It would be difficult to find a better example of someone with the experience to offer career advice than Tom Saratsiotis.
Not only has he worked in employment services for 20 years, he also has experience in not-for-profit organizations, a community college and a private vocational rehabilitation company as well as 10 years in the transportation and manufacturing industry. As an employment advisor with that background, he believes the keys to finding a job are determination and perseverance.
“You’ll be as successful as you are active and how targeted your job search is. It’s a numbers game.”
Saratsiotis, who has been with The Centre for Skills Development & Training (The Centre) for seven years, described his position as a “client-driven, coaching service for people seeking assistance with their job search and career planning.”
“Most of them need help with contacting an employer and developing a relationship with them regarding a possible a job,” he said. “In this case, they have to develop a strategy of understanding their own employability. That involves their skills, goals and especially communication.”
In most cases, a potential client will contact The Centre and ask to speak to an advisor, at which point a meeting is set up. Meetings last about one hour and Saratsiotis usually meets with a client three times. In a typical day, he formally meets approximately four clients and speaks with 10 – 15 others by phone or email.
In terms of distinguishing The Centre from other employment services, Saratsiotis said it offers more of a coaching style that facilitates people to make their own decisions instead of just advising them on what to do.
“Some of our clients have had previous negative experiences in the workplace because they don’t see their job as a learning experience or look at the positive aspects. They don’t give themselves enough of a chance.”
Saratsiotis noted that many of his clients voluntarily come back to describe their experiences, which are mostly positive, and The Centre follows up with them after three, six and 12 months. The Centre also has a free job development service to refer clients to prospective employers. For anyone who might be unsure about meeting with an employment advisor, Saratsiotis said there are steps they can take on their own.
“Take an inventory of what you can do. Consider what you’re capable of and interested in. Start by making contact with a lot of employers and don’t forget some of the more traditional methods of job searching.”
He did, however, emphasize that The Centre can help those who are in need of help.
“We offer a wider range of services than the average employment service. We’re assisting people who are re-entering the workforce and training people to fill gaps. I want the public to know how beneficial a member of the team can be to someone who’s looking for work.”
The Centre’s employment services are offered at no charge, funded by Employment Ontario. For more information, visit: thecentre.on.ca/jobseekers/