Calgary Job Search Strategies Forum Report

Strategies for Success: A Practical Perspective on the Transition from School to Work

Watch streaming video of Carol Hogarth

Carol Hogarth, BMO Financial Group

Carol Hogarth defined resiliency as “building within yourself the ability to manage and plan your career goals.” It can mean many things, but in this context it means thinking about how job seekers are able to manage change in their personal and professional lives, because how change is addressed is the key to resiliency.

“What is going to get you up in the morning?” asked Hogarth. It is that passion that will lead job seekers to their best careers. Because life is about continuously learning, whether in school or the workforce, it is important to recognize how this will affect career goals.

Cultivating inner resources by understanding and strengthening them is also important. Hogarth said job seekers should try to understand themselves as a commodity and then position themselves in such a way that it gives them strength.

Hogarth suggested that job seekers create support networks of family, friends, and professional relationships. “Nothing is more important than the well-being of you and your family,” she noted, and encouraged job seekers to make sure that they nurture the inner being within themselves.

Creating a career plan is a circular process, Hogarth said. It does not stop, but continues to develop and grow throughout every person’s life. Each decision should be based on the conversations that occur and the feedback received, and it has to change in relation to internal and external forces.

She suggested participants use four steps to develop a career plan: self-assessment, defining career goals, action-planning, and finalizing the career plan.

First, job seekers should give themselves time and space to explore, gather feedback from a variety of sources (teachers, friends, family, peers) and reflect on who they are as people. While this seems like a lot of work, Hogarth encouraged participants to spend time on it. “It will mean you know what passions you have in life and how you will pursue them,” she said, and self-assessment means “gathering information about yourself so you can make some informed decisions about the future.”

Hogarth said developing career goals allows job seekers to define strengths as well as look for opportunities in areas that need improvement.

Once the goals are defined, Hogarth said that the output is an action plan that will facilitate job searching. She returned to the idea of self as commodity, noting that “you really can’t sell something until you know what that thing is, and you’re selling yourself.”

Creating a career plan is creating that personal brand, Hogarth said, and job seekers need to find those qualities that they wish to be associated with. Asking for feedback can help with this process, and she encouraged job seekers to always look for ways to improve their brand.