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Developing Your Career Capital
November 4, 2019
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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.

International ViewPoint: Strategies for Working Effectively with Clients Who Have Disabilities
September 20, 2019
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The following article by Malou Twyna – a Career Counsellor at the University of Toronto Mississauga, was first published by CareerWise who helps people working in career development across Canada stay up to date on the top news and trends.

As an Employment Specialist working with people with disabilities, I will always remember my first client who had schizophrenia.

Before we started our work together, I was excited and anxious as well. I had worked with clients with a variety of mental-health concerns before, but schizophrenia sounded serious, challenging and, honestly, a bit scary. The many stereotypes and stigma surrounding the illness made me wonder if this would be a good experience for either of us or if I would even be able to help him find a direction and implement a plan.

Malou Twyna

Despite my lack of experience and nerves, and his differences from my other clients, we concluded our work together when he was hired by his preferred employer and transitioned well to his job. I credit most of our success to his drive to succeed, passion for his chosen area of employment and ability to take advice and implement action steps. In the intervening 15 years of experience working with people with disabilities around career and employment, I realize how much I have learned about being human and helping others professionally.

In my current role as a Career Counsellor at the University of Toronto Mississauga, I join my colleagues in Accessibility Services one day a week as an Integrated Counsellor. Working with students receiving academic accommodations due to a wide array of disability concerns continues to be stimulating and eye-opening. As we move through the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) compliance process and embrace a more inclusive and equitable world of work, I hope some of my insights on ways to help people with disabilities around career and employment will be useful to you.

The elephant in the room?

Disability in the counselling space can hover around the edges of a conversation as an awkward, taboo subject that neither party feels comfortable broaching. As was the case with my client with schizophrenia, social stigma can reside in both the counsellor and client. Knowing if a student has a disability and how it affects them can inform all aspects of career work such as:

  • Helping to set job goals based on strengths
  • Co-developing workable strategies to build skills and experience
  • Teaching job search skills and customizing approaches to attaining opportunities
  • Supporting clients in adjusting to new work situations

Open discussions around these issues can be key to seeing a client with a disability achieve career success. Despite this, it’s hard to know whether to and when to signal our openness and comfort talking about it, and (more importantly) gauge if and when the client is. Here are some strategies to navigate the sometimes-tricky waters of conversations around career and disability.

If possible, have a frame

Sending an overt signal through marketing your service that you are open to these discussions is very useful. My frame of “Career Counselling for students receiving Accessibility Services” sends the message that I am comfortable and that this area of discussion is welcomed. Signals can be less overt than this such as: creating positive marketing messages to clients with disabilities and their allies, displaying a disability-positive poster in your space (here are some posters focused on post-secondary students), and making your space accessible and welcoming to those with disabilities. Make sure your program registration info and your email signature invite requests for accommodations. These small signals can set the tone for more direct and comfortable conversations around disability issues.

Accommodate your client’s needs

Making people with disabilities comfortable and helping them to get the most out of your services starts with asking them if they need any accommodations. I have found many have been reluctant to get what they need as they don’t want to make waves or get special treatment. Considering they may not have disclosed a disability yet and that moving to this topic immediately is not the best way to build a solid rapport; asking in a more friendly and informal tone can work better. For example: “Before we begin, is there anything I can do to make you more comfortable here or meet your needs better?” As you get to know the client, observe what seems to be working for them and what might be a problem. Examples include: “I noticed you seem to squint a bit when we are using the computer together. Can I move the monitor closer or magnify the text?” or “I noticed you seem less comfortable as our appointments progress and are holding your back. Do you need to take a break to stand up or move around?”

Once a client knows what you mean by accommodations and are serious about providing them, they may be more likely to ask for what they need. If they have disclosed a disability impact but they are unsure of what accommodations might be useful in session or in their community-based activities, check JAN’s SOAR (Searchable Online Accommodation Resource) to learn more.

The relationship is everything

Meaningful conversations around disability, and any barriers and concerns it might present, depend on developing a positive and trusting connection with the client. The best way to do this is to go back to counselling basics: unconditional positive high regard; non-expert stance; transparency about the steps and actions that could be taken; affirming the client’s strengths; and promoting client agency and control over the process. From this solid foundation, a wider variety of topics can be opened and more direct questions can be asked with little risk of damage to the counselling relationship.

Always ask

What are the best questions to ask someone with a disability? The kinds of questions you’d ask of anyone trying to find their career path! You know: questions about the kind of life they envision for themselves, what they value in a career, and what is meaningful and interesting to them. Ask lots of questions about their strengths and achievements – identifying and affirming strengths is especially important for clients with disabilities to counter any stigma on both sides.  Celebrating strengths can be part of establishing trust and for them to know that “you get them” and appreciate them as people first and foremost. I

In most cases, exploring whether discussions around the client’s disability are relevant would come later. If you want to probe if disability concerns are present for the client, I’d recommend asking: “Do you have any concerns about the impact of your disability on your career success (job search, interview etc.)?” and/or “Would it be helpful for me to know more about this / how your disability impacts you?”

Forget what you know

No two people with the same disability have the same experience. Your previous experience with a client with a particular disability may not be very helpful to the next client with the same diagnosis and could be counterproductive. Using previous client situations as a template may result in incorrect assumptions that can limit rapport and shut down dialogue. When taking a referral from another counsellor or organization, try going in with fresh eyes and do not review the client’s case notes substantially (if your organization’s process permits this). Being curious about their lived experiences and being direct can be respectful – if you are confident and ask good questions.

Talk about disclosure

If your clients seems uncomfortable with questions around disability barriers, affirm their right to non-disclosure. This is a great opportunity to explain more about disclosure and accommodations and their right to not disclose in your work with them and beyond.  Becoming knowledgeable about this topic can signal to the client that you can support them to make disclosure and accommodations decisions as a jobseeker, student or employee. A great resource for this is in the UTM Career Centre’s Accessibility Pages.

Get their feedback

Periodically, inquire if the help they are getting is in line with their goals and expectations for coming to see you. Ask them to give some honest feedback on how the sessions could be more helpful to them. Encourage their agency and efficacy by asking them to set the focus each session on what they want to accomplish. For those who have issues with executive functioning, organization or memory, spend some time together before the start of the session brainstorming what they want to accomplish. Providing a copy of your session notes with steps agreed on can enhance client agency and demonstrate your commitment to transparency.

Reflect and debrief

Working with people with disabilities adds levels of diversity and intersectionality that can present great potential for skills growth and profound sense of accomplishment for both the counsellor and client. That being said, sometimes it can be very straightforward, too! That is the beauty of it – it keeps you on your toes and open to whatever the client brings. Returning to the theme of ‘counselling skills 101’, self-reflection on successes and less than successes and learning from them (either alone, with a supervisor or mentor, or in a staff debrief situation) is the key to working well and helping your clients reach their next level of wellness in their careers and life journeys.

Malou Twynam, Career Counsellor. Twynam earned her Master of Education in Counselling Psychology in addition to a previous Master’s Degree in Sociology. Prior to joining the team at the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Career Centre, she worked for 10 years in career services in the not-for-profit sector assisting persons with disabilities to achieve their career goals. She has also worked as a vocational rehabilitation consultant and has provided psychotherapy to post-secondary students and adults in community and private practice setting. Twynam enjoys helping people discover their unique gifts and strengths, explore career possibilities to make confident career decisions. Her greatest satisfaction comes from seeing someone surpass their own expectations and achieve what they assumed was not possible for them.

Career Breaks Are the New Norm – So Why Are They Still Stigmatised?

When we think of career breaks, motherhood tends to spring to mind. But there are many other reasons why people take timeImage result for career breaks off work, and getting back in isn’t always easy.

Geoff was 44 when he found himself faced with a difficult decision: to leave his 30-year coal mining career behind him and retrain, or to continue doing what he knew best. He was at this crossroads because his 11-year-old daughter was concerned that he was putting himself in danger each day; she was scared of losing her dad. She didn’t know it, but her fear was very much grounded in reality. Mining has the third highest fatality rate of any industry. It now claims the lives of nine workers on average each year, and that number was even higher when Geoff was working in the industry.

With his daughter’s concerns front of mind, he decided to take a leap of faith and retrain as a teacher. Following two years of accelerated study, he found himself in a position where he was entering a new industry for the first time in over three decades. Read more

Presentations for Career Professionals Interested in Mental Health
March 22, 2019
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Mental health has become a crucial consideration for career development professionals, whether examining how it relates to their clients’ career development or their own well-being. Following are links to the slides from several presentations at CERIC’s 2019 Cannexus conference that examined the topic from various angles.

CERIC

CERIC is a charitable organization that advances education and research in career counselling and career development, in order to increase the economic and social well-being of Canadians.

Linking Improved Career Development & Mental Health Together – Clarence DeSchiffart

In reviewing mental health and career development concepts, it appears the principles are striving for the same outcome – helping someone to a better and happier life. This session offered a detailed examination and comparison of specific core mental health and career development principles. Read more

The Australian Careers Service
February 26, 2019
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The Australian Careers Service (ACS) is an initiative of the Good Education Group — a careers and educational publisher, responsible for producing The Good Schools Guide and The Good Universities Guide.

ACS aims to support career education professionals by encouraging best practice and innovation in the delivery of career programs, promoting career education as a professional and recognised field, and providing a platform for networking and discussion. ACS members have access to a range of resources and events tailored to the career education industry, including newsletters and information seminars.

If you have clients who are exploring the opportunities of a career in Australia then you can access free online resources from their website. These include: Read more

Online Career Resources
November 6, 2018
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The following set of resources have been put together by www.visualcv.com

The hardest part of finding a job is getting started…

There are so many tools, resources, and technologies out there that just beginning your search or career development can seem overwhelming.

How can you find a job or further your career when you can’t even find the best tools to help you?

Well, we’re here to help. In this job search resources list we have carefully curated all the best job search articles and websites, so your focus can be on looking for the right job instead of looking for the right tools.


 

Skills on the Move
November 5, 2018
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The following blog was shared by DMH Associates. 

Migration has been at the centre of political debate across the OECD in recent years. Drawing on data from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), this report provides new evidence on differences in migrants’ characteristics and contexts and considers how these relate to the skills migrants possess.

It also examines the relationship between migrants’ skills and their labour and non-labour market outcomes in host countries. Finally, it sheds new light on how migrants’ skills are developed, used and valued in host country labour markets and societies. Results and lessons gleaned from analysis highlight the way forward for future research on this topic.

The report represents an invaluable resource for policy makers across different sectors as they design and implement strategies aimed at promoting the long-term integration of foreign-born populations in the economic and social life of their countries. The analyses presented allow us to identify the skill composition of foreign-born populations, the labour market and broader social outcomes associated with such skills, and the factors that can promote skill acquisition and skill use. Read more

A Canadian ViewPoint: Supporting Clients with Mental Health Challenges
October 19, 2018
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Career development practitioners should take a holistic approach, supporting their clients’ mental health while helping them navigate career planning By Derrick McEachern

Career planning is a mental-health intervention and a well-being practice. What people do each day shapes who they are and how they feel about their daily lives

People who are disengaged from their work, unemployed, undergoing a work transition or ambivalent about their career path may struggle to varying degrees with stress, uncertainty, low self-worth, anxiety and, in many cases, depression. However, government programs traditionally focus solely on employment: helping people find work using their current skills or retraining them in specifically targeted fields with a high probability of employment.

Well-being and mental-health research (Walsh, 2011) suggest a more holistic approach is necessary. There is a need for more comprehensive services that account for employees’ lifestyle factors and support employee engagement and retention while also addressing mental-health problems.

Well-being and mental health

In their book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, Tom Rath and Jim Harter document research conducted across 155 countries that suggests five interconnected elements are predictive of overall well-being. Read more

Breaking into the Classroom: 5 Tips to Integrate Career Components into Student Coursework
October 2, 2018
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The author of this article is Nicole Poff, MA, a Career Services Specialist and Online Associate Faculty member at Ashford University San Diego, California. As a Career Services Specialist, Nicole works collaboratively across the university to embed career service components into the classroomNicole Poff

At a recent conference, a fellow attendee complained: “Our students are so over-programmed with university initiatives that our department can’t compete for attention.”

Another attendee responded, “Well, you should consider yourself lucky – we have such a small department that our calendars are completely booked with student appointments, so we have no time to create programming.” Over the next hour, counsellors from across the country shared their career services dilemmas. One small complaint created a domino effect of career counsellors revealing their strongest pain points. Beyond just over-programming and a small department, some of the most common issues were: lack of student engagement, limited funds, low workshop attendance, unprepared students, and overzealous students who expect to become CEOs upon graduation.

Uncertain about how my peers would respond, I anxiously raised my hand and said: “We don’t have a huge budget; we have a pretty small team in comparison to our massive student and alumni population; our engagement is frequently subpar, but we have found that integrating career components into existing courses is working very well for us. In fact, we have successfully integrated career service components into a lot of our education courses, and we are seeing great success.” At that moment, I was met with both curiosity and resistance as other counsellors asked, “Would curriculum integration work for us? If so, how?” Read more

International ViewPoint: Injecting Hope into the World of Careers
October 1, 2018
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The following was written by Jim Bright, Professor of Career Education and Development at Austrailian Catholic University (ACU), and was published in The Sydney Morning Herald

Imagine if a school or college could offer the promise of moving students from mostly D grades to mostly A grades, could increase their engagement with learning and give them a clearer and more confident sense of their vocational identity. Too good to be true? Well perhaps not, according to a team of Canadian and US researchers who have made and connectedIllustration: Kerrie Leishman the missing links between career counselling and positive psychology.

Recently here I wrote about my concerns that some schools appear to have embraced positive psychology so uncritically that they have all but abandoned properly informed career counselling. I argued that this was an over-reaction. However, what I like about this North American research is the way that key concepts in positive psychology have been employed in the service of career counselling and education, rather than erroneously supplanting it.

Spencer Niles, Norman Amundson and Hyung Joon Yoon from William and Mary College, University of British Columbia and Pennsylvania State University have developed a hope-centred model of career development. The central notions combine hope, self-clarity, vision, planning and adaptability.

What sets this work apart is that they have conducted large-scale studies in educational settings linking these concepts to measures such as a person’s confidence in and clarity of their career interests, talents and personality. They also linked hope to student engagement – for instance, the degree to which a student spontaneously worked harder than they thought to meet a teacher’s expectations. Finally, they linked it to the very tangible measure of grade-point average – the number of As, Bs, Cs or Ds that a student is achieving. Read more