The T-Cover Letter Strikes Again

by Janice - 2 Comment(s)

Last week we blogged about the T-Cover Letter—a cover letter style that is enormously popular with hiring managers. Our Strategic Networking volunteer Debbie Mastel has forwarded us another example of how one of our customers used the T-Cover Letter format to successfully find work:

"The T Cover letter is the most effective cover letter I have come across in my entire professional career. It was introduced to me by Debbie in one of the strategic networking sessions I attended at the library. From the time I heard about it, it really did strike me and I know it was the correct formula I needed to grab employer attention. By that time I was around just 5 weeks in Canada and everything was new to me. I was quick enough to change my formats to T letter and also customize my resume to go with that.

Within a week I got an interview at a Big Oil & a Gas Company, and another one at a IT company. I almost got the Oil & Gas job, and the Hiring manager was complimentary of my cover letter. After about 2 weeks I got an interview at DeVry University and now I am working there.

I am glad to say I attended that networking session and met Debbie, where I learned all about the best secret in finding employment—the T cover letter. Thanks to it, I am now working in less than 12 weeks from moving to Canada. I think it’s a great tool and many people should start using it, it also helps you focus and identify your suitability to the job and helps you easily focus on applying for a specific job target rather than being too general."

Have you had success with the T-Cover Letter? We want to hear about it.
Click HERE to post your experiences in the comment box below.


See the previous blog post for more examples about the T-Cover Letter format: The T-Cover Letter.

For more information about our Strategic Networking program that runs on the Third Floor of the Central Library every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. or other examples of cover letters or resumes contact us:

Central Library
Third Floor
403-260-2782
busn@calgarypubliclibrary.com

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.

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.


Mentorship: Worth the Effort

by Janice - 2 Comment(s)

Calgary career development professional Brian Lambier of Career Vitality Services Inc. answers our questions about mentorship, its importance and mentorship opportunities.

Come join us on Friday, January 20 from 11:45 to 1:00 on the Third Floor of the Central Library for Brian's program: Mentorship: Outside the Box. Brian Lambier of Career Vitality Services

1. Job searchers need to be aware that while mentors can help develop your career, their role is not to find you a job. In your experience, what are the most useful skills that mentors can help develop?

People believe that they have to be connected to an organization first to take advantage of a mentorship relationship. I believe that the individual must first truly understand who they are before they explore mentorship. What I mean by this is that it is important they have a clear understanding of their values, skills, abilities, interests and career desires. From that they need to be able to set a career direction and some concrete goals with a series of baby steps to reach those goals. This is where the career development professional comes in; it is their job to help people gain a broader understanding of their own individual footprint or foundation.

Mentoring is the process in which successful individuals (mentor) will help others establish goals and develop the skills to reach their goals.

Mentoring can help you acquire skills, increase confidence, widen your perspective, avoid errors, enhance your career and life, and help you succeed.

The type of skills that the mentor can help develop really depends on the type of mentorship relationship that exists between the mentor and mentee;

  • A Developmental mentorship relationship will see the mentor be able to offer the mentee develop new skills and abilities. The mentor acts as a guide and a resource for the mentee's growth.
  • A Sponsorship mentorship relationship occurs when mentor takes a close interest in the progress of the mentee and they influence others to support the mentees career advancement through providing them with opportunities. They in essence become a cheerleader and what I call the “doorman” opening doors of opportunities for the mentee.

2. Why do you think few Calgarians take advantage of mentoring opportunities?

This is a good question. I believe that many people take advantage of these opportunities. Immigrants and youth in particular have many opportunities to access these programs and do so through any number of social service organizations in the city. There are also many people in the corporate world that access programs through their organizations, professional organizations or institutions of higher learning.

I would agree that there are many people don’t take advantage of mentoring opportunities. I believe this is for many of the same reasons people do not engage the services of a career coach:

  • Many people don’t really understand the value of what a mentor can provide to them both personally and professionally
  • Many people have not done the work to have a clear understanding of who they are and where they want to go so they are not motivated to ask for help
  • Many people don’t set personal or career goals
  • Many people do not truly understand the goals of the organization where they work, how their role fits into the company goals and the internal avenues they can access to develop a plan to meet their goals
  • Organizations may not have a commitment to sustain and grow their employees
  • Middle managers that are supervising employees may not have the skills or been given the latitude of responsibility to identify individuals within the organization to participate in such programs.
  • Mentoring opportunities are not always apparent unless you network connect, explore and dig for opportunities
  • Many individual’s hesitancy to make the commitment to the mentorship relationship and process
  • An individual’s fear of change or their feeling that they cannot change
  • Many people think they can do it themselves.

3. Are there programs in Calgary for those interested in mentoring opportunities? (We often have immigrant clients who are interested in doing so.)

The following is a list of some of the programs offered in Calgary by a variety of different organizations in the Calgary area. (This is certainly not an exhaustive list.)

  • U of C Graduate Students Association—the Career and Mentorship Program
    Helps graduate students attain their desired career goal—whether it's re-entering industry after graduation (as 70 per cent of grad students do) or continuing with academe. This program is free, and helps grad students make professional contacts by pairing students with a mentor in their field of interest.
  • Bow Valley College Mentoring Internationally Trained Professional
    A bridging program to fast track foreign-trained professionals into the Canadian workplace. United Way and Bow Valley College have entered into a partnership to offer a mentoring program for internationally educated professionals through the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC). Internationally Educated professionals face a variety of obstacles when arriving in Canada. The information and guidance they receive can be critical to making decisions related to their career and skill development and finding meaningful employment. The goal of the mentoring program is to connect immigrant professionals with working professionals in a mentoring partnership.
  • Calgary Youth Mentoring Coalition
    Fifteen different Youth Serving organizations offering a variety of mentorship programs and services to youth through their individual organizations.
  • CIPS Alberta MentorNet
    Has partnered with MentorNet to bring an e-mentoring program to the membership, promoting mentorship relationships between college students (protégés) and IT professionals (mentors). Protégés gain invaluable career advice, encouragement and support, while professionals lend their expertise by helping to educate and inspire young professionals. Students are asked to fill out a profile specifying what they are looking for in a mentor, and then are matched in one-on-one email relationships with industry mentors who have relevant experience in the IT field. This one-on-one relationship takes approximately 15 minutes per week and is free to both the protégé and the mentor. The official e-mentoring relationship lasts approximately eight months.
  • Immigrant Services Calgary Integrated Women’s Mentorship Program
    The Integrated Women’s Mentorship Program links established professional women with new immigrant and refugee women to assist them in overcoming barriers to employment and help them realize their full potential in Canada as individuals and professionals. The program serves immigrant and refugee women who have the ability to effectively communicate in English but are experiencing difficulties looking for a professional job in Canada
  • The Project Management Institute Southern Alberta Chapter (PMI-SAC)
    Offers the Mentorship program to its membership each year. There are two intakes per-year: Fall (September) and Winter (January). This program is designed to provide you with guidance and advice on moving your career to the next level.
  • The Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC)
    In partnership with Calgary employers and CRIEC community partners, has recently embarked on an initiative to bring skilled immigrants and established professionals together in occupation-specific mentoring relations. The goal of the program is to help build inclusive workplaces and strengthen the ability of Calgary organizations to attract and retain talent.
  • University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business Mentoring Program
    This business school along with business partners in the community offers its students several mentoring programs including the Calgary Hotel Association Mentorship Program, the Enbridge Incorporated Undergraduate Mentorship Program, the MBA Mentorship Program and the Petroleum Land Management Mentorship Program. Each of these programs pairs students with experienced business personnel from the world of industry in the Calgary region.
  • The First Calgary Financial Mentorship Program with Theatre Junction
    Brings students together with mentors from Theatre Junction’s Company of Artists including actors, directors, technicians and designers for a unique look at what happens backstage. As part of the First Calgary Financial Mentorship Program, students have the opportunity to learn about creating their own original performance through an intensive workshop series, invitations to private rehearsals and backstage tours. Mentoring relationships will develop throughout the year and students will have a chance to speak one-on-one with Company artists and Theatre Junction staff about their profession.
  • Cybermentor
    An online mentoring program that matches girls aged 11 to 18 with professional women scientists and engineers or female students at Alberta universities who are studying science and engineering. The primary goal of the Cybermentor program is to expand girls’ knowledge of careers, opportunities and benefits that exist for women in science and engineering fields. The girls have the opportunity to communicate with mentors from diverse fields, expanding their options for potential career paths in the process. The second goal is to provide a motivation for girls to continue in their math and science studies through interaction with women role models who are studying and practicing in these fields.
  • Lilith Law Mentoring Program
    A one-on-one mentoring program designed to provide mentoring relationships between women lawyers and judges, and develop, retain and advance women lawyers through reciprocal learning, relationship building, and personal and professional development.
  • Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) Mentoring Young Entrepreneurs Program
    We know that young people have great business ideas and can benefit from a bit of help to make them a reality. In addition to our community partners, entrepreneur-in-residence and Online Business Resource Centre, CYBF provides mentoring from experienced business professionals to help set you apart from the competition while launching and growing your business.


Brian Lambier is the owner of Career Vitality Services Inc. in Calgary, Alberta and specializes in career and retirement transition coaching and corporate training. He can be reached at (403) 978-9134 or brian@careervitality.ca/. Brian has two upcoming programs at the Central Library: Friday, January 20 from 11:45 to 1:00 on the Third Floor of the Central Library for Brian's program: Mentorship: Outside the Box (Friday, January 20 from 11:45 to 1:00, Third Floor Central) and Champions of Learning 2012: the New Retirement (Saturday, March 24)

Thanks to the Centre for Newcomers for reminding us about other Calgary mentorship opportunity: The Peer Mentorship Program for Professionals at the Centre for Newcomers Application Deadline: Wednesday February 29th, 2012 Training for selected mentors: Saturday March 3rd, 2012 (10:00 am to 12:00 pm) Orientation and group matching for mentors and mentees: March 10th, 2012 (10:00 am to 1:00 pm) To apply: please contact Camilo at 403-569-3349 or c.torres@centrefornewcomers.ca This program is a partnership betwwen the Centre for Newcomers, the Association of Colombian-Canadian Professionals of alberta (ACCPA), the Chinese Professionals Entrepreneurs Association of Calgary (CPEAC), and the Nigerian Canadian Association of Calgary (NCAC) and started activities in September 2010.

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.

Resume Development with Bow Valley College

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

"The purpose of your resumé is to get you an interview. A well-written, high impact resumé will help you stand out among other applicants." Alberta Work Search Online

A resume can make or break your job search. If you need help with your resume, there is still space in Tuesday's free Career Basics: Resume Development program at Shawnessey. This popular program will help you learn how to create a professional resume to put your best foot forward. Workshops are led by professional career practitioners from Bow Valley College's Career Connection.

Career Basics: Resume Development
Tuesday, November 29
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Shawnessey Library

Register online or by calling 403-260-2620

Training and Employment in the Energy Industry

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

Join us on Friday, November 18 on the Third Floor of the Central Library for a program on Training Opportunities and Employment Trends in the Energy Industry, including how to deal with the long-term labour shortage.

The program will be presented by Mr. Norbert Hollman, Manager of Business Operations in the MacPhail School of Energy at SAIT. Prior to joining SAIT, Mr. Hollman accumulated over 30 years of broadly-based experience in the Exploration and Production (E&P) and oilfield service sectors including domestic and international marketing, business development, operations, acquisitions and senior management.

Training Opportunities and Employment Trends in the Energy Industry
Friday, November 18
11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Third Floor, Central Library
616 Macleod Trail SE
Register online or call 403-260-2620

This program is part of the Career Development Speaker Series, a monthly, noon hour speaker series on a variety of topics of interest to Calgary's Career Practitioners presented in partnership with the Career Development Association of Alberta. Members of the public are welcome to attend these sessions, which are held on the Third Floor of the Central Library on the 3rd Friday of each month from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The next session will be in January.

Mentorship: Outside the Box

Join certified career coach Brian Lambier as he defines and explores
mentorship and its role as a career development tool.
Friday, January 20, 2012

Registration starts December 19th

LinkedIn for Career Success

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

This Saturday, October 22nd, please join us at the Central Library for our Accelerate Your Career All-Day Career Event.

Joy Cohen, a Calgary career consultant, will be presenting the LinkedIn for Career Success program from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

We asked Joy a few questions about the why and how to use LinkedIn as a networking tool.

With over 120 million registered users worldwide, LinkedIn is clearly popular with job searchers. What do you think is its greatest strength?

I think its greatest strength is the ease of use for individuals with basic computer skills. If you have a well developed profile containing key words and phrases from your industry, it’s easy to be found and to access wonderful career opportunities. As a career coach, I have found this site to be absolutely invaluable for marketing my job search clients to employers quickly and with great ease. Some of my clients do not have computer skills and I am able to intervene and connect very quickly with hiring managers and decision makers as well as others who can introduce me to those who are responsible for posting opportunities. I LOVE this site!

What are your LinkedIn pet peeves?

  1. A profile with just your name and nothing else or having a profile that says “unemployed and desperate for work—please, anyone, help me!”
  2. A profile full of spelling and grammatical errors. Have someone with a fresh set of eyes check your profile for you. If English is not your first language, have someone review your profile who is completely fluent in English.
  3. Inappropriate or family photos. Your photo should reflect a professional image, period.
  4. Inappropriate status updates giving information about your family or personal activities. These personal details are more appropriate for Facebook.

Do you think job searchers should include their LinkedIn URL on their business cards?

Sure! You can also select a personalized “Vanity URL” for your public profile, giving you a custom web address for linking to and promoting your profile. Once you’ve chosen your URL, you can use it to feature your LinkedIn profile on business cards, email signatures, your blog and so on. (source: Personalizing your LinkedIn URL)

Should job searchers ever ask their current boss for a recommendation?

As long as everyone is comfortable, I think it’s a very good idea. Be aware that some companies are not permitted to provide what may be perceived as “written references,” Many employers search LinkedIn and seek out candidates who have a minimum of 10 recommendations, so building up your profile is important. Always ensure that the recommendations are of quality and speak of your talent, strengths, skills and knowledge.

Joy Cohen, from Everyday Joy: Career and Human Services Consulting, is a Calgary-based Human Services and Career Services Professional. Joy will be presenting LinkedIn for Career Success during the Accelerate Your Career All-Day Career Event this Saturday, October 22nd at the Central Library. Register online or by calling 403-260-2620.

Employment Agencies—Hope or Hype?

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

This Saturday, October 22nd, come to the Central Library to take advantage of our Accelerate Your Career All-Day Career Event.

Sabrina Souliere, President of Executive Steps, will be at the library to discuss Employment Agencies—Hope or Hype?.

We asked Sabina a few questions about the current job market in Calgary and about employment agencies.

What is your impression of Calgary's work environment right now? Do you see that companies and organizations are starting to hire again?

The market is in a positive hiring situation. Many businesses are hiring fast to hire the best talent that fits their culture; from oil and gas and all related service industries, to retail and manufacturing sectors.

Are there any industries in particular that are currently showing a high growth activity?

According to Statistics Canada, growth industries in Alberta are: technical, scientific, and hospitability to name a few. What we are seeing in the recruiting world is companies wanting and needing to use services in order to find the best talent that fits, both the skills, and of course in organizational culture fit.

How do you feel the Calgary recruiters are poised to help professionals get hired? How do employment agencies help in this process?

Employment agencies help to qualify and source talent. Recruiters allow companies to circumvent the long, expensive process of managing many candidates applying for jobs, and bring forward the best fit for the role in the company. Employment agencies also offer candidates additional methods for making connections with hiring managers at potential employers who have relationships with these recruitment firms. In short, agencies give candidates or job seekers more options and access to an abundance of jobs to which they may otherwise not have access.

Sabina Souliere is the President of Executive Steps Inc and has more than 13 years of experience in the specialized staffing industry. Sabina will be presenting Employment Agencies—Hope or Hype? during the Accelerate Your Career All-Day Career Event this Saturday, October 22nd at the Central Library. Register online or by calling 403-260-2620.

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