Monthly Archives: January 2016

Skilled Trades: 7 Ways to Upgrade Your Skills or Improve Your Skills on a Dime

Everyone knows that in order to land a good job you need to hone your skills constantly. Self-improvement is an essential prerequisite for getting ahead at work. Here, we put together the best resources you can use to upgrade your skills and have a steeper learning curve.

Upgrade Your Skills

  1. Professional and Trade Associations. There are many associations you can connect with. It can help you obtain new skills and gain new opportunities via networking and getting access to new job postings. Often, these associations have workshops for their members which you can attend for free.
  2. College Apprenticeships. Most colleges have apprenticeship programs. The reason why you could benefit from participating in one is that you learn and earn at the same time. Some of the examples of programs can be found here.
  3. Toronto Tool Library. They have great workshops! You can get a safety certification in woodworking, get together with people of the same mindset as yours and learn new skills. Check out their schedule and their membership services. Don’t forget about DIY Spots in Toronto. Hands-on fun and new experience guaranteed, and you will get a chance to develop essential skills working with hand tools and special machines. Many manual labour jobs, such as  Assembler, Handyman, Seamstress/Sewing Machine Operator, require practical knowledge. The workshops that can give you this knowledge include The Shop, Repair Cafe, The Workroom.
  4. YouTube. Of course, YouTube. This guy has videos about everything, from CNC Tutorial to building house with your own hands. It won’t give you a certificate but you can get new knowledge in the comfort of your home.
  5. Online courses and resources. Don’t forget about limitless online opportunities such as Online Carpentry Courses, Free Online Customer Service Classes, and Distance Learning Courses.
  6. Social clubs. The main goal of social clubs is to find people with similar interests and hobbies. Social interactions are important for quick learning and healthier communities. Here is the example how you can find different social clubs and even start one of your own.
  7. Safety Trainings. All workers in Ontario are required to complete mandatory safety training prior starting a job, in addition to other job specific trainings. Here, at Alpha North Group, we offer a wide range of on-line training programs for applicants absolutely FREE. After completing a course, you will be issued a Certificate of Completion, which you can use at any other workplaces. You can register at our website, or give us a call at 647-427-4923 for more help.

Do you think you can update this list? Shoot us an email at info (at) alphanorthgroup (dot) com

The Top 5 Ways an Employment Agency Can Help You Answer the Toughest Interview Questions

With its high stakes and high pressure, a job interview can feel like a competitive sport. Just like the best athletes, job hunters have to assess the other team, devise a strategy, practice and play a fierce, focused game. The competition is stiff and for some job hunters, being asked to win the NBA championship feels more plausible than convincing a room full of strangers that you’re their next executive assistant.

But game-winning athletes don’t necessarily excel because of their talent they excel because of their resources. Everyone on the field has the ability to compete but the real advantage comes from having the best coaches and access to the time and environment you need to train. An interview is no different. To stand out from the pack – many of whom are boasting the same skills, education and experience – you don’t need to become a masterful public speaker. You just need to equip yourself with the right resources. Unlike an athlete, though, you don’t need a Lebron-sized paycheck to get ahead of the interview game. With the help of a great “agent,” your interviewing resources are right at your fingertips.

Here are the top 5 ways an employment agency can help you face the toughest interview questions.

1: They Know the World of Work

Employment agency professionals are experts in all things work. Their team members have expert insight into your potential job and industry, and can give you access to the concrete, reliable information you need to understand the position for which you’re interviewing, your competition and what qualities the workplace values. Knowing everything you can about the job and the industry positions you to answer questions about qualifications, salaries, opportunities for innovation and change, and where you want the job to take you.

2: They Know Your Future Workplace

Beyond knowing the field you’re working in, agency experts will likely be familiar with the specific workplace environment where you’re interviewing. Particularly if you’re interviewing with an agency’s client (which is often, though not always, the case), the agency has an established relationship with them and can tell you about their ideals, workplace culture, corporate structure and even the personalities of some of your potential co-workers. This kind of insider info can help you with everything from anticipating the tone of the interview to discussing how you’d fit into their team, and even choosing what to wear.

3: They Speak Their Language.

Turning to an employment agency for assistance during an interview will give you more than knowledge about your prospective industry or workplace. Agencies know the right lingo; they know the words an interviewer wants to hear and the terminology or slang your industry is currently using. If you’re coming from an environment where terms like “marketing collateral” or “BCC” are commonplace, you’re already equipped to discuss the job in the way other professionals expect. But what if you’re a student? A new Canadian? What about if you’ve been self-employed or out of the workplace for a while? Preparing for an interview with an employment agency will help you learn the buzzwords and sound current. Knowing the trendiest terms doesn’t make the best candidates, but it can make a huge difference in helping you sound professional, up-to-date and experienced.

4: They Also Speak Yours.

Trying to answer a tough interview question is intimidating enough when you’re a confident wordsmith. Many job searchers, however, have the additional hurdle of interviewing in their non-primary language. If you have language trepidations, an agency can extremely helpful in building your confidence and getting you prepared. They often have experience in assisting candidates with language concerns and may even have team members who speak your primary language. Working with a professional can give you a sense of what questions the interviewer will ask and how the questions will be phrased. Working with an agency will give you an opportunity to ask questions and make sure your responses are being understood – that you’re saying what you intend to say and are saying it effectively.

5: They Get You in Fighting Shape

Practice, practice, practice. The single most important, and most pervasive, piece of advice about interviewing is to be prepared. And what better way to practice than to test your skills with experts who know exactly what you’re facing? Not only can they help you prepare your answers, but they can role-play interview scenarios with you until you feel ready. You can do this at home with a friend, or in the bathroom mirror, but it’s hard to match the feeling of finding yourself face-to-face with a stranger grilling you with tough behavioural interview questions about how you deal with conflict or failure. An agency is also a neutral party – they’ll be honest with you about what’s working and more importantly, what’s not. But, while their job is to remain neutral while assessing you, an employment agency is in your corner through the whole process. Career coach Sally Longson puts it perfectly in her book Returning to Work: A Guide to Re-Entering the Job Market, “At every stage, your consultant should give you advice, support and encouragement, particularly after you have attended an interview.”

At Alpha North Group, we know a great interview can’t happen without a great job opportunity. Contact us today and let us introduce you to first-class employers looking for their next star player.