SFU Career Practitioners – Fall 2014 Cohort


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The Internet is Forever

Learning about the wealth of information and assessment tools online, both Labour Market Information (LMI) and Computer Assisted Career Guidance Systems (CACGS), was immensely beneficial to me as I believe strongly in making well-informed decisions based on sound research. (Must be the Green and the Archivist in me!)

Of equal significance, however, is applying critical-thinking skills to the information and statistical data gleaned from those online sources. So, learning about different types of Employment and Unemployment, for example, was, and will be for me, key to properly understanding and interpreting government statistics, for example. Knowing who is counted as “unemployed” and for how long and under what category tells me a lot about the real state of the economy and specific industry trends, all critical to career development practice.

Learning about the multitude of Social Media tools, however, had perhaps the greatest impact on me personally, both positive and negative. It’s like opening Pandora’s Box. On the one hand, I am drawn to Social Media (such as Linkedin) as a powerful mechanism for communicating the value of one’s professional self to prospective employers and engaging the online world (using web-based platforms such as Twitter or WordPress) in discussions that both showcase one’s passions, interests, or subject- and/or industry-specific knowledge. From my observations and experience social media can be used as a force for good, educating people en masse and engendering positive change through calls to political action or bringing attention to issues of social justice in order to correct current policies and practices, for example.

However, I have also learned, the hard way, that what you say and how you say it will always be interpreted through a variety of lenses, all shaped through an interplay of nurture and nature. Depending from whose perspective you ask will determine what reaction you’re likely to receive. Put it on the internet and it can become a provocative tool that incites, potentially, negative and/or unintended reactions and responses from an online universe of people, most of whom you’ll never meet. That’s enough to cause me to leave my opinions in “draft” and never press “send!”

Although the majority of my own lessons come from personal experiences where the written word was misinterpreted and the receiver had only a combination of the words sent and her own lens to gauge the intended meaning of the content, I have learned over the years that if you’re going to put it in writing and send it over the internet (via email, Social Media or other online tool), always remember the old adage: If you don’t have something nice to say (and even if you do!) … The internet is forever.

My impersonation of a gloomy gus, aside, I will no doubt cautiously embrace social media as a tool for education and engagement because while I can’t control what other people think or how they interpret the meaning behind my words, in life or online, I can control the words I (carefully) choose to express myself with and focus only on subject matter that I feel I can speak to with passion, conviction and substance.

– Brenda Richmond


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Reflections on Information & Computer Research

I just genuinely find a lot of the materials that were presented in this course to be extremely useful in a career advising appointment. We have talked about the perks of leveraging Labour Market Information in career decision making. We have also talked about the limitations of LMI and the things to be aware of when using the information. One of the things I didn’t know coming into this class is that the best way to collect LMI is to have an informational interview with people in the industry. They are able to provide realistic, industry specific information and insights that you won’t be able to get elsewhere. One useful little tip that I learned is to gather information from a wide variety of resources, cross reference its validity, and then integrate them in a way that is most beneficial to you as a job seeker.

The one thing that I can’t wait to share with my future clients is that there are tons of those cool online tools that can help them build up and polish their online presence if they haven’t started doing so. In my opinion, building an online presence is especially important for job seekers because so many of the recruitment actions actually involve the use of online platforms nowadays. Certainly, you don’t have to throw in 30 hours a week to build and maintain your online presence; just work at a pace that you feel most comfortable with. Other than Linkedin, It was also interesting to explore various functions of platforms such as Twitter, About.me, WordPress, Mashable, which are also useful sites to strengthen your online presence.

Overall, this is just an invaluable and rewarding experience getting to know the tech and stats side of the job search process. The load of information being thrown at you might be a little bit overwhelming in the beginning, but if you take the time to digest it slowly, you will find each of them to be very useful.

– Max Huang


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Technology and the Labour Market for a CDP

LMI

The Blueprint has had, and will have, a huge impact on the Labour Market. The move towards ‘trades’ is the way forward to meet industry requirements in BC. The baby-boomers will soon be retiring and birth rates are decreasing. However, birth rates amongst First Nations are increasing. Where will all the workers come from? According to the Labour Market Outlook, “one-third of workers expected to fill projected job openings in B.C. to 2022 are migrants”. The Women’s Trade Program will also impact on the market as we move into the next decade.

Career Guidance

Online sources for career guidance are plentiful with many different features and focuses. Some are more user friendly than others, I particularly liked ALIS which provided a full cycle of career planning and had additional resources, for example, videos. NOC and Work BC are great sites to get more details about specific jobs, and you can access information about related jobs; this is really useful when a client knows what area they want to work in but are not sure what job they want to do in that area.

Online sources are great but are not enough!! You cannot beat face-to face interactions. Information interviews, Job Fairs, information sessions, and anything else that might give you the opportunity to network, network, network. A face-to-face interaction is also a way to get more up-to-date information.

Managing your Online Presence

Your online presence can increase or improve your employment opportunities. However, you must ensure that it is ok for a prospective employer to see your online activities. It is essential that you manage your privacy settings and make sure that you delete all of the drunken activities of your student days!! Social media clean up sites like simplewa.sh or washable.com can be used to get rid of any unsavoury photos. A LinkedIn account is a necessity and your headline and summary must have an impact to get you noticed. Blogging can be a challenge, but try to get into blogging in small steps; blogging can help improve your professionalism.

– Denise Christou


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Life is about continuous learning

During this course I learned useful things related to career search and career planning. I’ve started on a journey – a long journey with many stops where I could rest and reflect upon many things, I learned new ways of being creative and expressing myself.

The course covered different aspects including, but not limited to, Labor Market Information, Career Search, Online Presence, Community Resources, from the perspective of being a client as well as being the facilitator and helping other people boost their self-esteem and search results.

Let’s discuss some points upon which I reflected during my stops on that journey.

I think the “hidden market” plays a huge role in job search and job seekers have wide possibilities that they not aware of. If we put aside the online applications, or responses to job postings we might find ourselves stuck or confused, but even if having no friends nor other networking tools, we can start by doing little things like reaching out to a company for an informational interview or going to the local library where we can talk to people face-to-face, or we can volunteer and make more connections. Those are just a few examples to start.

Navigating through a lot of online resources provided me with lots of insights and I believe they are a powerful tool where the client or the job seeker can assess his/her strengths, interests, values, personality type and look for jobs with similar environments. The online tools also provide lots of options and choices in terms of occupations. NOC Canada, Work BC, Education Planner, BC Jobs Plan Get Skills and Career Cruising are some of the examples.

Online presence is very important in today’s fast developing world. Having (and using) a LinkedIn account, Twitter and Blogs help clients stand out from other people and have a better chance of getting the jobs they want; they can create, build and maintain professional and mutual connections. During the course I found out the importance of the headline and the summary sections on LinkedIn.

I also learned some techniques on how to help a job seeker in a more natural way. Being a Career Practitioner is a channel to inspire others. The force of empowering the client is huge and one thing to be accomplished is by having open conversations, asking reflective questions rather than telling them what to do. Clients have to realize that he/she has a mission to search, to persuade, to look for and go wherever needed until the goal is achieved. My role as future career practitioner is to help the job seeker and be supportive, inclusive and client-centered.

This is not the end of the journey. There will be many more stops because life is a continuous learning.

– Elena Bivol


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Some Thoughts

This week was full of discoveries.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn about so many useful resources offered online. I think the WorkBC website is a good example of what an informational portal should look like. It actually makes me feel proud of our BC government for the efforts it puts into developing this resource. Other resources, such as Career Cruising and Type Focus not only provide information about careers, but also include self-assessments that help match personality to occupations.

It was also useful to learn about the relatively new BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint. Vocational trades are becoming a trend and I am personally glad that the BC government is trying to foresee the economic developments and future challenges.

Another great takeaway from this course is the increased awareness of being professional online. Creating a profile on LinkedIn that speaks for itself with a good summary will definitely take me some time. I also wish I was a better writer, then I would start a blog in order to share my experiences and resources with others. I do have a deep desire to help those who are struggling and looking for a job or for a satisfying and self-actualizing career.

Having guest speakers during the course was an invaluable experience because they bring news and experience from actually working in a particular field. It actually made me feel important and attached to the industry because they talked to us as career professionals and not just students.

– Sergey Chubinsky


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My Reflections

From attending this course, I learned that a lot of websites can help people with career exploration and career transition. Also new immigrants can be helped with their settlement. We as a career practitioner can help people to overcome these difficulties.

From my experience as a new immigrant, I had a lot of difficulties settling into my career. I was looking for a job even though it was so difficult as I didn’t know how to write a good resume and cover letter. I don’t even know where I could look for a job.  The only source that I had was my friend who came to Canada before me. She tried to help based on her experiences, but didn’t have any idea about the employment centers that could help us. I didn’t know that there are lots of employment centers or Career Practitioners that could help us work through our challenges.

As a student of the Career Practitioner program, I feel so excited about a career in this field. I can be a resource for people who need help with career settlement, finding jobs and education planning.

I know that it there is still a long way to get there because I have a lot more courses to finish. For now, I can learn how to use the websites and become aware of their benefits and limitations, and these will be valuable tools in the near future when I am in the work force.

These valuable sites can also be my tools for helping get employment opportunities for myself. I never thought that social media can help me to reach potential employers. My understanding was social media can only be used for connecting among friends and family. It is a very helpful resource. Learning how to set the Facebook privacy settings to prevent outside people that you do not want seeing your profile was great to learn. Your private life and professional life should not mingle.

Before attending this course someone told me about LinkedIn and Twitter, and that they are good for people who looking for jobs but that picture was never clear to me until I took this course. I now know how to set up both, write a professional summary and talk about my experience – even what type of profile photos you should use. These are such great things to learn, and I will use them for my own career in the future.

Also beside online tools, other tools to help with career exploration are networking, information interviews and volunteer jobs.

– R. Yampoin


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Insight Into The Course

In the past, my understanding of job hunting was just through job postings on the internet or in the newspaper or networking. By participating in this course, I have come to realize job search is much more than that. I’ve raised my awareness of the importance of information and computer research.

By learning Labour Market Information, I know the important part it plays in the preparation of looking for a job. Learning Computer Assisted Career Guidance Systems (CACGS) has deepened my insights into online resources, which can help individuals in different ways based on their needs. Learning online presence makes me realize the power of LinkedIn, Twitter and Blogging, which can greatly expand my network for professional purposes. This course has broadened my horizon and developed my knowledge and skills of doing information and computer research.

If I have an opportunity to become a career development practitioner, I’ll try my best to apply what I’ve learned to help my clients with their job search. What’s more, one thing I’m most impressed with is the online inspiring videos, which can give people great power. I think this is a fantastic resource to inspire people faced with life challenges to overcome their difficulties and move forward. I’ll definitely apply this to my future job.

– Michelle Xiao