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4 Dimensions of Well-being that Influence your Career

Have you ever thought about how deeply your career is connected to your well-being in all its four main components: Physical, Psychological, Spiritual and Family health? Why does emotional stress and some of your thoughts (the negative ones) affect your body and eventually result in physical illness? Moreover, do you notice that physical activity improves and strengthens your psyche?



We would like to invite you to do a self-reflection exercise to discover how these components work together in your life, and influence each other.

How does the spiritual awareness help you make effective career decisions?

Why is the physical and psychological health sensitively influenced by stress and unhappiness in your career or at your work place?

How did the family you grew up in influence the career choices you’ve made?

Te Whare Tapa Wha

Inspired by the Maori philosophy, a tribe from New Zeeland, Dr Mason Durie developed the Te Whare Tapa Wha model, a great tool which can help you to develop your self-awareness about your career and the balance of a healthy life.

To illustrate the importance of each dimension of health, he used a very expressive symbol: Wharenui – the meeting house, whose visualization leads to a better understanding of the role of each component in holding the whole construction.  Click here to see the model.

Physical health is the foundation of strong construction, represented by the walls. They should be strong, but without a roof and windows, they cannot actually offer a proper space for living.

Psychological and Spiritual components are represented by windows which permit the light (of wisdom) to enter the house. Only in the light we can distinguish objects and colours, so only in the spiritual light of our main values we can understand meanings and emotions, and consequently we can make the right decisions in life and career.

Family is represented by the roof, offering protection and security and also the old generation offer models to the young family members, influencing their career.

In normal life conditions, as Dr. Durie says, all four components must be strong, balanced, and interconnected to hold the whole structure. However, there are extreme situations where the physical and psychological health can be deeply affected by improper life conditions, but the spiritual component offers a strong motivation, based on strong values, for fighting and continuation of life.

Certainly, a proper understanding of the importance of each health component can help us keep a good life balance and harmony, including career development.

If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Durie’s model, click here.

Written by Ramona Bandrabur, Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants

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The Power of a Thank You Letter

Have you ever felt frustrated after an interview?  Sure you have! I know you’ve mentally gone over your interview answers and…you remember what you DID NOT say and you realize you missed an opportunity to REINFORCE your candidacy. Well, this is why you write a strategic Thank You letter, which will position you back in the “game.”

Of course, it all depends on how badly you’ve messed things up. Sometimes, there is no backpedaling, but let’s assume for a moment that you can recoup or cement your candidacy–what then do you say in your Thank You letter besides…thank you?

The problem with most Thank You letters is they are usually prepared as just a nice gesture. Saying thank you is a very nice thing to do and it does go a long way, but if written as an ordinary thank you, it is not strategic enough to add another dimension to your candidacy, it doesn’t leverage as an additional qualifier, and doesn’t elevate your interview performance. In other words, use your Thank You opportunity as a last marketing tool in order to gain a competitive distinction.

Here are a few things you can do to take advantage of the follow up opportunity. Remember, now you have “insider” information that you did not have prior to the interview—don’t waste it.

When Your Interviewer Shared a Concern:  If during the interview process, you were told that the perfect candidate must meet XYZ and you discussed your lack in one of these areas, you need to talk about this again. Concisely bring it up, reiterate why this would not be a problem, and, in fact, promote how despite this “weakness” you are the PERFECT candidate.

When You Did Not Say What You Should Have Said: At times, we reflect and in retrospect recognize where we failed. Well, this is your opportunity! Bring up the topic and say you would like to elaborate, you would like to expand; you had time to think about this and want to convey the following.

When You Think You Sensed Apprehension:  This is a bit risky because you could be wrong. Yet, what is life if not risky? If you are very good at perceiving and ascertaining needs and you KNOW you identified a problem–“smooth” it out! Please do not say you think the interviewer did not understand… You NEVER want to convey you assume to know what others think but you can discuss what YOU failed to communicate. You can say you would like to clarify a point you wish you had emphasized.

When You Really Just Want to Say Thank You: There are times when you were FANTASTIC during an interview and you sincerely just want to say, thanks!  Nevertheless, you don’t know how your competition performed and you are not privy as to what kind of Thank You letter they are preparing. So, in this case, thank them but fortify your candidacy even further.


Written by Sogol Jamali, Career Paths Placement Specialist


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Avoiding Job Scams

Recently some of my clients have reported being contacted by an employer to go for an interview where they had never applied for a job! Some of them went to the interview and then subsequently found out they were NOT being considered for a managerial position, as they had been led to believe, but were instead offered an entry level and sometimes commission-based sales job.

When an employer contacts you and you did not apply for any position with them, think of this as an early warning sign telling you to proceed with caution. It is usually NOT so easy to get an interview, and for most jobs you must really prove yourself qualified and worthy. Ask yourself why this employer is contacting you or why a job has been offered so readily after a short or non-existent interview? — It could be that the work is difficult and low-paying OR it could be that the position and company are a scam designed to get your personal information and even your money.

When you are considering going to an interview or accepting a position, make sure you have researched the company online. Try googling the company name and reading what comes up. Also look at websites like glassdoor.com to find out about the salaries and what past employees are saying about the company. If the organization has a website, look to see if it is a good one: does it describe exactly what the company offers its customers? Does it have a contact number? Do you see any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in the website?

If you decide to go for the interview, make sure you follow your intuition! If the job offer seems to fall in your lap with the briefest of interviews and it seems too good to be true, this might actually be the case. Be cautious if you are asked immediately too many personal details such as address, birth date, social insurance number, and especially banking information. You can always tell a perspective employer that you need a day or two to think about your response to a job offer, and then you have time to seek out more information before making a decision.

Tip written by Heather Musser, Career Paths Career Counsellor, Back in Motion

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The dilemma of phone interviews and quick remedy tips that may help

If you ask anyone who just had a phone interview how it went, you will probably get a reply something along this line. “….it was not too bad but I am not too sure…I should have…”
Phone interviews are a tricky business and you can never be totally prepared. For one, the interviewer will always give you a time range in which they will call you and logically speaking, are you really going to be sitting in one spot waiting for their call?
Even if you somehow managed to glue yourself to a spot, chances are that you might be playing the famous mental game called “best ways to live like a millionaire” when the all-important call comes in and then you struggle against time to get yourself composed before the next ring from your phone.
Although there are many blogs and articles available online providing tips on how to do well in a phone interview, it does no harm knowing more. So here are 2 tips which could be beneficial to you.

Tip 1: Be mentally prepared – Run the interview in your mind step by step

• Introduction: Work on the basic things like your greeting when you receive the call, simple responses to ice breakers or leading questions to ask to help facilitate the conversation.

• Body: Identify 3 to 4 important pieces of information about yourself which you would like to share with the interviewer that are related to the job but are not in your resume.

• Conclusion: Prepare a subtle “Thank you and please invite me” speech to end the interview.

Tip 2: Document the strategic mental plan – Leverage on the fact that the interviewers will not be able to see you

• Make sure you list down all the key words you would like to mention during the interview and categorize them accordingly. Highlight them if you have to.

• Research and create resources that may assist you for the interview and place them before you or ensure they are easily accessible if required during the interview.

The next time you have a phone interview, consider these additional steps. Once the interview is done and you have managed to say the essentials on your list, then you know you have done the best you could.

Good luck!!

Raj Sidhu, Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants Career Counsellor

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Creating Successful Cover Letters



A good cover letter shows you are an ideal candidate for the job because you possess all the skills, experience, and attributes to bring success to the company. Typically, the cover letter should have 3-5 separated paragraphs, and it should include the same header as your resume. It should contain NO ERRORS in spelling or grammar. If at all possible on the job search, it is important to ask AT LEAST one person skilled in written English to look over your emails correspondence and cover letters (your Career Counselor is available to assist).

Your first paragraph should mention your interest in applying for a certain position, and you should name the job title you are applying for. This paragraph is also a great place to mention any previous contact you’ve had with the company. For example, you might say “Talking with Wendy, in your Human Resources Department, really ignited my interest in applying for the Lab Technician Position.” You should also present a sort of Thesis Statement, mentioning 2 or 3 words or concise phrases to summarize what you would bring to the employer. Take this example from TheBalanceCareers.com Website: “I believe that my five years of experience in office administration and my passion for your products make me an ideal candidate for this role”.

The body of your cover letter is where you want to highlight your most RELEVANT skills and strengths. To write these paragraphs and/or bullet points, carefully study the job description, and if you don’t really have one, find some additional job descriptions to scrutinize. Pick out key skills, attributes, and experiences which the employer is looking for and make sentences to prove you possess an asset and you can make a difference to the company. You can also list accolades from colleagues or concrete examples of changes which you effected. DO NOT copy verbatim the points already mentioned in your resume.

An effective way to highlight your assets is to make a bulleted list in the body of your cover letter. Bullets really show your skill and experience in an immediate way. As a general rule, create no more than 5-6 concisely worded bullets; if a bullet becomes longer than 2 lines it may be best to it into a paragraph format. Note also that a bullet should start with a strong action word which shows how you took action to accomplish certain tasks or to produce certain outcomes.

How should you close your cover letter? Make a sentence or two to reiterate your interest in helping the company succeed and make sure to mention one or two additional key attributes you might bring. Indicate your willingness to further discuss your qualifications in an interview and make sure your contact information is listed there at the closing. You could simply put your phone and email information after your signature, or you can mention it in your last sentence.


Tip written by Heather Musser, Career Paths Career Counsellor, Back in Motion

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It’s been a busy Spring!

We’ve had an exciting few months here at Career Paths, filled with some really great events!   In March, we partnered with Surrey Board of Trade in hosting their Business to Business networking event at our Surrey location. The event was an excellent way to introduce newcomers to over 100 employers throughout the lower mainland and for employers to meet some of our skilled and professional clients. Career Paths clients practiced their answer to “tell me about yourself” and used their networking skills which helped them to better understand Canadian workplace culture. Our clients were able to put into practice some of the skills they learn at our in-person and online workshops.  Employers were also informed about Back in Motion programs, especially Career Paths and the importance of hiring highly qualified newcomers.

Want to see some pics from the event? Click on this link: Events Photos

In February, our Speed Networking workshop helped clients practice, prepare and gain a better understanding of Canadian workplace culture. This workshop was facilitated by one of our Employer Insider partners whose been facilitating these successful sessions for us. His support extends beyond just the workshop as well; he invites clients to connect with him on LinkedIn and will meet up for an informational interview at a later date if the client is interested.


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A Holiday Recipe From Us to You!

Romanian White Bean Dip

Prep time: 20 Minutes

Cook time: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes

Serves: 4


For the dip

  • 8.8 Oz White Beans
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Water
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves
  • Salt

For the topping

  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Onions
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • Salt
  • Fresh Parsley


For the Dip

  1. Rinse the beans and place them in a large bowl. Cover with water and leave to soak overnight.
  2. Rinse and add to a pan with plenty of water.
  3. Add the onion and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
  4. Cook for about 1 hour or until the beans are soft. The cooking time will greatly depend on the size and age of the beans so keep checking!
  5. Drain the beans, but keep the cooking water. Discard the onion and the bay leaves.
  6. Leave the beans to cool slightly, then place them in the food processor together with about ¼ cup of the cooking liquid and two tablespoons vegetable oil and garlic cloves.
  7. Process until they are really smooth, scraping down from the food processor walls a few times in between. Add more cooking liquid, a little at a time, to get the right consistency, it should be like a really thick crème fraiche or softer mashed potatoes. Add salt to taste.

For the Topping

  1. Slice the halves into thin half rings.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan.
  3. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt and cook gently for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  4. When the onions are golden, add the tomato paste, sugar and paprika powder and stir for further 2 minutes, until well combined and slightly caramelized.
  5. Transfer the beans to a bowl or a serving platter and top with the onions. Drizzle with more oil if desired and sprinkle with parsley and sweet paprika.

If served as a dip or bread spread leave to get cold. If served as an accompaniment to sausages, meatballs or any kind of fried meat, serve it straight away, while still warm. You can also add cucumber, green tomatoes, red peppers and/or hot peppers as toppings!



This recipe originally appeared on Where Is My Spoon


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How to answer “What is your weakness?”

What is your weakness?

Interviews can make us feel nervous. Fortunately, there is a lot of prep we can do before going to an interview! Help prepare yourself by considering this question before your interview:

What is your weakness?

It sounds like an invitation to talk about how much of a perfectionist you are, or express your dedication to work, at the expense of your social life. Be careful though, this is a tricky question, and those types of answers may not score you any points.

When an interviewer asks this question, they are really looking for you to show your honestyinitiative and ability to self-improve.

To answer this question, find something you are genuinely struggling with, but that is not a core requirement for the job you are interviewing for. The key to this question is not dwelling on the issue. State your weakness, then start talking about what you have been doing to improve it.

Examples of general weaknesses and possible self-improvement strategies

Weakness: Fear of public speaking

Improvement Strategy: Attending/utilizing Toastmasters

Weakness: Lack of professional experience in desired industry

Improvement Strategy: Volunteering, self-teaching and/or gaining online certificates

Weakness: Trouble with communication

Improvement Strategy: Learn about cross cultural communication and/or practicing different ways of phrasing ideas with friends


Not every recruiter asks what your weaknesses are, but you can use the answer with a number of other interview questions, such as:

What would your former manager/team members say your weakness was?

What would be one thing you’d change about yourself?

What goals have you set for yourself this year?

What do people most criticize about you?


As a last thought, try to have five weaknesses prepared with good stories as examples. This way, the only thing to do before the interview is to match the weakness to the job description! Good Luck!


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Congratulations to…! Plus Another chance to win!

A massive congratulations from our team to Yvonne, who referred a friend and was our latest WINNER of a $100 gift card! Enjoy! 



Do you know an immigrant who is looking for work? Refer a friend, family member or someone you know that is new to Canada and one of you could win a $100 gift certificate!


To win, you and your friend/family member just need to complete our Referral Form! Both of you will be entered to win, but the more referrals YOU make, the more chances YOU have to win!


Get your referral in by January 31, 2018.

Winner to be announced in February!


Please refer to the Competition Terms and Conditions before submitting your entry.