Working Wise | DrumhellerMail - Page #16
09282022Wed
Last updateWed, 28 Sep 2022 2pm

I am applying for a job that I really want, but I think I’m up against some stiff competition. I need a resumé that will help me stand out and get noticed. Do you have any suggestions?

 

Dear Working Wise:

I am applying for a job that I really want, but I think I’m up against some stiff competition. I need a resumé that will help me stand out and get noticed. Do you have any suggestions? Signed, Eager Job Hunter

 

Dear Eager:

 

Yes, your resumé must be brief and compelling, because employers use resumés to quickly sort through stacks of applicants and decide who they want to meet.

 

Your resumé should focus on your strongest qualifications so use a format that puts your most impressive strengths at the beginning.

 

If you want to emphasize your career progression, list your work, education or volunteer experiences in reverse chronological order. Chronological resumés are the most common type of resumé.

 

To emphasize the skills you have learned, use a combination format that groups your skills into categories. Be sure to include a brief chronological account of your background and describe how your skills benefited your current and former employers, e.g., increased sales, saved money, improved efficiency, etc.

 

If you don't have much work experience but your education is directly related to the work you are applying for, list your education first and stress the skills and abilities that your formal training has provided.

 

For more information, and sample resumés, check out the Resumé tips sheets on the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) web site at http://alis.alberta.ca.

 

When drafting your resumé, remember:

·        Your resumé should be two pages maximum. Busy employers won't take the time to read through a lot of information;

·        Print it on good-quality white or off-white letter-size paper;

·        Make it look professional and inviting to read;

·        Be clear and concise. Every statement should emphasize a skill or ability. Drop unnecessary words or sentences to tighten up your statements;

·        Ensure all the information is positive and relevant to the job requirements;

·        Use action verbs – “developed, created, coached, guided, produced.”  Avoid passive phrases like "I was responsible for" or "my duties involved";

·        Don't exaggerate or misrepresent yourself—employers will check;

·        Include your daytime contact information;

·        Don’t include a photograph or unnecessary personal information;

·        Check spelling and grammar--don’t take yourself out of the running over a silly little error;

·        List your references on a separate page. Always ask your references if they are willing to provide a positive reference for you and ensure they can verify the skills you want to emphasize; and

·        Always include a covering letter and use it to highlight your qualifications for the position. 

 

For more tips, or for a second opinion on your resumé, visit www.alis.alberta.ca and take advantage of the free, secure online e-Resumé Review Service.

 

You can also visit your nearest Alberta Works Centre and take advantage of their library of resumé-writing books or register for a free Resumé Writing workshop. A list of Alberta Works Centre locations is available at http://employment.alberta.ca/offices.

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.

 


My employer conducts drug testing--both random and as a new hire. What are my rights as an employee in regards to this intrusion of my privacy?

 

Dear Working Wise:

My employer conducts drug testing--both random and as a new hire. What are my rights as an employee in regards to this intrusion of my privacy? Signed Police State

 

Dear Police State:

 

Many Alberta employers ask their new hires and current employees to undergo drug and alcohol testing as a way of improving safety in the workplace. Reducing worker impairment helps ensure everyone gets to go home to their families at the end of the work day.

 

There are no laws preventing your employer from making drug or alcohol testing a condition of your employment.

 

However, there are some interesting human rights and privacy issues related to pre-employment, random and post-workplace-incident drug testing.

 

Drug dependency is a medically recognized disability and so it is considered a protected ground under Alberta’s Human Rights Act. This means that employers have a duty to accommodate any job applicants or current employees they discover with a drug or alcohol addiction. Every situation is unique—both the employer and the employee are responsible for negotiating an arrangement—but the accommodation could be as simple as allowing the employee time away from work to attend substance-abuse treatment.   

 

Recreational drug and alcohol use, however, is not protected under Alberta’s Human Rights Act. For example, a casual drug user was fired in 2007, because he failed his pre-employment drug test. He filed a human rights complaint which weaved its way through the courts—landing finally in the Alberta Court of Appeal. The court upheld an earlier decision that the worker was not protected by human rights legislation, because he did not have a disability.  

 

Alberta’s Human Rights Commission has an information sheet on this topic. It’s available at http://bit.ly/OpwqPMfor employers and employees who would like to learn more. The commission reviews and updates the sheet on a regular basis as new court cases are heard and decisions made. The Supreme Court of Canada, for example, is set to hear a case on mandatory random alcohol testing late this year.

 

If you have any questions about Alberta’s Human Rights Act or want to file a complaint, call the commission’s confidential inquiry phone line at 780-427-7661 or 403-297-6571 or visit their website at www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca.

 

The Canadian Human Rights Act applies to federally regulated organizations like federal government departments, federal agencies, crown corporations, chartered banks, airlines, inter-provincial transportation companies, inter-provincial telecommunications and telephone companies, television and radio stations, and First Nations governments and other Fist Nations organizations. It provides protections similar to those provided by the Alberta Human Rights Act, but differs slightly in some aspects. For more information on these differences, read the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s Policy on Alcohol and Drug Testing.  It’s available at http://bit.ly/U8ItSv.

 

Employers also need to be aware of the privacy issues related to collecting this type of personal information from their employees. Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by private organizations.

 

In 2010, a company was found to have contravened PIPA when its staff told other staff that their co-worker had been terminated because he had failed a drug and alcohol test. The Adjudicator determined that even though the use and disclosures that occurred were reasonable, the company had not given the affected employee reasonable notification of the use and disclosures http://bit.ly/Rhnau0.

 

If you have any questions about PIPA, contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner toll free at 1-888-878-4044 or visit their web site at www.oipc.ab.ca.

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information. 

How soon is too soon for my kids to get their first jobs? My kids are 13 and 15 and both say they want to get part-time jobs. I want them to learn the value of work, but they’re so young and I’m concerned about their safety.

Dear Working Wise

How soon is too soon for my kids to get their first jobs? My kids are 13 and 15 and both say they want to get part-time jobs. I want them to learn the value of work, but they’re so young and I’m concerned about their safety. Signed, Anxious Parent.

 

Dear Anxious:

 

A part-time job is a great way for students to earn some extra pocket money, save for post-secondary and find out that money really doesn’t grow on trees.

 

It can also teach skills your kids will be able to use for the rest of their lives, including teamwork, time-management, and interpersonal skills.

 

Working does carry risks, no matter how careful kids and employers are. You know your kids best and know how much responsibility they can handle—use your best judgment when deciding when your kids start working and where they work.

 

One thing that might help ease your mind a bit is that Alberta Employment Standards legislation includes provisions to ensure that young workers are only allowed to work in jobs that have a low-risk of harm.

 

For Adolescents, aged 12 to 14 years old, parents or guardians must give the employer written consent to allow their kids to work. The job must also carry no risk of injury to their life, health, education or welfare.

 

Adolescents are limited working as a:

- clerk or messenger in an office;

- clerk in a retail store;  

- delivery person of small items for a retail store;

- delivery person (e.g., newspapers, flyers, handbills); or

- certain food-service occupations (e.g., host/hostess, cashier, dishwasher, busser, etc.)

 

For other occupations, a permit is required. Before granting a permit, the employer must complete a written application with a Safety Checklist for Underage Employees.

 

Employment Standards will not issue a permit for a worker 14 or under to work in any occupations in the construction industry or occupations requiring work around or with heavy or potentially hazardous equipment, such as drills, conveyors, grinders, welding equipment, hammers and nails, blowtorches, forklifts, fryers, hot grills, slicers, etc.

 

For workers aged 15 to 17, Employment Standards does not impose restrictions on the type of employment, but, there are restrictions the hours of work and the level of supervision required. If a young person is employed at a retail store or motel/hotel and works after 9 p.m., there must be at least one adult present at all times. Youth working between midnight and 6 a.m. need to work with at least one adult and employers need written consent of their parent and guardian.

 

Employers are responsible for providing workplaces that are safe for all workers, including providing safety training. Workers are responsible for working safely.

 

For more information on protections for younger workers, visit www.employment.alberta.ca and click on Safe & Fair Workplaces.

 

You can also help keep your kids safe at work by educating them and yourself. The Young Workers section, under Occupational Health & Safety, features interesting edutainment safety videos targeted at younger workers as well as tip sheets for parents.

Check it out at www.employment.alberta.ca/whs-youngworkers

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.


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