Canada’s Tradable Services

A recent CD Howe report highlights a largely unrecognized growth in professional, scientific and technical services in Canada. The growth of the Canadian middle-class hasn’t been in the manufacturing industries but rather in the professional, scientific, and technical services. It is now the fourth-largest sector by employment in Canada, with more workers than in construction. The sector includes accountants, engineers, architects, lawyers, research-and-development specialists, surveyors, consultants, graphic designers and marketers. Most of these careers and professions can’t be outsources like manufacturing, or brick & mortar stores to online retailers.

Notable “Best Buy Canada” and “Sears Canada” have just announced major layoffs for retails staff, likely due to online retail options.

Cadillacs and Co-ops

The new CEO of General Motors secured her first position with GM as a co-op student.

Now I can’t say that everyone who does a co-op work term will become CEO of a multinational corporation, but it is encouraging to see the value of experiential education on a person’s career path.

Experiential education, “puts an education to work” and practically informs the learner about a career that a classroom environment can’t accurately or faithfully simulate.

Experiential education can affirm career goals, or alter career paths through revealing unexamined expectations, perceptions and labour market realities.

Experiential education provides the learner the pragmatic experience that employers desire from new hires, while providing tangible examples of acquired skills and providing a forum to demonstrate learning, critical thinking, team work, communication, numeracy, innovation, creativity, emotional intelligence, and character.

Experiential education affords an organization an opportunity to recruit potential candidates, and allows potential candidates to critically evaluate the merits of an organization/career through a mutually beneficial and agreed upon work term format.

Experiential education connects and engages the academic and non-academic communities; creating a bridge of learning, shared goals, best practices and collaboration.

Experiential education connects people, builds networks and facilitates synergies that influence change.
Rev up your future through experiential education!!!

Canadian Employment Change October 2012 to October 2013

Canadian Employment Change October 2012 to October 2013 saw the Canadian economy create 213,800 jobs between October 2012 and 2013 raising the overall number of workers in Canada to 17,793,900. The job creation trend has remained relatively positive with +1,050,110 jobs created in Canada since a low of 16,743,800 in July 2009.

Although the overall employment trend remains positive, five (5) sectors have seen a net loss of workers this past year, Manufacturing (-82,500) contributed over 50% of the job losses between 2012 and 2013. Educational Services (-30,200), Public Administration (-22,700), Other Services (-20,100) and Information, Culture and Recreation (-7,800) contribute to the remainder of the job losses.

Despite the positive national trend, BC has lost 12,300 jobs (-10,000 part-time, -2,300 full-time) between October 2012 to October 2013. The next post will explore the provincial trends since 2003.

How to Make an Internship a Successful Experience

How to Make an Internship a Successful Experience
If you ask a successful businessperson about how they got their career start, you will more than likely see a wistful look in their eye as they recall an internship that made a significant impact on their lives.

That is fine, but what is the real secret to making sure your internship does not turn into the “making coffee and running copies” dreaded drudgery? The truth is, what your internship turns into, rests on how proactive you are in creating it truly meaningful and valuable experience.
You can make out of it as much or as little as you would like.
Enterprising people go into internship experiences with high expectations; more importantly, they have a plan. It’s just not enough to suddenly be granted the privilege to walk through the vaunted doors of the company – you need to take the intuitive to define and shape your experience so that you leave of there benefiting from it just as much as your internship sponsor.
So, what does it take to have a successful plan? How do you communicate it to your supervisor?
Here are seven (7) tips to help create a satisfying internship experience that creates easily digestible connecting activities that are highly relevant to prospective employers:

1. Set Up A Planning Meeting With Your Supervisor. On your first day or two, it is important to sit down with your direct supervisor to facilitate a brainstorming session to learn about her/his challenges and set up some structure to what exactly it is that you will be working on for them. Look for opportunities to solve his/her problems and ways you can contribute to the team’s success. Ask for introductions to other employees you may directly interact with or work alongside. Document the details of the meeting

2. Request a Mentor. Going into a new environment can be challenging at best. When you meet with the supervisor, ask if he/she would suggest someone in the office who could help you get your bearings and who may indirectly support you to get settled and acclimatized to the culture and environment. Some large employers actually partner interns with senior mentor/supervisors as well as peer buddies to help the transition into the organization.

3. Suggest Specific Projects That You Will “Own.” Designing some kind of start-to-finish project will give you something to wrap your arms around and provide a concrete example of your abilities. This type of ownership can help you focus as well as highlight your unique skills, knowledge, and abilities. Future employers appreciate seeing some kind of specifics in your resume, so the more you can take on and successfully complete, the more you will have to talk about to potential new companies or employers.

4. Determine What Your Project Outcomes Should Be. In order to know whether the internship or project that you work on is successful or not, you should work together with your supervisor to determine what the outcomes should look like so you have measurable targets. Ask for periodic evaluations and if possible, in writing so you have a clear measure of progress, opportunities for improvement and success.

5. Learn New Skills Proactively. Plan through your internship experience to include opportunities where you can learn new skills to add to your career portfolio. Ask your supervisor about rotating into different roles in the office, find out if you can attend meetings, or even job shadow in a different department. The more you learn, the more diverse your skill sets become to make you a more adaptable, self-managed, and innovative candidate.

6. Build Networking Contacts. Ask your supervisor and co-workers to help you start building your professional network in and out of the office. Leverage your time at the company and ask for connections to key industry people or thought leaders – they can turn into powerful advocates if you treat them with professionalism and respect.

7. Schedule An Internship Exit Interview With Measurements And Reflections. Arrange a sit-down meeting with your supervisor to go over the initial notes and plans (see #1 and #4) to evaluate what you learned, what you accomplished, and how you performed in the internship. Go over the project (see #3) you completed and seek constructive feedback regarding the results and areas of improvement. If appropriate, see if you can include other team members who may also add constructive feedback and evaluation. Your last day should end with a giant slab of cake and ice cream!

By taking these seven (7) steps, you can have a much more fulfilling internship experience that will translate into significant connections, build your employability, skills, experience, and credibility with potential employers or may even make your internship supervisor want to hire you as soon as possible.
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LinkedIn Gaffes

Maybe you’ve heard or read about people raving about LinkedIn as a job search tool – mentioning recruiters have contacted them through the site, or that they’ve been approached by hiring managers, just on the strength of their profiles.

Is this happening for you? Had any thoughts of why not? What’s wrong with your profile?

The following LinkedIn Gaffes could make the difference between having all the action pass you by or appreciating the full power of the site:

1. Adding Non-Work Info to the Experience Section
LinkedIn organizes and files the data in your work history in reverse chronological order, meaning that your most current experience will be shown first.
Therefore, if you added experience on a Board (or a consulting gig, or any venture that doesn’t represent your work experience) in this section, readers of your profile will see this activity first – listed as if it WERE your full-time job.
Besides confusing recruiters, showing this chronology can convince recruiters that you’re either unemployed or “fudging” your experience.
The Fix.
Move your Board roles all the way down under Additional Information, where there is a category called Associations.
If you feel you are burying this experience too deep, then mention the organization and your role in the Summary as well.

2. Divulging Too Much Information
Did you take LinkedIn’s requests for data too seriously? This is one of the most common LinkedIn Gaffes made by job seekers.
The Fix.
If an item does not belong on your resume, do not add it to LinkedIn! This goes for dates of degrees (especially if earned in the 1980’s or before), or positions held you normally would not show on a resume (because they were too short or are now outdated).
While date fields are used throughout the site for all kinds of career information, you can simply omit the years on everything from education programs to awards, certifications, and so on.
If you are unsure what should be included, remember the last 15 years of your professional life will be of most relevance to employers – then edit your profile accordingly.

3. Remaining Invisible
Are you, lurking in the weeds while others are updating their Status, posting blogs, and contributing to discussions? If you are like me, you may even think you have little to contribute. “My career life isn’t that dynamic.” “I do not have any significant updates and contributing to a discussion…I’m not sure anyone would appreciate my ideas or comments.” You might be surprised…I have been.
The Fix.
It’s time to try, even a little updating. Today take 10 minutes and accomplish one of the following.
Try updating your status; mention an event you’re attending, a book you’re reading, you can issue short “press releases” that note new product introductions or news items that you find complelling and relevant to your profession or career (assuming that these items aren’t confidential). Status updates may enlighten others of what you do in your day-to-day work, and they help you promote specific accomplishments or personal honours that might otherwise go unseen. Updates stay listed on your profile when others find it, displayed like a personal newsreel that continues to work for you 24/7/365.
You can comment on other blog posts (or publish your own) on LinkedIn, use Status Updates to post a link to an online article. All these activities inform your network on your area of expertise and interest.
LinkedIn Groups offer discussion boards that work in a similar fashion to Updates. You can post your comments on a relevant industry topic, or simply comment on others’ discussions.
Join some Groups, if you have not already. Occasionally LinkedIn will send you suggestions, see if any appeal to you and your career goals. Get going – LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50.

4. Not Accepting Invitations or Requesting Invitations

Do you have former employees, colleagues or friends send invitations that you have not accepted? Reconsider that logic. Think back, have you secured most of your previous jobs through a network? Likely you have and statistically so have most people. Think of LinkedIn as a very powerful networking tool. It does not replace authentic relationships but it does prove a valuable tool to professionally introduce yourself and interact with potential employers.
The Fix.
Sincerely consider the Invitations you have received, you can check in the Messages and Invitations tab. Look at each invitation and consider how you could be a support to the individual and what you could contribute to his/her network. If you think you could add value for them, it’s likely a great network connection.
LinkedIn also sends you People You May Know suggestions that you could send an invitation to. Look through the list and send at least one (1) invite today.
In summary, LinkedIn will not magically produce results in your job search – unless you have taken the time to review your profile carefully, with a solid strategy to display your experience and cultivate a following.

So, if others are not connecting with you on LinkedIn, be sure to go back and review your profile in detail for these mistakes – ensuring you have put your best foot forward online.
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