If you are looking for work, you can find job opportunities that you might not have otherwise considered outside your previous industry and job experience by investing some time and effort into your career exploration process.
Rather than listing your skills and interests and then finding related jobs, I find taking the opposite approach more helpful. I suggest you determine what the larger industries are in your area and what jobs they have to offer and then review your skill and interest lists to see what might interest you. This way your exploration is not as confined by your job experience.
For instance, Waterloo Region is one of Canada’s leading places of employment for people working in the insurance sector. Yet many job seekers know little about the variety of jobs available or how their skills might fit into this industry. For example, if you like working with numbers, you may be successful working as an underwriter. If you enjoy investigating, researching and interviewing, you may enjoy a career as a claims investigator. If you have a passion for helping people, are empathetic, and have a knack for superior quality customer service, you might be a perfect fit for an insurance provider contact centre or an office administrator role. There are many great opportunities in this industry that are often overlooked by job seekers.
Researching industries and the jobs they have to offer will ensure that you get a broader view of job opportunities. To learn about jobs within an industry, you can arrange informational interviews with industry experts or use the National Occupational Classification website to get detailed descriptions and opportunities for progression for all types of job opportunities.
Another excellent way to explore an industry is to attend events specific to an industry. The best way to learn about upcoming events is to review company and association websites, and monitor social media and traditional media. Special events include career fairs, meet and greets, and other networking opportunities. In our insurance industry example, you can visit the Insurance Institute’s Career Connections website www.career-connections.info which provides useful resources and information about careers in the insurance industry. Also, an upcoming event that will provide networking opportunities is the Careers in Insurance – Industry Panel and Networking Fair that is presented in partnership with the Insurance Institute of Canada on Monday, June 24 from 2:00-5:00PM at Kitchener City Hall (visit www.lutherwood.ca/employment for details about this and other events).
Insurance is just one of many sectors that have a concentration of employers in Waterloo Region and this might not be the sector for you. My point is that there is value in looking at industries outside your area of experience as part of a thorough career exploration process. This can open doors to possibilities you hadn’t considered and provide a great starting point for developing a plan to gain training that will lead you to make solid and confident career decisions.
If you are interested in career exploration and investigating jobs available in local industries, consider contacting a local Employment Ontario agency where you can receive free assessments and guidance.