EmployAbilities trainer and HR professional offers advice for Albertans on the job hunt

Chantelle Painter spent two decades building her own career.

And now she’s using that experience to help others navigate the difficult Alberta job market. 

Painter, 40, has worked at The Brick for 20 years. In that time, she worked her way up the ranks, finally landing in her current role as manager of human resources, recruitment, and engagement.

But she also does some hiring and regular training for the local non-profit EmployAbilities. The combination of jobs gives her first-hand perspective on what employers are looking for and what kind of training prospective hires might need.

EmployAbilities offers skill development and training to Albertans with barriers to employment such as medical conditions, permanent injuries, disabilities, and mental health challenges.

When starting a job search, Painter recommends checking out potential employers online to get a sense of what kinds of career possibilities exist. She knows firsthand from working at The Brick that the opportunities they offer aren’t just retail jobs selling furniture. They also have an entire corporate office with positions that people could apply for.

Painter said a strong prospective employee has self-knowledge: they’re aware of their strengths, and know how to communicate them. Painter also said people applying for jobs should be proud of their accomplishments, and not use words like “if” or “but” when talking about what they’ve achieved.

“Whether it’s in an interview or in a resume, I really think that the ability to say ‘This is what makes me different from the next person you’re going to interview’ is essential,” Painter said.

This ties into Painter’s view of what an ideal employee should do, which is centred around having a good attitude. She said the ideal employee should be someone who loves their job, doesn’t sweat the small stuff, and is excited about challenges that work throws their way.

But finding these employees can be difficult, Painter said, because not everyone is actually like the way they present themselves during the interview process. Sometimes employers has to help a worker come out of their shell.

“Realistically I think everybody has a passion for something,” Painter said. 

“As an employer you hope that the person with the passion for what you do lands in your lap, or at least comes knocking, so you give them an opportunity to work with whatever really makes them happy.”

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