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


Although we have all COVID-19 safety measures in place, services remain by appointment only.
Please give us a call at 250.248.3205.

Tip of the month


Starting a business for the first time can seem like an overwhelming process.  The good news is that support and guidance is available.  The Self-Employment program offered at the Career Centre can assist eligible individuals in determining if they are a good fit for entrepreneurship, and may provide support in acquiring the specific skills needed to create and maintain their own employment.

Something I always recommend to someone who is thinking of starting a business is to seek out information from those in the industry and build a network of mentors.  I consistently ask business owners, “what advice do you wish someone had given you when you were first starting your business?”  The following is a collection of my favourite responses, which I hope you will find appropriate as we celebrate Small Business Week this October.

Do one thing and do it well.  When we first opened (the restaurant), I often found myself trying to provide all thing to all people.  I thought everyone was my customer.  But what was really happening was that we were not offering anything “outstanding”.  Quality was inconsistent and we were fragmented in our service standards.  Once we narrowed down our focus of our product and style of service, our customers’ experience improved and they were able to identify what they could come to expect when they came in.”

“Make a plan, work the plan”.    

 “Have an end game plan – but know it may change.   When we started our business (retail) we never thought about how we would end our business.  We assumed our son would take over, but that didn’t happen. Do we scale back? Do we close the doors? Can we sell it? What’s the business actually worth?  We didn’t have an exit strategy and when we realized it was something we could have been planning for, we probably would have made some decisions differently (i.e. lease terms and inventory levels.)”

“It’s easier to save a dollar than to earn a dollar.  Spend like you don’t have money and eventually you will have the money.

“Always be open to learning.  Listening to your customers seems like common sense but it’s surprising how often owners think they know more about what their customers want than their customers.  Also it pays to be observant of what other businesses are saying and doing – as well as what they are not saying and doing.  Maybe no one is offering the product or service for a good reason you just haven’t had a chance to learn about.”

Talk to a bookkeeper or an accountant before you start…..make sure you know the steps to take, and in what order. There are a lot of nuances to be aware of and mistakes that cost time and lots of money down the line!”

You are not your customer.  Just because you think an idea is awesome or terrible, or something is too expensive or too cheap, doesn’t mean that’s what the market is seeing/thinking or willing to pay for.”

“Most employees are golden if you treat them like gold.  Over the years we have hired several employees who have no experience, but who have outstanding “can do” attitudes, and they have turned out to be our best hires.  We offer average compensation, have regular staff meetings, realistic job descriptions, and we make training available where it makes sense for the position and the person.  Our turnover rate is lower than what we hear in our industry and our staff tell us it’s because they feel valued.   Maybe, it sounds like a bit of a cliché but we try to treat our employees how we would want to be treated.”

So there’s just a few tried and trusted words of wisdom if you are considering starting a business.

The following links are great resources as you start to discover more about the opportunities, guidelines and processes for self-employment and eligible support programs.

WorkBC’s Self Employment Program at The Career Centre

Starting a Business in BC


Lorrie Mohl
Employer Services Coordinator

September Tip of the Month

This September marks the seventh annual Disability Employment Month in British Columbia and provides an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities in the workforce, and the employers and communities who support their success. Think of the strengths, such as resilience and courage it takes to apply for and sustain employment, and participate in one’s community when faced with a life-changing disability.  By focusing on what you have to offer because of the barriers you overcome, and with the compassion and understanding and accommodation of employers, we can work together to have an inclusive community.

What is a disability?

Disability: A disability is a condition or illness—visible or invisible, episodic or continuous— that affects a person’s senses or activities. Examples of disabilities include physical and sensory disabilities (quadriplegia, vision or hearing loss, etc.), mental health disabilities (including addiction), developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, brain injuries and chronic health conditions such as arthritis, hepatitis C, diabetes, morbid obesity and others. The disability does not need to be permanent; however, a short-term health issue such as the flu would not qualify for accommodation in the workplace.

If you have a disability and are seeking employment you may be torn on whether to disclose your disability to the prospective employer. You are not legally required to disclose your disability if you do not need accommodations, but consider your strengths and barriers and apply for a position in which you will be successful. Employers legally cannot ask if you have a disability in an interview. An employer can ask if you are able to meet the requirements the job.

The publication, Disclosing Your Disability – A Legal Guide for People with Disabilities in BC produced by the Disability Alliance of BC, has great information on disclosing your disability and accommodations, including a table on the advantages and disadvantages of disclosure at various stages of your job search.

August Tip of the Month

Kimberly’s Top 10 Reasons for Finding Summer Employment

1. Learning Opportunities:
Gain knowledge, experience, and professionalism needed to succeed in a career.

2. Short term goals:
Working for the summer can help you save money before going back to school or saving for that new car.

3. Networking:
While working this summer, make new contacts who can help you find long term employment in the fall.

4. Variety:
Short term or summer employment allows you to be excited about trying something new – you won’t get bored doing the same old thing!

5. Enjoy working in better weather conditions:
Think sun and fun while making a living!

6. May lead into full time employment:
Summer is a good time to discover if your employment is a good fit for you and your employer. If it is, often employers will try to keep you on all year.

7. Signing bonuses:
Many employers will give employees a bonus if they stay on for the entire season.

8. More employment opportunities to choose from:
Summer is the busiest time of the year for health care, hospitality, tourism, construction and landscaping.

9. Earn more money in a shorter time frame:
The fishing industry is a good example of good pay in a few months of work.

10. Make new friends:
Summer employment allows you to meet other people that are not necessarily around all year. For example, tourists or students who are here on a working visa. They too are only wanting short term employment, but may want to stay in touch and become good friends.

July Tip of the Month

Looking to spruce up your cover letter?  Here are some top tips that can help:

  • Research the organization to learn more about them and why you would like to work for them specifically, and include in your letter
  • Follow instructions…include any answers to questions not addressed in your resume (i.e. amount of hours you can work, available shifts, salary, etc.)
  • Only include qualifications, education, etc. that are relevant to the position you are applying for
  • Match your skills to the organization’s needs, coming up with specific examples of occasions when you have used these skills successfully (i.e. accomplishment statements)
  • Your cover letter should be neat, brief/concise, well written and error free, on no more than one page
  • It should be branded to match your resume and reference sheet (matching letterhead, font style and sizes)
  • Use a business letter format: left-blocked/aligned style (no indents at beginning of paragraphs), typical margin size is 1” around in order to have enough “white space”, and the font should be consistent with your resume and other marketing documents
  • Personalize each letter, addressing each to a specific individual (which may require that you contact the organization to get the name and title of the appropriate person). Do not use “To Whom It May Concern”.  If getting a specific name is not possible, here are some examples you might consider:
    • Hiring Manager, Personnel Manager, Human Resources, Hiring Team
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word in a job title (e.g. Long Term Care Aide)
  • Use a professional tone
  • Avoid overusing the word “I” (aim for approximately 5 or less per letter, or 2 or less per paragraph…this is harder than it sounds!)
  • Use keywords, as well as action words and adjectives
  • If using a Broadcast/Inquiry letter, let them know you will follow-up
  • Do not rely on spellcheck…proofread it a few times, read it aloud, and have someone else proofread it
  • Save your document with a file name that the employer (and you!) will easily be able to identify with and file/locate (e.g. John Smith – Cover Letter – 123 Company)
  • Keep a copy of every letter you send as part of your job search file (examples: hard copy, email saved in a Job Search folder in your mail program, or electronic copy in your document files)

Career Centre

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

Mon-Tues 8:30am-4:30pm
Wed 8:30am-6:30pm
Thurs-Fri 8:30am-4:30pm

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