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Careers & Job Skills

May 2018

9 Work-From-Home Jobs that Can Pay More than $69,000

4 Tips to Take Your Career to the Next Level

How to Make Your Cover Letter Complement Your Resume

Job Search Jargon

6 Ways to Spring Clean Your Resume

6 Resume Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job

5 Things You Should do After a Job Interview

What to Wear to a Job Interview

How to Prepare for the Most Common Types of Job Interview Questions

The Do’s and Don'ts of Being Friends With Your Boss

New App Connects Construction Firms & Workers

9 Work-From-Home Jobs that Can Pay More than $69,000

For many, working from home is a dream come true, offering numerous benefits, including: a more comfortable and familiar work environment; time and cost savings on commuting; and a better work-life balance just to name a few.

If you’re worried about what this kind of work arrangement can do to your bank account, worry not. There are a number of potential lucrative remote work opportunities.

Here are nine work-from-home jobs that could pay you more than $69,000.


4 Tips to Take Your Career to the Next Level

Are you looking to climb the corporate ladder – or any career ladder for that matter? Navigating this process can be daunting, as it often involves challenges and unforeseen circumstances. What’s the best way to embark on this journey and ensure a steady climb? Well, like all challenges in life, a little planning, preparation, and forethought go a long way.

To help, we spoke with the experts to find out how you can advance yourself professionally. Here are four tips that can help you take your career to the next level.

Communicate with your manager

It’s often said that communication, or lack thereof, can make or break a relationship, and the same can be said for a person’s relationship with their manager. Open communication with your superior could do wonders for your career – providing you’re communicating the right information. Specifically, employees should be making their career goals known to their managers, after all, it’s part of a manager’s job to help you achieve your objectives. Once your manager is aware of your end goals, he or she can then help you develop the skills you need to get there. However, you don’t want to come across as selfish or self-serving, so make sure to approach these conversations in a way that everyone benefits.

Ask for more responsibility at work

The more effort you put into your career, the more you’ll get out of it, and this includes broadening your scope of work. You can start by expressing to your manager your willingness to do more and have more responsibility. Take the initiative by offering to tackle a new project or organize a team outing. After all, going above and beyond the call of duty is what will keep you top of mind when a promotion becomes available.

Negotiate your salary

The best time to earn the highest pay possible is when you first start working at a company because this is when you’re in the best position to negotiate. Unfortunately for many, this is often a wasted opportunity.

If you’ve let the opportunity of a fatter pay cheque slip through your fingers, there’s still a chance you could regain those losses. The next best time to negotiate your salary is after successfully completing your probation or during a performance review, but you need to be prepared! Make a “win list” of all the accomplishments you’ve made while you’ve been on the job to help justify your request.

Know when it’s time to move on

Continuous learning is vital to career growth, and a great way to do that is to ensure you’re in a challenging role. Acquiring new skills is difficult when you remain in the same role for too long and have settled into a predictable routine.

It’s important to be able to identify the signs that it’s time to leave a role or company. A red flag is when your engagement plummets and if you’re feeling resentful.

On the flip side, working for a new company can be extremely beneficial to your career. This new situation could allow you to apply your knowledge to a new industry, therefore expanding your skills and qualifications. Furthermore, if your current employer isn’t testing out new platforms or technologies, its competitors might be and moving on gives you the opportunity to tap into those learning opportunities. Plus, it’s always great to work with new people, for instance a new manager likely has a different skillset and can teach you something your previous manager wasn’t able to.


How to Make Your Cover Letter Complement Your Resume

It’s a big mistake most of us have made at one point or another: Writing a cover letter that doesn’t mesh with our resume.

Whether it’s writing a few dull paragraphs that simply repeat your resume points, or cramming in too many details without injecting any real personality, there are a lot of common cover letter flaws that make hiring managers wince with boredom.

So, what’s a better strategy for winning over a future employer? Making sure your cover letter complements your resume, by ditching repetition, adding personality, and giving the whole package a fresh look.

Here are a few dos and don’ts to make sure your cover letter hits the mark — and encourages a hiring manager to turn the page and keep reading.

Don’t be repetitive

It’s tempting to want to fill your cover letter with all your past jobs and accomplishments, but keep in mind, that chronological approach is exactly what your resume is for. So why give employers the same thing twice?

“You don’t need to tell the same stories in your cover letter,” says job search strategist Kamara Toffolo. “It should not be a regurgitation of your resume.”

Instead of simply describing your career experience — which makes for a dull read — it’s better to expand on a few key accomplishments, and let your resume list the rest. “The cover letter can be used to drive home your core three to four skills, and you can use some results to highlight those as well,” Toffolo says.

Showcase your personality

You also want your cover letter to strike a different tone than your resume. In the latter, bullet points and basic career details are key, but your cover letter should have more punch.

The cover letter is a place to include a bit of your personality, while there is less opportunity to do so on your resume, says career counsellor and coach Rebecca Beaton. “For example, you might want to include some humour, an interesting question, or share a personal connection to the company in your cover letter,” she suggests.

In short, your cover letter is where you show your warmth and “human side,” says Toffolo. “Be very approachable. Come across as someone the hiring manager or recruiter would like to have as a coworker.”

Connect with the company

Resumes can often feel a bit generic, but your cover letter is where you need to highlight that you’re not applying for just any job. Instead, you should flesh out why you’re the best fit for this particular job, at this particular company.

Beaton says it’s all about showing your passion, and suggests answering a few questions while you’re writing:

  • Why are you applying to this company above others? What do you love about them?
  • What do you believe about the work that this company is doing?
  • What do you like about this company’s unique approach?
Address resume red-flags

If there are holes in the employment history on your resume, or red-flags like a big career switch or an unfinished degree, your cover letter is your opportunity to address those head-on.

Or if you’re applying for a job in another city or province and would have to relocate, Toffolo suggests being upfront about the situation — since an employer will likely spot your current location on your resume. “This is where you can call it out and explain where you’re relocating to, when, and what difference you want to make for your target organization when you are there,” she says.

Focus on design

Complementing your resume means making your cover letter a little bit different, but not when it comes to design. On this front, you should ensure both documents have a similar look and feel so it’s a cohesive, eye-catching package for your potential employer.

You can also put a matching tagline at the top of your resume and cover letter, to showcase the theme of your application. For example, she says, if you’re applying for a project coordinator position at a digital media company, your tagline might look like: Project Coordinator, Digital Media, Team Building.

A consistent design and brand for your whole application means you’ll look professional — and worth hiring.


Job Search Jargon

Whether you’re a new grad starting out or a long-time employee looking to make a career change, the job search can be a little overwhelming. Especially when you’re hearing jargon and buzzwords you don’t recognize – but maybe don’t want to admit it.

To help, we compiled a list of words that could use some explaining. Here’s a list of job search jargon you’ve probably heard (but might not understand).

ATS (Applicant tracking system)

Software used by companies to process job applications, track candidates and organize the hiring process. It’s important that seekers keep ATS’s in mind when formatting their resume, as some systems automatically reformat and parse information in unexpected ways. If your resume is overly formatted with tables and columns, or if it’s in a format that the ATS can’t recognize, it might not make it to the hiring manager in one piece.

Behavioural questions

These interview questions are designed to mine past experiences as a way to indicate future performance. For example, “Can you think of a time when you were not successful? What was the situation? What did you learn from this experience?”

Company culture

This refers to a company’s collective values, mission, ethics, code of conduct…essentially its personality. Culture will differ depending on the nature of the company and the employees themselves, but it’s always worth researching before you apply to a job – or asking about in the interview.

Compensation package

This might be an obvious one, but it bears repeating: there’s more to compensation than money. It includes direct benefits, like salary and bonuses, as well as indirect benefits, like perks, benefits, time off, and more. When you’re evaluating a job offer (or talking to a potential employer), make sure you’re negotiating the full compensation package, not just salary.

Contingent workforce

This refers to workers that are hired on an on-demand basis (as opposed to full-time permanent employees). This might include freelancers, contract workers, temporary employees, or consultants.

Hidden job market

This refers to the fact that only a small percentage of job openings (from five to 40 per cent) are posted online or advertised in any way. The rest of the openings are filled through networking, referrals, or other methods.


Employee onboarding covers off everything a company does to welcome a new hire and set them up to succeed. It’s more than basic training – although that’s part of the onboarding process. It starts the moment a candidate accepts a job offer, and can last weeks or even months.

Remote work

A.k.a. telecommuting, distributed teams, digital workplaces…there’s more than a few ways to describe it, but it’s essentially working outside a traditional office. More and more startups are working with entirely remote teams working across the world and love to extol the benefits – and employees love it too.

Situational questions

These interview questions are the hypothetical counterparts to behavioural questions – they’re designed to evaluate your analytical and problem-solving skills. For example, “You disagree with the way your supervisor wants to handle a problem. What would you do?”

Soft skills

Professionalism, work ethic, and self confidence are a few examples of the hard-to-measure skills employers are increasingly looking for in candidates. They’re essentially personal attributes – as opposed to more quantifiable “hard” skills like language proficiency or programming certification.

Talent network

A talent network is essentially a way for seekers to stay up- to-date on your career opportunities: you provide your contact info, or submit your resume to a general inbox, to be notified when relevant openings pop up.

Transferable skills

These skills might not be directly related to the job you’re applying to, but can be indirectly considered an asset. They often go hand-in-hand with soft skills, but could also be something like budget management that could transcend a number of different industries and applications.


6 Ways to Spring Clean Your Resume

As of March 20, it’s officially spring — the perfect time to do some spring cleaning.

That could mean donating old clothes to charity, throwing out old spices from your pantry, or giving your bedroom a fresh new look. And it’s also a good time to clean up your resume, especially if you haven’t tweaked it in a few years or if you’re applying for a new job.

Sure, knowing what to keep and what to cut can be tricky, but imagine you’re rooting through a closet of old shoes … if something seems outdated, it probably is.

For a little more guidance, we asked the experts — career counsellor and coach Rebecca Beaton, and Amanda Magnanelli, marketing and content strategist at Boost Agents — for their top tips for how to “spring clean” your resume.

Trim the page count

If your resume is hovering around five, six — or more — pages, some serious tightening is needed. In fact, most resume experts suggest keeping it at two pages, max.

When you’re deciding what to trim, Magnanelli suggests thinking like a time-strapped employer. “They only want to spend 10 minutes on it,” she says.

That means shorter sentences, bullet points, and succinct phrasings, along with cutting some of the clutter in the tips ahead. Once you do all that, Magnanelli says you’ll showcase your top skills without any distractions.

“I’ve seen candidates with 10 years of experience consolidate it to one page,” she adds.

Swap out the ‘objective statement’

Once upon a time, the objective statement used to be a top section on a resume. That’s not always the case nowadays, says Beaton. Instead of summing up your career goals, she recommends a snappy professional summary or “tagline” under your name.

For example, a tagline for an Administrative Assistant at a fashion magazine might look like, “Administrative Assistant, High End Fashion, 10 Years Experience.” Short, sweet, and memorable.

Use tasks and skills to highlight accomplishments

We recently wrote about elements of a strong CV, and a skills list made the cut. Magnanelli, however, thinks you need to take this a step further, by using skills to highlight concrete accomplishments.

“Only include things that are unique to who you are. If it’s generic or doesn’t provide value — don’t include it,” she says.

Beaton agrees. “Employers don’t want to just see the word “problem-solving” listed under a skills section, they want to see specific examples of times that you demonstrated problem-solving skills, and the results you were able to achieve by applying this skill,” she explains.

Cut outdated information

Are you still proud about being student council president in university? Or about your first job after graduation? That’s great — but you might want to leave those things out.

“Generally, employers want to see experience on a resume going back no further than 10-15 years,” says Beaton.

That means accomplishments from your school days or early career highlights are probably safe to cut, unless they’re relevant to your employer.

(Hint: If your hiring manager went to the same school as you, or once worked at a particular company, maybe a bit more detail won’t hurt.)

Make sure volunteer work is relevant

It’s tempting to have a volunteer work section on a resume, since it can show off your philanthropic spirit and well-rounded personality. But does your future boss really care that you walk shelter dogs in your spare time? Probably not.

Magnanelli recommends chopping most volunteer work, but there’s a caveat: If it’s directly relevant to the job you’re applying for, keep it in. Say you’re applying to a non-profit, for instance, and did some volunteer work for them in years past — leaving those tidbits isn’t a waste of space.

Freshen up the design

Once you’ve tidied things up, why not give your resume a fresh look? Whether you’re using a basic word processor or flashier design software, it’s easy to tweak things for a vibe that’s clean, modern, and eye-catching if you keep a few things in mind.

“Make sure your resume has lots of white space, uses an 11-point sans serif font, and uses bullet points so it’s skimmable and easy to read,” Beaton suggests.

With those tips, you’ll have your resume cleaner than your closet in no time.


6 Resume Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job

Recruiters and hiring managers only spend an average of 10 seconds skimming resumes. Your resume, therefore, needs to make a good impression, and mistakes (like a careless typo or formatting issue) can really hurt your chances.

To help you spot potential issues, we had Aimee Rieck, Workopolis’ senior manager of human resources, review real resumes.

Here are her six resume mistakes that can cost you the job.

Not proofreading your resume

It might not seem like a big deal, but typos and grammar mistakes can instantly eliminate you from the running.

“It shows that you’re sloppy and not detail oriented,” Rieck says, adding that you should also keep an eye on verb tenses. “You need to be consistent. If you’re using past tense to describe your past positions don’t suddenly switch to present tense in another bullet.”

Giving TMI (too much information)

Gender, date of birth, nationality, and marital status do not need to be included in your resume. If you do include this info, it can leave the door open for possible discrimination.

“Any information that’s protected under the Human Rights Code does not need to be included,” Rieck says. “While the protected grounds may differ from province to province, the main ones usually covered are race, nationality, ethnic origin, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, and marital status.”

Listing employment dates without months

Want a trick to help you get noticed? Make things easy on the recruiter.

“If a resume only has the years of employment listed, I don’t know how long they held this position. It could have been three months or a year, which is a very different time frame,” Rieck says.

To avoid annoying the hiring manager, she suggests including months of employment in your work history. You can also take it a step further by adding how long you worked there.

Listing job duties (and nothing else)

If you’re just providing a laundry list of responsibilities and duties, recruiters are most likely zoning out on your resume. It’s much more persuasive to instead give examples of accomplishments.

“You want to get away from writing your resume as though it’s a job description; it’s not. I’m more interested in accomplishments within the role. Did you save the company money? Were you able to make processes more efficient? Did you exceed sales target by a certain percentage? These are the kinds of things that your work experience should be highlighting for recruiters,” Rieck says.

Making your resume too long

Let’s put it simply: No recruiter is going to read a four-page resume. So, how do you keep things concise? Start by avoiding repetition in different sections; limiting work history to the most relevant or recent; and only listing appropriate training.

“Starting off with a profile summary is great too because it gives me a quick snapshot of your core competencies and achievements. I can quickly decide if you could be a potential candidate for the job,” Rieck says.

Failing to tailor your resume

Yes, it’s more work, but when you tailor your resume to the job description, you increase the odds in your favour.

“A resume needs to have a purpose. It should tell the recruiter why you are a good fit for the position and what skills you can bring to the team – and you can best do this by making sure the resume was geared to that particular job,” Rieck says.


5 Things You Should do After a Job Interview

Interviewing for a new job can be a truly nerve-racking experience. In fact, you might be more than a little ready to stop thinking about it altogether once the interview is over. That, however, would be a mistake. There are a few things you should do after an interview that could actually help you land the job.

Here are five suggestions.

Record some notes

As soon as you get out of the meeting, write down everything you can remember. No, this isn’t a creative writing exercise. If anything, it’s an acknowledgement that human beings are flawed and strange; your feelings about how things went can change from day to day (and hour to hour). More importantly, you might not remember all the details, and details can be very useful, especially when you want to write a detailed, thoughtful follow-up email.

So, once you’ve left the interview, jot down the names of the people you met with, their job titles, what you talked about, and anything else that seemed significant. Also, make note of any questions you still have.

Send a brief but thoughtful follow-up email

Following up after an interview is important, and now that you have your notes, you have material to work with. So, take a few minutes to send a quick email to the people you spent significant time with during your interview (one email to a whole group should do the trick). You can do this within a few hours of your meeting, and you should definitely try to get to it to them by the end of the following day. If you don’t already have email addresses, do some quick homework online. You’ll almost certainly be able to locate that information relatively quickly.

Be friendly, and use the notes you took to say something that separates you from the pack (do you want to link to something you discussed? Share something from your portfolio that is relevant?). Remember, the ultimate goal is to keep your name, and your visit, on everyone’s mind. It might also be a good time to ask follow-up questions on the role or its tasks. You don’t, however, want to take up much of their time with this email, so be sure to keep in short.


Whether you get this job or not, you should be able to learn something from this interview. The best way to do that is to be sure to take some time to reflect on the interview. How do you rate your own performance? Was there something you feel you can improve on? Discuss it with someone you trust. Or do a little writing about what went well and what could’ve gone better. The goal here isn’t to make yourself feel bad; it’s to identify weak spots in your interviewing and communication skills so that you can do better next time. Was there a question that tripped you up? Had a hard time describing your experience? Do some research into common interview questions and practice, practice, practice!

This process will also help you understand if the company position are really right for you. Now is the time to be honest with yourself.

Send a thank-you note

According to a CareerBuilder survey cited by Fast Company, 56 percent of employers said that not receiving a thank-you note indicated that a candidate wasn’t really serious about the position. And, 22 percent of employers said they’d be less likely to hire someone who doesn’t send a note after an interview.

“The best time frame to send a thank-you email is within 24 hours after your interview,” Whitney Purcell, associate director of career development at Susquehanna University told Business Insider. “It should be sent during business hours – no 3 a.m. emails that make your schedule seem a little out of whack with the company’s traditional hours.”

Again, you want to take this opportunity to stand out from the pack. Use the notes you took just after the interview to write personalized thank-you notes to the people you met with during your visit. Be sure to mention some of the things you spoke about that day. Be interesting and interested. And, be sure not to make any grammatical errors in these cards. This final step is crucial. After all this time and effort, you don’t want to lose the job because you spelled something incorrectly.

If you can, ask for feedback

There may be a lot of good that can come from this process, even if you don’t get the job. Occasionally, when you’re turned down for a position, you’ll be notified by phone or email. If that happens to you, seize the opportunity. Thank them for taking them time to contact you, and then ask for more information about why you weren’t hired. Tell them that you’d like to learn from this process and that any feedback would be very much appreciated. Not only will you reiterate your professionalism, you’ll likely learn something that will help you the next time around.


What to Wear to a Job Interview

When it comes to job interviews, first impressions really count. And unfortunately, you may only have seven seconds to make an initial impression, which means the clothes you wear play a key role. If your current wardrobe doesn’t fill you with confidence, don’t worry. With just a few tweaks, you can walk into that interview with confidence and style!

Here are some suggestions for what to wear to a job interview.

Polished and professional

First things first, you must be well-groomed.

For the ladies, the makeup you might wear dancing with the girls on a Saturday night is not appropriate for a job interview. Keep things simple and clean – bright blue glittery eye shadow or hot pink lipstick can be distracting and look harsh in an office setting. This certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear any makeup, but think polished and professional. The motto less is more definitely reigns supreme here.

This also goes for your nail length and polish colour. Steer clear of wild fluorescent hues or patterns, and make sure your nails are manicured and clean (no chips or hangnails); this goes for the fellas as well. No, I’m not talking about your nail polish gents, but I do mean being clean shaven and well groomed. There is, after all, something to be said about a fresh haircut – it shows you’re putting in the effort, and it might just make you feel more confident.

If you do have facial hair, please make sure it is tidy and neat. A wild, overgrown beard might not make the best impression (unless you’re applying for a job as a lumberjack).

Put the focus on you (not your outfit)

When it comes to choosing an outfit for your interview, remember that you want the focus to be on your personality, experience, and skills. So, the less distracting the outfit, the better. This doesn’t have to mean boring, but you shouldn’t be wearing an outfit that puts the focus on your ensemble (at the expense of why you should get the job).

To be safe, avoid overly trendy looks. If you consider it a weekend outfit, it is most likely not an interview outfit. This goes for denim as well. Sure, some casual tech offices might be ok with jeans at a job interview, but in most cases, you should not wear denim to an interview. It just looks way too casual for that kind of setting. This is especially true for distressed, ripped jeans, which make it seem as though you have not put any thought into your look – definitely not the impression you want to make.

Similarly, over-the-top prints can be distracting, and cartoonish colours are definite a no-no, along with anything sheer, plunging, or lacy. It’s also a good idea to hold off on bold costume jewelry, like over-sized earrings, bracelets, or big chunky statement necklaces; you don’t want to be clinking and clanging through the interview!

To avoid a wardrobe malfunction (like a big split up the back of your pants or a dress that is so tight you can’t focus because the pain is too uncomfortable from sucking in), don’t choose something you have never worn or tried on before. Plan ahead and have your outfit picked out ahead of time; you don’t want to be panic stricken the day of trying to find the perfect look. And don’t forget your old favorites. Comfort is definitely key and this will shine through in your demeanor during the interview. So, if you own a tailored suit or an amazing sheath dress and blazer that you look fabulous in, wear it.

Stay classy

The real key is to strive for a classy look. In general, it’s a good idea to choose darker colours like black, navy, and grey (they also hide sweat stains if you’re a wee bit nervous!). You can always add a splash of colour with a blouse, tie, or bag.

When it comes to outfits, don’t feel as if you need to buy an entire wardrobe. Investing in a tailored blazer is a safe bet, but the idea should really be to amp up pieces you already have in your wardrobe to make them interview appropriate. Think a basic black dress or silk blouse for the ladies, and classic dress pants and a simple white button down for the guys.

A sophisticated “day dress” is another great buy for the ladies, but remember that hemlines should always be to the knee. When it comes to styling, make sure to choose a flattering shift style, which skims the body, or an A-line shape that is fitted at the waist and flares out at the hip. Medium weight fabrics, like crepe, or even heavier cottons will work any season, making this a versatile buy.

Similarly, a great pair of trousers is a work wardrobe go-to for men and women. Just make sure to choose a neutral colour in a medium weight fabric – avoid silks and linens that wrinkle easily and can look sloppy. Tailoring is key – make sure the hemline isn’t dragging across the floor or looking like you just escaped a flood!

Don’t forget the shoes

This brings us to where your interviewer will finish their “once-over.” Yes, your footwear. First and foremost, make sure that your shoes are clean and polished. You can have the smartest suit in the world, but pair it with ratty footwear and you have gone from chic to eek! An easy and safe bet is a black or dark brown shoe in a simple style, without “bells and whistles.” Save your sneakers for the gym, even if they are brand new and your absolute faves, a job interview is not the venue to sport them to.

For the ladies, I would strongly suggest avoiding uncomfortable pumps or high heels; you don’t want to look like Bambi on ice while walking through the building! A mid-heel or kitten heel is a great option in a neutral colour, like grey, nude, or black. I like a closed-toe style, but make sure those toes are pedicured if you are exposing them.

Clothes only make part of the (wo)man

The most important accessory you can wear to a job interview is your confidence. Once you have that outfit put together, walk in there confidently, with great posture, a big smile, and a firm handshake, ready to take on the world!


How to Prepare for the Most Common Types of Job Interview Questions

In many ways, a job interview is like a date. After reviewing your cover letter and resume and determining you have enough of the skills and experience needed for the role, the hiring manager is interested in getting to know you a little better. Through a series of questions, interviewers want to learn about more than just your qualifications; they’re also looking to understand your thought process and personality to determine if you’re the right fit for their company. To uncover that, interviewers will typically use three types of interview questions:

Let’s take a closer look at what they are, why interviewers ask them and how you should answer them.

Skills-based questions

These are designed to uncover what hard skills (teachable skills that are easy to quantify, like technical experience) and soft skills (subjective skills that are harder to quantify, like communication or interpersonal skills and teamwork) you can bring to the role.

When answering skills-based questions, you want to inform the interviewer of how much experience you have and provide examples of projects you’ve worked on to illustrate the depth of your experience.

Talk about how you’ve executed on designs in WordPress, some of the challenges that you’ve faced and how you’ve resolved them – give them examples.  Tell them about the number of years you’ve been a manager and the number of people you’ve directly managed – or, if you haven’t had a chance to be a people manager yet, how you’ve led a cross-functional team project in the past and how you successfully motivated the team to deliver the project to completion.

Behavioural questions

By asking behavioural questions, interviewers want to hear you talk about past experiences with the belief that this will indicate future performance. They want to understand whether you have the required skill or the right attitude.

  1. Begin by outlining the Situation you were facing
  2. Move on to identifying the Task, or goal, you had to achieve
  3. Then discuss the Actions you took to help achieve your goal
  4. And finish with the end Result

Prepare by reviewing your past work experiences and lining up a few short stories that highlight positive qualities that you would bring to the organization. As an example:

Situational questions

Similar to behavioural questions, situational questions can be hypothetical and are meant to provide insight into your analytical and problem-solving skills. They also give interviewers an opportunity to see how you handle problems on the spot, without a lot of preparation time.

Because these questions may be hypothetical, even if you haven’t experienced the exact situation presented in the question, you must still provide a response. Remember, interviewers want to understand your approach, your thought process. So take your time and think it through. And then clearly take the interviewer through the steps you would take to solve the issue presented to you.

By understanding the motivations behind the types of interview questions being asked, you’ll be better prepared to provide the information that interviewers are look for to determine whether you can contribute to their organization’s success. So go out there and rock that next interview!


The Do’s and Don'ts of Being Friends With Your Boss

We all want to have a healthy relationship with our supervisors – but is it OK to actually be friends with your boss?

Sad as it is to say, buddying up to your boss can make things a little awkward for both of you, and this can lead to unexpected consequences. That doesn’t mean you need to instantly ditch and unfriend your poor manager, but some degree of discretion is advised.

“It does happen all the time – I’ve had my own personal experiences not only being friends with bosses, but also having people who report to me being friends with me,” said Mark Franklin, practice leader at CareerCycles and co-founder of OneLifeTools.

“We can have a good time at lunch having conversations, even having a drink after work or playing hacky sack in the parking lot. I think friendly relations between bosses and employees supports good work and good performance,” he added. “I guess it’s about boundaries and where you set them.”

If you are navigating these tricky waters, try observing these rules for socializing with your superior.

Do: Talk about changing roles and relationships

One of the strangest workplace dynamics is when a close friend and trusted confidante is suddenly promoted to your supervisor.

Your workmate-turned-manager is probably fretting about how to handle this weird social transition too. So, experts recommend the direct approach.

“Help them move into that leadership role by suggesting: ‘I know things will change between the two of us. We’ve been really close, but you’ve got your job with big deliverables and responsibilities, and I know I need to deliver in my role,’” said Joanne Loberg, career consultant and executive coach at JL Careers Inc.

“If a manager isn’t taking the impetus to talk to you about how things have changed, it becomes very awkward. The longer you wait, the more awkward it becomes.”

Don’t: Vent about work issues

One thing should be clear: your supervisor is not a sounding board.

Even if your new boss is an old friend who used to commiserate with you about all your irritating coworkers, your relationship has changed. Your boss isn’t the right target for your workplace whining.

Similarly, if you’re mulling a career change, keep it to yourself. Even if you trust your boss implicitly, you might be putting her or him in the uncomfortable position of weighing your privacy against the company’s needs.

“Be careful how far you let the cat out of the bag with certain sensitive topics that affect your work and performance,” Franklin advised.

Don’t: Accept favourable treatment

The last thing you want is to look like the office suck-up, so if you are hitting it off with the head honcho, be very careful that your new pal isn’t giving you preferential treatment.

“If you’re perceived to have favouritism with that boss, you lose your respect and the ability to collaborate with your colleagues, because they feel that you’ve got one foot up on them,” Loberg said.

Do: Join in on a night out if it feels right

Chances are, any bonding with your boss might happen in off hours, especially if yours is the kind of office where group excursions to the pub are an occasional indulgence.

It could be a good opportunity to blow off steam and get to know your colleagues – and, yes, your supervisor – in a slightly less formal setting.

Don’t: Get wasted

Still, any time a supervisor is nearby, consider that this is the person likely responsible for your performance review. Is this really the best time to test your tolerance?

“If you’re going for drinks after work, know yourself,” Franklin advised. “You know how you behave after a certain number of drinks. So use your better judgment.”

Don’t: Overshare

Close as you might be with a supervisor, some topics are simply not suitable for work.

“When it’s become too close and there’s too much personal information you both find out about – too much about relationships, too much about health issues – it’s not appropriate,” Loberg said.

Don’t: Be touchy-feely

This point can’t be emphasized enough: physical contact at the workplace is almost never acceptable.

“People are very sensitive to how friendly is too friendly. One rule of thumb is keep your body parts to yourself. Don’t touch people,” said Lisa Kay, president and lead consultant at Peak Performance Human Resources Corp.

“Unwelcome touching, regardless of how casual, may not be received that way. Even a friendly tap on the back can be misconstrued by other people. Be aware that you’re in a professional environment; you’re not hanging out in a bar with your friends. So you have to take a different tone and you can’t assume that they’re going to be OK with your level of casualness.”


New App Connects Construction Firms & Workers

By Warren Frey

A new app is aiming to alleviate industry hiring hurdles.

Faber Connect is a Vancouver-based online marketplace that connects construction workers looking for jobs with companies looking to hire.

“The app is super simple, its purpose is to connect workers with those hiring in their area, and to give visibility to the industry to those who normally wouldn’t have it,” said Faber Technologies CEO and co-founder Sebastian Jacob.

The project began a year-and-a-half ago as a research project at the University of British Columbia, Jacob said, and a year ago he and his partners went down to San Francisco to build the platform.

“The app has been live for a year, and right now it’s all over Vancouver and in northern B.C. We’re expanding to Vancouver Island and looking to introduce it in Toronto in the next couple of months,” he said.

Employers use the app by selecting the type of worker they’re looking for, viewing matches and then picking the best worker based on ratings for skills, experience, previous references, punctuality and other relevant criteria.

The app also handles invoicing on a weekly basis by allowing the employer to review worker hours and payments are made via the Stripe online payment platform. Workers sign up via the website or the app. Up to now, Jacob said, hiring has been a “blind trial process,” with resumes sent via email and interviews.

“Every worker (on the platform) is verified by our team, and that way once the connection is made and an employer has seen a worker’s profile, they can see their skills and which past projects they’ve worked on. We want to eliminate trial and error,” Jacob said.

Journal of Commerce by Construct Canada