Category Archives: career transition

Preparing for the Virtual Interview

Due to the pandemic restrictions, telephone and virtual interviews surged within the hiring process due to necessity to conform to COVID restrictions. The influx of the remote work and the possibility of working anywhere in the country from the comforts of your home, necessitated virtual interviews to become a normal part of the interviewing process.

Being interviewed virtually is similar but different than an in-person interview in which the interviewer can get an idea of your persona through your appearance and mannerisms. Furthermore, a virtual interview is not like having a casual chat with your friend – it takes some careful planning and strategy.

Land Line vs Cell Phone. Cell phones are notorious for cutting out or making your voice inaudible so if your cell phone is of mediocre quality or your internet service is spotty, consider using a landline if possible. A landline typically offers more service stability and audio quality than some cell phones and internet providers.

Online Virtual Meeting Platforms. There is an array of videotelephony software programs that are used to conduct virtual facetime meetings such as Zoom, Google Workspace, Go To Meeting or other similar platforms. Firstly, set up your computer in a room that will be free of distractions and noise during the interview. You only get one chance to make a good impression so you do not want to subject the interviewer to a barking dog, children running around or background noise. Likewise, pay attention to the ‘backdrop’ of the room you are in when participating in the virtual meeting as it can become a reflection on you if there is an excess of stuff and chaos in the background. Many virtual meeting platforms have a function in which you can access to create a virtual background so the interviewer is not really seeing the messy overflowing bookshelf in your room.

Be Prepared. Most virtual interviews are prearranged before the actual interview will take place. In most cases, you will be contacted by the prospective employer and a day and time will be determined. If you are job hunting, keep your appointment book up-to date and handy just in case you are selected for a virtual interview. Make sure to accurately record all the details of the interview that you are provided with including date, time, interviewer name and contact information.

Plan Ahead. Before your virtual interview, ensure that you have all your relevant information handy and it is in some sort of order. Nothing is more unprofessional than keeping your interviewer waiting while you shuffle through a file folder of papers or your digital files looking for something. Keep all your employment related information together in a folder and put it some place where it is easily accessible. Be sure to have a copy of the job posting that you are interviewing for so you can address different aspects of the job requirements. Nothing is more disastrous than going into an interview blind without a copy of the job posting to review beforehand and recount some of your career achievements.

Watch Your Tone. The tone of your voice can speak volumes especially over the phone or virtually. If by phone, you and your interviewer are at a disadvantage because it is your voice that will stand out without any accompanying face or body gestures. It is particularly important to refrain from using sarcasm because your intentions can easily be misconstrued. Do try to speak in a clear and concise manner, and do not rush your words. Nothing is more aggravating then someone who talks too fast and leaves the other person confused as to what was said. During a virtual interview, be conscious of making eye contact with all interviewer(s), and don’t let your attention and your eyes wander off!

Don’t Babble.  If you tend to babble incessantly when you are nervous or stressed, remain focused on the interviewer’s question and offer precise answers. When you babble, you come across as indecisive, unfocused and lacking in oral communication skills. If you are guilty of babbling, ask a friend to participate in a mock question and answer trial run with you so you can practice answering questions without babbling relentlessly. Likewise, you can hire a Career Coach to help you with interview preparation such as Ideal Career Services – see Career Coaching Tab)

Slash the Slang.  The use of slang and inappropriate language during an interview should definitely be avoided. Not only will you come across unprofessional and immature, your interviewer may be years older and not know what you are talking about. Always use proper English, and speak in complete sentences.

Mind Your Manners. Good manners apply to phone and video interviews too. It is impolite and just plain rude to eat, drink or chew gum while being interviewed. Be courteous and give your interviewer your full attention and avoid distractions at all costs. Remember to thank the interviewer at the end of the interview for their time and the opportunity to be interviewed.  

Follow Up. It is always recommended that you follow up on all interviews. It is a good idea to send the interviewer a short email thanking them for their time and to contact you if there are any further questions you can answer. Use the short email to emphasize your key skills or any other pertinent information that you may have neglected to mention during the interview. Even if you do not get the job, the interviewer may choose to keep your resume on file if another position comes available.

With a bit of planning and practice, a telephone or virtual interview with a prospective employer can be your ticket to a great job.

Ideal Career Services offers 1-1 Interview Preparation Coaching Sessions. Call 647-361-9916 or email: for more information.

eBook: Clarity in the Time of Chaos – 25 Questions Jobseekers Asked Career Professional

Statistics Canada is reporting that over 1 million Canadians lost their jobs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, many jobseekers were feeling overwhelmed trying to get answers regarding the current job market and to their job search questions.

Amid these unprecedented times affecting the job market, I was honoured to have had the opportunity to contribute to the 7 week ‘Casual Career Chat’ virtual sessions as a career professional panelist with fellow career professional colleagues and Career Professionals of Canada members.

Daisy Wright of The Wright Career Solution was the mastermind behind the Casual Career Chat inception when she noted an increase in questions from jobseekers looking for advice and guidance how to navigate the precarious job market throughout the pandemic. With a plan to host a virtual chat to help jobseekers to move forward during the pandemic, Christine Cristiano of Ideal Career Services, Maureen McCann of Promotion Career Solutions, and Michelle Precourt of Mindful HR Services answered Daisy’s call and jumped at the chance to support this worthwhile initiative.

At the completion of the 7 weeks, the idea of compiling all the questions and answers that emerged during the online chats was hatched and the collaborative creation of the eBook, “Clarity in the Time of Chaos; 25 Questions Jobseekers Asked Career Professionals,” was born.

This book is a selection of the top 25 questions that were asked by jobseekers along with the answers provided by the career professional panelists. Thanks to fellow career professional, Sweta Regmi who also lent her expertise and perspective to the sessions.

If you are in need of personalized 1-1 career coaching to navigate the job market and jumpstart your job search or career transition, call Ideal Career Services at 647-361-9916 and let’s chat!


I was turned on to this book by Emilie Wapnick, by one of my clients. This particular client is the epitome of “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.” In her late fifties, she has been gainfully employed in a government agency for 15 years, but has been unhappy in her work for the past 10 years.

At the time she started this job, she was looking to transition from “just a job” to a career. She made the conscious choice to pursue work with the government and was successful in landing what she thought was her dream job. She has a multitude of outside interests that she pursues in her free time. As she edges closer to retirement, it would be feasible for her to utilize any one – or more than one – of those interests as way to earn income. Even so, she is still wavering about what her next career move will be.

What attracted me to this book was the term “multipotentialite“, which was coined to describe someone with many interests and creative pursuits. I was intrigued by this term because it describes so many individuals who hold diverse skills and interests both inside and outside of the job market. In fact, it accurately describes many of my clients: employed for their expertise in certain areas, but talented in so many other ways. I find that these clients frequently have a desire to break free of what is expected career-wise. However, actually acting upon the desire to “cross the road” and do something they are passionate about seems to present a challenge to many.

In case the reader is not comfortable with the term multipotentialite, the author offers insight into slight variations of this personality type including the Polymath, Renaissance Person, Jack-Of-All-Trades, Generalist, and Scanner.

Further into the narrative, I did find myself objecting when the author described a multipotentialite as someone who changes jobs often. In my experience, this is not always true. For example, my client is a case in point: not only does she have longevity with her current employer, but she worked for a number of years with each of her previous employers.

The author nails it, though, when she describes the dilemma that many individuals face, and in my opinion, one that most high school students really grapple with. It is the cultural expectation that we’re allowed one identity in life, so we’d better decide what it’s going to be. This statement makes me reflect on the many mid-career professionals I know who embarked on a specific career path in their early 20s and who are now no longer interested in their initial vocation.

I appreciated the author’s consistent validation throughout the book that it’s okay to be a multipotentialite. Let’s face it: as humans, we are very multidimensional, switching hats many times a day to meet the needs of our work and personal lives.

The book offers some tested theories and questions for individual exploration including, what are some of your whys, and what does your perfect day look like? The latter half of the book introduces four work models that will appeal to the multipotentialite seeking to discover their fit in the workplace. It then expands on this information giving each model its own chapter containing strategies, worksheets, tips, and a summary of key points.

I applaud the author for identifying and celebrating the multipotentialite segment of the population. She provides affirmation that individuals are not always built to follow a traditional employment trajectory. Readers will gain a better understanding of their own unique multipotentialite personality and will discover some tools to make this trait work for them in the labour market. Career practitioners who read this book will undoubtedly recognize – and perhaps gain valuable insight into – many of the clients they work with.

To add this informative book to your bookshelf, click on the image to go to directly to Amazon to order your copy.

(Book Review originally published at Career Professionals of Canada June 2019)


Must Read: How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up


I was turned on to this book by one of my clients. Emilie Wapnick’s book, How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up. This particular client is the epitome of “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up”. In her late fifties, she has been gainfully employed for 15 years through a government agency but has been unhappy at her job for the past 10 years of it. Looking to transition from just a job to a career, she made a conscious choice at the time to pursue work with the government and was successful in landing what she thought was her dream job. Now edging closer to retirement, she has a multitude of outside interests that she has pursued in her free time and realistically can utilize should she ever leave her job, but she is still wavering as to what is her next career move.

What attracted me to this book was the term ‘multipotentialite’ coined to describe “someone with many interests and creative pursuits”. I was intrigued by this definition because it describes so many individuals who hold diverse interests related to the job market and outside the workplace. This accurately describes many of my clients: employed for their expertise in certain areas but talented in so many others and frequently have a desire to break free of what is expected and cross the road to doing something they are passionate about.

The author offers insight into different options to describe multipotentialite personality variations including Polymath, Renaissance Person, Jack-Of-All-Trades, Generalist, and Scanner. However, further into the narrative, I did find myself objecting when the author described a multipotentialite as someone who changes jobs often. In my experience, this is not always the case. For example my client in point: she has longevity with her current employer and stayed employed with her past employers for a number of years.

The author nails it when she describes the dilemma that many individuals face, and in my opinion which high school students grapple with: “You are allowed one identity in this life, so which is it?” This describes many mid-career professionals who embarked on a specific career path when they entered the workforce in their early 20s and are no longer interested in their initial vocation.
I appreciated that the author validated that it is okay to be a multipotentialite. Let’s face it: as humans we are very multi-dimensional and switch hats each day to meet the needs of our job and personal life.

The book builds on some tested theories and questions for exploration including, what are some of your whys, and what does your perfect day look like? The latter half of the book introduces four work models that will appeal to the multipotentialite seeking to discover their fit in the workplace. It then expands on this information giving each model its own chapter encompassing strategies, worksheets, tips, and summarized key points from each chapter.

After reading this book, I applaud the author for identifying the ‘multipotentialite’ segment of the population and acknowledging that individuals are not always built to follow a traditional employment trajectory. The reader gains a better understanding of their ‘multipotentialite’ personality and its uniqueness and now has some tools to make this personality characteristic work for them in the job market arena.

This is a great read! Click on the cover image to go to order your copy from 

What Do You Look for in an Employer?

hire me

I came across an interesting article based on a survey conducted by LinkedIn asked over 26K professionals what they look for most in an employer.  I was quite surprised by their findings but no spoiler here. You will have to read the results yourself (see link at end of blog) however, I will let you know what I look for in an employer.

Flexibility. I have no tolerance for stringent time constraints. In many positions, whether it is planned or not, you end up working through part of your lunch, staying late or bringing work home to just keep your head above water. However, I have zero tolerance for a reprimand if an employee is 5 minute late. Now I am not saying that arriving 15 minutes late every day is ok, but 5 minutes once in awhile is acceptable as long as it doesn’t become a habit. The way I look at it, it all evens out in the end or at least that has been my experience in the corporate world. If I have worked 10 minutes past my quitting time, I don’t expect compensation so if I am 5 minutes late because I got stuck behind the school bus then let’s call it even!

Effective Management. Please no micromanaging! If an employee has proved to be reliable and conscientious, there is no need to micromanage their every move. My sister once worked in large corporation and her boss wanted her to send him an email when she was heading to the washroom. Really? I can fully understand if the person is the front line worker aka receptionist or sits at the front to greet clients but the pen pusher in the back office? We are adults and let’s conduct ourselves accordingly!

Telecommuting Option. If the weather is not fit for man nor beast, I appreciate the option to work from home in inclement weather conditions. Please do not make me risk my life and drive out in a blizzard only to arrive 2 hours late to tell me that the office is closing in an hour because of the weather conditions. Likewise, if there is no reason for me to physically be there and I can log on remotely, I would really appreciate it. Believe it or not, I can be very productive at home and actually work longer than in the confines of an office.

What are the top 3 priorities that you look for in an potential employer?

If you are interested reading the complete article, stay calm and read on:

Jobseekers Top 3 Priorities

Until next time… Happy Job Hunting!

Jumpstart Your New Year Job Search


If finding a new job or embarking on a career change is on your New Year’s resolution list, keep reading!

Did you know…

Fact #1: On average, each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes. Out of those 250, only four to six will be called for an interview and one is offered the job (Glassdoor)

Fact #2: It is a well known fact that the average recruiter or HR person only spends 6 seconds viewing a candidate’s resume.

Fact #3: 75% of recruiters and hiring professionals use a recruiting or applicant tracking system (ATS) to receive and filter potential applicants. 

Fact #4: As many as 75% of qualified job applicants are rejected by ATS software due to various reasons such incorrect resume formatting.

Are You Passively or Actively Job Searching?

Most jobseekers start off passively looking for a new job if they are still currently employed. If a jobseeker suddenly faces unemployment due to an unplanned lay-off, restructuring or employment termination, the job search then progresses to the active phase.

Preliminary Job Search Checklist

Whether you’re passively checking out what is happening in the job market or actively seeking to secure a new position; job search preparation is an important step in the process. Consider these 5 steps to take to jumpstart your job search:

  • Create a master copy of your résumé with all past skills, qualifications, accomplishments and notable achievements on it. When targeting your resume to a specific job posting, you can refer to your master copy and pull specific information applicable to the job requirements.
  • Make sure you have a copy of your current job description so you can add this information to your résumé. Do not leave a copy of your résumé on your computer at work and ensure you have a master copy on your home computer.
  • Update your résumé. Once you know what kind of job you want and what kind of companies you’re targeting, you can focus your résumé on the specific type of position you are seeking.
  • Review your current social media profiles for any potentially objectionable content. Also determine if any profile information is missing, or if there’s any additional information you can add.
  • Develop or update your LinkedIn profile. A recruiter or HR department looking for a candidate with your skills and experience will conduct a LinkedIn search and find your profile. Likewise, someone in your network might be interested in recommending you, and forward your LinkedIn profile URL to a potential employer.

Advance preparation for your job search can make the difference on your success in connecting with the right opportunity!

Ready, Willing & Able: Benefits of the Seasoned Worker

Gone fishing image

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to watch the movie, The Intern, starring Robert De Niro, as a widower who seizes the opportunity to re-enter the workforce through a six week senior intern program for an online fashion company.

As a Certified Career Strategist /Career Coach specializing in midcareer and seasoned professionals in a career transition, I found the whole concept of a senior internship program very intriguing. Last year, I attended the Canadian Association of Retired Professionals Career Fair (CARP – the Canadian counterpart of AARP) and had the opportunity to connect with many mature business professionals. The general consensus was that although the majority of the attendees were retired from their jobs that didn’t mean that they wanted to retire from the work force.  As one gentleman explained to me, he was happy to retire from the position that he held for the last 15 years of his career but wasn’t ready to retire completely. He was looking for something that he felt passionate about and also generated an income. Like the others I spoke with, he was not necessarily interested in going back into the corporate world and logging 50 hours a week however something part-time or project work was definitely of interest.

Through my career coaching work, I am well aware of how difficult it is for the midcareer or seasoned business professional to secure meaningful work. The job market is fiercely competitive and universities are pumping out graduates in record numbers.  Unfortunately, older workers are undervalued for various reasons including:

X Outdated Training
X Outdated Skills
X Higher salary level expectation
X Inflexibility to conform to new ideas and methods
X Inability to work well or be managed by  younger generations.
X Health issues that will affect workload and high incidence of absenteeism.

All the above mentioned points are misconceived perceptions and conjures up an image of a feeble senior citizen clutching their brown paper lunch bag as they hobble with cane in hand into the office everyday.

The reality is that there is an abundance of reasons why hiring an older worker can work to a corporation’s advantage:

√ Broad spectrum of experience and back to basics approach to business for stimulating customer retention, loyalty and client service excellence.
√ Extensive network of contacts.
√ Vast business knowledge.
√ Strong work ethic and can do attitude
√ Employer loyalty and less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere.
√ Greater job satisfaction and engagement.
√ They are there because they want to be!

With all this being said, not all mature workers entertain the idea of re-entering the workforce and are content to explore hobbies, travel and just enjoy what life has to offer. However, it is not uncommon for mature workers to enter into semi-retirement after a lay-off, restructuring or buy out package and remain in the workforce and ease into full retirement years later.

I applaud the idea of the Senior Intern Program because this concept can fulfil the desire of many seniors to remain active in the workforce and lend their expertise to the younger generations. For those who want to stay connected to the business community for a few more years, ‘GONE FISHING’ is on hold until further notice.

Are you a midcareer or seasoned business professional unexpectedly thrust into unemployment? Get the help you need to get the job you want! Christine Cristiano is a Certified Career Strategist, Career Coach, and Resume Writer and specializes in coaching mature jobseekers in a career transition to navigate the job market and discover their passion and second career path. Christine offers 1-1 virtual career coaching sessions and is a member of Career Professionals of Canada. Feel free to contact with Christine Cristiano via or visit her blog!

Is Your Passion and Career in Alignment?

man crying

If I conducted an informal poll of my clients, friends and colleagues, I could probably safely assume that a significant portion of my personal connections would respond that their passion and career are not in alignment. I could surmise that the majority of my personal and professional circle is comprised of midcareer professionals and their discontent stems from the fact that they are at the top of career curve working their way down the other side. Perhaps they aren’t doing what they would like to do at the present time because to embark on a career change at this stage in life would be just too damn hard and stressful!

Having survived a career transition in 2012 after more than 20 years in a different industry, I can personally attest to the fact that a career change can produce a lot of anxiety and frustration. Likewise, it requires some soul searching and getting in touch with one’s authentic self to explore one’s true passion and how it can fit into a career plan. Looking back, despite all the emotional turmoil that a career change generates, it was worth it to embark on a career path that I am passionate about.

If you’re at the crossroads of a career change and fumbling with answers as to your next career move, grab a pen and paper and write your answers down to these thought provoking questions:

  • What did you dream about being when you grew up?
  • What does your perfect work day looks like?
  • What activity excites and boosts your enthusiasm?
  • If you could do anything you wanted to earn living with no regard to financial compensation or set qualifications, what would it be?
  • Thinking about the responsibilities of your current position, what aspects do you enjoy?
  • What are some aspects of your job that you don’t like?
  • What is the one aspect from preventing you from changing your current job or occupation?

Hopefully these questions triggered some critical thought processes and encouraged some deep thinking on your part.

  • How does your perfect work day compare to your real work day?
  • How can you incorporate some passion into your everyday life?
  • Are you interested in discovering how you can turn your passion into a job or business opportunity?

If you are curious to know if your interests and current occupation are in alignment, The Career Manifesto: Discover Your Calling and Create and Extraordinary Life is a great read!

If you’re ready to turn your true passion into a job that you love or want to accelerate your job search to greener pastures, let me lead the way! Ideal Career Services can help you move forward in your quest for rediscovering the ‘happy’ in your career through customized 1-1 Career and Job Search Coaching. 

5 Steps To Self-Motivation and Get Your Mojo Moving!

motivation clipart royalty free

Motivation is the force that propels you to move forward to get the job done and achieve your goals. Some people are naturally motivated without any outside influence while others need a bit of prompting to get their mojo going. If you fall into the latter group, here are some steps you can take to self-motivate yourself into a better job position or new career.

Hang With Likeminded People. As the saying goes, it is hard to soar with eagles when you are surrounded by turkeys. You know the feeling; you’re in a pretty ‘up’ mood and ready to take on the world until you meet up with a friend and their negativity overflows into your life. Talk about a motivation killer! Now I am not suggesting that you to ditch your negative friend but your motivation level will increase by associating with others who are inspired to do something with their lives instead of just complaining about it. Align your networks with those who have achieved something that you admire and learn from their journey.

Set Short Term and Long Term Goals. Setting short and long term goals is a critical component in self-motivation. Quite often just the achievement of completing a goal will magically spur you to take another step. It is always a good idea to set a long range goal to provide some direction and then align some short goals to help you along the way.  Assign a deadline to your long term goal so you have a timeframe to work within and set your short term goals daily or weekly to keep you on track.

Take Small Steps. It is common to feel overwhelmed with your goals when you are looking at the big picture. The best defence to conquering that feeling when you don’t where to start is to take baby steps. Determine what is the very first small step you can take to start the process? Start a list of the different components that you will need to complete to get to the end result and then pick one component to accomplish first.

Monitor Your Progress. Making some head wave in your personal journey and recognizing what you have accomplished is very inspiring and self-motivation. Chart your progress so you can see how far you’ve come but don’t get too bogged down by how far you still need to go.

Just Do It. I love Millennials because they don’t over analyze everything to death like the generations before them. They figure out what they want to do, how to do it and jump right in.  They don’t get into self-sabotage mode by overthinking everything and what will happen if it doesn’t work.  (Of course, I am not talking about making a major purchase that can affect your financial future and anything quite so life changing!) They gather the information they need to start the process and adjust accordingly as they go along. They just do it and that is a good attitude to adopt!

Need some more help in setting some career goals and direction?  Ask me how by reaching out to me at 647-361-9916 for a free 1/2 goal setting consultation session or email at

Entering Blogging Territory

chris linkedin


I consider myself to be somewhat technical savvy on a novice level and used to enjoy the fine art of blogging a few years back. My old blog was about the trials and tribulations of raising two boys, running a household and just quirky observations of everyday life. Well, my life has changed since those earlier blogging days, my boys have grown into fine young adults finding their way in the world, and the hubby and I took the plunge and bought a cottage to get out of the city on the weekends and enjoy some quality fishing time.  In addition, amid all the chaos of child rearing, my career took a drastic 360 in 2012.

After 20 years in the HVAC industry, my time in that industry was coming to an end. I knew two years prior that I needed a career change but somehow familiarity and complacency kept me in a profession that no longer excited or motivated me.  When circumstances beyond my control forced me to make a change, I took the plunge and went back to school to embark on a new academic and career journey studying career development. My interest piqued into helping jobseekers navigate the job market through my freelance work as a writer penning career related articles for Career Connections (a supplement of The Toronto Sun) and being offered the chance to train as a professional resume writer.

Fast forward to 2016, over the past 4 years, I have been fortunate enough to work within the non-profit sector supporting various government sponsored self employment business development training programs and had the opportunity to network with some very aspiring jobseekers in their quest to find the perfect job or to create their own financial independence through self employment.

It is through this work and connection with jobseekers of all ages and career levels that I realized that I am one of the lucky ones, that I found my true passion in life: to work with jobseekers from all walks of life to coach them to find the perfect job that will provide a suitable income while stimulating and empowering their intellect to move forward in their career journey. With my academic training completed and having experienced being a  midcareer professional in a career transition personally, I realized that I had the tools, resources, training, motivation and insider scoop on a midcareer transition and all the emotions, highs, lows and sheer frustration that can go along with a job search or career change.

Since my first connection helping a midcareer professional find some light and hope at the end of their long job search journey, I have never looked back.

Enjoy what you do

I invite you to follow my blog and come back often for inspiration, motivation and insights on careers, job search, interview preparation, resumes and everything in between that will help you along your job search and career journey.

Until next time….

Chris signature