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Canadian Premiers Sign Apprenticeship Mobility Pact

Canada's premiers have signed an agreement that will facilitate the mobility of apprentices across the country.

The Provincial-Territorial Apprentice Mobility Protocol will enable mutual recognition of technical training, work experience and examination results for apprentices moving from one area to another.

The premiers have set a Jan. 1, 2016 deadline for the training and hours successfully completed by apprentices in one jurisdiction to be recognized by all other jurisdictions across Canada.

This premier-led development is intended to strengthen and modernize internal trade in the country.

Currently most provinces and territories require an incoming apprentice to show evidence of their work experience including providing technical training letters from past employers, an up-to-date logbook and college transcripts. It is going to continue to be important that apprentices and their employers know what paperwork is required to facilitate a move between jurisdictions and what will be required to meet the standard of the receiving province/ territory. The Canada Apprenticeship Forum is developing a labour mobility tool designed to assist apprentices by providing this information.

Journal of Commerce

The Four Most Common Job Interview Questions (That Candidates Almost Always Get Wrong)

By Peter Harris

Earlier this year, we surveyed Canadians about their most dreaded job interview questions. While many people expressed fear of the trend towards ‘trick' questions such as "Why are manhole covers round?" it's actually the simpler, seemingly easier to answer questions that trip most people up.

Over 15,000 people responded to our survey question, "Which is the hardest interview question to answer?" By far the largest group of respondents said that answering "What is your greatest weakness" the most difficult. Questions about salary expectations came a distant second.

Which is the hardest interview question to answer?

  • What is your greatest weakness? — 40%
  • What are your salary expectations? — 19%
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? — 16%
  • Why did you leave your last job? — 10%

Other common questions such as "Why do you want this job?" or "Why should I hire you?" received far fewer votes for being most fearful. But here's the thing: those are the questions that are asked at almost every job interview, and most candidates still stumble over them.

Four most common job interview questions most candidates get wrong

Tell me about yourself?

The exact wording may differ, but in nearly every job interview, you will be asked some variation of, "So, tell me a little about yourself."

Too many people waste the opportunity by talking about where they grew up, their family, or their pets. This conversational-sounding, friendly question is actually your chance to kick off the interview by showing how you are the right person for the job. Use your elevator pitch. Explain how your professional development has led you to this role, and why you are excited about it.

Why do you want this job?

It is tempting to answer this question by talking about how you're looking to grow your career and this opportunity would be a great chance to get your foot in the door of a new organization or industry. Employers like candidates with ambition and a career plan. The "foot in the door" aspect can trip you up, however.

Remember that the employer is spending valuable time and money to fill a specific role right now. You don't want to give the impression that you're just looking for a stepping stone to make a quick job hop and leave them back where they started. Talk about how the job at hand is a good fit for you and how you'd be great at it.

Why should I hire you?

This is an open invitation for candidates to explain their key qualifications, demonstrate how passionate they are about the job, and to showcase what sets them apart from other potential job seekers. Many people don't take that invitation.

All too frequently, many people, especially younger or entry-level candidates answer with some variation of, "because I need the job." (Or a similar answer that is about the candidate's needs and wants rather than what they can do for the employer.)

The thing is, need is not a qualification. If you've applied for the job, and gone in for the interview, the employer already knows that you need — or at least want — the job. The point of the interview is to determine if you are the right person to have it.

Explain what you bring to the role that others might not. What makes you stand out? Be enthusiastic, not needy.

Do you have any questions for me?

Almost every job interview will end with the employer asking if you have any questions for them. Don't say, "No." You can convey your competence and confidence, your job-readiness to an employer more impressively with the questions you ask than with the ones you answer.

Smart questions can demonstrate that you have some knowledge of the industry, and that you're already thinking about how you can contribute to it. They can lead to off-the-beaten path conversations that take your interview to the next level in the employer's mind and cause you to be more memorable than your competition.

Ask about the challenges of the role, trends in the industry, questions about the company that show you've done your research, and what the next steps are in the hiring process.

Just don't ask about pay, vacation time, or benefits. Of course you want to know these things, but they can all be discussed when you receive an offer. The initial interview is all about the job itself, and how you can be an asset to the company.

There is no idle conversation or small talk going on in the job interview. It's all interview. Too often we tend to focus on practicing answers for the tough discussions about salary history, on-the-job weaknesses, and five year plans, so that we forget that it's the more conversational queries that can matter the most.

Ten Things Canadian Employers Want Every Candidate to Know

By Kevin Makra

Despite popular belief, Canadian employers are hiring right now. Are you prepared? That is the main message firms want to convey to job seekers. In fact, there are many things employers want to tell job seekers. Yes, they do get hundreds, sometimes thousands of resumes a year. However, if candidates only followed this basic advice, they'd be well ahead of the pact in finding that perfect job.

Most of the guidance from employers is common sense, but you'd be surprised how many job seekers neglect, or choose to ignore job basics. So, listen up! Want to impress employers? Before applying for any position, read ‘21 things every job seeker needs to know how to do' and then keep reading this important advice from employers.

Ten things employers want every potential candidate to know:

Good Candidates are Always in Demand — Top employers are always looking for good people. Approach specific employers where you feel you can contribute and make a difference. Back it up with the proper qualifications and experience. Think about those industries that are growing and look for companies where you have something to offer. Yes, it's about what you can offer an employer, not the other way round.

Tell Me Why You Are the Right Candidate — Don't expect an employer to search through your resume at length, or spend time trying to ascertain your strengths during a job interview. Prepare your three or four sentence ‘elevator pitch' as to why you are the right candidate for the job. Practice it ahead of time and believe in what you are saying.

Communication Skills Are Vital — Regardless of the position, employers need candidates who can communicate effectively. What good is being a computer programmer if you can't understand and properly communicate important project specifications to others? Communication is of the most important skills in today's job market.

Know Your Resume Inside and Out — During the job interview prospective employers will ask questions about your past work history. If your answers don't coincide with what you've put on your resume you will come across as either being dishonest, or ill-prepared (both job killers!) Take the time to read your resume several times and think about how you would answer questions relating to its content.

Look to the Hidden Job Market — The vast majority of available positions are never advertised. Don't wait for an online posting, or job advertisement, before you decide to apply. If you love a company and want to work for them, let them know. While some companies are not keen on receiving unsolicited resumes, a targeted cover letter and resume to a company you know and love is worth the effort.

Do Your Research — Before applying to a company, take the time to research. You don't need to know all the nitty gritty financials of a firm, but go to their website and learn the basics. What are their major products or services? Who are the firm's competitors? What important issues are the company and industry as a whole facing? Be an informed candidate.

Have Confidence in Yourself — You may think of yourself as confident, but what do you portray to others? I've met many people who are truly confident, but they come across as indecisive when they speak, or often slouch during conversation. Pay close attention to not only what you say, but how you say it. What is your voice and body language conveying? Remember to smile.

Be a Team Player — Working well with others is a key component in many organizations. Employers want to know you are an effective team player. Relay those past instances where you worked in a team environment. Playing a team sport, or volunteering in a group event are great examples.

Show Passion and Personality — Employers are interested in your skills, qualifications and experience, but they are also interested in you as a person. Will you fit in with the company culture? Are you someone they can depend on? Let employers know that you are a well-rounded person who is eager to learn and grow with the company. Let your passion shine through!

Don't Take Rejection Personally — Firms want to hire you, but sometimes there is not a good fit. While never easy, try not to interpret job rejection as personal rejection. It's a business decision. Learn from the experience and think about ways to improve for the next time. The most successful job seekers are the ones who persevere.

Canadian employers want to hire right now. Are you able to fill the position? Before applying for any job, take the time to learn, understand and follow these job principles that employers want every job seeker to know. You will separate yourself from the pact, impress employers with your determination and confidence, and eventually rise to the top. Good luck!

Kevin Makra is the President of Sentor Media Inc., and founder of

11 Everyday Habits to Adopt Now to Increase Your Career & Job Search Success

By Elizabeth Bromstein

Your everyday habits will have a long term impact on your career (and life) and an immediate impact on your job search.

Here are 10 habits to adopt now that will make a big difference for the rest of your life.

1. Get up early. I know. I hate this one too. But, one thing successful people are always said to have in common is that they get up early. This isn't fair, since there are studies that show night owls tend to be smarter, funnier, and more creative. But the working world doesn't start at noon. It starts at nine, or earlier. If, like me, you're never going to be someone who gets up at 6, aim for 8 instead of 11.

2. Make your bed. I already wrote a whole article about this. Making your bed sets the tone for the day and starts you off with sense of pride and accomplishment that will carry over to every other aspect of your life.

3. Make lists. Making a to-do list every day sets your tasks right in front of you, so you know what to expect of your day and of yourself. And crossing each item off continues on the theme of accomplishment carrying over to the rest of your life — it's incredibly satisfying to see a list that seemed daunting in the morning with everything crossed off at the end of the day. And the ability to tackle tasks grows over time.

4. Tidy up. Being in a mess is overwhelming and depressing. Keep your space as neat as you can. This ranges from person to person. Some will be able to follow Marie Kondo's example and go full tidy. For the rest of us, I've found one thing that has major impact is abundant storage. Place bins, boxes, and things with drawers everywhere. Designate them for certain things — like papers, clothes, unopened mail, miscellaneous crap, so they're easier to sort through when the time comes. And the clutter is gone. (Unless you live with my husband, in which case it's a never-ending battle. But that's neither here nor there, I guess.)

5. Exercise. Cliche, yeah, but nobody ever says "Man, I regret going to the gym." Working out is good for your body, your mind, your self esteem. You'll live longer (the only downside to which is that you'll either have to keep working or have some good investments), you'll feel amazing, and you will be able to tackle the world.

6. Put a positive spin on life. Don't complain. If you want to piss and moan about something, try shutting up instead. Also, if something is weighing on you, try shifting your language to remove the burden. Instead of saying "I have to update my resume," try saying "I get to update my resume," or, if that's too Pollyanna-ish for you, just say, "I'm going to update my resume."

7. Be quiet. Speaking of shutting up, I talked in a recent article about times when you should do just that. Keep this in mind every day. You don't need to jump into every Facebook argument or spar with everyone you disagree with. Not knowing when to check yourself is a networking mistake that will cost you dearly.

8. Reply immediately to emails and messages. I have a friend who keeps her inbox at zero at all times. Not just zero unopened emails — ZERO EMAILS. Can you imagine? Most of us aren't superhuman, but do your best to deal with communications as they come in. Nobody likes to wait for a reply. It's rude and insulting. Even worse, if you're like me, in one hour the thing will have been pushed down your emails queue and you will forget about it forever.

9. Prioritize your tasks. Multitasking used to be considered a measure of ability. These days, less so. Earl Miller, an MIT neuroscientist, told The Guardian that our brains are "not wired to multitask well… When people think they're multitasking, they're actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there's a cognitive cost in doing so." Prioritize tasks and tackle them in descending order of importance.

10. Read. Successful people read. They don't watch TV. They read for 30 minutes a day or more (and probably not romances or 50 Shades of Grey). Read.

11. Analyze your results. OK, I've never actually read about a successful person recommending this, but I find it helps keep me from repeatedly doing stupid things (um, sometimes). Whether it's the job search or the workplace, instead of just blindly plowing forward, at the end of each day, take a moment to reflect on what worked and what didn't. Make a mental note (or a real note, if that works better for you) to continue doing the things that worked, and to adjust what didn't. if you're honest with yourself, you won't repeat your mistakes and you will learn from them.

The Most Annoying Workplace Behaviours

By Colleen Clarke

Steve Jobs is said to have walked around in bare feet, only showered once a week and rarely washed his clothes and hair. He was always on some wacky food regime that caused stinky permeation from his pores. He smelled, looked like something the cat dragged in, cried in public when he didn't get his way and bullied friends and employees with put downs and tirades. He went on to become a household name, a billionaire and a revered role model. All the same, his behaviours when in his twenties, would have got him fired or never hired, were he to apply to a company he didn't own.

A survey of over 5000 employees confirmed that workers are best to leave their bad habits at home. Better yet, wake up and smell the roses. Learn social etiquette and common decency if you don't work alone out of your garage.

The survey, commissioned by a British employment law consultancy firm, found these workplace annoyances, in order from highest to lowest, the most irksome.

1. The smell of certain hot foods. Curries, garlic and fish dishes linger in the air and may even transfer to your coats and garments in the vicinity. Even a tuna fish sandwich eaten in an unventilated area can be smelly.

2. Removing your shoes at your desk, (walking around in your bare or stockinged feet). If you work in a closed office, fine, kick off those pinchers, under your desk. In a shared space, bring comfortable shoes to replace the 4 inch heels you love to hate by 4pm every afternoon. If your feet sweat, they probably smell, keep those shoes on.

3. Personal hygiene. Not washing your hands after using the washroom, clipping toenails and fingernails, and nose picking at your desk are just not acceptable behaviour, period. It's one thing to put mascara and blush on while riding public transit, but clipping toenails at work, give me a break!

4. Leaving a mess. "Your mother doesn't work here" is a sign I see in a lot of office lunchrooms. Don't leave dirty dishes, a mess from food prepping in the office kitchen, or your dirty cup in the sink. It isn't going to clean itself and there is no kitchen fairy that will miraculously clean up after you.

5. Taking possessions without asking. Can't find your stapler, your post it notes, your favorite pen? Look on Jane's desk, yup, there it is, again. True, office supplies you use at work are not YOURS, they belong to the company, but they have been assigned to you. Put your name on your ‘stuff' if this is a regular occurrence and ask your colleagues to ask you before they borrow and go into your desk.

6. Bringing crying babies to the office. Everyone is thrilled you have a new baby and they can't wait to see it, in the reception room or at lunch in a restaurant. There are people working for a living in an office and distractions are not welcome, be it a crying baby or a construction team outside the window.

7. Gossiping. A gossiper is considered a difficult person, don't do it and don't condone it, walk away.

8. Unnecessary emails. Think twice before you cc the entire office, be it a directive or a simple thank you.

9. Co-workers not carrying their weight. Management should ensure that every employee has the ability to do the work they are assigned and that they enjoy doing the work.

10. Swearing. Expletives are one thing when your computer crashes or you stub your toe, four letter words in day to day discourse are verboten.

My additions

11. Eating peoples' lunches out of the fridge. One guy I know made a Gainsburger (dog food patty) sandwich to catch the person who stole his lunch every week. Got ‘em!

12. Interrupting me with your problems during my lunch hour or when I am on the phone. Begin each interruption with, "is this a good time?" or "do you have seven minutes?"

13. Talking too loudly on the phone. Remember to use your inside voice, inside your cubicle.

14. Too many personal calls at work/surfing the internet. You think you are just calling your mother for a quick catch up and ten minutes later you are lagging behind with your TO DO list. Checking how many golds Canada got in the Pan Am games is a lunch time activity.

Having taught many ‘Respect in the Workplace' workshops, I can vouch for these annoyances as being truisms. Some of these require some give and take, some are comical, but not really, most are common sense. Too many of these occurrences in the workplace are making employees unhappy. How guilty are you?

11 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Submitting Your Resume

By Elizabeth Bromstein

You've found a posting for a job you want and you're about to send in your resume and cover letter.

Before you do, go through this list of questions to ask yourself, to be sure you've covered all the bases.

"Do I meet 75% of the qualifications?" It would be silly to expect you to meet all the qualifications for every job these days, when employers are stuffing postings with ridiculous, unnecessary demands. But do meet at least three quarters. Otherwise you're wasting everyone's time.

"Does my summary match the job posting?" You've already ditched the objective statement and replaced it with a summary, I hope. Now make sure that summary matches the job posting — i.e. If the job is for a marketing manager, make sure your summary highlights your marketing expertise and not, say, your journalism experience.

"Did I proofread?" After your resume goes through 100 edits, it probably has typos. Find them. They're one of the top reasons you won't be hired.

"Did I address it to the right person?" If you can find the name of the hiring manager — maybe it's even in the job posting — address your application to that person. Make sure to spell it correctly.

"Are there clichés or useless buzzwords in my resume?" If your resume says you're a "team player" or are "results oriented," change it. Those mean nothing to anyone and will not get you a job.

"Do I list my accomplishments?" Have you given examples of what you have achieved, or have you just explained what your "duties" and "responsibilities" were in previous roles? Employers want to see you shine, not know what your "duties" were.

"Did I include my contact information?" It actually happens that employers get resumes with no contact info. Just make sure it's there — on every page. And that it's up to date.

"Did I follow the instructions in the job ad?" Did the ad ask you to address a specific person, answer a specific question in your cover letter, or submit portfolio examples? Do it to the letter. Details are important.

"Did I use the proper keywords?" Most big companies use some form of applicant tracking system which will scan your resume for the proper keywords and either reject it or save it before it is even seen by human eyes. Use keywords from the job posting in your resume. It helps get past the software.

"Would I call me in for an interview?" If you were the hiring manager, would you want to talk with you based on your resume and cover letter? Answer honestly.

"Why not?" If not, ask yourself why, then fix it.

OK, you should be good to go. Hit send.

Six Ways Your Resume Looks Old & Costs You Jobs

By Renee Sylvestre-Williams

The cover letter might be dead and LinkedIn might be the new thing but the resume is still your calling card when you're looking for a new job.

So, how does it look? Is it looking a little careworn, maybe a little shabby? In other words, does your resume look old? When your resume crosses a recruiter's desk, it has just seconds to make a great impression. An old-looking resume can cost you the job.

As we've said before at Workopolis, always tailor your resume to the job you're applying for — don't just send the same one to every job. Larry Chan, partner at Rosenzweig & Company compared it to updating an old outfit. "It was stylish 15 years ago but now the edges are frayed. Sometimes you need to do a wholesale change."

If you think your resume could use a makeover, here are some things you can update.


When there are documentaries on fonts ("Helvetica"), you know they are important. An old font can make your resume, and you, look out of date. Old fonts tend to be harder to read but new fonts are modern, cleaner and easier to read. Instead of Courier or any fonts with serifs, try Arial, Garamond or yes, Helvetica. Times New Roman is the "sweatpants of fonts."

Your Address

Does the recruiter or hiring manager need to know where you live? No, because no one offers a job or rejects a candidate via snail mail. They all do it via email. So instead of wasting that top space with your address, put your email, your LinkedIn profile, your phone number and your social media. They're going to look you up anyway.

An Objective Statement

People still open their resume with an objective statement says Shweta Kadam, human resources manager, talent acquisition for Kraft Food Group. That might have been fine 10 years ago but it's time to take it out. Of course you want to bring your skills to the position to help the company grow.

What you need to do, say Kadam, is have four or five bullet points that highlight your successes in relation to the job. Recruiters can see them immediately and decide if you'll advance to the phone screening round.

What should you highlight? Any sales increases or new processes or if you won any awards that benefited your previous company or industry. Think on how your skills can help your potential new company and put them right at the top of your resume.

Outdated Terminology

Kathleen Teixeria, talent Acquisition at OLG says terminology can make your resume look old. Take skill sets like knowing the Internet or listing websites with WWW off your resume immediately. By now, recruiters expect you to have some internet skills and websites are written as not


You want your resume to tell a story of your awesomeness but remember a couple things. No one has much to read and a resume is supposed to whet the appetite, not be the full dinner. This is why instead of paragraphs, your resume should have more bullet points. They're the snack-size offering of your experience. For the full meal, there's LinkedIn.

Marci Schnapp, owner of TeamQuest recruiting (and all the other recruiters we spoke to) says resumes should be about two pages long on average depending on the industry. "LinkedIn is where everyone goes. Your resume should have a link to your profile and that's where you can expand on your experience, including awards."

References available on request

Don't bother putting it on your resume. They'll ask if they're interested in making you an offer. Besides, thanks to social media, there's a strong chance the recruiter or hiring manager might know someone who knows someone who can give them the dirt on you.

If your resume has any of these, it's time for a makeover. Sit down and take apart your resume. Spend some time reworking and modernizing it. You'll enjoy the benefits when you go in for your next interview.