« Back to Economic & Workforce Development

Enhanced Help for Job Seekers

Calgary Public Library
Go to Website

Innovation Summary

A suite of programs designed to address specific and unmet needs of job seekers , through expanded collaboration with new and existing community partners and career experts.

Innovation Leader: Roberta Kuzyk-Burton, Community Learning Advocate, Careers, roberta.kuzyk-burton@calgarypubliclibrary.com

Problem Statement

Faced with the daunting task of looking for employment in a city where connections matter, Calgary Public Library customers indicated a need for more opportunities to connect with career and work search specialists in informal, non-threatening environments at convenient times. To meet this need, the Calgary Public Library refined and expanded its career programming by strengthening connections and relationships with specialized volunteers and career serving agencies, and engaged in more dialogue to improve service.

Innovation

In 2011, Calgary Public Library expanded its programs to connect with the community and offer customers the opportunity to benefit from local expertise, based on the belief that personal connections offer high value and support. a. Strategic Networking: Coinciding with the Library’s popular and long-standing evening resume program, drop in networking sessions were led by local career specialist volunteers and offered an informal setting where job seekers could gain insight into local hiring processes, exchange job search strategies, increase confidence, and practice their job search pitch. After a brief trial in 2010, volunteers were recruited to grow the program aggressively in 2011. b. Accelerate Your Career: A full day career event with ongoing resume critiquing, networking, and workshops, this new Saturday program featured a flagship event entitled Career Conversations, in which customers met one-on-one with 25 professionals in high demand occupations. These sessions allowed customers to ask targeted questions on topics such as training and job requirements, certification, and local industry trends. c. Specialized Career Basics programming was enhanced through an expanded series of city wide evening and weekend career programs led by career practitioners at Bow Valley College’s Career Connection. As well as resume, interview and job search strategy programs, College staff responded to the Library’s request to develop specialty programs on both mid life career change and social media strategies. d. The Alberta government’s Human Services division offered its comprehensive, two day How to Start Your Own Small Business workshop at select Library locations for those customers hoping to become self-employed. Library staff maximized the use of its Career blog, LinkedIn and Twitter to feature key speakers and events to help foster dialogue and interest. This strategy was embraced by Library volunteers and presenters as it helped showcase their knowledge and expertise and reinforced their value to the community.

Progress

a. Strategic Networking attendance grew steadily, averaging 52 people per session with a total of 800 customers being assisted throughout the year. Success stories were shared through posts on the dedicated LinkedIn group site and career employment blog, and those who found employment returned to the group to share successful strategies and offer encouragement. b. Accelerate Your Career: Career professionals met and energized over 200 Calgarians, resume coaches revitalized 54 resumes, four career workshops averaged 60 people per session and the networking professionals helped dozens of Calgarians perfect their job search pitch. Volunteer coaches commented that “Their gratitude was overwhelming and humbling.” c. 340 customers attended the Career Basics programs throughout Calgary, while 94 attended the “How To Start Your Own Small Business” workshop. Evaluations were consistently ranked 5/5. d. Increased dialogue with volunteers and partners resulted in a heightened sense of commitment and buy in. They became more invested in the Library, our programs and goals, and became valued and valuable Library ambassadors.