#110 - 198 East Island Hwy, Parksville, BC V9P 2H3      Tel. 250.248.3205   Fax. 250.248.4154

Tip of the month

September Tip of the Month

Disability Employment Month

According to the Canadian Survey on Disabilities (CSD) report 2012 funded by Statistics Canada, 1 in 7 (14%) Canadians aged 15 years or older, reported having a disability. That’s about 3.8 million people. Chances are you may be a person with a diverse ability, and you may also be looking for a job. Your disability may be a noticeable, visible diverse ability, or it may be a hidden one such as a learning or mental health issue. Regardless of what type of diverse ability you may have, you need not look upon it as a liability while job searching. Just as there is always a silver lining in a dark cloud, it is important to look at what gifts you bring to any work situation. Because no matter what, each and every person has something to offer. So, as with any other job seeker, it is important to be well prepared in your job search. Especially when it comes to talking to employers in interview situations.

If you have a visible or noticeable diverse ability, it is best to acknowledge it when meeting an employer in an interview or informational interview, but only refer to what is necessary. Then move on to your strengths, abilities, past work and volunteer successes. Always be confident, and make sure you practice rehearsing ahead of time. The interviewer may be ignorant about your diverse ability, so even if you hear statements or pick up on attitudes that shock you, stay calm and cool.  What you hear or feel may convince you this is not a place you want to work, or this could be a chance to provide information and give the interviewer the opportunity to learn more about your diverse ability. You can ensure they are clear your disability has no impact on your ability to do the job and it can be another chance to re-iterate your skills, abilities and strengths related to the position you are applying for.

If your diverse ability is not noticeable, at what point in the process should you reveal it? In the interview? Once you’ve been offered the job? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. You would have to evaluate the risk of disclosure as to whether it would hurt or hinder your chances of being hired.  Some employers might lose trust if you wait until after you have been offered the job.  If you do disclose it in the interview, it might develop more trust between you and the employer. A great resource for information to help you weigh out the pros and cons is the Abilities Canada (Inspiration, Information and Opportunities for Canadians) website:  http://abilities.ca/disclose-not-disclose/

If you are not able to get the job on your own, and/or if you struggle with anxiety or mental health issues that greatly impact your ability to be successful in meeting with employers, you can always obtain the support from a job developer. Our Job developers are specialized employment consultants whose job it is to make connections with employers and advocate for those who are not able to market themselves. It is their job to get you the job. A job developer can do some of the ‘pounding the pavement’ for you, attend an interview with you, and sometimes even land the job for you.  There are many agencies that can provide this service locally, including the Career Centre (Work BC): http://www.careercentre.org  and Vancouver Island Vocational and Rehabilitation Services: http://www.vivrs.ca/

So, remember to stay confident and focus on your abilities. Know your limitations and how to address them with an employer.  If you are not able to be confident in your job search, seek the care of a job developer who can support you by building bridges between you and the employer.

August Tip of the Month

Exercise and Job Search

Being unemployed has many challenges and some people experience depression. One way to alleviate the symptoms of depression is to participate in regular exercise and connect with people socially. You don’t have to join a gym or an exercise group to reap the benefits. Here is a list of free exercises that you can do to keep yourself active and mentally well as you job search.

  • Walk to the Career Centre if you live close by.
  • Drive to the Career Centre, attend a workshop and then go walk the boardwalk at the beach.
  • Have you ever walked through the bird sanctuary? It is a beautiful gem in Parksville.
  • Feeling adventurous? Walk through the many trails in the area: Englishman River, Rathtrevor or Springwood trail.
  • Check out the new trail that goes from Springwood School in Parksville to Coombs Market, great for walking, running or biking.
  • Walk or run the stairs at the end of Doehle Avenue in Parksville.
  • Sole Sisters drop in walking group offers guide trail walks, organized by the Arrowsmith Community Recreation Association. Wednesday from 10 am to 11 am. Contact Kim Longmuir at 250.248.8515 or email kimlongmuir@telus.net .
  • Utilize the free exercise equipment at the beach.

July Tip of the Month

For most industries, RESUMES matter, but few of us actually enjoy writing them. However, learning how to write an effective resume can make all the difference in not only screening you in as a candidate, but also moving you to the top of the candidate’s list. An effective resume can be a game changer. Here are a few tips for writing a more effective resume:

Relevant Information- you usually only get one chance to make a first impression, so the information that you lead in with on your resume is vital. It is best practice if the first page of your resume includes the most important and relevant information to the job. The top third of the first page is “valuable real estate”, so be strategic with what is highlighted in this section! Writing an objective is not always the best use of “real estate.” Consider changing your objective to Highlight of Qualifications section or a Professional Summary, depending on your industry and employment goals.

Elaborate- tell the potential employer what makes you good at your job, what makes you shine- include some detail. For example: “Proficient in the use of computers” can become, “Proficient in the use of Microsoft operating systems, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and…”

Success- talk about your successes and accomplishments in previous employment, rather than responsibilities. For example, if you’re good at fundraising, tell them what you accomplished, as a result of being good at it: “Coordinated three fundraising events for local shelters that resulted in raising more than $50,000 that went towards services and resources for individuals without stable housing, while improving community awareness.” This tells the employer more about you and what you’re capable of, as opposed to saying, “Was responsible for coordinating all community events.”

Update as Needed- make sure you update your resume with current information. Update your resume on a regular basis as “general” resumes are a thing of the past. Resumes need to be adjusted, reworded and sometimes reorganized, depending on the job you are applying for. Applicants need to provide a resume tailored for each job, that makes it as easy as possible for the employer to screen you through. This includes education, training, employment, skills, and even links to up-to-date LinkedIn profiles.

Market Yourself- some of us have difficulty talking about ourselves, whether in person or on paper. Your resume is not the place to hold back and be humble. This doesn’t mean you need to be boastful or exaggerate, but it is essential to include information, skills, education and accomplishments that let potential employers know, exactly what you have to offer and how you would be an asset to them.

Eliminate Irrelevant Information- only keep in the information that is relevant to the job for which you are applying. Including information on skills or previous employment experience not related to the position you are currently applying for actually makes your resume less effective. More is not necessarily better.

June Tip of the Month

Acing Your Interview

You’ve submitted your application and you just got the call! You have been invited for an interview and you couldn’t be happier…except now you need to think about the interview itself. Here are some strategies to help you put your best foot forward, so you are prepared.

Ask questions – when the employer calls you for an interview, this is a great time to ask:

  • Who will be conducting the interview? Is it a panel interview, with more than one person?
  • Do you need to bring anything with you? Portfolio? Copies of certificates? References?
  • When and where will the interview take place?
  • How long can you expect the interview to last?

Thank the employer for calling and inviting you to the interview. Ensure you have contact details of the person who will be interviewing you, in the event you run into traffic, or something else comes up that day and you need to call the interviewer right away.

Prepare – you have already done some preliminary research on the company, when you applied for the position, so now is the time to dig deeper.

  • Research the position as much as you can, and definitely research the company/organization so you can speak to their values, mission statement or projects
  • Find out the dress code, and definitely dress for success – in fact, select your outfit in advance, and set it out the night before your interview
  • Go to bed early, wake up early, and practice some breathing exercises (or preferred relaxation technique)

Think about interview questions – do some research online, or attend Acing the Interview for an interactive way to prepare.

  • Go over any awkward questions in advance
  • Practice with a friend, family member or Employment Consultant
  • Know what is on your resume and be able to speak to your specific skills and abilities
  • Think of some examples when asked situational questions – be sure to leave out personal information though
  • Prepare some questions you have for the employer

Get organized – you have already asked what to bring with you. Make sure you bring a copy of your resume and cover letter (even though the employer has it), bring a print out of your references, your portfolio, if applicable, and any certificates that are required for the job.

Plan your time accordingly. Are you driving? If so, find out how long it should take you and where you will park. Leave early to give yourself time for unexpected setbacks. If you are taking transit, research the schedule and know your route. Create a back-up plan if possible. Try to not book anything immediately after your interview, in the event it runs longer.

Remember to be yourself – you have been invited for the interview because the employer likes what you have presented on your resume and cover letter, so now is your chance to impress them with your unique self. Believe that you are the right person for the job!

Follow-up after the interview. Thank the employer by sending a note, email or by making a friendly phone call to express your appreciation for the opportunity. Follow up within a week (or your predetermined time) to let the employer know you are still interested. Follow-ups not only demonstrate that you mean business, but it also leaves the door open for a possible second interview if the employer is struggling to make a decision.

Career Centre logo

#110-198 East Island Hwy
Parksville, BC V9P 2H3
Tel. 250.248.3205
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-4:30pm