strong that I question whether I naturally focus on patterns and relationships, or details because my skills in these apparently opposite ways of viewing information are both well developed. As we increase our skills overtime it may become harder to decipher what is a learned skill versus our natural aptitude.

Want more information? Calgary Public Library has dozens of books on personality and occupations.

Search our catalogue to browse for books, or call 403-260-2782 for assistance.

What Color is Your Parachute? (2013 ed.)

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Making the cut on Time magazine's All-Time 100 Non-Fiction Books, What Color Is Your Parachute has set the standard for career-help books for over forty years.

Richard Bolles keeps up with current issues in the job-hunting and career fields and adds and updates information in the book every year.

What's new in the 2013 edition? According to the publisher:

"Inventions in the book this year include a brand-new transferable skills grid, a novel way to discover what fields you would most like to work in, and a revamped version of [Bolles'] famed self-inventory instrument, the Flower Exercise."

What Color Is Your Parachute: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers (2013 ed.)

2013 Table of Contents
Preface- I’m Desperate: How Can a Book Help?
The Basics for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
Chapter 1 How to Find Hope
Chapter 2 The Seven Secrets About the Job-Market Today
Chapter 3 The Best and Worst Ways to Look for Jobs
Chapter 4 Life/Work Planning: Designing a Plan of Attack
Chapter 5 You Need to Understand More Fully Who You Are
Chapter 6 Networking and Social Media
Chapter 7 Five Ways to Choose or Change Careers
Chapter 8 Do I Really Need a Resume?
Chapter 9 Sixteen Tips About Interviewing
Chapter 10 How to Deal with Handicaps (Real or Imagined)
Chapter 11 The Six Secrets of Salary Negotiation
Chapter 12 Starting Your Own Business

The Pink Pages
Appendix A Finding Your Mission in Life
Appendix B A Guide to Dealing with Your Feelings While Out of Work
Appendix C A Guide to Choosing a Career Coach or Counselor
Appendix D Sampler List of Coaches

Bolles' supports job-hunters and career-changers with free information and helpful links on his site, JobHuntersBible.com. If you're feeling stuck in your job or are needing support when looking for a new career, you may want to check out What Color Is Your Parachute (2013 ed.).


Calgary Public Library offers information and support for job-hunters and career-changers through our Information Desk and programs. Contact us at busn@calgarypubliclibrary.com or 403-260-2782 for more information, or browse through our Career programs online.

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