Women in Work Boots

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

There’s a new gal in town with a Backer Board and a mission.

She knows that if you were to ask a group of high school girls what they know about the variety of work in the trades, it’s pretty likely their knowledge on the subject would be slim. The industry continues to battle an image problem, especially with women who last year represented only 4% of those working in the construction trades. Yet for those women with successful careers in the industry, they are quick to point out many advantages: their ability to advance in the profession, continual learning, and gratifying, tangible, and independent work.

The Canadian government is working to create greater economic opportunities for women in many sectors, including non-traditional occupations, especially given current and looming shortages. They admit however, that there is a serious lack of knowledge about hands-on professions, which contributes to the problem. Post secondary institutions are working hard to improve and change the situation, along with business, government, and industry groups. But more inspiration is needed.

Here’s where Calgary’s Jill Drader comes in. An educator at SAIT, Tile Setter, and consultant associated with the skilled trades since 2007, Jill recently created the Women In Work Boots site. By sharing stories of local women working in a wide variety of trades, her mission is to inspire more to make career changes, own and run a related business, or explore the industry as a viable option after high school. And stories are important. Subtle changes in the way women talk about their roles in construction and how they got started in the industry will go a long way in bringing more women to it, according to Debbie Wadsworth, female construction leader and former president of the Canadian Association of Women in Construction in a recent interview. "Sometimes the things that count are really subtle, like what you do, how you got there, or talking about how much money you make.”

Featuring links to education, industry resources and apprenticeship guidance, Jill’s site is an excellent supplement to provincial initiatives such as Tradesecrets. But I was curious about mentorship opportunities, and asked Jill for her opinion and to share where this whole journey is taking her:

Jill, let's talk about mentorship opportunities. Do they exist in Calgary, and how important are they?

Mentorship is a critical part of passing on relevant information to women thinking of entering the industry. I've found career fairs sometimes have female mentors working the booths for various companies as recruiters, or as union members. I've also seen third part organizations create interactive career fairs and use round table discussions featuring mentors to deliver and share information.Unfortunately, there are so few women in the skilled trades that to take a percentage of those and make them visible mentors would prove challenging. This speaks to why I started the website: one, to use stories as a means of mentoring, and second to use the advice offered in the stories as a means of coaching women by using a web platform of storytelling.

What kind of feedback have you had to the site?

It’s been incredible. I've had emails from across Canada and USA, and even the UK and Australia, from women who found and follow the site. I've had the provincial government and oil and gas companies ask me to do events, public speaking, and conventions speaking about the the project. I've had representatives of the government call me to thank me for Women in Work Boots, and my MLA office is helping me. I have men emailing me and asking for advice. And most important, the women whose stories I featured and shared have told me they cried because they were so proud to read their journey and the way I told it. It brought to light that their work is meaningful, important, and a source of pride, which was my goal.


What is next on the horizon for you?

Taking this information to national and international audiences. Currently, I'm in Toronto waiting for a meeting with a national TV network that found me and invited me for an audition/interview of a show they want to pitch to me. This proves my previous point, that this movement was created to spread organically and wholeheartedly through storytelling and word of mouth.

This fall, I will be launching a digital magazine version of the website. I'm also writing a few chapters for a U.S. Women's Study program that asked me to contribute to their course, Women Work and the Web. And it turns out that I found a missing link to women in the trades: business education, and how it will enable men and women to run a great enterprise. With an industry in such high demand, I find that those hard at work often don't have any extra time to study, explore and learn more. To address this, I've created an online course to launch this September where they can purchase, download, and learn business trade fundamentals at their own pace, with access to me and my team for questions and follow up.

Oh, and raising my 1 and 3 year old sons is the first priority!

Mistletoe and Mingling

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

As this is the season to mix and mingle, we are featuring our popular interview from last year with local management consultant Lisa Dare about networking strategies during the holidays. Here is some of what she had to say:

Lisa, we have heard that contrary to popular belief, Christmas holidays are actually a promising time to secure a new position. Do you agree?

That’s a great question and yes, it is a myth that holidays or quieter times of business aren't a good time to be looking for work. Consider that most job seekers mistakenly assume that activity slows down in companies and therefore decrease their search efforts. By virtue of that thinking, this creates less competition and easier entry into speaking with potential employers. At the moment, the job market is pretty hot as I spoke with several HR recruiters from the oil & gas industry last week who have not seen any decrease in their workload. Also, while people may not secure a position right away at this time, it’s still a good idea to have informational interviews and gather market information on various industries as people generally tend to be in a much more receptive frame of mind around the holidays.

Is it quantity over quality during big parties? Should the goal be to connect with as many people as possible?

I would always choose quality over quantity. There is a tendency towards thinking that the higher the number the better the odds. However, from a strategic point of view, it is important to consider the best use of time and resources. Are you better off handing out your business card to 50 people whom you may not remember, or speaking with 5 or 6 people with whom you made a strong connection and then continuing to build those relationships? People will also find that by investing time in cultivating those relationships, the numbers will come—that’s the power of networking combined with strong relationship building skills.

What about party etiquette when someone is networking? For example, is it wise to stay clear of the rum and eggnog?

It’s important to remember that in these types of events you are always “on.” Be aware of what type of image and impression you are conveying to the public. It is not to say that you shouldn’t be yourself but depending on the context of your situation, it might be wise not to over imbibe as you want to be able to put your best self forward and not an altered version of yourself. There are many an office party story that has resulted in unfortunate outcomes for both staff and managers alike—you want to steer clear of becoming one of those characters.

Do you have any other networking advice over the holiday season?

While it is important to continue your efforts over the holidays, don’t forget to take time out for yourself. Ensure that you have sufficient time to attend to yourself and those around you as well as continuing with your job search. Look for different opportunities and events that are connected to what you are looking for. In addition, volunteer opportunities, community events, spousal parties and events within your network may also hold possibilities so be open to all opportunities. Most importantly—stay positive. This is the season to reflect on what we are grateful for and look forward to greater possibilities.

Lisa Dare is a management consultant, leadership & executive coach, and facilitator. She is also the incoming president of the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches and a volunteer with the Central Library’s Strategic Networking program that runs every Thursday evening at the Central Library. She can be reached at ld_assoc@telus.net

Hot Off the Press: May 2012

by Cher K - 0 Comment(s)

Complete Canadian GED Preparation by Jim Barlow

This book is an excellent comprehensive Canadian resource for students preparing for the GED test. The book features extensive reviews in all test areas, which include English grammar, essay writing, social studies, science, arts and literature, and math.

Résumé 101 : A Student and Recent Grad Guide to Crafting Résumés and Cover Letters that Land Jobs by Quentin J. Schultze

Minimal job experience? No problem! You’ve just graduated and are ready to land your first real job after college or high school. But how do you write the first résumé and cover letter of your career if you don’t have any previous jobs to list? With Dr. Q’s help, you’ll soon have a résumé and cover letter that will show hiring managers who you really are, why you’re prefect for your dream job, and why they should choose you.

Interview Success : Get the Edge by Julie Grey

Are you facing a crucial interview and don't want to risk losing that job because you lack confidence or you think your interview skills aren't up to scratch? Fiercely practical, this book could be the answer to all your problems. Whether you only have a few hours to prepare or a few weeks, Julie Gray will guide you through all the techniques and strategies you need to give yourself the edge in a competitive market.

SSAT & ISEE for Dummies by Vince Kotchian

The Secondary School Aptitude Test (SSAT) and Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) are the two most common standardized aptitude tests used in American private secondary schools. If you're a parent or student looking to apply for admissions at a private, military, or boarding school, this book is your family's ticket to success.

ACT demystified by Alexandra Mayzler

This book takes you step-by-step through the fundamentals of preparing for the ACT.

Becoming a Construction Manager by John J. McKeon

This book explains everything a person needs to know to become a Construction Manager—from formal education to getting their first job. This practical guide is packed with useful information for anyone considering or beginning a career in construction management, as well as professional construction managers seeking to work in a specific area.

1,296 ACT Practice Questions by Melissa Hendrix

The best way to prepare for standardized tests is to practice, and this resource offers you plenty of opportunities to do just that.

The Wall Street Journal Guide to Building Your Career by Jennifer Merritt

Are you looking for a mere job-the kind where you do virtually the same thing day after day, year after year, and spend the hours counting down the minutes until the clock hits five p.m.' Or are you looking for acareer-the kind that engages your interests and passions, constantly presents new and exciting opportunities and challenges, and allows you to grow personally and professionally?

If you chose the latter, this is the book for you.

GMAT Review

The only official GMAT review guide-from the creators of the test. Includes 20 percent new practice questions-all from previous actual GMAT exam.

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.

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!

Get Your International Qualifications Assessed

by Roberta - 1 Comment(s)

Say you are from Brazil and you need to know the equivalent degree in Canada for your geology degree back home. How do you go about getting your education assessed so Canadian employers have a better understanding of your qualifications? This is a common question at the Calgary Public Library, so we talked with Simran, a career practitioner with Bow Valley’s College’s Career Connection’s downtown office.

Who will benefit from an IQAS assessment?

This assessment tool analyzes international educational credentials and compares them to educational credentials in Canada. An IQAS assessment can help New Canadians with educational and employment goals, as it provides colleges and employers with an education summary in Canadian terms and uses the language needed for a Canadian resume. For example, an industrial designer from another country might be called a project design engineer in Canada. IQAS issues three types of assessments, listed here.

There is a $100 fee for the basic IQAS assessment. Is it true that clients of Bow Valley College Career Connection can have this fee waived?

Yes. Eligible Calgarians may register with Career Connections and request that their IQAS application fee be waived. Click here for a list of Career Connections offices in Calgary.

What if a new Canadian needs to know what courses they need to take to complete a Canadian high school diploma? Does IQAS provide this type of assessment?

Yes and IQAS can send a copy the assessment directly to colleges. But be aware that this assessment application requires planning and takes time, and that processing can take anywhere from two to three months. Click here for a list of the educational institutions using IQAS

Do universities also accept IQAS assessments?

As a rule, most universities have their own assessment departments. They ask that applicants submit their credentials for more detailed assessments that are often required for advanced degrees. Professional and industry association organizations, such as APEGGA, conduct their own assessments. Click here for more information on this subject.

What about professional designations?

Yes, IQAS can facilitate licensure for professions such as Certified General Accountants, along with some other professions in Canada. It’s important to call your professional association or check the IQAS site for more details.

What advice do you have for Calgarians considering an IQAS assessment?

First, IQAS only accepts information in English and French. If transcripts need to be translated, there are several organizations that can help, such as those listed here. Also, be aware that IQAS is only an assessment service and does not provide guidance or advice. Agencies such as Career Connection or Alberta Human Resources can provide further support and answer questions.

Note: The IQAS website has a list of frequently asked questions, along with an excellent video tutorial.

Alberta Human Resources also has a list of other organizations that can offer help with international education assessments. Click here for more information.

Finding Work in Alberta’s Energy Industry

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

For those looking to work in Alberta’s energy industry, industry forecasts from organizations such as the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) and The Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada show that there will be a shortage of skilled oil and rig workers in 2012.

The Petroleum HR Council created an excellent website devoted to helping those who want to find information on or a job in the industry: Careers in Oil + Gas.

Careers in Oil + Gas has sections listing job boards in the Petroleum Industry, tips and tools for job seekers and a Day in the Life section that features interviews and videos of people working in the industry.

The Petroleum HR Council has also worked with the industry to create the Petroleum Competency Program to help address industry HR issues. The following video clip from their site talks about how the program works with entry level workers:

Petroleum Competency Program
INFORMATION FOR ENTRY LEVEL WORKERS

http://www.petrohrsc.ca/council-projects/project-list/petroleum-competency-program/videos.aspx

For more information about the forecasted shortage of oil workers:

Oil worker shortage forecast to hamper 2012 drilling (CBC website)

Canadian Rig Worker Shortage Prevails, Despite Innovative Training (Rigzone)

Both Rigzone and the new CAODC Service Rig Website have information and job postings for oil and rig workers.


For more information about jobs and careers in the Energy Industry, the Alberta Learning Information Services (ALIS) Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction Industry ALIS Occupational Profiles and the Petroleum HR Council Occupational Profiles are a good place to start.

Please contact the Third Floor, Central Library at 403-260-2782 or busn@calgarypubliclibrary.com if you would like more information about jobs in the Oil and Gas Industry in Calgary or Alberta.

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