Tag Archives: Work

Volunteer Opportunities

Recently, several of my students have asked about volunteering in Vancouver. I’ve covered it here before, but one of my favourite causes has created an easy webpage to sign up with. Go to this link to find out about the Burnaby Velodrome Club and how to get involved!Their races usually need volunteers to help with setting up, beer sales, ticket sales, and athlete assistance. Letters of reference will be provided if you want them.

I have also heard a rumour that there will be an event featuring sword fighting that will need volunteers. Watch my website for details – I’ll post them as I find out what’s going on.

Resumé Top Tip

Have you ever received an attachment that just doesn’t open? Or maybe it opens, but it looks horrible? Avoid this by sending files in PDF format whenever you can. They look the same on every computer.

This doesn’t just apply to resumés, though. You could also send invoices, receipts, cover letters, memos, or other business mail in PDF format.

Saving time by wasting it…

Often, people may choose to ignore instructions that seem complex or counter-intuitive. A few days ago, I gave my students an exercise in which they have to find spelling and punctuation errors in a group of sentences. Some students “found” grammar errors – but there were no grammar errors in the exercise.

Top Tip – if you don’t understand an exercise, assignment, or task, ask your teacher or boss about what you need to do. It will save you time and energy, and allow you to concentrate on the most important part of it!

Profile on a Resumé?

It is becoming more and more popular for people to put a “Profile” section on the their resumé in place of an “Objective” section. Here is a place to write a brief summary of yourself, your experience, and your personality.

Do: describe yourself, mentioning how you match what the company is looking for. Use the third person (“A talented writer, with experience meeting publishing deadlines, is…”)

Don’t: just rewrite your cover letter.

If you choose to use a profile section, you’ll have to rewrite it for every company you apply at. Every company will be different, so treat the profile section like a cover letter. Make sure they both match the company’s requirements!

Take a look at my CBEH or Resumé Sample Pack for more information.

North American Phone Numbers

Telephone numbers in Canada and the US have ten digits. They look like this: 123-456-7890.

When we tell people a phone number, we pause after each group of numbers. Say “one two three… four five six… seven eight nine zero.” Some people may divide the group of four numbers into two groups of two “seven eight… nine zero.” It’s your choice.

The first three numbers are called the ‘area code.’ There are usually only a few in a province. In British Columbia, there are three: 604 and 778 in Vancouver, and 250 for everywhere else in the province. Because there are so few, we mostly just say the area code as part of the number. When you’re giving a number to a person overseas, you can say “area code one two three… four five six… seven eight nine zero.” Americans have many more area codes than Canadians.

Telephone Answering Scripts for Business

When you answer the phone, you are responsible for the image of the company. By following these simple scripts, you can give an image of confidence, professionalism, and respect.

To answer the call:

Hello, thank you for calling {business name], this is [your name], how can I help you?

To say no:

I’m sorry, but we [can’t do that/don’t have that] right now. We should be able to [do that/have that] again on [day]. If you call the day before, I can give you a more concrete answer.

To ask for contact information:

Would you like to leave a message?

What is your name, please?

Could you spell [your first name/your family name] for me?

What is the best number to reach you at?

When is a good time to call?

Just to check, your number is [repeat number]

To end the conversation:

Thanks for calling.

Is there anything else I can help you with?/Do you have any more questions?

If yes, answer their questions. If no, say:

Thanks again.


Telephone Message Script

Leaving a message can be stressful. Use this script to leave a helpful message, focus on the details, and avoid rambling.

Hello, it’s [name] from [your company’s name]. My number is ][number], and it’s [time] on [today]. I’m calling for [person’s name] because I wanted to discuss [reason for call]. I’ll be available [day] from [time] to [time] if you’d like to call back, otherwise I’ll try again on [next day].

Tip: If you’re calling about a specific issue, use a reference code, part number, or invoice date so they can look it up before they call you back.

With my information, it looks like this:

Hello, it’s Dave Henderson from Awesome Manufacturing. My number is 123-456-7890, and it’s 3:30 on Tuesday. I’m calling for Alice Burrard because I wanted to discuss our sales invoice, number 111222. I’ll be available today from 4:00 to 6:15 if you’d like to call back, otherwise I’ll try again on Wednesday.

PowerPoint Perfection

Have you ever watched a presentation where the speaker used PowerPoint? I’;m sure you have. Think about the slides – did they keep your attention and give you useful information? If you’re like most of us, the answer is no.

Presentation software can be a real help. However, it can be very easy to bore your audience with it. Today, I’m going to give you some hints from my years of watching presentations about how to avoid this unfortunate situation.

1- Remember the 6 by 6 rule. Limit yourself to a maximum of six points on one slide, each with six words at most. By avoiding long sentences on the slide, your audience will be able to concentrate on the words you say.

2 – Avoid animation. Slides that move, flip, or fade might look fancy, but they might remind your audience of cartoons or children’s movies. In order to project a professional image, your slides should help the audience focus on your ideas.

3 – Use photos when they help. Using something visual like a photo, diagram, or graph, can be very helpful when comparing technical details. The best photos are ones that you take yourself – stay away from internet sources if you can. Everyone can find the same images on the internet!

4 – Be familiar with the technology. Practice beforehand, using all the tools you plan to use for the real presentation. Juggling a remote, your notes, and a laser pointer during your presentation can really be stressful and detract from your ideas.

Those are the most important ideas that I think make presentations better. When you are writing one, always ask yourself “Does this change make my presentation easier to remember or understand?” If the answer is yes, your change is a good one.