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9 Tips for Choosing the Right Professional Referees
November 5, 2020
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By Helen Green 

Referees are key to job search success. In a competitive job market adversely impacted by COVID-19, it pays to ensure the referees you’re putting forward are the most appropriate for the job you are applying for.

Be strategic when putting forward someone to speak about your work, achievements, skills, and cultural fit for the job you are in the running for. Here are just a few tips that may help. 

 1. Choose your referees carefully  

Referees need to know your character and your work contributions. How well do they know you? Your referees should be able to speak about your achievements, strengths, and areas in which you may need further developing — in the context of their work relationship with you. If they cannot speak about these adequately, the referee phone call may become uncomfortable for them, which ultimately reflects poorly on you as the candidate. 

When putting forward a former manager, you should be very confident they would respond positively to the question ‘would you rehire this person?’ If you have any concerns about this, think carefully about asking them to be a referee. 

2. Compiling your referee list 

Aim for at least three people who might be able to support your job application. This helps you match the referee to the job and avoids over-reliance on the same person, which can be challenging if you are on the shortlist for several positions. Some recruiters now want to speak to your referees before starting the recruiting process, which is a practice proving difficult for many candidates and their well-meaning referees. Referee fatigue is real. 

3. Other people you could consider as a referee 

The challenge is made more difficult for young people with limited work experience, those who have lost contact with their former referees or their referees are long retired, people who have been out of the workforce for an extended period, the self-employed, or those whose last job/relationship with their manager did not end well. Think broadly.  

Some of the following suggestions may work for you: 

  • Current supervisor (if appropriate)
  • Former supervisor with current employer or previous employer
  • Manager of an adjoining internal division who knows your work well
  • Long-standing former client(s) or external stakeholder you maintained a strong relationship with and provided a service relevant to the job you are applying for
  • Person you mentored or managed who really benefited from your leadership
  • Former colleague with whom you worked closely who has now been promoted internally or externally
  • Colleague in another section of your company who you helped/provided specialist advice to on several occasions, resulting in a specific outcome
  • Chair of a committee or internal working group you contributed to substantially
  • Representative of an organisation you volunteered with who knows you well
  • Chair of the school council when you were an active parent representative
  • Sporting coach, teacher, academic, trainer – particularly for young job candidates

4. Match the referee to the job 

This is important. Consider the key selection criteria for the job and the organisation’s profile. A recent client was shortlisted for a position as a senior client relationship manager. She included a supervisor and we discussed the possibility of adding a former long-term client she had collaborated closely with on a key project, to give his perspective as a client. He was delighted to help — this impressed the recruiter and she was successful. 

5. Is your most senior referee essential? 

Often, though not always. There is little point listing the company CEO, as opposed to your supervisor, unless they are briefed appropriately and it is clear they know you and your work. Putting forward both is ideal, as they can offer different perspectives. 

Context matters too. If you are a candidate for a senior leadership role, consider putting forward someone you have managed or professionally mentored as a referee, as evidence of your leadership style. 

6. Communication is key 

Maintain contact with your referees and brief them. Apart from reflecting poorly on you, you cannot expect your referee to do a good job selling you if they have not heard from you in years and have no idea what job you have applied for. Make sure to reconnect and aim to keep your referees as current and relevant as possible. 

Some suggestions: 

  • Provide your referee with an updated copy of your CV, highlighting anything important.
  • Brief them about the job you have been shortlisted for and why you have applied. Do not assume they will know why you are changing careers or jobs.
  • Remind them of your key contributions during the time you worked or volunteered together – especially as they relate to the job you are applying for.
  • Update them about anything significant that may have happened since you worked together; e.g. if you won an award, worked on a high-profile project, were absent from the workforce for several years.

7. Avoid listing referees on your CV 

It is widely understood that candidates will need to put forward referees, so it’s unnecessary to include them. It can also be counterproductive, as a recruiter may call your referees at any time during the recruitment process before you can brief them about the job. Better that you control the selection of your referees and put forward their contact details when requested. Of course, if you have a very high-profile and relevant referee you would love to flag on your CV, perhaps include a brief testimonial from them on page one of your CV. 

8. Make sure contact details for your referees are up to date 

Providing the wrong contact details or outdated information about your referee’s current position is a red flag for hiring managers. Ask your referees how they would like to be contacted and the best time to contact them saves time for the recruiter and makes you look efficient. 

9. If you left your last job on difficult terms 

This can be tricky. If asked, be honest, positive and provide alternatives. Most people have experienced a situation where, for various reasons, a working relationship does not work. A client had worked for an organisation for several years, and for the previous 12 months experienced a difficult working relationship with his line supervisor, who was new to supervising. His position was made redundant. Short-listed for a role, he had been asked for the contact details of his most recent supervisor. We discussed how best to present an appropriate and honest explanation as to why his former supervisor and a senior manager from another division would be able to provide more substantive information relevant to the position he was in consideration for. He was successful. 

Finally 

Check your referees are happy to remain on your list — this is crucial. Most importantly, thank them for their time and belief in you. 

Helen is a qualified careers practitioner and director of Career Confident in Melbourne. Previously, Helen worked in senior education and career program management roles, primarily at the University of Melbourne.

YOU can read the original version of this article here.

Being Selfish Won’t Help Your Career
September 15, 2020
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By Laura Counts

A new study finds that being manipulative and disagreeable isn’t the path to success. 

The researchers conducted two studies of people who had completed personality assessments as undergraduates or MBA students at three universities. They surveyed the same people more than a decade later, asking about their power and rank in their workplace hierarchies, as well as the culture of their organizations.

They also asked their coworkers about the study participants’ workplace behaviour and rank. Across the board, they found those who scored high on disagreeable traits were not more likely to have attained power than those who were generous, trustworthy, and generally nice.

Read More

CareerWise Canada: Working with Mature Clients

An article by TANYA MYKHAYLYCHENKO

This article covers several challenges mature workers face and how career pros can address them.

Career professionals have a broad range of tools for success when working with mature clients who have been in full-time management or administrative roles for 10+ years with the same employer.

Many of these workers are dedicated professionals who were known and respected in their recent workplace for their strong knowledge of the organization and its processes. Often you can hear them say, “I don’t know how to put this on the resume, but I just get things done. I’m very reliable.”

Mature workers who have not had to look for work in several years need help understanding ATS, networking, follow-up and ways of articulating their professional differentiators. The added challenges of post-COVID hiring may include higher competition, more agile businesses and more reliance on technology. In the current climate, mature workers may also need some assistance with highlighting their technical skills and their ability to work remotely.

Understanding the Agile, Contingent Workforce of Today

Competition is high, many roles are temporary, and businesses are trying to be agile and save resources. COVID-19 is introducing new remote ways to do business, use more technologies and delegate tasks to workers (in any location) who can be productive in a remote setting.

If your client was used to stability and long-term employment in their previous organization, they may first consider acknowledging the current situation to position themselves as a candidate who offers both stability and adaptability.

To support mature workers:

  • Prepare them to leverage their experience and years of dedication to previous employers while expressing their adaptability to most recent changes in hiring.
    • They can speed up their hiring process by being highly articulate about their measurable results, technical skills and soft skills – the combination that makes them stand out.
  • Train them to highlight their hard skills as well as demonstrate confidence, competence, resilience and strong communication. A candidate with a calm, executive presence is seen as a reliable employee able to handle challenges.
  • Articulate their value for them: focus on their ability to build consensus at all levels of the organization while listening to employer’s needs and solving problems.
  • Help your client identify their top 3-5 differentiators that make them competitive.
    • You may recommend that they write down a list of their top 10-15 strengths and pick 3-5 from this list when applying for a specific role.
    • You can help them adopt a positive attitude of sharing, in concise terms, their unique professional value with a focus on employer’s needs.
    • You can emphasize the necessity to research a target company, follow up, reach the hiring manager and build their LinkedIn network.

Understanding the Achievement-Based Resume Structure

As with all other applicants, mature workers may focus too much on job duties in their resumes.

To support your clients:

  • Explain how the resume logic evolved with a focus on readability (documents must be easy to skim) and measurable results (‘problem – action – result’ format).
  • Train mature workers to think in terms of how they solve problems and what outcomes they deliver (vs. process and experience).
  • Ask specific questions or develop questionnaires to help them articulate results.
  • Encourage them to prepare for interviews following the same achievement-based approach and think in terms of how they can help employers save money, make money, improve operations or address difficulties.

Understanding Current Job Application Cycles

Submitting a resume alone is not enough. Many mature workers may favour a resume spray approach where they send applications to 50+ open positions online, without prior knowledge of companies. Help them understand a job search strategy as a more focused, yet varied effort.

To support your clients:

  • Help them inform their immediate network (service providers, community organizations, extended family, former colleagues or clients, religious, sports or recreational affiliations, etc.) that they are looking for a new role.
  • Encourage your clients to create a list of 20 target employers and research them, follow them on social media, identify decision-makers and connect with them on LinkedIn.
  • Provide your clients with examples of networking messages that are brief, clear and authentic.
  • Help your clients understand the full cycle of the job application process:
    • customizing the application for each specific role
    • following up
    • networking online
    • building relationships while interviewing (for future opportunities)
    • “closing the sale” after in-person interviews with some form of 30-60-90-day plan or a list of their action items for the first month if they were to be hired.
  • Inspire your clients to be proactive at every stage of the application vs. waiting for a response. Help them understand that an online job application puts them in the pool of 100-200 other applicants and an interview invitation puts them in a pool of 2-6 other competitions. What will they do to keep standing out?

Throughout the process of working with mature workers, remind yourself of where they are coming from and how this informs their current motivation, approaches or challenges. By showing your understanding and acknowledgement of their current state, you can help them adopt new ways of looking for work faster, while finding the best approach for each individual.


TANYA MYKHAYLYCHENKO

Tanya Mykhaylychenko is a resume writer with a background in university teaching and IT staffing. She is a member of Editors Canada and Career Professionals of Canada.

Virtual International Conference – Evolving Education and Careers

The Virtual Conference

The world has experienced major economic, social and technology impacts. Societies everywhere are undergoing deep transformation. Climate change, an ageing workforce and skills gaps are major issues that governments need to address. Only time will tell what the impact of the current health crisis will have in the medium and long-term. As a consequence, careers will evolve in response to a dynamically changing environment. How will this affect jobs, training, employment, the gig economy and/or unemployment in the future? We will be exploring forward-thinking approaches to careers support systems drawing on international good and interesting policies and practices.

For leaders, educators, career development, HR and employment specialists a fundamental question is: – how best can individuals be better prepared to adapt and prosper through lifelong learning and work? Individuals’ must be well equipped with the mindsets and tools they need to find and benefit from purposeful learning and work opportunities. Organisations working with young people and/or adults in differing contexts will need agile responses to meet citizens’ needs.

With all this in mind, time away to network with experts and like-minded colleagues is just what the doctor ordered. This year’s theme is Evolving Careers. Delegates will learn from experts and peers whilst sharing experiences, research and best practise to take back to the day job of helping to transform people’s lives.

Conference Content

  • International keynote speakers
  • Breakout sessions hosted by leading experts and contributors

Session topics include;

  • Career-related learning in primary schools
  • An evolving curriculum in secondary, tertiary, vocational education and training (VET) and higher education settings
  • Future scoping careers
  • Digital innovations
  • Building Partnerships
  • How to Make a Difference to Those That Need Support Most
  • Youth Transitions: Creating Pathways to Success
  • Adults in the workplace
  • Labour markets: where next?
  • Tackling unemployment
  • Lifelong guidance
  • Social inclusion

*these are subject to change

  • Interactive Q&A panel debates
  • Digital delegate toolkit packed with valuable resources

Why Attend?

Our conference last year was a great success with delegates rating it 4.4 out of 5 in terms of value, content and relevance to their needs.

This year we have mixed our successful formula with some great new features and benefits but don’t just take our word for it, this is what our delegates had to say after the 2019 conference;

“It was inspirational to share so many elements of practice and research in one place. The calibre of speakers and content (including the toolkit) was exceptional.”

“Inspiring, positive, brilliantly organised. A day well spent.”

“The conference blended the worlds of academia research with great examples of careers work from around the world. We want more!”

“A wonderful conference, full of insight. Can’t wait for the next one.”

“The conference offered a great opportunity to interact with thought leaders on important topics relating to career development. Excellent venue and well organised.”

Book Your Place

Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis and conference is free to attend for a limited number of earlybird registrations.

Please book your tickets from our Eventbrite booking page.

For all conference queries contact our event organiser Nina Hurst-jones nina@theeventorganiser.co.uk . Book your place

Watch the success of last years conference

The Edge Foundation is an independent foundation working to inspire the education system to give all young people across the UK the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to flourish in their future life and work. Longtime advocates of high quality careers education and guidance, they are delighted to be supporting this event.

The Power of Networking
July 15, 2020
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The following article has been written by Cathy Milton a Canadian Career Professional.

You don’t have to look too long or hard to find several articles on the internet supporting the fact that up to 85% of job seekers landed their current job via networking. Even when presented with that impressive statistic, some clients may be sceptical.

I recently sat down with a friend and neighbour, a brilliant young man who just started a new job obtained via the strength of his well-maintained network. His success story may help to motivate your job-hunting clients who hesitate to engage their own networks in their search.

As background, what was your former job title and how long were you with that company?

I was Vice President of Product Management, and I was with that firm just shy of 10 years. I started out in an entry-level position as a software developer, and I worked my way up as the company went through rapid growth phases. Read more

From Careers to Experiences
June 30, 2020
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The following article was first published in The Wall Street Journal in 2018.

In the 21st century, careers may no longer be narrowly defined by highly structured jobs and skills, but by experiences and learning agility.

As technology becomes increasingly central to organizations’ business models and ability to compete, many successful CIOs have prioritized building and maintaining the pools of talent required to meet new challenges. Such efforts include recruiting and hiring top talent and then finding ways to keep these employees engaged, challenged, and advancing within their organizations.

What does the modern career path look like? It’s evolving into a series of developmental experiences, each offering a person the opportunity to acquire new skills, perspectives, and judgment. Among 10 trends highlighted in Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, 84 percent of survey respondents cite “from careers to experiences” as very important or important, making it the third most singled-out trend this year, yet only 37 percent think they are very ready or ready to address this transition (Figure 1).

Read more

How Learning a Foreign Language Can Give You a Career Edge
February 28, 2020
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With the search for employment becoming increasingly complex, it might feel impossible to stand out. Learning an additional language can open doors in a career and broaden employment opportunities.

Here are just four of many reasons why learning a new language may help you stand out from the pack.

A second language offers a point of difference

Knowledge of a foreign language is extremely valuable and can impress the hiring department of companies looking for new intakes. An additional language on your CV could be the thing to make you stand out over a pile of applications. Not only is it a useful skill to possess, but the act of learning a new language also demonstrates commitment and flexibility, which only increases your employability.

You’re a great candidate for global companies

Many companies want workers who can travel overseas and explore new business opportunities or greet overseas visitors. In an age that’s only becoming more interconnected, overseas travel is more and more necessary for workers in large-scale businesses. Being fluent in another language can open a lot of doors — some of these may even be plane doors.

You’ll have improved confidence and communication

Learning a foreign language can improve other areas of speech and presentation. Acquiring a new skill can give your confidence a boost, which can only make you a more appealing prospect for employers. Also, the development in learning one language only makes you a better communicator in your primary language — the need to rehearse speech out loud bodes well for when you present to clients, boards or other workers.

Your memory and capacity for multitasking is greater

Learning another language takes a lot of memory practice, as the constant rehearsal and consolidation of new knowledge requires continual usage of your memory. It also sharpens your mental processes, as the amount of energy and power required to discern between two languages increases your overall brain capability.

The constant switching between different languages also increases the brain’s reaction to changing between stimuli, which in turn makes for more effective multi-tasking.

HOW TO ENGAGE IN ETHICAL ADVOCACY WORK IN CAREER DEVELOPMENT
February 7, 2020
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When encouraging client self-advocacy or advocating on a client’s behalf, it is vital that career professionals be aware of ethical considerations such as informed consent

By Andrew Bassingthwaighte

While career development practitioners (CDPs) help clients navigate their career journeys, often we are also called upon to help these individuals deal with other issues that may impede them on their path. These issues can range from housing to immigration support to discrimination, to name a few; in each case, there is often a desire either from within us or from the client to act as an advocate.

Woman Helping Retired Senior Man Attending IT Class In Community Centre

Advocacy is a long-recognized concept in career development, and many professionals are aware of the value of this process, especially when the goal is to help clients access supports and resources that will further their economic and social well-being. Many of us engage daily in promoting self-advocacy – or the ability of our clients to make choices and decisions that affect their lives. Sometimes, though, there is a need to engage in further advocacy work on behalf of a specific client or community.

No matter the type of advocacy that we engage in, it is essential for CDPs to recognize two issues when engaging in this type of work. The first is to respect the dignity of clients with whom we work. The second is to be aware of any ethical considerations that could affect our work or profession.

Forms of advocacy

Advocacy looks different depending on the client or community that we are supporting. There are four main types of advocacy that could intersect with career practitioners’ work:

  • Self-advocacy: This involves empowering the clients with whom we work to make choices and decisions that affect their lives. Self-advocacy is regarded as an ideal form of advocacy as well as one that CDPs are most trained to engage in (Cadenas, 2018). Supporting clients in this type of advocacy requires establishing trust between the career practitioner and the client. This approach should incorporate cultural humility and sensitivity (Anderson et al., 2012, Cadenas, 2018).
  • Professional advocacy: Career practitioners serve as a bridge between their client and those in positions of power – such as people working in housing organizations or disability services – to make them aware of the client’s needs. It is essential when engaging in this type of advocacy to recognize that we are working with the client and give them space to speak and be heard (Mitcham et al., 2012).
  • Citizenship advocacy: Career practitioners expand their roles beyond the services they offer and act as a resource to communities that may face marginalization or discrimination within different sectors. The goal of this advocacy is to be a resource to those in the community and support their efforts. Community organizations such as immigration employment councils can support this work.
  • Public advocacy: In what is seen as the final level of advocacy (Cadenas, 2018), career practitioners work with both institutions and groups to draft public statements and inform policy processes. CERIC, for example, seeks to catalyze conversations around the economic and social impact of career development at a national level.

What all these advocacy models have in common is that they encourage practitioners to go beyond their typical daily tasks and engage in the process of challenging social justice issues that many of their clients face daily.

Engaging in advocacy: What to be aware of?

For those wanting to engage in advocacy efforts, the Canadian Standards & Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners – Code of Ethics highlights several areas that practitioners should be aware of in their work. Chief among these is the notion of informed consent.

Informed consent

The Code of Ethics framework (CCCD, 2004) prioritizes informed consent in several areas concerning how information is collected and used, but also with respect to the individual and their rights. At all times within our advocacy efforts, we need to ensure that we are putting the rights of the client first and taking the time to engage them in the process to identify their level of comfort with any steps taken.

However, there are times when, despite a client’s insistence on confidentiality, action is required (for example, where there is evidence of imminent danger to the client or others) (CCCD, 2004). In a CERIC blog on “The Ethics of Advocacy,” Roberta Neault (2012) gives a compelling overview of the debate that practitioners face when dealing with these concerns, which I encourage all practitioners to review.

Your comfort level

Further to recognizing the client’s comfort level when engaging in advocacy, as practitioners, we need to be comfortable in our abilities to do this type of work. The national Code of Ethics (CCCD, 2004) is clear that we must recognize the boundaries of our competencies, especially when dealing with issues that involve legal or other advice that may be outside of our areas of expertise. Alongside this, though, are personal competencies and boundaries. In becoming involved in advocacy work, we need to recognize our capacity and resilience when dealing with potentially stressful or traumatic issues.

Conflicts of interest

Our efforts may come into conflict with the agencies, organizations or funders that we work with each day. In some cases, this can be beneficial, as our advocacy work might identify opportunities to fill gaps or provide tailored services to individuals or groups. In other cases, though, our work may come in direct conflict with organizational policies or the practitioner’s personal beliefs or value systems.

It is vital that practitioners inform clients up front about the limitations of our services, alongside disclosing any potential conflicts of interest that might arise. In instances where a conflict arises and we need to step aside from the process, it is imperative to work with the client on what happens next (ie, referral to another organization), so the client is not left struggling with a lack of agency.

Conclusion

Engaging in advocacy is a critical but also enjoyable element of a career practitioner’s work. While there are several ethical considerations to bear in mind when engaging in this work, we need to understand that we are not alone. Not only are there groups and organizations that can help support the clients we work with, but as practitioners, we can also access these groups to learn from them, the issues that they face, and how we can support and walk alongside them as allies.

Andrew Bassingthwaighte is a Talent Development Specialist and Master of Arts – Social Justice and Equity Studies candidate at Brock University in St Catharines, ON. Having worked for almost 20 years in the UK and Canada providing employment counselling, training and mentoring to individuals from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, he now has the privilege of serving on Brock University’s President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization (PACHRED).

References

Cadenas, G. (2018). Advocacy in career development with immigrants. Career Planning & Adult Development Journal34(4), 7–20.

Mitcham, M., Greenidge, W., Bradham-Cousar, M., Figliozzi, J., & Thompson, M. A. (2012). Increasing career self-efficacy through group work with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Journal of School Counseling10(22).

Anderson, S. K., Peila-Shuster, J. J., & Aragon, A. (2012). Cross cultural career counseling: Ethical issues to consider. Career Planning & Adult Development Journal28(1), 127–139.

Canadian Council for Career Development. (2004). Canadian standards and guidelines for career development practitioners: Code of ethics. Retrieved from
career-dev-guidelines.org/the-standards-guidelines/code-of-ethics/

Neault, R. (2012, October 31). The ethics of advocacy: A Canadian perspective. [Blog post]. Retrieved from ceric.ca/2012/10/the-ethics-of-advocacy-a-canadian-perspective/

ViewPoint: Why Careers Education Needs International Inspiration
January 15, 2020
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By Ruth Gilbert, group education director at Manor Property Group and an honorary fellow at UCL Institute of Education.

When creating something new for the UK, it makes sense to take a look at the wider world to get a better understanding of what’s already out there and what’s working internationally.

This approach of considering best practice is not rocket science by any means and, in fact, it potentially saves a huge amount of effort. Why start from scratch to come up with new ideas when there are tried-and-tested techniques/products that would potentially work (albeit with some adaptations) for your particular market and audience?

Careers education

Careers education is clearly something that we haven’t got quite right in this country. A number of reasons can be cited for this – not enough funding, accountability, lack of prominence in the national curriculum…the list goes on. But the fact remains that high-quality careers education is crucial if young people are to be given the best possible chance to successfully progress from school/college/university into great jobs.

We have seen some investment in careers education projects for primary schools and funding for virtual career hubs to coordinate training and support employer brokering services. But, culturally, the emphasis in the UK has been on public sector leadership of employer engagement.

Many countries around the world have taken a very different approach to careers education, with encouraging results. So, perhaps it is time to look further afield and take inspiration from the international community. 

Take Finland – a European country with comparable economic drivers and social context to the UK. Much greater resource is dedicated to careers education there, and the subject is a compulsory element of the curriculum. It comprises around 76 hours of scheduled “careers ed” activities in the students’ timetables during the equivalent of Years 7-9. In addition, there is an entitlement for individual and group guidance together with compulsory work experience periods. And for younger children in Finland (grades 1-6), careers guidance is embedded within the classroom.

Expert guidance

Crucially, students are also entitled to expert careers guidance at school one year after completing upper secondary level if they have not been enrolled in further education. For those young people starting vocational education and training programmes (VET) there is one compulsory ECVET module on the development of lifelong career management skills. Each student is entitled to a customised learning plan – supporting them to consider their post-education plans.

Finland and its neighbour Norway are also leading the way with physical careers guidance centres (Ohjaamo centres) – which are also found in Australia. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s international conference in June referenced this work, highlighting the benefit of these centres to promote active citizenship, inclusion and transition to employment. They are cross-sectoral, providing a range of outreach services to support young people, including: employment and youth services; career practitioners; social/health professionals; and a range of charities.

This model is similar to the vision of Manor Property Group, which is developing a network of careers hubs. The first of these Qdos Career Hubs is planned to serve East Yorkshire, where youth unemployment has been rising, major skills shortages are evident and apprenticeship take-up is very low.

And, as is evident from Finland’s experience, the establishment of one-stop guidance centres is having a positive impact, with respondents feeling they were better involved in decision making about their own lives. This is exactly what Manor expects to achieve with our project – benefiting the local, regional and national economy and skills market.

Industry involvement

Another key theme, which comes through strongly when looking at Finland’s successful implementation of careers guidance, is the involvement of industry. Privatisation of services is always a contentious point in the UK, but is a common feature of careers guidance services in other countries. Over the past 10 years in Finland, the role of the private sector has increased, introducing more varied and flexible services. These have included online careers information and self-assessment tools as well as national projects to support continuous learning.

And in Canada, there has been substantial commercial investment from industry into career development. It is widely accepted that that industry-led education in Canada is progressive – offering much best practice for the UK to take note of. An example of this is RBC, Canada’s largest bank, committing to investing CA$500 million (£288 million) over 10 years in the Future Launch programme to help young people succeed in the emergent labour market. 

We have seen employability online programmes from major banks and financial institutions in the UK but we don’t culturally promote industry engagement in leadership of pioneering public services. Via its network of Qdos Career Hubs, Manor is keen to demonstrate how smaller businesses in the UK can create a legacy for their communities, supporting growth of the economy and young people, hand in hand.

Crucially, careers guidance gives young people a broader view of the opportunities available to them. It also offers employers the chance to consider their future skills needs and engage with the very audience they need to support these needs. A win-win.

Learning lessons from abroad reflects the necessity of taking an international view on these issues. We are operating in a global digital economy and this means opening young people’s eyes to how industry is working – now and in the future, here and abroad.

Developing Your Career Capital

By Tonya Holowitski, RPR, RPT, CMP, CRS, CCS, CISA Career Innovator & Designer for Alberta CPAs (Chartered Professional Accountants) and CPA Students

Tonya Holowitski, RPR, RPT, CMP, CRS, CCS, CIS
Tonya Holowitski

I recently had the opportunity to deliver two workshops on how to build your Career Capital using LinkedIn. They were both great sessions and I learned a lot both developing the content and delivering the content.

Career Capital is the value of competencies, knowledge and individual personality attributes you have to produce economic value. Career Capital is vitally important for an individual’s success in all stages of work and life. Career Capital can increase through education, experience and your ability to identify and convert into an opportunity. In the digital age, building your career capital requires a conscious effort to strategically evolve to act and influence as a valuable and respected resource.

Career Capital was a concept developed in 1994 by Organizational Psychologists DeFillipi and Athurs for organizations. As time has progressed it has been shaped and moulded in a manner that is meant to reflect the individual more so than an organization’s team development and succession planning. As time goes on the career landscape is changing and we are beginning to hear more about a “Gig Economy” and becoming a “Careerpreneur”. Other terms you may come across that apply to the Gig Economy are a Free Floating Professional, a Temporary Employee, a Contractor, Self-Employed,

A “gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The term “gig” is a slang word meaning “a job for a specified period of time” and is typically used in referring to musicians.

“Careerpreneur” is a term we use a lot in the Career Development world, particularly by my education body Career Professionals Canada. It means becoming an independent agent working towards our career success. Scripting our path versus waiting for someone to write it out for us. Keeping an eye out for emerging and growing opportunities. Proactively taking advantage of our career development initiatives.

Cal Newport the author of Seven Ways Successful People Approach Their Work and So Good They Can’t Ignore You has a phrase that resonates quite well and shifts us from the common perspective of pursuing your passion. He states “Adopt the craftsman mindset, not the passion mindset” His perspective is to look at work not from “What can the world offer me?” but ask “What can I offer the world?”. So it’s a little bit of the notion of Symbolic Capital (reputation/ prestige in a field). The Career Capital piece would be to then take key elements of your Symbolic Capital and being able to apply them in a different career capacity – could be role, client, or even organisation.

Career Capital is broken down into three fundamental concepts:

  1. Knowing Why: This is where you are examining internal and external factors that are driving your career or need for change. It could be related to changes in the market place, technology, demand, layoffs, boredom, corporate values and others.
  2. Knowing Whom: This is your network developed through work, volunteerism, your personal life whom all can help you move forward in your career or a transition. This consists of Mentors, Sponsors, Peers, Supervisors, Friends, Family, Community Connections, Virtual Connections (LinkedIn), Experts and Networking Connections. AKA Social Capital.
  3. Knowing How: This is what you have learned to do on the job, in your studies, from volunteerism, hobbies and other learning activities.

To become effective in developing your Career Capital, you need to explore your relationship with perceived internal and external marketability. It means being able to adapt, to continue to keep up to date on future job perspectives, knowledge and skills and asking others how they perceive you. Gone are the days where you get one degree and that is it, no further professional development required. Technology, economic market volatility, social trends, climate change, political change and other requires each of us to be prepared for rapid change in requirements in the workplace.

It also means saving your money for the future. There may be times you find yourself unemployed but there also may be times where if you haven’t been continually investing in skills development that you find yourself reinventing yourself which may mean a temporary pay decrease. However, if you are continually investing in your career capital you should be seeing an increase in your economic capital.

So what are the key elements and attitudes you want to focus on to increase your Career Capital? Consider the following:

  1. Develop Movement Capital (encompasses the individual skills, knowledge, competencies, and attitudes influencing an individual’s career mobility opportunities, which in turn influences their likelihood of career success – Forrier Sels & Stynen, 2009).
  2. Adaptability (Allows people to evolve and enables and motivates them to adapt their human capital, social capital and career identity to new circumstances – Forrier et al., 2009)
  3. Networking: Events, virtual, within an organisation, in your community, with your friends and family.
  4. Continuous Learning: On the job, through classes formal and informal, from a mentor and your peers.
  5. Market Research and Market Awareness: Continually pay attention to the news. Everythings applies – Global Trade & Politics, National Trade, Economy and Politics, Stock Markets, Science, Innovation and Technology, Mergers and Acquisitions, Provincial Policy changes, Municipal affairs, Climate events (fires, hurricanes, tornados anything that can cause a city to stop) and more.
  6. Attitude: Self-motivation, determination, perseverance, flexibility, emotional intelligence, industry acumen, patience, commit to change, and have a willingness to learn.
  7. Reputation: Be known for follow-through and your ability to deliver, take a chance and write a blog, be a guest speaker, train others, become a mentor, become a subject matter expert, think credibility.
  8. Multi-Disciplinary Exposure: Develop breadth and depth of expanding your competencies.
  9. Multi-Industry Exposure
  10. Build your Brand

So there you have it Career Capital, it’s a thing. BTW did you ever guess there could be so many different forms of Capital in your life?

About the Author: Tonya Holowitski is a professional Career Advisor and previously was a Recruiter both in-house and external search. She holds a number of certifications and designations through the Career Professionals of Canada and the Institute of Professional Management.