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What is customer service?

The responsibility of a customer service representative is to assist customers with what they’re here for and ensure a certain level of customer satisfaction with a product or service. Customer service takes place in every industry; while performing a transaction for customers such as making a sale or returning an item, providing information for customers who want to learn more about your service or product, assisting customers throughout their user experience with your product or service, and helping customers when they run into any difficulties or have complaints about your product or service. Customer service can take the form of an in-person interaction, a phone call, self-service systems, and through many other platforms.

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What kind of education do I need?

A high school diploma or GED is sufficient for an entry-level customer service position. However, a completion of a certificate or program at a community college or a vocational institute may be preferred. Most employers provide one to three weeks of on-the-job training, and with experience, you’ll be able to move up the ranks to become a supervisor pretty fast.

As a new-comer in the customer service industry, you need to know that employers seek for when hiring customer service representatives. They look for candidates with good interpersonal and communication skills, who can be very patient with people, who listens to what customers have to say, and are effective at problem solving. At Academy of Learning College, we have professionally designed Customer Service Programs to offer individuals the opportunity to acquire a series of skills required by many companies that specialize in customer service and outbound marketing services, and to provide skills to facilitate advancement in their chosen career.

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How much does a customer service representative make?

According to Payscale Canada, the average rate for a Customer Service Representative (CSR) is C$14.22 per hour. A skill in Inside Sales is associated with high pay for this job. Most people with this job move on to other positions after 20 years in this career. The national yearly average salary for customer service representative range from $23,592 to $44,797, with a maximum bonus of $3,024 and maximum commission of $8,027. 

Administrative assistant, office administrator, customer service supervisor, or customer service manager are the most popular choices for CSR’s who wants to advance their career. After that, some people take on the position of executive assistant, office manager, operations manager, or customer service director. 

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What makes good customer service?

The purpose of customer service is to take care of customer’s needs, provide them with professional, helpful, high quality service and assistance throughout their experience with a product or service. As a customer service representative, your goal is to meet the needs and desires of any customer, make their experience enjoyable, and encourage them to come back next time. Here are some characteristics of good customer service summarized by

  • Promptness: Promises for delivery of products must be on time. Delays and cancellations of products should be avoided.
  • Politeness: Politeness is almost a lost art. Saying ‘hello,’ ‘good afternoon,’ ‘sir’, and ‘thank you very much’ are a part of good customer service. For any business, using good manners is appropriate whether the customer makes a purchase or not.
  • Professionalism: All customers should be treated professionally, which means the use of competence or skill expected of the professional. Professionalism shows the customer they’re cared for.
  • Personalization: Using the customer’s name is very effective in producing loyalty. Customers like the idea that whom they do business with knows them on a personal level.

As the largest career college in Canada with 50 campuses across the country, Academy of Learning College attributes the growth in our success to identifying the gap between the formal education available and the realities of the working world. We fulfill the needs of learners by developing customized programs for each student, while meeting the requirements for convenient and effective training at an affordable cost. Browse our program list by province and find the best program that suits your needs!


What is networking?

Maybe you hesitant to network because you’re shy, or because you don’t want to be seen as pushy and annoying? It’s time to reveal the truth: networking isn’t about using other people to aggressively promote yourself—it’s about building relationships. Networking is nothing more than getting to know people. You’re networking when you strike up a conversation with the person next to you in line, introduce yourself to other parents at your daughter’s school, catch up with a former co-worker, or meet up with a new friend. Everyone you meet can potentially help you take your career to the next level.

Tapping the hidden job market through networking may take more planning and nerve than searching online, but it’s much more effective. And while it may sound intimidating for you to step out and talk to others, it can be rewarding and fun at the same time! 


Why should I network?

It’s common knowledge that people prefer to do business primarily with people they know and trust. Resumes and cover letters are often too impersonal to convince employers to trust you. This might be surprising, but most employers look inside they own network to see if anyone they know is suitable for the job before they release the job posting to the public. And very commonly, companies tend to do inside screening first, and only look outside if they can’t find someone from within. Networking can lead you to valuable inside job information often before a formal job description is compiled or a job post announced.

In addition, job listings tend to attract piles of applicants, which puts you in intense competition with tens and hundreds, sometimes thousands of other candidates. Networking takes you to a recommended (and slightly favoured) member of a much smaller pool. Think about it, a key contact from your network can make your resume stand out from the mountain of resumes they received, what is the reason not to give it a try? 


Tip 1: Know yourself inside out

Before you mingle, you need to conduct a thorough self-assessment. An honest review of your strengths and weaknesses, and a firm grasp on your accomplishments and transferrable skills is vital. Develop a comprehensive a career plan for yourself, and make a list of the types of jobs you want and the types of companies and industries that interest you.

Networking is most effective when you have specific employer targets and career goals. You may think that you’ll access more opportunities if you leave yourself open to all the possibilities, but the reality is that a vague and unclear request will not leave any impression on your connections. They have their own busy lives to deal with, no one will remember what you said unless you make a clear and sincere point. Asking for specific information, contacts, or an interview opportunity is much more focused and easier for the networking source.

Business concept

Tip 2: Learn to organize your network. 

During your job search, you should spend at least 30% of your time on networking, finding potential job openings, and keep all your contacts up-to-date. Constantly expanding your network will increase your chance of stepping into new opportunities, it also requires you to have a detailed record of all connections and the information each contact has to offer. 

If you plan to continuously expand your network, the best method to obtain a record of your contact information is having a database or spreadsheet where you can enter key information, such as names, titles, company names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, as well as dates and contents of communication. Keeping an organized collection of business cards, where you can write notes and comments about your network, is another useful alternative.


Tip 3: Reach out to your network, and keep in touch with them

Once you’ve drawn up your list of connections, start reaching out and making contact with these people. Build a friendly relationship with them, let them know that you’re actively looking for a job. Be specific about what kind of work you’re looking for and ask them if they have any information or know anyone in a relevant field. Don’t assume that certain people won’t be able to help. You may be surprised by who they know.

One of the best ways to gain more information about an occupation or industry — and to build a network of contacts in that field — is to talk with people who are currently working in the field. This will bring you more information and insight of a certain industry, and potentially more contacts and job opportunities on the future.

It is extremely important to stay in touch with your network, which you can easily do by phone, mail, or email. Don’t be afraid to ask for their help. Most people like helping others, and you must communicate your current needs with your network so they can help you. Remeber, the key is keeping your network informed of your situation and thanking them for their efforts.

As the largest career college in Canada with 50 campuses across the country,  Academy of Learning College attributes the growth in our success to identifying the gap between the formal education available and the realities of the working world. We fulfill the needs of learners by developing customized programs for each student, while meeting the requirements for convenient and effective training at an affordable cost. Browse our program list by province and find the best program that suits your needs!


What does administrative assistant do?

An administrative assistant, sometimes also referred as an “office clerk”, “secretary”, or ”receptionist”, is someone who performs routine clerical and organizational tasks at a company. The core functions of administrative assistant ranges from organizing files, drafting messages, scheduling appointments, and supporting other staff to communicating with clients, negotiating with vendors. conducting research and preparing memos and repots. 

Administrative careers are clerical jobs, ones worked essentially behind the scenes to assist other positions by taking care of common, routine tasks. No matter what the title is, all administrative occupations have similar responsibilities such as answering phones, arranging meetings and scheduling appointments, maintaining files and databases and handling correspondence. Some administrative jobs may also include basic bookkeeping duties, such as sending out invoices and balancing account spreadsheets. The work environment for administrative assistants covers a significantly wide range, this position is needed everywhere: corporate companies, government agencies, legal and medical offices, schools, hospitals, and many more. 


What’s the job market like for this position? 

According to Service Canada, the past few years have seen a significant increase in the number of administrative officers. The diversification of administrative employees’ tasks has benefited this occupation. Since this trend is expected to decline, the number of employees in this occupation should rise significantly over the next few years, although at a slightly slower rate than in the past.

With the BLS projecting an average growth of 11 percent of all jobs over the next 10 years, administrative careers have a bit of an edge with a projected 12 percent increase between 2012 and 2022. Some administrative jobs are expected to do better than others. While executive administrative assistant jobs are expected to stall, even decreasing by 1 percent, medical secretary positions are expected to increase by 36 percent, up from 525,600 in 2012 to 714,900 by 2022.

What is the education requirement for this position?

A high school diploma, GED, or basic office skills / business administration skills training programs is sufficient for most entry-level administrative assistant positions. There are many one- or two-year vocational programs that offers more advanced training for office administrative support roles that will help you gain the skills you need to succeed in this position.


If you’ve already acquired computer and Microsoft office office skills, such as filing, reporting, and knowing how to properly format business correspondence, congratulations, you’ve already got your foot in the door for most entry-level administrative positions. On the other hand, legal and medical administrative clerks are often required to know professional terminology specific to their industries. Industry-specific knowledge can be learned through programs or courses at many vocational schools. If you’re aiming high and want to become an executive administrative or management assistant, a professional training program will definitely look good on your resume.

How much does it pay?

According to PayScale Canada, an Administrative Assistant earns an average salary of C$38,540 per year, with a stable increase throughout the years. The most popular skills employers look for when hiring administrative assistant include customer service skills, data entry skills, office administration skills. as well as Microsoft office skills. The national average salary for administrative assistant in Canada falls into the interval between $29,151 and $50,788, with a maximum yearly bonus of $3080. After holding this position for a while, the majority of people choose to advance their career by transitioning to positions such as executive assistant. administrative / office manager, office administrator, Sr. administrative assistant, or executive secretary.


I am an administrative assistant already, what should I do next?

If you are an administrative assistant looking to advance your career, the most common opportunities for advancement lies in marketing, human resources, operations and facilities management. As an administrative assistant, you are usually at the centre of an office and in position to see how departments work together and how people are managed, which provides essential career information and resources to advance your career. As an administrative assistant, the key to advancement is showing that you can handle more challenging responsibilities. Assess your skills and think about what kind of responsibilities you enjoyed more than others, then look inside the company and see where you can do that. 

Create a plan for handling your current responsibilities while adding others that will lead you toward your professional goals. Ask if there is an unmet departmental need that you could assist with, and gear extra projects toward your areas of interest. If you want to work in marketing, ask the marketing director if you can help with a project; if you are interested in human resources, volunteer for the recruitment committee. Assisting with company events and activities will let you learn more about the responsibilities of other positions that you’re interested in and gain precious experience volunteering in that department. 

As the largest career college in Canada with 50 campuses across the country,  Academy of Learning College attributes the growth in our success to identifying the gap between the formal education available and the realities of the working world. We fulfill the needs of learners by developing customized programs for each student, while meeting the requirements for convenient and effective training at an affordable cost. Browse our program list by province and find the best program that suits your needs!


Am I too old to be a web-designer?

Even with talent, passion and ambition in web design, many individuals chose what they assumed to be a more stable career path in their earlier life stages. And now they look back at their life, starting to wonder if they have already missed the boat. Maybe this the story of your life. The answer to this question is: you’re never too old for anything.

If you have a true passion for web design, you’ll likely find your way back to it at some point of your life. You may have your doubts when weighting the pros and cons of investing in the development of new web design skills, but this shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your passion. Many successful designers, career-changers, and entrepreneurs established their career path at an age that’s considered old in the traditional perspective. You are only as old as you feel; you can be 20 years old but repel changes and new ideas at heart, or be 50 years old and always embrace challenges and keep up with new technologies. It’s up to you to decide how old you want to appear in the public eye. 


How do I beat the younger candidates in job interviews?

Many older workers worry about being beaten by younger competitors during job interviews. Here’s how you win at interviews against the younger minds: during interviews, let your strengths shine over your weaknesses. If your past experiences are outdated, don’t mention the start and end date. If you don’t have much experience in design, don’t bring up what you’re missing, address the abilities you’ve already acquired and are willing to achieve instead. Focus on your advantages, such as your other relative experiences, your dedication and your enthusiasm.

Don’t make the assumption that your age disqualifies you. Many employers and clients prefer working with someone who’s more stable, mature, and experienced in life. Use this as leverage to make yourself the winning candidate. If you’re concerned that the interviewers will assume you as outdated and non-tech-savvy, cross those assumptions as early as possible in the way you present yourself. If possible, create an well-designed and modern-looking portfolio to display graphic and web design work you have done in the past; this could be a collection of team projects you’ve done at night school, home work projects from your career training workshops, or test projects you assigned yourself for practice. You need to craft a resume that highlights your strongest skills and relevant accomplishments only. Use the interview as your stage of talent exhibition and reflect your creativity in your communications.

Female Fashion Designer Working At Laptop In Studio

How do I keep my skills up-to-date?

First of all, you need to be familiar with the entire design process, from colour, flow, to balance, proportion, and spacing. To stay up-to-date in the web design community that is mainly dominated by younger professionals, you need to maintain a sharp eye for colour, typography, and the perfect layout of website. In order to have a good sense of design, you need to learn to recognize a good design from a bad one. Start your day by going through the most recent design portfolios and examining the work of experienced designers. Study well-designed pieces and analyze which element made this design stand out. Focus on specific design elements such as navigation bars, search fields, buttons, fonts and compare them with other examples. Think about the reason why certain decisions were made on this website. At the end of this process, sketch your own ideas; this will help you absorb the essence of good designs and avoid common mistakes some designers often make. 

Second of all, you need to master HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You need to know them like the back of your hand. These are the basic framework of all pages on the Web, a designer should be knowledgeable about these in order to design with more purpose and attention to usability. There are many online sources such as CodePen, Codecademy, HTMLdog, and W3schools, which you could use to update your coding knowledge. There are also websites such as Lynda and Youtube that offers a great deal of tutorials to help you learn the most recent web design techniques. 

Last but not least, you need a sandbox where you can practice your skills. Create a place for yourself where you can try new techniques; this could be your own website or a personal projects that you created. Treat your sandbox as an experiment and don’t be afraid of using bold layouts or colors. Don’t settle with the first idea that comes to your mind. This is your own playground, have some fun with it and be creative! Especially if you’re new to wen design, these practice projects can be really helpful in building your own portfolio.

As the largest career college in Canada with 50 campuses across the country,  Academy of Learning College attributes the growth in our success to identifying the gap between the formal education available and the realities of the working world. We offer Web Design programs in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, in which we provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to build a Web Design foundation, learn industry-standard software programs, and produce a well-rounded and dynamic portfolio.  Browse our program list by province and find the best program that suits your needs!

British Columbia Faculties

Customer Service

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