OUR PLANNING PROCESS
You will never reach your destination if you do not first determine where it is you wish to go.
BUILDING A CAREER PATHWAY
Career planning is the continuous process of evaluating, learning and developing skills for the purpose of finding gainful employment in a profession which aligns with the behaviour, values, interests, skills and financial objectives of an individual. The process can be subdivided into three stages: career selection, program selection and employment search.
For some people, such as those already employed and looking for a change in environment, the process can be completed in a matter of weeks, while others such as high school students may require several years to complete the process for the first time.
Each of the three stages is comprised of four elements: discovery, exploration, evaluation and execution.
See our Home Page to find out how we work with families to guide students through the building their own career pathway from early high school right through to graduation from post-secondary school.
STAGE 1: CAREER SELECTION
The purpose of this stage is to identify potential careers that align with the individual seeking employment, discover the qualifications to join and develop an executable action plan to establish a direction for pursuing the career of choice.
The first step is to establish a level of self-awareness by creating a personal profile. Identify the traits most important to finding a satisfying and successful career - behaviour style (closely associated with personality), driving forces, interests, values, skills & abilities and financial or lifestyle expectations.
After taking personal inventory, establish and prioritize a series of SMART goals, setting the bar for what is expected throughout the remainder of the career planning process.
Begin to explore professions databases for the purpose of identifying a series of possible careers that will align well with the personal profile and goals already established. There are over 35,000 job descriptions in Canada's national database. Keep an open mind and expand paradigms beyond personal experience and known interests.
Investigate in more depth, those professions of interest discovered during the exploration stage - review wage scales, advancement opportunities, economic outlook, job duties and related jobs. Gain an understanding of the qualifications required for the profession. Listen to advice from experts in the field, consider a day in the life of an employee in the profession. Narrow the possibilities to a select few that are under consideration to pursue at the next level.
Build career maps to help find the ideal job(s) within a chosen profession. Update goals to reflect the desired career path and consider the experience and network connections that may be useful in attracting potential employers. Put together an execution plan to address the identified needs.
STAGE 2: PROGRAM SELECTION
The objective of this stage is determine how to obtain the credentials required for entrance into the profession(s) selected in Stage 1 and develop a plan of action for doing so.
Determine the gaps between the career qualifications and personal inventory. Evaluate the alternatives for obtaining what is necessary to fill the gaps (e.g. - professional designation, diploma, work experience). Consider the preferred learning styles and learning environments that are most likely provide the best results. Start by selecting a stream - university, college, trade school, apprenticeship, military or on-the-job training. Every student will have different needs and the same pathway is not suitable for all.
Evaluate the alternatives available for obtaining the necessary qualifications by identifying people, opportunities or institutions that can provide the education or training needed. Start by selecting fields of interest and then determining which institutions offer programs in the field. Ensure the program is relevant to the chosen career, is of interest to the student and offers flexibility (specialty focus, electives, alternative options in senior years).
Compare the alternatives to the student's own personal profile. At a minimum consideration should be given to the qualifications obtained, the institution's reputation, facilities (libraries, technology, recreation), location (community), student support services, and of course cost. Keep in mind, the best school may not always be the right school - some students will get lost in a large institution with large class sizes and little interaction with faculty while others may excel in the same environment.
Compile a plan for obtaining the necessary credentials. Consider the financial requirements, time commitments, pre-requisite learning, relocation or travel implications as part of the plan. Update personal goals to reflect the new developments.
"My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there."
- Charles Kettering
STAGE 3: EMPLOYMENT SEARCH
The final stage of the process is centred around finding employment, seeking work that will be both fulfilling and financially rewarding in a work environment conducive to personal needs.
While pursuing the necessary credentials, give thought to the ultimate goal, finding employment. Evaluate the ideal work environment and culture that will enable performance maximization both inside and outside of the workplace. Re-examine financial needs and lifestyle objectives to determine job expectations.
Learn to search databases and use networking tools to find desirable employers and discover job opportunities that align with career objectives.
Compare job opportunities and investigate potential employers more thoroughly by examining what employees say about their work experiences and job satisfaction. Review management teams and discover company specific interview insights. Complete informational interviews. Follow the activities of potential employers in the media and interact on-line.
Prepare for finding employment by making network connections, adding experience, developing an attractive resume, practicing interview skills, building a brand and honing differentiable skills that align with the potential employer's mission and strategy.
"The best part of the program is being able to see which parts of our personality and behaviour matched best to particular jobs. I never would have been able to do that otherwise. I also appreciated the specific answers to my questions and the willingness to dig deeper without ever feeling that I was holding up the class or wasting anyone's time." Carmen M, high school student