À l’échelle humaine: August 10, 2016

2016-2017 Issue 1

IMG_3981In this column, we are looking at a method for maximizing the positive outcomes and minimizing the risks in navigating through an individual’s professional transition. Today’s article picks up where we left off – at the completion of the first stage of the 7-Step Career Roadmap.

The first step encouraged you to articulate your professional profile today: your education, your experience, your language skills and broad career goals. It helped you to spell out the highlights and turning points of your career path to-date so that you have a framework for assessing the costs and the benefits of your options.

This exercise also prepared you to respond to the oft-quoted request to “tell me about yourself.” In our high-paced, networking-driven, ambition-centered culture, it takes a memorable sales pitch to catch one’s attention. But behind every professional lies a person. Employers, coworkers, partners and other stakeholders want to meet a unique individual and not just a set of skills. This is also why your story to-date, including your career-related and “other” experience, your local and international qualifications, your multiple language skills, your aspirations and passions are all relevant to succeed in your professional transition: they are at the core of your value-add. They are the distinct features that make you stand out. Whether you are new to the job, the career or the country, you are never starting from scratch.

 

Step 2: The Labour Market Here and Now

Now that we have completed your picture to-date, we focus on the labour market, and the opportunities it holds. This step is all about research. You may be disinterested or even skeptical about economic forecasts and industry trends, but in today’s knowledge-based economy, the higher you aim the more information you need to hold. A successful professional is always well-informed.

The information-gathering process is conducted in three parts:

1. The structure of the labour market: This may include national and provincial markets, public and private institutions, governmental funding priorities, the professional system, sector councils and industry associations, and other hubs for companies and organizations in your area. For those of you who are exploring a new environment, this sub-step provides a useful overview of the industry.

2. Industry trends and skills in demand: What tools are being used in human resources today? Which transportation and logistics companies are expanding? What markets are the manufacturing or financial services sectors targeting? How are employees’ roles in marketing and communications evolving?

3. Industry laws and regulations: You may want to catch up on both local and global industry regulations, accreditation processes, and even local and international political factors that may affect the industry in the future.

Conducting this research will ensure that you have a realistic view of the labour market landscape and your chances of accessing and succeeding within a particular industry. For instance, you may be looking to recycle your medical background in a health & social services management role; or you may be considering the CPA path; alternatively, you may be wondering about the benefits of getting certified in logistics, business analysis, or pursuing your licensing through the OIQ; finally, perhaps you are exploring how your interior decorating or event planning skills could become your new career. You may want information to recognize real, relevant opportunities and distinguish them from costly, unsteady fads and closed access markets.

Plus, your familiarity with what is going on in your industry gives you a great competitive edge. Think of it as an ace up your sleeve, and it’ll have the added benefit of increasing your self-confidence. As you reach out to new professional contacts, you can engage in a genuine two-way conversation, rather than be on the receiving end of an informational interview. You are positioning yourself as a professional rather than a job seeker. Knowledge gives you credibility. You’ll even sit a little bit straighter when you put it into play.

So where do we go from here? To continue with our travel analogy, we’ve now conducted research on our potential destinations and know where we could realistically go. Our next step is to narrow the options, and for that we’ll need a more complete picture than the one on the brochures. Please join me in two weeks and I’ll help you pinpoint just where it is that you’d like to go in your career and how to get there.

Connect with Maia and McGill’s School of Continuing Studies on LinkedIn.

This article was originally published in French in 24heures Montreal.

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