À l’échelle humaine: October 5, 2016

2016-2017 Issue 1

IMG_3981If you missed it, our last column was a big one. We covered Step 5 of our 7-Step Career Roadmap, which up to this point had consisted of conducting personal research and introspection. But it was in Step 5 that we made the decision to move forward and devote our time, energy and resources to a specific career path. From here on in, you know what you are pursuing, why you are doing it, and how. So why hesitate? You’re in action mode – let’s get you to where you want to go.

Step 6: My Action Plan

Your action plan is based on the results of your gap analysis, which was previously outlined in Step 4. In Step 4 you simply listed what your gaps were; Step 6 requires that you sort through your options and determine how best to fill those gaps. The most important thing is to always keep your end goal in mind. It ensures that every step brings you closer to your intended destination.
Here are the five elements representing your possible gaps:

1. Language Skills
If you’ve determined that you have to improve your proficiency level, the city of Montreal offers many ways to enhance your skills.
Language courses are offered in a variety of formats: full-time and part-time, days, evenings and weekends, with in-class, online and hybrid options. The option your choose should be in sync with your career objectives, whether it’s obtaining a higher level of proficiency, enhancing your vocabulary to include technical jargon, or passing the TEFaQ (Test d’evaluation de français pour l’access au Quebec) or OQLF (Office quebecois de la langue française) examinations.

2. Credentials
Diplomas and certifications obtained from local institutions can fulfill gaps in education, experience, or local credentials. Explore your options within private and public organizations, full- and part-time programs, as well as courses offered by Quebec’s professional orders. Please be realistic regarding the logistics, such as costs and the amount of time required to complete your credentials. Doing so will help prevent you from being overwhelmed or disappointed.

3. Work Experience
Once again, it is important to keep your end goal top-of-mind. Do you need to obtain a local reference or earn local experience? This may be obtained through either paid or unpaid experience.
Are you looking to move into a different industry? You may have to take one step back before you can move two steps forward. For example, if you already have experience working in IT but you want to be a project manager, your research may have identified that one of your gaps is a minimum of two years’ experience in account management. In this case, your focus would be getting a job in business-to-business account management, in order to advance to a career in project management.

4. Soft Skills
Developing soft skills can be tricky on your own – I recommend working on this with someone you trust. They don’t necessarily have to work in the same industry to which you aspire, but they do have to be very good at the soft skills you’re looking to develop. You should have an established relationship that allows them to give you honest feedback, similar to that of a mentor.
And if your pool of potential mentors is a small one? That brings us to the fifth and final element in your gap analysis: building your professional network. A relevant network of local professionals is key to obtaining your career goals. So much so that it’ll be the subject of our next column.

We hope you’ll join us.

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

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

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