Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lights... Camera... Action! Step four:

Over the last month I have posted about the Career Planning Process and we are now arriving at the fourth and final step. You have assessed your interests, values, and skills, researched possible career options, made a decision, and now its time to TAKE ACTION!

Taking Action is about putting your plans into action- whether you have decided on a career or to continue with further education, the time is now! Below are some tips for both scenarios
- Researching potential employers
- Thoroughly reviewing job descriptions
- Completing on-line or facilitated workshops offered by Career Services
- Developing marketing tools such as achievement based resumes, cover letters, and portfolios
- Accessing and expanding your network (using LinkedIn and other networking methods such as Information Interviews and attending Career Expos) 
- Practicing effective interview skills 
- Locating part-time, full-time, summer and volunteer work experiences
Further Education:
- Researching educational programs, requirements and deadlines
- Speaking with Program Coordinators and Advisers about program
- Visiting the institutions you are considering
- Looking at the Career Services events calendar to see what institutions will be on campus
- Preparing for educational entrance exams
-Collecting transcripts and letters of reference 
- Preparing a personal statement, letter of intent, curriculum vitae, resume, and/or portfolio

Our friends from Cosmic Coaching Center also wrote some greatly inspiring tips to help you take action. 

How to Take Action in Career Planning
Once you have made up your mind as to what career path you are going to pursue, the next step is for you to figure out how you can make the successful career move. It is never enough that you keep planning, because at the end of the day, it is all about executing your action plan.
Here are some tips you can use to create an excellent action plan.
#1 Set specific goals.
Planning to change careers or perhaps return to school is a bit too general. For you to get enough motivation, it is important that your goal be specific. You could set a goal like “look for a career in the medical field” or in whatever industry you want to be in. What really matters is that you know what it is exactly that you want to achieve and when you should do it.
#2 Plan it step-by-step.
One essential thing to do to move forward is to know what steps to take to get closer to your goals. It isn’t enough that you know what you want to achieve; you must figure out ways to achieve it. You can do this by determining the steps you need to take. If you are sure about pursuing a career in dentistry, for instance, you should know what qualifications you should have to become a dental practitioner. Do you have the qualified degree? Do you possess the certificates needed for such a career? This way, you will know what you already have and what you still don’t have. This will also guide you as you make a concrete plan for the achievement of your ultimate goal.
#3 Prepare an excellent resume.
Your resume reflects who you are as a professional and what you can do that will benefit the company that is to hire you. With that said, it is important that you make it as informative and accurate as possible. Bear in mind as you write your resume that it should impress the potential employer or hiring manager. Make sure that you put in only the information that is relevant to the position you are applying for. There is no need for your resume to be wordy and lengthy. Go straight to the point and show the hiring manager the many reasons you deserve the job you are applying for.
#4 Put all your plans into action.
At this point, you may already have listed all the things you need to do so you could execute your career plan. What you should do now is set deadlines for every task that you have. Use a calendar where you should note the names of the companies you wish to work for. If you think you need to enhance your resume by adding relevant experience, then start looking for corporate events or even training seminars that you can participate in. This is a crucial part of your career planning because there is no sense in making plans without properly putting them into action.

About the author: 

Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Center, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe.

Alysha-Lynn Kooter, Career Assistant, 2nd Year Intermediate/Senior Con-Ed Visual Art and English 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Decision Making: Step three!

What do you want to be when you grow up? Have you chosen the proper path for your future? Is the job market hiring graduates from the degree right now? These are all questions that haunt us in our sleep. We are constantly reminded that we need to have some sort of plan right away for our future. This is simply not true. You cannot make a good decision in a rush or when you have not thought it through properly. This makes Decision Making one of the hardest steps in the Career Planning Process. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish if you take it step by step. It may take the longest, but it will certainly pay off in the end when you are happy and confident in the position you're in. 

After you have completed Step 1 (Self-Assessment) and Step 2 (Research) it is time to reflect on your results and try to narrow down your options into achievable goals. Firstly, review your self-assessment and research results to have the best possible understanding of your options. After you have done this it’s time to set some short-term and long-term goals for yourself. Goals can be set for educational and/or employment purposes. They help you stay on track and organized so your goals can be met in a timely fashion.

To do this, create a detailed action plan to establish a timeline for reaching your goals. List the overall goal you want to achieve (for example: Find full-time employment) and then underneath create shorter goals that you can achieve to eventually reach your main goal (for example: get my resume and cover letter reviewed). Once you have the shorter goals that lead to the completion of your main goal you must give yourself an achievable time for each of these goals. You cannot do them all in one day!

Once you have this completed you have a full on action plan to follow! Now you’re one step closer to completing the Career Planning Process.  

Alysha-Lynn Kooter, Career Assistant, 2nd Year Intermediate/Senior Con-Ed Visual Art and English 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Research: Step two!

Step two of The Career Planning Process is Research. After you have finished with Self-Assessment (from the previous blog post) you may have a few career options to look into. Conducting research will help you narrow down your decision on what career you want to pursue.

What and where to research:

Job Information – What does the job look like?

When searching different career options you need to look at the skills, duties, qualifications/education, work hours, work conditions, etc. A good place to start looking for this information is on occupational profiles. Profiles can give you an excellent description of career choices individuals have made. You could find occupational profiles on LinkedIn! Many professionals are using LinkedIn and have descriptions of the career they are involved with.

Labour Market – What is the demand for this job?

When deciding on a career it is comforting to know the opportunities that lie ahead of you. Looking at the job trends in your region and exploring those of other regions can help you again narrow down your career options. Things you want to research are job availability by region/sector, salary range by region/sector, and general job trends. You can find this information across a variety of websites. It is important to use a reputable website for this information because you do not want to be misled. Some resources we have found useful are:

Potential Employers – Who hires for this job?

It is important to know who is hiring when researching specific careers. It may be posted on employer, business, or career websites, directories, or industry associations. Also you should know who you should be networking with. Networking is an extremely important aspect when looking for the right career path. People who are working in the career your researching can give you first-hand experience of what it’s like and what the outlooks are for getting hired. They are good relationships to keep if you intend on pursuing that career!

Searching for the right career for you can take some time. Not to worry though, if you start while still studying in university you will have a firm foundation of information to help make your decision when the time comes!  J

Alysha-Lynn Kooter, Career Assistant, 2nd Year Intermediate/Senior Con-Ed Visual Art and English 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Self-Assessment: Step one!

For the next month I will be blogging about the Career Planning Process for those students looking to start thinking about their career options and job success. Self-Assessment plays a vital role in developing your Career Planning Process. For many of us we have yet to figure out what our values, skills, and interests truly are. Making plans for your future can be difficult. Starting with self-assessment can give you more choices and increase your confidence that you are on the right career path.

Self-Assessment is identifying likes and dislikes in terms of your interests, skills and preferred work environments. Self-Assessment also helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses, values and beliefs which will set a foundation for career planning.

There are resources on the CareerZone Online Resource Centre for Brock students looking to start their career planning! You can access the CareerZone Online Resource Centre at After you log in with your student campus ID go to Career Services->Online Resource Centre->Career Assessments. There you will find some great resources such as TypeFocus and Career Cruising to get you started!

TypeFocus helps you answer the questions “who am I, really?” and provides you with four ‘type factor’ preferences:

Career Cruising is a career exploration tool that matches different careers based on your interests, skills and learning style assessments. It also provides details about specific jobs such as salary and education qualifications.

The results from these assessments can give you peace of mind that there is something out there in the world for you. Getting to know yourself with Self Assessments will help you understand what the right career is for you!

Alysha-Lynn Kooter, Career Assistant, 2nd Year Con-Ed Visual Art and English 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Professional Use of Social Media Sites for Students and Graduates!

Spring is a time for cleaning and clearing out! Get rid of all the unwanted attention on your social media pages to present yourself in a professional manner. Below are some things to think about when cleaning up your social media profiles: