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Workplace news
Winning and whining Print E-mail
News - Feature

The two lists you need to keep for job interview and salary negotiation success

BY RENEE SYLVESTRE-WILLIAMS

You’ve submitted your resumé and now you’re in the interview. You have all your questions and answers ready and you know you’ll ace the interview and get your dream job.

Then, that one question comes; maybe it’s nerves, but you can’t answer. You know you have an answer but you just can’t remember it right now. You’ll remember it just as you walk out of the interview, but by then it will be too late.

This is why it’s a good idea to keep a running list of accomplishments – or, a “win list” – and even a list of negative events.

What’s a win list? I was chatting with an acquaintance about job-hunting strategies when she mentioned a former co-worker who kept a win list or, in his case, a win binder.

She explained that every time their boss gave her co-worker a special project or if he got a complimentary e-mail, he added it to his binder. That way, when it was time for his performance review, weekly one-on-ones or applying for a promotion, he could pull out his binder and have all his wins at his fingertips instead of trying to remember them under pressure.

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Improve your customer service skills with training Print E-mail
News - Feature

Commissionaires BC is offering a one-day course that will change the way you look at customer service

BY NOA GLOUBERMAN

Commissionaires BC has developed a new corporate training course that goes beyond the basics of customer service.

According to David Freeman, manager of training and development for Commissionaires BC, the Service Advantage for Customer Service Excellence course is about improving the experience of customers so that they remain loyal to you and the company that you work for.

“Our customer service course teaches the basics and beyond,” says Freeman. Customer service is “about meeting the needs of the customer, taking ownership of the situation, building a relationship and going the extra mile.”

This is good for your career as a customer service representative, as well as for your company’s bottom line.

“Customer service employees are representatives of the company,” says Freeman.

“They can encompass its philosophy, orientation and value proposition and present them to each customer in such a way that will make those customers return each time.”

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Female entrepreneurs remain untapped source of growth for Canada’s economy Print E-mail
News - Feature

More data, research and support needed to maximize the economic impact of enterprises owned by women

BY RICHARD CHU, BIV

The number of women entrepreneurs continues to grow in Canada, but some argue that more support and research is needed to boost the economic impact of women-owned enterprises.

A recent Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth report notes that more than a third (35%) of self-employed workers in Canada are women and 16% of Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses are now majority-owned by women. Together, women entrepreneurs contribute more than $117 billion in annual economic activity in Canada.

While the statistics are encouraging, Barbara Mowat says that women entrepreneurs remain a largely untapped source of economic growth.

Mowat, who is president of Impact Communications and chairwoman of three chapters of the Women Presidents Organization in Vancouver, says that many women-owned businesses remain small relative to those owned by men.

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Unfriendly fire? Print E-mail
News - Feature

How to get a reference after you’ve been let go

BY PETER HARRIS

We recently had an inquiry from a candidate wondering if it was possible to obtain a reference letter from an employer who had recently terminated him.

Reference letters are tricky things. Candidates sometimes like to have them as positive reviews of their work from former bosses that they can show to prospective employers. The trouble is, in many fields those future employers don’t actually find them that interesting.

The fact is no one would submit a negative letter about themselves with an application – so by default all reference letters are positive. Recruiters are far more interested in speaking directly with your former employers and asking their own questions than they are in reading a letter that you have pre-screened.

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Execs reveal third-quarter hiring plans Print E-mail
News - Feature

Manufacturing, finance, insurance and real estate sectors most optimistic about adding staff

According to a report from Robert Half International, 15% of executives interviewed plan to add a number of full-time employees in professional occupations during the third quarter of 2011, while only 1% foresee declines.

The Robert Half Professional Employment Report is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 C-level executives and other leaders from a variety of fields throughout Canada.

Those interviewed are asked about their hiring plans and general level of optimism for the upcoming quarter.

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Job search no-nos Print E-mail
News - Feature

The things candidates shouldn’t be doing

BY COLLEEN CLARKE

This may be your first kick at a professional work search or you may be on round five, six or seven. Whatever the case may be, there are certain behaviours that you might have that could be sabotaging your success with employers or recruiters.

Common slip-ups or “don’t knows” might include the following; get your resumé and cover letter out and see how many of these faux pas you’re guilty of:
■ Not tailoring your resumé to the job posting.
■ Not including a branding statement that speaks to what the employer needs and wants for the role you are applying to.
■ Not using the same words or phrases from the posting to heighten keyword recognition.
■ Using fancy fonts and formatting on your resumé and cover letter.
■ Not sending a cover letter at all.
■ Combining too many strengths or skills in one line with no explanation or example of their benefits.

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