Posts Tagged "hired"


‘I’ll be silently judged’: Why millennial women ‘age up’ to be taken seriously at work – National

by BBG Hub

When Lauren gets ready for work, she thoughtfully picks out every item to wear.

The 27-year-old, who asked Global News to only use her first name, has a public-facing role at an Ottawa-based nonprofit. She’s expected to present herself professionally, she says, and wears either a blazer, dress or skirt everyday.

“I do this especially because I look young for my age and am often mistaken for being in my early 20s or even late teens,” she said.

“Meanwhile, my 40-year-old male boss comes to work every day in a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers (or cargo shorts and sandals in the summertime) and no one bats an eye. His ‘professional’ look when doing presentations is simply throwing a blazer on top.”

Love and work: The ins and outs of dating a co-worker

For some millennial women, or women who look even younger than their actual age, dressing for work can be a process. Many workers want to look put-together, approachable yet authoritative, and avoid wearing anything too revealing.

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Dressing professionally for some even comes down to hair. There have been stories of Black people not being hired because of it.

To combat this, some women try to “age up” through their wardrobe choices in an effort to be taken seriously, by wearing glasses, hiding tattoos and applying make-up.

For Lauren, sporting nice shoes and wearing glasses helps.

“I don’t feel I’d be taken as seriously otherwise,” she said.

“People see figures of authority as old, male, and white. I am only one of those things, so for a lack of a better term, I feel I really have to look like I have my sh*t together to be heard.”

Communicating through clothing

When women enter male-dominated workplaces, there is often a norm around how things get done and how people behave, says Tanya van Biesen, the executive director of women’s workplace organization Catalyst Canada.

Different work environments have different standards of dressing.

Would a career change really make you happier?

Would a career change really make you happier?

In office environments, dressing norms often include wearing things like blazers, dress shirts and suits — items associated with masculinity and power. To fit in, women may conform to this style of dressing to be taken “seriously,” van Biesen said.

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“You could also argue that men have been forced inside a box to dress in a certain way, and that women have been granted more latitude in terms of what they can wear to to work,” she added.

In more casual or laid-back workplaces, it may be perfectly OK to dress in jeans and T-shirts. What you wear, however, signals whether or not you “belong” in certain spaces, writer Erika Thorkelson explained in an essay for the Walrus.

“We are told that if we internalize the right dress codes, we can overcome whatever systemic obstacles lie before us,” Thorkelson wrote.

“Endless blogs and magazine articles attempt to teach us how to dress for success.”

Dress affects all young people — not just women

The pressure to “dress for success,” though, is not just an issue millennial women face, van Biesen says. It’s one faced by all young workers.

Layer on intersections of gender, race and ethnicity, and certain groups can face more pressure to dress “appropriately” than others, she adds.

Vast majority of workers with mental health issues keep it secret from their boss: study

“We talk a lot about ‘bringing your whole self to work,’ but I do still think at least in North American culture… we police each other into these pretty narrow bands into what is ‘acceptable dress,’” she said.

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“And that policing is caused by ‘the normative group,’ but that normative policing happens by both men and women.”

In Lauren’s office, she says women employees face extra pressure to not only dress a certain way, but perform professionally while maintaining a “positive attitude.”

“If I want to get ahead in this world where workplaces are designed for men, I don’t have the luxury of showing up in a T-shirt and jeans,” she said.

Navigating social media and the workplace

Navigating social media and the workplace

While she believes she would still feel compelled to dress professionally if she were a young man, she believes her youthful appearance and gender identity compound this pressure.

“I think for men, it’s seen as ‘bonus points’ to dress professionally, whereas for women it’s sort of an expectation,” she explained.

“Dress fashionably and flatteringly, but don’t be too sexy. Wear make-up, but not too much. If I don’t hit the nail right on the head, I’ll be silently judged and dismissed.”

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Work shouldn’t hurt’: Easy ways to make your desk safer and more comfortable – National

by BBG Hub

From construction sites to office cubicles, every workplace has the potential for injury.

In fact, there were 251,508 accepted claims for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease in 2018, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational health and Safety (CCOHS).

“Across Canada, somebody is injured in the workplace almost once every two minutes,” Steve Fischer, associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, told Global News.

READ MORE: ‘It’s not one size fits all’: Why open office plans don’t work for everyone

Some jobs are undeniably more dangerous than others, but sitting at a desk all day also comes with its own set of risks.

“When we look at the evidence, prolonged anything — whether it’s lifting heavy boxes [or] sitting in an office chair — doing the same thing for an extended period of time can cause problems,” Fischer said.

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In the case of a desk job, a prolonged static posture is the major worry.

Would a career change really make you happier?

Would a career change really make you happier?

“It has an effect on the underlying tissues in our body, and it can lead to people developing pain, progressively developing into injuries and other problems,” he said.

“Work shouldn’t hurt.”

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The good news is that desk-related pain and injury is easily preventable. The key, said Fischer, is to catch discomfort early — before it becomes something worse.

READ MORE: Love and work: The ins and outs of dating your coworker

“We have a tendency to let these things go … but if it gets worse, it can become really hard to deal with,” he said.

“If a worker begins to feel pain — maybe it’s in the shoulder, maybe it’s the neck or the back — it’s really important to bring awareness to the issue.”

Simple ergonomic adjustments like adjusting the height of your computer monitor, adjusting your chair height and introducing a more diverse set of postures throughout the day can be extremely effective, but they work better the sooner they’re implemented.

Study says plants can reduce workplace stress

Study says plants can reduce workplace stress

Determining the comfort and safety of your desk situation can be as easy as asking yourself a few simple questions.

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“Am I changing it up and moving? Is my body supported by my armrests? Do I have an appropriate keyboard?” said Fischer.

Here, Karen Joudrey, an occupational therapist and an instructor at the school of occupational therapy at Dalhousie University, shares some tips you can use the next time you’re at your desk.

The 90-90-90 rule

When you’re sitting all day, it’s important to pay attention to how you sit so that you’re not unintentionally injuring your neck or back.

Joudrey uses the “90-90-90” rule to remind people of the best way to sit.

“Your hips [should be] at 90 degrees, your elbows at 90 degrees and your ankles at 90 degrees,” she said.

READ MORE: Working moms 40% more stressed than women without kids: study

It’s common for people who sit at a desk to place their feet on the legs of their office chair, but this can compromise blood flow and circulation.

“Ideally, when you’re sitting in your chair … you should have about two fingers of space between the back of your knee and the edge of the chair,” said Joudrey.

“It can cause you to sit in an anterior pelvic tilt with your tailbone out. You don’t want that; you want a neutral posture of your hips.”

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The 20-20-20 rule

“For the general office worker, my biggest piece of advice is to get up and move,” said Joudrey.

If you have flexibility in the type of work that you do, try to stand up and move as much as you can.

Joudrey calls this the “20-20-20” rule: “Every 20 minutes, get up, walk 20 feet, 20 steps for 20 seconds,” she said.

Woman says she reported boss for sexual harassment, then got fired

Woman says she reported boss for sexual harassment, then got fired

While you’re up, make a point of changing your eye gaze to give your vision a break, too.

“Every 20 minutes might seem ambitious to people while they’re sitting, very focused on something,” she said.

“But 20 seconds is enough to reset and give you that mental break, give your eyes a break and keep your body active.”

Other changes you can make

Lighting can have a huge impact on your well-being at work.

“If your computer screen is against a window, that’s going to cause some contrast, which could give you fatigue,” said Joudrey.

She also recommends trying to move your seat to in between rows of lights, instead of directly underneath. Sitting directly underneath a row of lights can cause glare, causing you to squint.

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READ MORE: 6 ways your workplace can be impacting your motivation

Getting up to walk around can also help you avoid digital eye strain, which can happen when you sit at a computer screen for too long.

“You blink less when you’re staring at a computer screen, so be intentional about getting up and moving around,” said Joudrey.

“Give your eyes a break. During the break, let your eyes focus on different points.”

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Consent may not be ‘truly possible’ in some office romances: experts – National

by BBG Hub

Workplace couples are often romanticized — think Bill and Melinda Gates or Michelle and Barack Obama. But when the relationship involves two people with unequal power, it can also be fraught with peril, especially in the #MeToo era.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook is only the latest chief executive to be ousted over a consensual relationship with an employee. Increasingly, U.S. companies are adopting policies addressing workplace romances, a trend that began well before the #MeToo movement galvanized a national conversation surrounding sexual misconduct.

Addressing workplace romance can be complicated, but many companies remove any grey areas by forbidding managers, especially C-suite executives, from having relationships with subordinates given the potential for favouritism or lawsuits if the relationship sours.

READ MORE: Second McDonald’s exec leaves after CEO was fired over consensual relationship with employee

There are questions about whether consent is truly possible when the power imbalance is especially great. Many women who have come forward to share their #MeToo stories have said that they feared the consequences of saying no to a powerful person who could influence their careers.

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“That power difference can create a dynamic where the relationship can never truly be consensual,” said Debra Katz, a founder partner of the law firm Katz, Marshall & Banks who has represented women in several prominent sexual harassment cases.

“The #MeToo movement has shown how quickly it can go from consensual in the beginning to a huge problem when the relationship goes awry.”

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Easterbrook’s departure comes as McDonald’s steps up its efforts to stop sexual harassment after dozens of employee complaints.

McDonald’s CEO parts ways with company after breaking policy

McDonald’s CEO parts ways with company after breaking policy

A timeline for McDonald’s

Over the last three years, more than 50 McDonald’s employees have filed cases alleging sexual harassment with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or in state courts, according to Fight for $15, a labour advocacy group.

In August, the hamburger chain unveiled a program to teach its 850,000 U.S. employees how to recognize and report harassment and bullying. Franchisees — who own 95 per cent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants — aren’t required to offer the training, but the company expects them to provide it.

READ MORE: McDonald’s CEO resigns over consensual relationship with employee

McDonald’s said Easterbrook violated company policy forbidding managers from having romantic relationships with direct or indirect subordinates. In an email to employees, Easterbrook said the relationship was a mistake and he agreed “it is time for me to move on.” He was replaced by Chris Kempczinski, who recently served as president of McDonald’s USA.

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Time’s Up, a group that fights harassment and has been supporting workers’ legal cases, said Easterbrook’s departure should provide an opportunity for McDonald’s to do more, including making sexual harassment training mandatory.

“Under the new leadership of Chris Kempczinski, McDonald’s has an opportunity, and obligation, to act to ensure that all of its locations are safe and equitable for all,” said Jennifer Klein, chief strategy and policy officer at Time’s Up.

Complications around policy

Easterbrook followed in the footsteps of Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich, who resigned last year after the chipmaker found he engaged in a relationship that violated a “non-fraternization” policy that applies to all managers.

Other CEOs who have been pushed out over consensual relationships include Darren Huston of online travel company Priceline, Brian Dunn of Best Buy and Harry Stonecipher of aerospace company Boeing.

READ MORE: The ins and outs of dating a co-worker

In 2005 — the year Stonecipher was pushed out — just a quarter of U.S. workplaces had policies addressing consensual relationships, according to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the world’s largest group of human resources professionals.

By 2013, the number had jumped to 42 per cent, according to an SHRM survey that year of 384 of its members. Of those workplaces, 99 per cent prohibited romance between a supervisor and a direct report.

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SHRM has not conducted a more recent survey on the issue, but other research suggests such policies are even more common now. In a 2018 survey of 150 human resources executives, the executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that 78 per cent of companies had policies discouraging dating between subordinates and managers.

Much more complicated is how far to go with such policies. Not all policies pertain just to bosses and their underlings.

The SHRM study found that 45 per cent of employers with workplace romance policies forbid relationships between employees of significant rank differences, while 35 per cent prohibited them between employees who report to the same supervisor.

Many human resources professionals, however, believe it’s unrealistic to adopt a blanket ban on workplace romance.

Office holiday parties in the #MeToo era

Office holiday parties in the #MeToo era

An SHRM survey from January 2019 found that one-third of American adults have been in a romantic relationship with someone at work.

“People meet at work. It’s not an uncommon place for romantic relationships to start,” said John Gannon, an employment law attorney with Skoler Abbott in Springfield, Mass.

A growing trend among small companies is to sponsor happy hours for their staffers to increase camaraderie, said David Lewis, CEO of HR provider OperationsInc, based in Norwalk, Conn. Those events can be fertile ground for romantic relationships so it’s hard for a business owner to then tell staffers to break up or quit, he said.

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Some companies have what are known as “love contract,” which require disclosing relationships to the company and agreeing to act appropriately.

Lewis said he has seen a big increase in business owners asking for on-site training sessions for employees to raise their awareness on what constitutes harassment. Those sessions discuss relationships between staffers and warn that both partners in a relationship must act professionally with no public displays of affection. And they’re expected to remain professional if they break up.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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It will take 164 years to close Canada’s economic gender gap: report – National

by BBG Hub

If things continue the way they are, it will take Canada roughly 164 years to close the economic gap between men and women, according to a new report.

In reviewing how well Canada is meeting the United Nations (UN) gender equality goals it committed to in 1995, the report shows “uneven” progress over the past five years. This is despite a renewed focus on equality from the Liberal government.

READ MORE: The best and worst places to be a woman in 2019

In its own progress report for the UN, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government submitted this spring, Ottawa highlighted achievements like gender-based budgeting.

However, the shadow report from more than 50 non-governmental organizations shows that a persistent gender gap still remains. The gap is especially evident when it comes to economic security, even though women now outnumber men when it comes to completing post-secondary education.

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That gap is even wider for women with disabilities or from First Nations, Metis, Inuit and immigrant communities.

What’s behind the gender pay gap?

Around half of the gender pay gap in Canada seems to be caused by the fact that women tend to work in lower-paying industries and jobs, according to a study by job search giant Glassdoor earlier this year.

The finding echoes a 2016 study by Oxfam Canada and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which found that women-dominated industries tended to have lower average pay compared to sectors dominated by men.

For example, the median annual wage for truck drivers, who are overwhelmingly men, was $45,417. By contrast, the median annual salary for early childhood educators, who are overwhelmingly women, was $25,334, the report noted.

Why women need to save more for retirement

Why women need to save more for retirement

The fact that women tend to sort themselves into lower-paying occupations is an even bigger part of the problem in the U.S., where it explains almost 57 per cent of the gap.

In other countries, like the U.K., though, just 37 per cent of the gap is due to women choosing careers with smaller paycheques, while 23 per cent of it is explained by differences in education and professional experience.

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In Canada, only 11 per cent of the gap can be attributed to differences in education and experience, Glassdoor reported.

Pay differences can vary widely based on industry and job title

While pay disparities between these industries explain a lot, the size of the pay gap also varies significantly from sector to sector. For example, in the U.S., for which Glassdoor produced the most granular analysis, women working in media, retail and the construction industry are likely to be most underpaid compared to equally qualified men.

Job roles also matter. For example, pilot tops the list as the job having the widest adjusted pay gap in the U.S., even if the aerospace and defence industry overall boasts one of the smallest adjusted pay gaps.

In general, C-suite executives also displayed one of the widest gaps, with women’s paycheques 24 per cent smaller than men’s.

The change needs to come from the top down

The problem, say experts, is that there isn’t only an imbalance between men and women when it comes to pay — inequality extends to all other elements of work life, too.

“It’s a cultural shift that has to happen,” Paulette Senior previously told Global News. She’s the president and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

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“Pay is a very tangible outcome, but [we also need to] ensure that there isn’t a built-in resentment [towards minorities] within that work environment.”

According to Senior, companies need to focus on creating workplaces that are open and accepting.

READ MORE: Women in Canada earn less than men — even for the same job: Glassdoor

The key to closing the gender pay gap is a commitment from leadership, Anil Verma told Global News in a preview interview. He’s a professor of industrial relations and human resource management at the Rotman School of Business.

“The battle starts at the top,” he noted. “The leader of the organization has to send a clear message through communication and through action to demonstrate that this is an ‘equal opportunity’ company.”

A perfect example of this is the promotion of a woman into a key position within the corporation.

READ MORE: 14 factors lead to workplace gender equality — here’s how Canada measures

“People can see that this CEO is not only saying that [women] should have equal opportunity,” Verma said. “He’s doing it.”

For Verma, actions are just as important as words — they go together and they complement one another.

“There needs to be a commitment from the top to wanting to make sure that discrimination based on gender is not accepted and it’s not excused,” Senior added.

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— With files from the Canadian Press & Erica Alini

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Everything generation Z needs to know about finding their first job – National

by BBG Hub

Landing your first job out of school isn’t easy, but some experts suggest gen Z could experience the job-hunting process differently from generations past.

Generation Z made up roughly 17.6 per cent of Canada’s total population in 2017, according to Statistics Canada. Although there is no established start or end date for this group, some experts say anyone born between 1995 and 2005 could be considered a part of generation Z. This makes the youngest gen-Zers 14 and the oldest 24.

While they may have similar habits to the generations before them, experts say that when it comes to careers, this generation will function very differently.

READ MORE: Generation Z — Make room for Canada’s connected, open and optimistic generation

Corey Seemiller, an associate professor at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, told Global News most people in generation Z look for jobs that are fulfilling.

“The most prominent considerations for those in generation Z when looking for a job include wanting to enjoy the duties, feeling like they can make a difference for others through their role or organization, having a sense of purpose, passion and greater meaning in doing their work and earning enough to attain financial stability,” she said.

Seemiller, co-author of , added that unlike millennials and generations prior, gen Z may not try to climb the advancement ladder if they have a job they love.

“They care more about making a difference in their work than making a huge paycheque.”

Finding that first job

A 2018 survey of more than 16,000 gen-Z high school and college students in the U.S. found a majority of students used online job banks like Indeed, LinkedIn and even Google to find jobs, Inc reported.

When it came to finding a job, students often visited job boards on company websites (76 per cent) or asked family and friends for available positions at their place of work (61 per cent). More than half of students also sought advice from their guidance counsellors, while 25 per cent of students worked with recruiters.

Paul Wolfe, senior vice-president of HR at Indeed, told Global News that it’s important for people in this generation to understand the job search process.

“Even seasoned professionals are continuing to develop their job search skills — for many people, job searching is a regular activity,” he said.

“Like any activity, you’ll get better with practice. This is why I always advise people to continue to look around in the marketplace for any new opportunities that might be interesting.”

But the initial process of finding a job can be tedious. It can be hard to land a full-time, high-paying and challenging job out of school for any generation. But Wolfe said things are changing.

“A recent Indeed report found that those nervous about entering the world of work can take some comfort in that university grads from earlier years appear to be doing pretty well in today’s labour market, even though some may have gotten off to a slow start,” he explained.

“Depending on a student’s career path, it can be beneficial to begin the job application or job search process at the start of their final semester in school — or even earlier.”

Trends that stick out

Experts are already seeing patterns with the types of jobs gen Z navigates towards when they enter the workforce.

“They are highly entrepreneurial and may opt out of working for others,” Seemiller said. “This could create an employee deficit if enough of them don’t work in established organizations.”

READ MORE: Generation Z and the (achievable) dream jobs they want

But Wolfe added that because a majority of gen-Zers grew up in the recession, job stability became a norm for this age group.

“In our research, we definitely see a strong showing for engineering, tech and finance jobs — strong career choices for people who seek security as both fields suffer serious talent shortages,” he said.

Research also shows this generation would choose jobs they are passionate about over jobs that provide a lot of money.

“Given this, employers who are beginning to welcome gen-Z candidates to their teams should be prepared to provide talent with mentorship, training and transparent career trajectory to attract and retain these employees.”

Tips for finding a job

Interpersonal skills are critical in nearly any job, but gen-Zers should focus on honing those skills and then showcasing them to employers, Seemiller said.

“Employers are also looking to hire people with critical thinking and problem-solving skills so that individuals can independently figure things out and solve their own issues,” he explained. “Again, finding ways to both develop these skill sets, as well as highlight proficiency in them, could be the key piece for getting the job.”

Wolfe said it’s best to optimize your efforts online.

“Automate the front end of the job search process (identifying jobs that interest you) as much as possible. Do this by setting up job alerts on job search sites such as Indeed. Use specific keywords from the job descriptions, job titles and company names you’re targeting,” he said.

READ MORE: Generation Z and the rise of digital influencers as celebrities

Also, read each job description carefully.

“Today, most employers use an applicant tracking system (ATS) — a software that allows for automated sorting of applications based on specific keywords, including skills, years of experience, training or schools attended,” Wolfe explained. “As soon as you click ‘submit,’ your application is evaluated based on the job description keywords then ranked alongside other candidates in the company’s database.”

Always consider whether you have the qualifications a job description is calling for before you apply, he added.

And as always, do your research.

“You can also follow the company’s CEO or other leadership on social media. This is a great way to stay up to date on what’s happening within the company and what matters to this organization,” Wolfe said.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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The sexist expectations of professional emails for women: ‘There’s no winning’ – National

by BBG Hub

Carlee Barackman was working at a tech startup in Detroit, Michigan, when her email writing style — which she calls “short and to the point” — became an issue.

In the two years that Barackman had been working there, the company had grown from just three people to a large group.

As a result of the growth, more of the team-wide communication moved off Slack and into email, which Barackman considered the right place for a more formal messaging style.

“Slack brings out the casual in anyone… so on the occasions we would email, I would flip a switch to come off as professional as possible,” she told Global News.

READ MORE: Not making as much as your male coworker? Here’s what you can do

“I was trying to communicate… efficiently and directly, which means I cut out extra adjectives and some extra exclamation points, for example.”

Barackman thought she was emailing like everyone else — until her CEO pulled her aside to talk about her “harsh” language.

“[He] pointed to an instance when I didn’t show ‘enough appreciation’ for a co-worker’s performance,” Barackman told Global News.

While he didn’t explicitly ask her to soften her writing style, Barackman said it was implied, and she decided against it.

“I had work to do and I didn’t want to spend extra time trying to convey my bubbly personality in an email,” she said.

Sometime later, Barackman replied to an email with “okay, thanks,” — no punctuation, no emojis — and her CEO called her out.

READ MORE: ‘The battle starts at the top’: How Canadian companies can close the gender pay gap

“He addressed this specific email and asked that I include something to lighten it up, such as an exclamation point, so that the recipient knew I was happy about the work done,” she said.

Barackman agreed to try and “lighten it up,” but she didn’t really know what that meant.

It was salt on the wound when Barackman saw an email thread between her male colleagues with writing nearly identical to the style that got her in trouble.

“I remember sitting down at my desk and having no idea who to ask about how to email like a woman. Is emailing like a woman even a thing?” she said.

“I felt stuck. [I was] worried that, by adding extra fluff to an email, I would appear unprofessional and [I was] also worried that, if I kept my replies short and direct, everyone would assume I was angry,” she said.

“The rest of the time at the company, I avoided emailing. I would get up and talk to people directly or just not reply.”

Barackman isn’t the only woman who has had an experience like this.

(Editor’s note: When we asked Twitter users if they’ve ever felt this way, the response was overwhelming. Read some of their stories below.)

According to Megan Boler, a professor in the department of social justice education at the University of Toronto, this experience is likely common because the workplace is a traditionally masculine environment.

“Language is one aspect of our broader culture… and certainly within language and culture, are embedded all sorts of expectations and norms around gender,” she said.

For women in the workplace, the expectations are contradictory.

“On the one hand, women are culturally expected to be emotional caretakers and nurturers, and… all of those roles have historically been understood as appropriate in the private sphere, taking care of children in the home,” Boler said.

In contrast, men have traditionally occupied the public sphere.

“When women buck tradition and move into the public sphere, there’s this double standard… where [they aren’t] emotional enough, and yet, when [they do] express emotion, they’re penalized,” she said.

“In essence, for women in the public sphere, there’s no winning.”

Boler sees this double standard every day in her email correspondence with students, and she says the impact is twofold if your name is associated with another race.

“If the name is perceived as ‘ethnically coded’ in some way, there’s… a much greater chance of discrimination,” said Boler.

READ MORE: ‘It’s not one size fits all’: Why open office plans don’t work for everyone

Etiquette expert Lisa Orr agrees.

“I wish I could say that gender didn’t play a role in communication, but, in reality, there is extensive research to show that men and women communicate differently, and those differences can really impact the way we understand each other in the workplace,” she said.

However, in her experience working with professionals, Orr recommends a different way of seeing these gendered differences.

“Regardless of gender, the key is to understand your own communication style and that of your email recipient so that you can try to communicate in a way that will make the recipient respond positively to your communication.”

This advice is similar to that of Boler.

In her view, the only way to move past this contradiction is for women to learn the importance of not taking things personally.

READ MORE: What to do if you’re touched inappropriately at work

“It’s trying to understand that there is this kind of no-win setup for women… and so, perhaps [you] shouldn’t spend as much time as [you do] worrying about tone,” she said.

In her experience, Boler has found that women in the workplace more often suffer from imposter syndrome, which she describes as having “an incredible amount of experience… [but] constantly experiencing a kind of doubt about [your] choices and decisions.”

She believes this is not the fault of women but of the system within which they exist.

“It’s because… we’re constantly getting feedback that we’re doing things wrong, and in fact, there’s nothing wrong,” said Boler.

“So, I think there’s an aspect of just not taking it personally and knowing that it isn’t about me… You have to see that there is a structural problem.” 

WATCH BELOW: Salaries of women CEOs are double-pane glass ceiling

That’s exactly what Janu Y. — a 28-year-old communications professional in Toronto — has done. She refers to herself as a “former message softener.”

“I always felt like I needed to be softer or kinder in my approach because I was so afraid as coming off bitchy,” Janu told Global News.

It wasn’t until she became a full-time freelancer that Janu realized it was acceptable (and, in some cases, necessary) to cut the fluff out of her emails.

“A lot of what I was saying was being lost in translation,” she said. “I would be taken advantage of, or not taken seriously.”

Now, as a marketing co-ordinator in the technology industry, Janu is concentrating on “commanding her ship.”

READ MORE: What to do if you’re touched inappropriately at work

I stopped softening my emails because I didn’t need to shrink myself for the comfort of others. If someone is uncomfortable with me, and I haven’t personally done or said anything to them, they need to take that up with themselves,” she said. 

“At the end of the day, I say what needs to be said and I get my job done.”

In Janu’s view, this shift in perspective has brought her a lot closer to her career goals.

“Why is it that when a woman says it like it is, in the most professional way possible, that she’s still seen as a bitch but when a man does, he’s a boss? And that’s really it — I’m trying to be a boss,” she said.

“I’m trying to grow in my career so I can truly make space for people that look and sound like me: people of colour, people that were raised in low-income areas, people that didn’t always have the work experience, refugees, immigrants… we are extremely valuable and our world view is as well.”

Ultimately, the change has been empowering for Janu.

“Through being vulnerable enough to command my space both in real life and online, [I] better understand the value I bring to the table. Hell, sometimes I am the table.”

READ MORE: You can still get a job you’re not qualified for. Here’s how

In Orr’s view, there are surefire tips for writing a professional email — regardless of your gender.

“Professional emails should always be specific, concise and forwardable,” Orr told Global News.

Be specific

Make sure the topic of your email is immediately obvious.

“Your subject line should highlight the purpose of your email… [and] in the body of the email, make it clear what you’re asking for,” she said.

Orr recommends using bullet points as a clear way to get your point across.

Be concise

“Keep your emails to five sentences or less — three if you can,” Orr said.

Keeping it brief will allow for your reader to get your message quickly, and it will improve the chances of your entire message being read.

“Should you need more than five sentences, attach a memo or document to provide a more thorough explanation.”

Assume it will be forwarded

“That means no gossip, and use appropriate language,” said Orr.

In collaborative work environments, email communication is never really private.

“The last thing you want is some embarrassing inside joke making its way around the office and coming back to bite you.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Going back to work after a long absence is tough — ‘returnships’ could change that – National

by BBG Hub

Ragini Kapil was an elementary school principal in Delta, British Columbia, for eight years and she loved her job — until she injured herself.

Kapil, 58, had decided to take one year off to pursue her dream of screenwriting. Just weeks before her leave was supposed to start, she was travelling by boat to visit her seventh-grade class on a field trip when the boat hit a swell, causing her to fall and fracture a vertebra in her back.

“I went back to work after the 12-month screenwriting program,” said Kapil.

READ MORE: Stop telling young people to find jobs they love — it hardly happens

“However, the [lingering] pain in my back due to nerve damage from the accident greatly interfered with my ability to perform my duties as a principal.”

She said this made her feel afraid about letting people down, and her insecurity quickly spiralled.

She took a short leave, but when she tried to return, her anxiety made it impossible.

Her injuries were further compounded by a severe bout with the flu that left her dehydrated.

She eventually fainted and hit her head so hard she was diagnosed with a moderate concussion and post-concussion syndrome.

“Life changed after that,” she said. “I could barely function. Things were so hard… I couldn’t comprehend conversations, couldn’t look at screens, my head hurt all the time… the list goes on.”

At first, Kapil’s insurance company was very understanding and helpful.

She was placed on a long-term disability plan, and her caseworker suggested that she go to a concussion clinic to get her symptoms under control.

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She started going to the clinic in the fall, but a month later, she felt she was being pressured to start a plan for returning to work, she said.

“My goal was to get better and to become a functional human being again,” Kapil said. “I didn’t realize that the pressure would be on [returning] to work.”

“I was so far away from being able to do my job, it wasn’t even on my radar.”

Every time Kapil even thought about going back to work, she would cry uncontrollably. She ended up refusing to follow her insurance company’s recommendations.

“I wanted to be healthy and get my life back, but they were pressuring me to return to work well before I was capable,” Kapil said.

Thankfully, her workplace was extremely supportive and understanding.

“They created a special environment for me,” she said.

READ MORE: You can still get a job you’re not qualified for. Here’s how

Regardless of why you left work, or how supportive your company is, returning can be hard. In your time off, there has likely been technological advancements, a change to job descriptions and big-picture company restructuring.

Now consider tackling all of that after a major — often traumatic — life experience.

That’s where “returnships” can help.

Similar to an internship, a “returnship” is designed to help someone who has taken an extended period of absence from their industry to re-launch their professional careers.

Of the few “returnship” programs in Canada, most offer networking opportunities and versatile working conditions.

A program for people with a gap in their resume

One of the most common reasons for taking leave from work is for maternity leave.

The fast-paced environment of most modern workplaces can make returning after one year daunting. After a few years, going back can feel impossible.

For women in finance, Return to Bay Street is a program which aims to change that.

Open to women who have been out of work for a minimum of 18 months, Return to Bay Street provides candidates with a $5,000 educational grant and a four-month internship at a participating financial firm.

It also provides opportunities for networking and training for things like interviewing and writing resumes to help women refresh their skills.

READ MORE: What to do if you’re touched inappropriately at work 

“I think, all of that together, give the women a really strong idea of what firms are looking for,” said Camilla Sutton, the CEO and president of Women in Capital Markets (WCM) (the organization which hosts the Return to Bay Street program).

“And, the truth is, the firms are looking legitimately for diverse talent… They really have to look at new and different ways to see that talent and this is one of those streams.”

Catherine Staveley, now the managing director of global structured products at BMO Capital Markets, can speak first-hand to the power of the Return to Bay Street program.

She was working at a multinational investment bank when she discovered she was pregnant.

She went on what was supposed to be a short leave, but one child turned into two and her leave was extended.

Then, as she was growing her family, Staveley discovered a love for holistic nutrition. She decided to go back to school to study nutrition, and then she opened her own company.

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It wasn’t until around seven years ago, when her children were a bit older, that Staveley realized nutrition was no longer what she wanted to do. She decided to go back to finance full-time, but she wasn’t really sure where to start.

“I realized that I needed more than what nutrition was giving me… but it was hard to figure out what ‘more’ was,” Staveley said.

Her friend, the CEO of WCM, told her about a new collaborative project between BMO and WCM — the Return to Bay Street program.

“I don’t know how many people they interviewed, but myself and one other woman were hired by BMO, and we’re both still here,” she said. “We were the very first people that made it into this program.”

Staveley loved the program because unexplained gaps on a resume — which are usually a concern for employers — are actually one of the only things you need to take part.

The program was great because the senior management was committed to it. In the first week, I had met the CEO of Capital Markets,” Staveley said. “[The program] puts you in front of all these people… For me, it was great. I was very supported.”

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While Return to Bay Street was originally created to help moms, the team at WCM has noticed it’s increasingly popular with new Canadians.

According to Sutton, these are candidates who had “experience in major financial organizations globally, [but] stepped away from their roles to immigrate.”

The Return to Bay Street had 133 applicants this year, and it’s growing.

“I think it’s such a great reflection of the beginning of real change for the industry,” said Sutton.

Startups are the perfect fit

Bryan Smith started a similar “returnship” program at his startup, ThinkData Works.

When he heard about the Return to Bay Street initiative, he realized nothing similar existed in the startup world. He also realized the startup environment is perfect for easing back into a full-time career.

“We have very flexible work hours… we have the ability to work from home,” said Smith. “All these things make a returnship… a lot more manageable for someone who has just started a family, [for example].” 

In Smith’s mind, returnships are an amazing way to grow and diversify his team.

“Rather than looking at it as charity, which I think a lot of people think of, we actually looked at it as a lot of really talented [people] out there, who were in very senior positions and who absolutely want to get back into the workforce,” said Smith.

READ MORE: ‘It’s not one size fits all’: Why open office plans don’t work for everyone

“We actually took that as a way to attract better talent.”

Now, Smith is turning his attention to other startups.

“The adoption has been abysmal in the startup community, which I think is absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “Given how flexible everything is, it should really be a no-brainer. The people you attract are talented people who can deliver really good value to your business.” 

“Every startup should adopt this.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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What to do if you’re touched inappropriately at work – National

by BBG Hub

Two women have now come forward to accuse former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriately touching them — something the politician denies.

Lucy Flores, a Nevada politician, recently wrote an essay in the Cut about the time she said Biden approached her from behind before a speech, smelled her hair and then kissed her on the head.

Following Flores’ allegation, a Connecticut woman named Amy Lappos told The Courant that Biden touched her inappropriately and rubbed noses with her during a 2009 political fundraiser.

WATCH BELOW: ‘He rubbed noses with me’ — Second woman accuses Joe Biden of inappropriate conduct

Both Flores and Lappos said that even if Biden’s actions were not sexual, they were inappropriate, disrespectful and made them feel uncomfortable.

“It’s not affection. It’s sexism or misogyny,” Lappos said.

“He made me feel uneasy, gross, and confused,” wrote Flores.

The allegations against Biden have prompted a discussion about what behaviour “crosses the line,” and what people can do if they’ve been touched inappropriately in a professional setting.

What is inappropriate touching in the workplace?

According to Sherri Rabinovitch, a human resources expert and founder of The People Guru, inappropriate touching is behaviour that makes someone feel uncomfortable. It falls under the umbrella of sexual harassment, she said.

READ MORE: ‘My stomach was in knots’ — How to tell if you’re being bullied at work

“If it makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s unwanted,” she told Global News. “Unless you have a long history of a close relationship with a person in the workplace, there’s never a reason to touch them.”

While certain actions may make someone feel uncomfortable, inappropriate touching isn’t always clear-cut in the eyes of the law.

David J. Doorey, a professor of labour law at York University, told Global News that workplace sexual harassment is defined as conduct that’s sexual in nature, and behaviour that the harasser “knew or ought reasonably to have known is unwelcome.”

“The requirement that the perpetrator ‘ought reasonably to know the conduct is unwelcome’ means that whether or not conduct is unlawful is not always straightforward,” he explained.

WATCH BELOW: Nancy Pelosi weighs in on Joe Biden inappropriate touching allegations

“Some misconduct is so egregious that anyone would know it’s unwanted, [like] physically groping someone without their consent, for example. But something like a hug or a touch on the shoulder is less clear, because the accused may not be aware that their behaviour is unwelcome.

“The legal test asks whether a reasonable person seeing what happened would conclude that the behaviour was unwelcome.”

What should you do if you experience unwanted touching?

From a legal perspective, Doorey says making it clear that behaviour is unwanted is important. He suggests telling the person who touched you their behaviour is inappropriate.

READ MORE: Want a raise? Here’s how to ask your boss for more money

“This eliminates the ability of the toucher to argue later that they were unaware that the behaviour was unwelcome,” he explained.

Rabinovitch echoes this, and suggests saying, “That made me uncomfortable. I’d rather you not do it again.”

There may be times, however, that you don’t feel comfortable addressing the behaviour with the person directly.

In these cases, Phanikiran Radhakrishnan, an associate professor of organizational behaviour and human resource management at the University of Toronto, says you should talk to management so they can confront the person.

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“It can put too much of a burden on the victim to tell whoever is touching not to touch, because they’re already often in a very vulnerable position,” she said to Global News. “The organization needs to take steps to make sure these kinds of behaviours are not occurring.”

If the unwanted touching is being done by your boss, it may be even harder to navigate.

“If the toucher is a superior, then it may not be easy to forcefully object,” Doorey said. “But employees should figure out a way to signal their concerns in some manner or report the behaviour to a person in authority.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s not one size fits all’ — Why open office plans don’t work for everyone

Rabinovitch suggests documenting the unwanted touching — when it happened, where it happened and who was around — and present that information to management or human resources. When presenting the information, remain calm, she said.

“Stick with the facts and say, ‘This is what happened, this is the person involved, this is the time and date it occurred, and I do not want it [to happen] again,” she said.

Do you have any legal rights?

If the unwanted touching does not get resolved — or gets worse — you may want to take legal action.

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“Sexual harassment can be a violation of human rights legislation, a breach of an employment contract, and a tort of infliction of mental suffering,” Doorey said.

“If the harasser is a member of management or the employer has learned of harassment by a co-worker but fails to take any action to redress it, then the employee may be entitled to damages from the employer and the harasser.”

Doorey explains that damages depend on various factors, including the extent of the harm suffered. It’s best to seek advice from a lawyer who specializes in workplace harassment and discrimination.

What should workplaces do to combat unwanted touching?

Radhakrishnan said workplaces need to make it clear to employees what is appropriate behaviour. Employers should have clear policies around workplace harassment, and state inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated.

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“Leaders who actively discourage unwanted behaviour … and are actively committed to preventing this, that’s where we see the positive effects,” she said.

To make sure you are never crossing the line, Rabinovitch said don’t touch people at work — period.

“It’s very important that in the workplace, there is no space for touching.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘It’s not one size fits all’: Why open office plans don’t work for everyone – National

by BBG Hub

At her last job working for a non-profit, Tanya Hayles shared an open concept office with four other people — but that didn’t mean the space fostered teamwork.

“While I never expected privacy, there was a clear hierarchy in the company,” the Toronto resident told Global News. “The office environment, by being ‘open,’ led to a very false sense of family and community. We worked together in an open environment, but we were not a team.”

Hayles’ experience isn’t an uncommon one.

READ MORE: Love and work: The ins and outs of dating your coworker

According to a recent report in the Harvard Business Review“open, unbounded offices reduce [face-to-face] interaction with a magnitude… of about 70 per cent.”

Researchers tracked interactions between coworkers in two different company headquarters using sociometric badges (or sensors that can record whenever you come face to face with another person). They then compared the amount of interaction in a closed office plan and, after both companies shifted, to an open office plan.

What they found was that, while the opening up of the office space was intended to increase face-to-face interaction, it actually increased the number of employees “choosing to isolate themselves as best they can (e.g. by wearing large headphones) while appearing to be as busy as possible (since everyone can see them).”

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Hayles has since left that job to start her own two companies, but she still hasn’t pinned down the exact workspace that works best for her.

“Working from home — especially being newly self-employed — it can be hard to muster the discipline and self-motivation required to be productive,” said Hayles.

Now, she works in a co-working space, sub-leasing a desk within another company’s office. While she’s grateful for the human interaction, she also gets frustrated by the constant distractions.

READ MORE: Working moms 40% more stressed than women without kids: study

“Ironically, it is similar to my last place of employment in terms of set-up… [but that situation] was drastically different and had a negative impact on my mental health,” Hayles said.

Your work environment can have a huge impact on your psychological well-being, which is why it’s important that it’s a space you’re comfortable in.

“This is true for work and home life,” said Dr. Joti Samra, a registered psychologist and an expert on health and safety in the workplace. “Our environment has a significant impact on a number of things, [including] how relaxed we’re feeling [and] how motivated we might feel to do work.”

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Samra believes factors like colour, lighting, noise and privacy can all make a difference in how we feel about our workspace — and, by extension, how we feel about our work.

On one hand, an open office seems perfect for humans because we are “social creatures, fundamentally,” said Samra.

“It’s not in our normal state to be in a little box with barriers around us, not interacting with people. One of the things an open office can do is… pull us away for short periods from our computer.”

READ MORE: 6 ways your workplace can be impacting your motivation

According to Samra, we recharge best when we can fully shift cognitive sets. “An open office can make us…connect with somebody socially,” and that helps us destress.

However, being pulled away from our work can also be a detriment to productivity — especially if you’re easily distracted. “An open concept can almost feel invasive. That need for privacy and focus can be jeopardized when we’re in a co-working environment.”

“It isn’t a fit for everybody,” said Samra.

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When choosing workspace elements, it really comes down to individual preference, personality and job description.

“This isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Samra. “Not all kinds of work or work tasks are going to be well-matched with coworking spaces.”

It’s also very important to consider what you’re actually doing on a day-to-day basis.

READ MORE: Stress is the reason 1 in 4 Canadians quit their job

“When we think about the best workplaces, one of the things that they do well is that they take a very individualized approach to understanding employee needs… and the workspace becomes an extension of that,” Samra said.

Her advice to organizations: Get input.

“Get input on tasks, get input on preferences, get input on the ‘why.’ What would be helpful? And thoughtfully consider both the pros and cons, given the unique demands of your workplace.”

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The open office trend can cause some ergonomic challenges

According to certified ergonomist Rachel Mitchell, an open office can also be detrimental to your physiological well-being.

“Employees are more likely to work directly from their laptops, resulting in forward bent head positions that are caused by the low viewing angle of a laptop screen,” Mitchell told Global News.

“The recently revised [guidelines] recommend that laptops only be used for short duration work, and that employees dock their laptops with an external keyboard and mouse and either raise the laptop screen up on a stand or use an external monitor for any longer duration work.”

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This can be difficult to achieve in a shared workspace, where employees either share keyboards and mice or place their equipment in a locker or storage space at the end of each day.

“The hoteling set-up seems to discourage employees from setting up their workstations and adjusting their chairs properly since they may view the workstation as temporary,” said Mitchell. “The key to success is ensuring employees are provided with education on how to set up their workstations properly and are encouraged to do so.”

Noise is also an issue of ergonomics. “Where staff are collaborating or spending time on the phone… this can be distracting and cause detriments in productivity to surrounding employees,” said Mitchell. 

WATCH BELOW: Working in a shared workspace

Open offices may be more cost-efficient

One of the reasons companies are shifting to open office spaces could be because “people want their real estate to work harder for the organization,” said Caitlin Turner, director of design, interiors at HOK Toronto.

Flexibility is key, and it depends on what the employees need from the space. For example, you might have a large sales team, several of whom spend more than half their time out of the office with clients.

Organizations approach it a variety of ways,” Turner said. In her role, Turner strives to understand what employees are doing and what the company is trying to achieve before making a design recommendation.

Increasingly common is a “sharing ratio,” which Turner described as a “flexible, choice-based environment with a variety of settings” within.

READ MORE: Competitive workplaces: Do you know what your co-workers really think of you?

It’s less a shift away from private spaces and more a shift towards flexibility, said Turner.

“Everybody, no matter what point they’re at in the organization or in their career, needs private or heads-down space throughout the day. But maybe not the whole day,” Turner said.

“By democratizing those spaces, everybody can choose where they work, [which] creates employee empowerment. And when employees feel empowered to make those choices… we actually find their engagement, their productivity and the level of innovation increases.”

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It’s the responsibility of individual companies to find what works best for its employees

Prior to recommending a design, Turner uses a variety of research tools to determine the day-to-day activities of a company’s employees.

“We ask them a variety of questions in a variety of ways. Even within an organization, there are a variety of teams that work differently throughout the day,” said Turner.

Our job as designers is to really find out what they’re trying to accomplish during the day and design the settings that best support that function.”

READ MORE: 6 ways your workplace can be impacting your motivation

Turner echoes Samra’s sentiments about the importance of extensive research so that employers know what their employees want and need from their office.

“Jumping into a… new type of workspace without the data to back [it up] is very risky,” said Turner. “They might have to go through the research phase to really understand the outcomes.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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You can still get a job you’re not qualified for. Here’s how – National

by BBG Hub

When Lindsay Angus finished a post-graduate program at college, she began her job hunt.

The 25-year-old Toronto resident was fresh off a co-op when she applied for a full-time operations manager position — a job she wasn’t qualified for.

“It called for three to five years experience in operations and project management,” Angus told Global News. “I had about six months at the time.”

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Still, Angus’ resume got the company’s attention. She was called in for a group-style interview with people who had “way more” experience than she did.

Angus says she made it through several rounds of interviews, and eventually the job was down to her and one other candidate.

“In the end, they went with the other candidate,” she said. “He had slightly more experience in operations while I only had the project management background. They said it was an extremely difficult decision, and they had no feedback for my interviewing skills.”

READ MORE: Stop telling young people to find jobs they love — it hardly happens

Even though she didn’t get the job, the experience was a good lesson in applying for roles that are seemingly out of reach. Angus now works as a project coordinator for a furniture manufacturing company — another position that asked for more years of experience than she had.

“I was able to secure the job because I could speak to my experience and it aligned with their needs,” she said. “I think companies now are looking for employees that fit the culture of the team and would work well inside it.”

The importance of applying for jobs outside of your qualifications

According to B.C.-based career coach Irene Giesbrecht, Angus has the right idea.

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“Generally speaking, yes, you should always apply for something that you are not 100 per cent qualified for if that’s the job you want,” Giesbrecht told Global News.

“If you’re an employer, you want someone who can do the job, but you’re not looking for an exact [qualifications] match… you’re looking for someone who you can see growth potential in.”

Giesbrecht says that employers also want to hire someone who has genuine interest in their company and sector. This means that a passionate person with five years experience may get a job over a more senior candidate with less zeal.

READ MORE: Want a raise? Here’s how to ask your boss for more money

Angus believes this comes down to making it clear to an employer what you can bring to the table.

“It is amazing what skills from school will transfer over to jobs, [and] it is just a matter of identifying those and communicating them well in a cover letter and interview,” she said.

Aligning with company culture is also important. Giesbrecht says she advises clients to put themselves in the mindset of the employer to try to understand what qualities they’re looking for. If you think you’d be a natural fit, convey that.

Another tip? If you don’t end up landing a job but made it to the final round of interviews, Giesbrecht suggests calling the workplace back about four to six weeks later.

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“About 10 to 15 per cent of the time, the person who was number one on the list, for some strange reason, doesn’t work out” she said. “It saves the company enormous legwork to take a look at number two, seeing that number two just called and is still interested.”

When not to apply for a job

While Giesbrecht encourages people to be ambitious and go after the jobs they want, it’s also important to be realistic. If you just graduated university, for example, you’re probably not going to get a job that requires at least 10 years of experience.

Giesbrecht says a good rule of thumb is to have around 75 per cent of the experience listed on a posting.

READ MORE: Hot Jobs: Career strategies for a new era in the Canadian workplace

“So if an employer is asking for five years experience, and at the beginning of your career you’ve got three, then you should be applying,” she explained.

“That changes at different stages of your career, but if you’re in the first decade of your career, that’s a good formula to use.”

The career counsellor also says that you need to be honest with yourself about the jobs you’re applying for. “It’s about knowing who you are, and knowing whether or not you can do the job to begin with,” she said.

This means looking at your experience and transferable skills, and seeing if they’ll set you up for success at this job. “If you have nothing [relevant], applying is wasting your time.”

WATCH BELOW: 3 things you should be trying to land your dream job

Learning from the job hunt process

Angus believes that applying for jobs outside of her experience level has been a good learning opportunity. She said she now encourages her friends to adopt this mentality, too.

“There are a lot of people out there who may not have the perfect qualifications, but they can speak to their experience,” she said. “Sometimes it is amazing what you have dealt with in six months at a job that will prepare you for tasks ahead that you didn’t necessarily need ‘three to five years’ to learn.”

“My dad wrote in my [graduation] card, ‘Never discount your accomplishments over the last four years,’ and I carry that with me every day.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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