The Wright Career Solution "Moving Your Career Forward...One Step at a Time"
I hope you had an enjoyable summer. Mine was pretty good, as I took a day off here and there to get some R&R, but I also kept busy behind the scenes working on some interesting projects and attending to clients' needs. Let me quickly bring you up to speed on some of the happenings.
First, on August 17, I was privileged to share the podium with The Hon. Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Dr. Yamil Alonso, Program Coordinator for the Skills Without Borders project at the Brampton Board of Trade. The event was an outreach to employers sponsored by COSTI Immigrant Services and the Brampton Board of Trade and titled The Business Case for Diversity: Hiring and Retaining Internationally Educated Individuals. A link to the photo gallery is at the end of the section.
Second, my lead title asks the question, "Can you really negotiate your salary?", and it's illustrated in one of my latest blog posts, Sharpen your Negotiation Skills To Get the Salary You Deserve. It is a story that shows what can happen when preparation meets opportunity, and relates to a client who arrived in Toronto from Taiwan in mid July, and started a job on September 27, as a Senior Research Advisor at one of the universities in the GTA. While his success is not an everyday occurrence, it's proof that a proactive job search strategy works. Click here to read the blog post.
Third, the Other Happenings section is where I fill you in on other goings on at The Wright Career Solution. The Business Case for Diversity: Hiring and Retaining Internationally Educated Individuals
As mentioned above, I was one of the speakers at the above event in mid August. Many of us are aware of the challenges that internationally educated individuals face in finding jobs commensurate with their skills and experiences. For a long time, the emphasis was on coaching these individuals on what to do to become gainfully employed, but one missing piece of the puzzle, was how to bring awareness to small and medium-sized employers that of this pool of talent exists, and what they can bring to their organizations.
I began by saying, tongue-in-cheek, that “I can’t promise you I won’t rock the boat; what I can promise is that I won’t sink it”. You see, the topic of diversity is not usually an easy one to discuss. Some people, when they hear the word, get warm around the ears thinking of political correctness and doing favours, but that's not the case. "New immigrants want to be included in the mix so they can compete on an equal footing", Dr. Alonso emphasised, which is to say, "include them in the mix and may the best person win." That's the diversity that we spoke about. There are benefits to be derived when different people with different ideas bounce ideas off each other.
I quoted British Economist, Journalist and former advisor to the World Trade Organization, Philippe Legrain, who said in his book, “Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them”, that “Most innovations nowadays come not from individuals, but from groups of talented people sparking off each other – and foreigners with different ideas, perspectives and experiences add something extra to the mix. If there are 10 people sitting around a table trying to come up with a solution to a problem and they all think alike, then they are no better than one. But if they all think differently and bounce new ideas and reactions off one another, they can solve problems better and faster, as a growing volume of research shows.” The point here is that diversity is a win-win for everyone.
I applauded the pioneering efforts by a number of organizations to raise awareness among local employers about the benefits of tapping into the underutilized talents of internationally educated professionals. Some of the organizations include, but are not limited to, COSTI, ACCES, United Way, TRIEC and Skills for Change, as well as the Brampton Board of Trade through its Skills Without Borders project. I urged these organizations to continue their good work, but also to expand their sphere of influence by literally going to the doorsteps of some of these employers and bringing them up to speed on the value that immigrants would bring to their companies. These community organizations are ideally placed to engage employers because they are usually the go-to points for new immigrants and they get to meet and know them long before the employer does.
I also suggested that they speak to employers in the language that they can understand – the ‘green back’ called M-O-N-E-Y, and quoted from a discussion paper released in June by the Toronto Board of Trade titled “Lifting All Boats: Promoting Social Cohesion and Economic Inclusion in the Toronto Region." In it the Board revealed that the region is losing $1.5 to $2.25 billion per year for failing to recognize the qualifications and experience of immigrants.
With reference to government’s funding initiatives, I highlighted the need to expand bridging programs, since they have proven to be quite effective, and to offer incentives to small and medium-sized businesses to help them with the challenges of recruiting and managing a culturally diverse workforce. A few days before, I had met with the Fairness Commissioner, The Hon Jean Augustine, to get an update on what's happening with regulatory bodies (so I could update that section of my book), and she, too, believes that small businesses should get some incentives. From what I now understand, plans are in place to do just that.
In addressing employers, I urged them to train their staff to look beyond the name, the accent, the country of origin and the lack of Canadian experience, and focus instead, on the competencies, capabilities and potential of internationally educated individuals. These are comments I hear from immigrants all the time. One man, as a test, changed his name to an English one and removed the name of the university he attended. He received calls from two of the same organizations he had originally sent his resume, so there's work to be done.
That's pretty much a gist of my presentation. It's possible I may have rocked the boat somewhat, but I sure didn’t sink it as promised. I just want the dialogue to continue lest we fall into complacency. Click here to see the photo gallery. Other Happenings...
Coming soon to a corner near you... our CareerTips2Go Café, an exclusive virtual meeting place for those who are serious about finding solutions to their job search and career woes. If you are struggling with some aspects of the job search, or you are looking to change your career, or you are simply looking for on-the-spot advice, then you will want to explore the offerings on the menu. That’s all I will say for now, but keep your eyes and ears open for news on the launch date.
The Second Edition of No Canadian Experience, eh?
I know...you heard it a long time ago that I was working on the second edition of my book. I continue to do so, but it has taken much longer than I thought. Anyway, I promise, you will be quite pleased with this edition. It’s almost like a new book, having snagged a number of top career professionals from Canada and the US, to contribute their expertise. New topics include social media, personal branding , green careers, soft skills, leadership, onboarding, references, job hunting on the Internet, goal setting and time management, self-employment as an option, assessments, call to action tips and exercises, and more. This will truly be a success guide, so watch for the next issue of Career Highlights for an update.
Alumni Library at Ryerson University
The Alumni office at Ryerson wrote me last week requesting a copy of No Canadian Experience, eh? to add to their collection. What an honour!
Survey on Canadian Resume & Interview Trends
Recently I conducted a survey to get opinions about current resume and interview trends from Canadian HR professionals, recruiters and hiring managers. This idea came after I had had a conversation over lunch with a colleague of mine who manages one of the more well-known staffing agencies in the GTA. Shortly after our conversation, I saw a similar survey done by anorganization for a US audience, and I decided to gauge the temperature of Canadian recruiters on the subject. The results are in and I will be analyzing them shortly, so stay tuned for some revealing insights. They might just change the way you approach your job search.
Age is Just a Number, Right?
There are barriers and then there are barriers! I will be writing a blog post soon about one of my clients, a woman in her mid fifties, who decided to change her job from a very secure one at a hospital to one that offers growth and opportunities in an industry that caters to the younger (Gen X, Y & Millenials) generation. All that talk about companies not hiring people over age 50! I have permission to highlight her story, although I won't use her real name, but it's another case of how some people look beyond barriers, perceived or not, and move towards getting what they want. So, make sure you sign up at Career Musings to receive my blog posts.
Professional Development Activities
Most of you know I am a big proponent of professional development, whether it is a one-hour teleconference, a 3-hour workshop or a multi-day conference. Next week I will be meeting with a group of Canadian career professionals to do some brainstorming to help each other grow. I am honoured to be included in this group. The following week, I will be attending the Career Directors International Summit in San Diego. These events help me to keep abreast of trends in the career industry, and show my clients that I live by the same advice I give them. I will report on these activities in the next issue.
Let me end by sharing two quotes I stumbled on this week. Ponder their significance:
"Never hire a Quitter Back" ~G L Hoffman, Business Startup guru
"There is just one life for each of us: our own". ~Euripides
As usual, I hope you enjoyed reading Career Highlights. Please forward it to anyone in your network that would benefit from its contents.