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Advancing Your Career

Roshini Sakhrani Darpan, 04 Jul, 2014
    Beginning college or university can be overwhelming, and can even be stressful if students don’t know what classes to take because they haven’t decided what field of study to specialize in.
     
    Educational institutes such as the University of British Columbia, Langara College, Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University offer career services to make the transition for students from high school to post-secondary as easy as possible.
     
    Nicole Poole is a career coordinator at Kwantlen, and she says that visiting the career center is beneficial so that students get to plan out all the classes they need to take in order to graduate.   
     
    “Students that enter an educational institution confused about their career path or where to start are recommend to see a career counsellor and do some different testing to see what areas interests them,” she says. The counsellors conduct personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to understand a student’s interest and then suggest jobs that would be best suited to their personality. Poole explains how it’s best for students to get into something they are particularly interested in so that they can excel in their classes.
     
    Once students figure out what career path they want to focus on, career advisors do their best to prepare them for their future occupations. Advisors also help plan out what courses are necessary to take in order to graduate and what requirements should be met.
     
    Rajpreet Chahal, a 17-year-old student at North Surrey Secondary says that she started planning her career as soon as she entered high school. She shows great passion for helping people and has hopes that she will get accepted into UBC’s Faculty of Medicine. “In high school, it’s easier to get advice from teachers instead of counsellors because they have a personal relationship with their students,” says Chahal. She explains that it’s better for students, who want to get into sciences, for example, to start planning that out earlier so they can take the required classes in high school to prepare them for university. 
    “By the time you get to Grade 12, you can’t decide that you want to take Physics 11 without Physics 12, therefore, it’s important to start planning your career by the end of Grade 10,” she says. 
     
    Chahal explains that universities provide direct phone numbers for counsellors and students should start taking advantage of this service if they want to get prepared before they enter university. She advises that students may be better off consulting someone about what career may best suit them before they graduate from high school.
     
    When applying for jobs, many students often make the mistake of submitting cover letters and resumes that have not been organized in a manner that showcases their best talent. The career-advising department in post-secondary institutions helps individuals create LinkedIn profiles that best describes a student’s qualities and skill sets, ones that employers often look for when hiring. 
     
    Poole explains that social media is predominant in everyone’s lives nowadays, and it’s important to learn how to use sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to reach out to employers in a professional manner. “Many employers won’t post a job posting on Craigslist, but they’ll tweet a job opportunity, and in a matter of minutes they will get over a hundred applications,” she says.  
    LinkedIn is especially important when building a database of professional contacts, and potential candidates should get in touch with them and see if they can do some job shadowing to get their foot in the door of a particular company. Following different employers on Twitter helps students see what opportunities there are out there and diversify their application process. During the course of a student’s degree, going out to career fairs and networking with companies can be an essential stepping-stone for consideration of future job placement. Individuals that demonstrate the go-getter attitude, will reap greater benefits by showing they are self-motivated.    
     
    Facebook exists in everyone’s lives and people use it to keep in touch with friends and family, share thoughts and photos with their friends all over the world. However, it’s important to remember to moderate what you post, as other people may have access to this information. “Anything you post anyone can see, so be careful. There are different techniques for recruiters to look at your personal settings on your Facebook profile to get a sense of who they are potentially hiring,” says Poole. 
     
    BC’s economy shows great potential for people that are interested in getting into the trades field. Post-secondary education will be necessary in getting into the trades, and by 2020 it is forecasted that one million jobs will be created. Kwantlen Polytechnic has a Faculty of Trades and Technology offering certificate courses, diplomas and degree programs, for those that are considering a job in this field. 
     
    Though we live in a society where technology is constantly thriving, the demand for health-care practitioners in today’s economy is high because it isn’t an occupation that can be replaced with a computer. In BC, reports indicate that holding a title as a registered nurse, health professional or nurse supervisor secures an average wage of $33.64, making it one of the highest paying jobs in the province. 
     
    Langara College offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing program that has an intake of 160 students twice a year, making the admission procedure competitive. Women have outnumbered men in the nursing field, and have yielded an annual income of $74,000 last year. Other institutes such as UBC, Kwantlen, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Douglas College and University of Northern British Columbia also offer this program emphasizing the ongoing demand for healthcare services. 
    Poole explains that students should take advantage of the career services that universities offer while they’re free, as once students graduate, the advising appointments range up to $250 an hour. All university campuses have a career-advising center available for students to either make a drop-in appointment online or by phone. 
     
    Statistics Canada has released data from the National Household Survey that provides a list of the highest paying jobs in BC, as well as the lowest paying.
     
    The published data has indicated that Judges yield the highest income earning $232,381 annually.
     
    School principals and administrators of secondary education earn $101,265 annually and have made the list for being one of the best paying jobs.
     
    While Musicians at $13,031; Actors and Comedians making $14,982; and Home and Child Care Providers with $16,975 annually are classified as lower paying jobs amongst others. 
     
    The median income of all occupations in BC is $34,000, according to StatsCan.
     
    Metro Vancouver accounts for regions that are classified as extremely wealthy, making the city of Anmore the richest with a median income of $160,038 and Richmond the least with $69,553.
     

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