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

EFFECTIVE JUNE 1ST: In addition to virtual services, we are providing in-person appointments.

This includes Employment Counselling and Resource Room access.

Clients who are not able to access services virtually will be prioritized.

PLEASE NOTE: All services require an appointment. Call us at 250.248.3205.

Tip of the month

November Tip of the Month

Accessing the Hidden Job Market

The elusive hidden job market: chances are you have heard the statistic that 80% of new hires occur within the hidden job market. While that seems intimidating, do keep in mind that employee referrals rank pretty high as the actual source. But what about the other mass of new hires? How did they even get considered if the job wasn’t formally posted anywhere?
This is the essence of the hidden job market: finding jobs that are not immediately apparent to the public eye. Opportunities are usually identified by a combination of research and industry events. When you pay attention to what is happening at your target companies and within your target market, you can begin to anticipate their future needs.

Ways to tap into the hidden job market:

1. Local newspapers: Read your local newspapers to see what is happening in your area. One of your targeted companies may be expanding or offering new products which may open up new employment opportunities that fit your skills.

2. Attend local networking events. The Career Centre in Parksville has weekly networking opportunities on Wednesday evenings for a chance to meet other job seekers who may have the inside scoop on jobs that are not advertised.

The Chamber of Commerce holds monthly Business-after-Business events where members showcase their businesses to other members. These events provide an opportunity to meet other business owners and market yourself to them. The Chamber also hosts nine dinner meetings throughout the year.

3. Target specific employers: As you drive or walk around your area pay attention to the businesses. Do you know what they do? Would you like to work there? Do your research.
Use membership directories such as the online Yellow Pages, Chamber Membership Listings, and Canadian Business Directory to identify a list of prospective employers that you want to connect with. Make a cold call – have your “Branding You” spiel prepared so you are comfortable marketing yourself.

4. Visit the Career Centre in Parksville and attend our workshops or work one-on-one with an Employment Consultant to assist you as you prepare for new employment.

October Tip of the Month

Micro-Enterprise Your Talents

Self-employment may strike fear in some people, especially if you are a person with a disability, but it does not have to be that way.  We all hear stories about entrepreneurs that work 24/7 and do everything in their business, but that is not for everyone.  Hire yourself by turning what you enjoy doing and are good at, into a business to earn an income.  A micro-enterprise gives you the flexibility to work around your personal and lifestyle requirements, develop skills, gain independence, and feel a sense of purpose.

The first step is to determine if a micro-enterprise is a good fit. Find out what situations you thrive in and what supports and skill sets you might need other people to provide. Make a list or ask people that know you really well, what they think you could do and how they can help you.  If you uncover business ideas that you think might be a fit, it’s time to go into greater depth exploring them.  If you are not going for a business loan, you might want to consider a lean start-up approach.

“Lean Start-Up’ is an approach that ‘favours experimentation’ over elaborate planning; customer feedback over intuition; and iterative design over traditional ‘big design up front’ development”’ (‘Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything’ by Steve Blank).

The Business Model Canvas is a great tool to evaluate your ideas and make a choice.  Not sure what that is? Here is a 2-minute video explanation:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoAOzMTLP5s

If you are unemployed and need to work part-time, give us a call and perhaps our local WorkBC staff can help you work through this discovery process.


Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP)


The Launching Pad: Exploring Micro-Enterprises for People with Developmental Disabilities (includes success stories)


Self-Employment Program (SEP) for PPMB & PWD




September Tip of the Month

September is Disability Employment Month in BC

September is a time to celebrate and recognize inclusive employers and the important contribution people with disabilities make 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.

Firstly, you have no obligation to disclose your disability, but consider your strengths and barriers and apply for a position in which you will be successful. For example, if you have issues with your back you probably don’t want to apply for a position loading trucks.

Secondly, ensure you can do the job safely. Employers may have bona fide occupational requirements (BFOR) for certain positions. For example in order to perform their jobs safely, persons employed as drivers require acceptable vision and an appropriate driver’s licence.

The more you can get to know the employer and what they are looking for can help you find and market yourself to the prospective employer. How can you learn more about employers? Some ideas could be to attend our Beyond the Postings workshop to learn more about informational interviewing, look at prospective employer website and facebook pages to learn more about their culture, or check out employers listed on Canada’s Best Diversity Employers https://www.canadastop100.com/diversity/. As well, we are here to assist you and have a team of staff ready to discuss and brainstorm your strengths and job search strategies to help you find the right employer.

So you’ve found the perfect job and have an interview! 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 – for example are you able to lift 30 lbs?  You may want to disclose you have a disability if you require accommodations for your interview (such as an accessible entrance and hallways). However, you are not legally required to disclose your disability if you do not need accommodations.  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.

At the end of the day statistics show hiring people with disabilities benefits an employer. Presidents Group – a network of change-driven BC business leaders who are champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces list the following benefits for hiring persons with disabilities on their website:

  1. Improved Productivity – Research shows that diverse and inclusive workplaces are:
    • 2x more likely to meet or exceed financial targets
    • 6x more likely to be innovative
    • 6x more likely to effectively anticipate change
  2. People with Disabilities Make Great Employees – Among employees with disabilities:
    • Staff retention was 72% higher
    • 86% had average or better attendance
    • 90% performed equal or better than their coworkers without disabilities
  3. Expanded Consumer Reach
    • The spending power of people with disabilities is over $55 billion dollars
    • 90% of consumers prefer to engage with companies that hire people with disabilities

Basically, hiring people with disabilities is a good business practice.

August Tip of the Month

Changing Career Goals in the Changing Season

Fall into new employment opportunities by planning ahead. Summer is winding down, the kids are going back to school, summer holidays are ending and the tourists are going home. Now it’s time to think about what new opportunities await.

Fall is a time when employers are planning for the upcoming season and are forecasting what new services, programs and products they can offer their customers. Now is a great time to get a head of the game with a Ready, Set, Go attitude.

Ready – it’s time to prepare

1. Make a list of companies or organizations you would like to work for
Write down which job opportunities interest you, what appeals to you about the company or organization and how you see yourself fitting into that position.

2. Start networking
Start talking to past coworkers, family and friends and let them know what you are looking for. It’s not just what you know but who you know that may get you the job. You may already be aware of someone who works for that particular company that you can use as a reference to land you an interview.

3. Create or update your social media profiles
In today’s world, using social media to market your self is common place. Employers are using social media to advertise employment opportunities, as well as search out talent. By making sure your Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts are up to date, you will show employers you’re in the loop with what’s happening and current in your communication skills. Not many employers are hiring dinosaurs lately!

4. Brush up on your skills
While you still have some free time, practice skills you haven’t used in a while. Take advantage of free online training such as GCF Learn Free. Speaking of free, the Parksville Work BC Centre (Career Centre) has free workshops you can sign up for to assist you with your job search. Have some of your certifications expired? The last part of the summer is a great time to sign up for short term courses like FoodSafe, First Aid and WHMIS. You’ll be ready when employers are asking for these qualifications.

Set – up a plan for job search or employment:

5. It takes an investment to job search. Look at your expenses and see where you can save time and money.

a. Now that the kids are back in school, although your daycare costs may be less, you might still need before or after school care. Often there is a waiting list for your child to get into a reputable daycare; contact them now to secure a spot for the fall. Apply for government programs to help pay for daycare costs.

b. How are you job searching or getting to your new job? What kind of transportation is required? For example: you may be using your car a lot more to get to work, is it in good working order? Can you use public transportation to save money? What about carpooling with a friend or co-worker. Dusting off that old bike may be an option, it’s inexpensive and you’ll get in shape in no time. These are examples to keep transportation costs down when starting a new job.

c. Dress for success. Put away your summer shorts and take inventory of what your wardrobe consist of for work appropriate clothes. Do you have interview clothing or a power suit for that presentation that will help you land your dream job? An economical way to build your clothes closet is to shop at thrift stores, and consign items you don’t wear anymore. Better yet, shop your friend’s closet. Trading clothes and accessories can be both rewarding and entertaining. Use community resources that advertise free clothes to help fill in items you need to complete your work attire. You can look great and feel good by not contributing to the landfill and saving the environment!

6. Practice your interview skills. Be ready to answer those tough questions that employers ask. Think about all the questions employers have asked in the past…which ones did you answer well or which did you struggle with? Practice makes perfect. The internet is full of questions and answers employers may ask you, so take time to research interview techniques. Practice with a friend or someone you feel comfortable with, before your interview. Not only will you feel more confident, you will feel more relaxed knowing you have the right answers to sell yourself to an employer.

Now that your budget is in place, your targeted resumes and cover letters are done, your references have been confirmed and your list of employers is completed, set up an appointment to speak with an employment consultant. They have an abundance of Labour Market information to share, will support you with your job search and help you commit to an action plan. The employment consultants can review your plan, help you make adjustments along the way, offer training and/or transportation supports to ensure a successful outcome in obtaining sustainable employment. Confirm you’re ready and set to move forward.

Now you have everything you need to fall into new opportunities or perhaps a new career. Start handing out resumes, contact employers, get on social media and market yourself. Network with your community and set up prospective interviews with employers you respect and want to work for.

Make it happen before the leaves fall!

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

Follow us


Career Centre logo

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