Hot Off the Press: February 2012

by Cher K - 0 Comment(s)

ACT: Strategies, Practice, and Review 2012

This essential ACT guide provides focused strategies, practice, and review so candidates score higher on test day--guaranteed. This book covers all material tested and includes two full-length practice tests, an online diagnostic quiz, detailed answer explanations, and more.

New GMAT Premier, 2012-2013

The GMAT is changing in June 2012. The new GMAT will have a new Integrated Reasoning section that will have interactive questions that test a student's ability to analyze and interpret charts, spreadsheets, graphs, and data. This book will help students study for the June 2012 test change and ensure they are prepared.

Business School Essays That Made a Difference by Nedda Gilbert

Most top business schools require multiple essays, and this book is your best bet for acing them all. This book contains actual student essays that tipped the balance between admission and denial, as well as interviews with admissions pros and with students who've been through the process and made it to business school.

Job Interviews for Dummies by Joyce Lain Kennedy

Does the thought of interviewing for a new job send shivers down your spine? It doesn′t have to! Whether you′re searching for your first job, changing careers, or looking for advancement in your current line of work, this book shows you how to use your skills and experiences to your advantage and land that job

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? by William Poundstone

Poundstone guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging job interview questions, Zen-like riddles, and other interviewing techniques candidates need to know. The book covers the importance of creative thinking, ways to get a leg up on the competition, and much more.

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko—the last career advice you'll ever need

by Janice

Poor Johnny Bunko. He got a proper education and landed a great job but despite excellent planning and years of hard work he's unfulfilled professionally, unsuccessful and—worst of all—completely miserable.

Sound familiar?

Either you've been there (can I see a show of hands?) or, and I hate to be the one to tell you, you will be there at some point in your professional life.

Daniel H. Pink has written a few books on life and career. His The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: the last career guide you'll ever need is a fun-to-read graphic novel containing some of the best career advice I've read in a long while (and I've read countless books and articles on career topics).

When the hapless Johnny separates a set of chopsticks to eat his lunch one day, he is magically visited by a beautiful (if somewhat pushy and foul-mouthed) pixie named Diana. (Yeah, that's right, a pixie.) Diana gives Johnny six more sets of chopsticks and with each set of separated chopsticks she reappears to provide Johnny with another invaluable piece of career advice.

Now I don't know about you, but I'd be thrilled to have a brash pixie appear in a flash of light to guide me forward in my career and life. Since I imagine it's unlikely this will happen any time soon, I'm grateful that Daniel Pink created this book.

Johnny Bunko has been billed as "America’s first business book in the Japanese comic format known as manga – and the last career guide you’ll ever need," and won a American Library Association Great Graphic Novel for Teens award in 2009. It is the perfect career book to give to any young person (don't let on that the book is a book on career advice, just let them think it's a purely fun graphic novel) and, surprisingly, a fantastic book with career advice that would be useful for anyone at any age, any stage in their career, and any level of English language comprehension.

About the advice? While I strongly advise you to read the book to get more details and a surprising amount of insight (plus the book is a fun way to spend ten minutes and may just include other valuable career advice), I'll post the six career lessons below (with my responses in italics):

The Six Lessons of Johnny Bunko

  1. There is no plan. Huh? So I've been banging myself over the head for years over not having a stong enough plan for nothing?
  2. Think strengths, not weaknesses. I like this one. I’d be happy to think less about my many weaknesses, thank you very much.
  3. It's not about you. Okay. I don't like this lesson ONE BIT. (But I know it's true.)
  4. Persistence trumps talent. I contribute to the Writer's Nook blog and as we constantly say (truly, ad nauseum): you have to actually write (and keep writing) to be a writer.
  5. Make excellent mistakes. Excellent advice about not being a perfectionist.
  6. Leave an imprint. Well. A particularly profound lesson. As they ask in the book: "Did I make a difference? Did I contribute something? Did my being here matter?" For me, the most important lesson in the book.

Sound pretty straightforward? These six lessons apply equally well to every aspect of life: Don't take things personally. Work hard at what you love to do. Don't worry about making mistakes. Follow your bliss. Make a difference.

On his website, Daniel Pink has some free discussion guides for teachers or career practictioners who wish to use to use Johnny Bunko with students or in business settings. This book would be useful for anyone to read as a book of career advice or even as an introduction to graphic novels.

As for me, I plan on taking Diana’s Daniel Pink’s lessons to heart. I may even discreetly put a copy of this book on the coffee table in hopes that my kids will accidentally read it. (And everytime I pull apart a set of chopsticks, a tiny part of me might just be hoping a pixie guru will appear.)

Help with the Academic CV

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

We aim to please! One of the Calgary Public Library's volunteer career coaches, Saudah Chan, suggested that we purchase her favourite book on academic CVs, and it just arrived. Here's her review of a book that handles the tricky field of academic disciplines:

For the academic job search novice, The Academic Job Search Handbook, 4th edition would prove useful as a general overview of preparation required two years before completion of one’s PhD, the hiring and application process, and interview considerations. Also useful are the newly added sections of dilemmas facing dual career couples and family planning. While the introduction indicates that its contents are geared towards American academic applicants, it would still prove useful as a generalist perspective.

The book also has delightful new additions including more CV samples, as well as sample teaching statements and non-academic resumes. For teaching dossiers, Surviving Your Academic Job Hunt by Kathryn Hume would provide more in-depth advice, and could also be considered by those in other disciplines such as physical and life sciences, including the summary of teaching evaluation samples provided.

Overall, this book is must-read for those who wish to demystify the academic job hunt, and wish to prepare early on for the next stage in their career.

Saudah enjoyed advising PhDs on the academic job search for five years at the University of Toronto Career Centre as coordinator of the Graduate Dossier Service and her presentations on How to Apply to Academic Jobs. Currently, she continues to assist PhDs with their job related inquiries.

Essential Skills in the Workplace

by Janice - 2 Comment(s)

Come join us on Friday, February 17 from 11:45 to 1:00 on the Third Floor of the Central Library as Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton discusses Essential Skills in the Workplace.

Sarah Elaine Eaton, Ph.D.How is workplace literacy being defined by HRSDC?

Today’s definition of literacy goes beyond traditional notions of being able to read and write. Literacy and Essential Skills is the umbrella term used by Human Resources and Skills Development Canda (HRSDC) to define the skills needed by all adults in Canada today, regardless of whether they are working, stay-at-home parents or retired. There are Nine Literacy and Essential Skills:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Document Use
  4. Numeracy
  5. Computer Use
  6. Thinking
  7. Oral Communication
  8. Working with others
  9. Continuous Learning

Employees need to have skills in all nine areas to be effective in today’s workplace.

What is the number one issue concerning employers regarding workplace literacy in Canada today?

The number one issue for employers is finding and keeping employees with the right skills to do their jobs safely and effectively. The Fall 2011 Labour Market Bulletin published by HRSDC reports that Calgary has failed to recover the same employment rates that it had before the 2008–2009 recession. While the province overall is recovering, the Calgary labour market lags behind other areas of the province. The Calgary job market requires high-skilled white collar workers with higher than average skills in reading, writing, numeracy and digital skills.

What are some of the costs to employers for not having employees trained in literacy and the essentials skills?

These can be difficult to quantify since people have lower levels of literacy and essential skills will often try to hide their lack of skills. This behaviour is not uncommon, as there can be feelings of shame and failure associated with low literacy skills. For that reason problems in the workplace can be difficult to trace back precisely to lower level skills.

Some studies have shown that employers who focus on building employee skills can see up to a 15% increase in overall workplace productivity and larger organizations may have even higher increases in productivity. One study revealed that over 80% of employers who engaged in workplace literacy programs felt that the benefits of the training outweighed the costs in terms of increased productivity leading to higher revenues for the buseinss, less wastage and less down time.

What are 3 resources for workplace literacy that employers and employees have access to?

Three of my favorite resources are:

Sarah Elaine Eaton is an educator, consultant and research specializing in adult learning, literacy and twenty-first century trends in training and education.

Job and Career Coaching

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

In celebration of International Coaching Week, Calgary Public Library is partnering with the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches to offer free 15-minute coaching sessions with experienced professional coaches. These valuable individualized sessions can focus on various topics such as: career, business, team and personal relationships.

This is the first event of its kind in Calgary and will be offered at two Library locations on February 8th and 9th, 2012.

Register online or by calling 403-260-2620. The regular Career Coaching program offered at four library locations offers further opportunities to access career advice from our experienced volunteers.

Calgary coach and human resources professional Tanya Snow answers some of our questions about career coaching:

Tanya Snow

What exactly does a career coach do?
A career coach can help you to take your career to the next level, assist you in finding a career that aligns with your interests, skills and values, or to make a small career shift to ensure a good fit.

What is the difference between an Executive Coach and a Career Coach?
A Career Coach would typically have clients from all walks of life and would be focusing on career related issues and barriers. An Executive Coach would deal specifically with senior management clients and would look at issues and barriers preventing them from achieving professional and personal goals.

When I hire a coach how much of my time is coaching going to require?
Typically Career Coaching consists of an initial assessment, and then three to five 1-hour sessions, depending on the type of change required.

Where do I find a career coach in Calgary?
The Calgary Association of Professional Coaches (CAPC) site has a Coach Referral Service that can help you find a certified coach that fits your needs.

What is price range for a Career Coach?
Prices can vary depending on qualifications and experience but typically you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $250 a session, or a flat rate per month of approximately $500.

What do you find personally satisfying about career coaching?
I find it very satisfying and rewarding to work with clients to help them achieve satisfying career goals and to find a career that fits their individual values, interests and skills.

Tanya Snow is a certified Human Resource Professional and with over 10 years experience in the areas of career development, job search strategies and resume development. Tanya is also a Certified Executive Coach specializing in Career Transition Coaching, Leadership Development and Career Management Coaching.

Free (that's right—FREE) Coaching Sessions at the Library

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

In celebration of International Coaching Week, Calgary Public Library is partnering with the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches to offer complimentary 15-minute coaching sessions with experienced professional coaches. These valuable individualized sessions can focus on various topics such as career, business, team and personal relationships.

This is the first event of its kind in Calgary and will be offered at two Library locations on February 8th and 9th, 2012.

Register online or by calling 403-260-2620.

Why coaching?
If you're not sure how a coach could help you, read more about the program below and take a look at our previous blog posts in which we interviewed local coaches on the topics of Leadership and Team Development Coaching, Personal Development Coaching and Job and Career Coaching.

Leadership and Team Development Coaching

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

In celebration of International Coaching Week, Calgary Public Library is partnering with the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches to offer complimentary 15-minute coaching sessions with experienced professional coaches. These valuable individualized sessions can focus on various topics such as career, business, team and personal relationships.

This is the first event of its kind in Calgary and will be offered at two Library locations on February 8th and 9th, 2012.

Register online or by calling 403-260-2620.

Kerry Woodcock and Sherry Matheson, both experienced professional coaches, answer our questions about leadership and management coaching:

Sherry MathesonWhat is unique about your approach to Leadership Team Development?

Kerry: Sherry and I are professionally trained and accredited coaches and specialize in CRR Global's Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching. We use a Relationship Systems Intelligence (RSI) approach to Leadership Team Development. RSI includes and transcends Emotional Social Intelligence (ESI) pioneered by Daniel Goleman and others. RSI starts with an understanding of oneself (Emotional Intelligence), moves on to include an understanding of others’ emotional experience (Social Intelligence) and culminates with the ability to identify with and collaborate with groups, teams, communities and other social systems (Relationship Systems Intelligence).

Instead of focusing purely on improving the individual performance of each member of the team, we focus on the performance of the collective as well. The latest research in the Collective Intelligence of teams tells us that the team is greater than the sum of its parts, and that merely bringing together the highest performing individuals into one group does not necessarily make a winning team.

What’s your definition of a ‘team’?

Kerry: As systems coaches we see a team as a social system...

Sherry: ...a set of interdependent people, with a common purpose or identity.

Kerry: Members of teams rely on one another to get results and have a sense of belonging that is discrete from those outside the team.

Kerry WoodcockWhat sort of teams do you work with?

Sherry: We work with teams who want to be even better than they currently are; teams who want to be more positive, productive and innovative; teams that are newly forming or going through transitions and want to consciously and intentionally create their relationships faster.

Kerry: We work with a variety of teams, from small business partnerships to corporate teams. What they have in common is that they understand that developing leadership potential and the collective power of the team leads to an increased ability to create a greater impact in the world. They are willing to have challenging conversations, to push creative boundaries and pursue excellence.

How often and how long do you normally work with a leadership team?

Sherry: We prefer to work with teams for 9 months or more and meet with the team once or twice a month.

Kerry: Change happens over time. Working with a team over an extended period allows the team to intentionally integrate their learning; work through the inevitable ups and downs inherent in making any behavioural change stick; and reinforce the changes.

What are the typical outcomes that leadership teams can expect having worked with you?

Kerry: Typical outcomes may include a team that has consciously and intentionally:

  • Created a clearly defined, aligned, and grounded team vision;
  • Managed effective change;
  • Developed a culture of trust;
  • Reduced their use of team toxins so that constructive communication becomes the norm;
  • Developed their ability to have constructive conflict and bridge silos, leading to more rapid resolution, innovation and productive outcomes;
  • Clarified roles and responsibilities, avoiding role confusion, role nausea and poorly occupied roles;
  • Created a culture of appreciation, positivity and meaning, leading to greater team engagement and accountability; and
  • Designed team agreements that allow the team to hold itself as resourceful and correct quickly.

Sherry: In short, a team of people who are aware, intentional and skilled in their relationship with self, others and their collective team.

What’s the best team you’ve ever been on?

Kerry: The best team I've ever belonged to is my family of origin. Whether to celebrate a success or explore a challenge, my father would sit us down together to seek out, understand and act on the thoughts, feelings and perspectives of each and every member of our family, regardless of age. To this day, and despite the death of my father, I feel a deep sense of security knowing that I have the strength and love of a 'winning' family team behind me. Work wise, I've been part of a number of dynamic partnerships—one of which is with Sherry—where I've appreciated greatly how we've worked to each others’ strengths and belonged to the mutual appreciation club!

Sherry: Teams where my strengths are valued and appreciated and there is open and honest communication.

What’s special about your partnership as co-coaches working with teams?

Sherry: We believe in the co-coaching of teams. Co-coaching offers more value for our clients. It provides a choice for our clients in terms of who they may relate to better, since we both have different learning, coaching and communication styles to offer to our clients. As co-coaches working with a team, we also model being in a relationship to our clients.

Kerry: Authentic, fun, energetic, open and dynamic are just some of the words our clients have used to describe us.

Hot Off the Press: January 2012

by Cher K - 0 Comment(s)

Poised for Success by Jacqueline Whitmore

In these unsettled times, we're all trying to get back to basics and your competitive advantage depends on your ability to use your emotional intelligence and social graces to take your career to the next level.

Reboot Your Career by Peter Fogel

Peter Fogel will show you how to reinvent yourself and unleash your "inner Entrepreneur" so you can quickly attract more meaningful challenges, be in demand, and yes ù make more money at your job!

Your MBA Game Plan by Omari Bouknight

This edition includes even more sample essays and resumes from successful applicants, fresh insight on 35 leading business schools from around the world, and advice specifically tailored to international applicants.

NCLEX-RN : Strategies, Practice, and Review, 2011-2012 edition by Barbara J. Irwin

In order to become a registered nurse (RN) in the United States graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN test. Kaplan NCLEX-RN 2011-2012 Edition with CD-ROM is the only book to combine test prep strategies with a comprehensive content review designed to meet the challenges of this rigorous exam.

ACT Strategies for Super Busy Students

The ideal ACT study tool from Kaplan, the test prep experts, created specifically for the busy student who wants to get the highest score possible but is low on time.

USMLE Step 3 Qbook

Containing Kaplan-exclusive strategies, new practice questions, and thorough review, this book contains more than 850 exam-like questions, detailed answer explanations, access to a sample online Question Bank, updated test-taking and strategies, and more.

Mcgraw-Hill's Nursing School Entrance Exams by Thomas A. Evangelist

Up-to-the minute preparation for the nursing school entrance exams--from the most trusted name in medical/nursing publishing!

Discover Careers in Health—Career Conference and Hiring Fair

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing sectors in Canada and offers a wide range of career opportunities, including many entry-level opportunities. The Government of Alberta is hosting a Health Careers Conference and a Hiring Event on February 1 and 2, 2012.

Health Careers Conference

Hear from industry professionals about the opportunities at the Career Conference (there are two sessions to choose from: morning or afternoon).

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Click here to register (register for either one but not both)

Calgary Public Library
Central Library
616 Macleod Trail S.E.
2nd floor, John Dutton Theatre

Hiring Event

Associated with this will be a hiring event in health careers:

Thursday, February 2, 2012
10 a.m. to 12 .pm. or
1 to 3 p.m.
No registration is required for the hiring fair.

Fisher Park Alberta Service Centre
100, 6712 Fisher St S.E. Calgary

Bring your resumé and explore all of the exciting career opportunities.

Personal Development Coaching: Free sessions

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

In celebration of International Coaching Week, Calgary Public Library is partnering with the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches to offer complimentary 15-minute coaching sessions with experienced and certified professional coaches. These valuable individualized sessions can focus on various topics such as work/life balance and professional development in business and career.

This is the first event of its kind in Calgary and will be offered at two Library locations on February 8th and 9th, 2012.

Register online or by calling 403-260-2620.

Calgary coach Peter Kieran answers our questions about personal development coaching:

Peter KieranWhat is the difference between coaching, counselling, therapy and mentoring?

The difference lies in where the client finds the solutions to achieving want they want. In coaching we start with the assumption that the client is whole and has the skills, knowledge, ability and creativity to take the appropriate action. Compared to counselling, therapy or mentoring, coaching awakens the client to their own strengths and capabilities and is more transformational in its nature because of this. There is no attempt to fix the client or solve their problems for them. Rather than answering the client’s questions, a coach asks the questions from a place of compassion and not knowing, allowing the client to explore their own greatness and experience new perspectives in their lives that they otherwise might never have been aware of.

What are some outcomes that people can expect having worked with a coach?

Of course the specific outcomes are different for each individual however there will always be some level of increased self awareness, understanding of personal values and strengths and clarity in what they want and how to achieve their desired outcomes. Coaching usually leads to some sort of transformation in the client in the form of new perspectives on who they are, what they want and how it all fits into the bigger picture of life. Hopefully this translates for the client into a shift from a “problem solving” paradigm, to one that is more positive and generative.

If I decided to hire a life coach what would be the time commitment I may consider and why?

Typically coaching takes place over several months to a year and consists of 2 or three sessions a month. Because the client is responsible to take action on their commitments, time is needed between sessions to ensure that they have the opportunity to make changes. This also allows the coaching process to build on itself, as more is learned and new topics for conversation emerge. Sessions may be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and usually focus and one thing at a time to get the most benefit. As personal awareness increases and as they tap into their own individual strengths, many new and exciting possibilities often appear out of nowhere, creating endless opportunities for change for the client. Just as a triathlete might hire a coach to take them to the next level in their fitness, so too might someone hire a personal coach to take them to the next level in their personal development and overall success in their lives. We all have hidden potential within us. Hiring a coach is like giving yourself the gift of greatness. How great do you want to be?

What are your credentials?

I am certified professional Core Alignment Coach and a graduate of the Demers Group Coaching Program. This program is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF) of which I am also a member.

Who is your favourite type of client to work with?

Really anyone who is willing to be honest with themselves, is creative, open to new possibilities and able to visualize and express what they want, and especially what the future looks like for them. The ideal client is flexible and positive, and understands that to get different results you have to behave and do things differently. Most importantly they are willing to take action. Letting go of the things that get in the way and moving forward, trusting in who they are and what they are capable of doing.

Why would someone hire a coach? Please share some examples of client successes.

Anyone who is looking for change in their lives, clarity in who they are or what they want to do, or anyone trying to make a decision, improve a situation or how they relate to others will benefit from a coaching relationship. I recently coached a young man who was unsure what to do next in his life. He had a bad back, was overweight, and lived at home with no job. Together we found the path that led him to realize his passion and his strengths, helping him make a decision about where to work, leading him to move back out on his own, lose weight, change his relationship with his father and overall returned his confidence about who he was and what he brought to this world. I also coached a woman looking for what to do next in her career after having left a company where she was very unhappy. We tapped into her values and strengths creating a way for her to see future opportunities more clearly and she went on to become very active in her church and found employment at a new company where she is much happier than before.

What skills do you as a coach bring to the relationship?

Good Question! Each coach has their own style of communicating and their own strengths from which to draw. For me it’s a combination of a lifestyle of physical fitness, years of coaching in the workplace as a Team Leader or supervisor and growing up in a family of artists, giving me an appreciation for personal performance, art, nature and living in the moment. I can see, feel and admire the greatness in others and I use that ability to encourage my clients to have confidence in themselves and their ability to achieve their goals.

What attracted you to coaching?

Through some personal career coaching sessions, I attended a half day workshop on coaching in the workplace and immediately realized that this was the missing link in what I had been doing as a Team Leader in the corporate world for so long. I could see the enormous potential it held for individuals to let go of all the resisting, and embrace a new positive attitude about getting things done. The paradigm shifted from focusing on what was wrong in any given situation to what was good, positive and generative, and how to create more of that to move forward. During the workshop I personally experienced a very powerful, yet short coaching session and couldn’t help but appreciate the potential that this form of coaching held. It’s the positivity, collaboration, self awareness and the resulting endless possibilities that coaching brings to people’s lives that attracted me to it.

What qualities do you look for in a coach for yourself?

Communication style is very important to me. It’s crucial for any coach to be able to listen for what’s important to the client in any given situation, and investigate deeply through a process of appreciative inquiry and from a variety of perspectives. So I look for a natural inquisitiveness, with no personal agenda, and an honest desire to work with me and uncover my strengths and values. And finally, like many of us, I hope that through the coaching process I’ll find the support I need to carry out what I say I’m going to do. One more thing about me, I like to have a bit of fun so a good sense of humour also helps!

Peter Kieran is a Certified Professional Coach in Calgary.

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