Assess your skills and create a professional development plan.
A Case Study
Candice completed a Business Administration Certificate at an Ontario Community College and then to New Brunswick to complete her undergraduate degree in Business. After graduation Candice returned to Ontario and took her parents up an offer of support while she traveled through Europe for a year. Upon her return she secured employment in a major retail operation as a sales associate and began her career with visions of success and advancement firmly in her future.
At the age of 31 Candice took a step back and recognized that the retail sector was not her ambition. Over the years she did well with the organization and quickly became a store manager. She was advanced to management in larger and larger outlets and currently looked after three key store locations. In terms of her original plans and ambitions Candice was successful and ready to grow in this sector, however, the excitement and drive to succeed which had sustained her over the previous number of years was not present.
Candice took a proactive position and reached out to colleagues and family for input and suggestions. The resulting feedback was often contradictory and did not provide any clear direction that would allow Candice to move forward in a positive and forceful manner.
We met Candice at a networking event and reached an accord to help her explore her options.
Canadian Training Partners believes that one must understand where they are before one can plan to get to where they want to be so we spent some time brainstorming with Candice. Candice was a successful career professional who had decided her path was not headed in the right direction. She was interested in leveraging her education and management experience to open possibilities in different fields.
The first step was to have Candice complete our Job Satisfaction Survey. This allowed Candice to figure out what her current job and career lacked and gave her some insights into those things she enjoyed about her work environment. A second survey tool, our Work Environment and Life Preference, allowed Candice to gain a more complete focus on what she was interested in and what things she may want to avoid as she plans her future success.
After a great deal of work slogging through job ads, NOC codes, SIC descriptions and labor market statistics Candice used the preliminary information derived from all the sources to get a focus on what she wanted as her future path. Management and leadership were very specific objectives, given her love of travel an organization with international opportunities was a prime target, she felt strongly that her future employer needed to have a significant Corporate Social Responsibility platform, and Candice wanted to leverage her experience in retail without staying in that particular industry group.
Candice was drawn to the supply side of the retail industry, wholesale and packaged goods, as an opportunity that had a dynamic future and where the people skills, she developed over the years would be beneficial. In particular, she saw opportunity in the supply chain side of the business model. Candice had completed courses in supply chain management, logistics, and international business in her education so had some foundation of knowledge to help inform her choices.
With a concrete career choice and a goal of management in mind Candice, working with CTP, turned her mind to the planning process. Proceeding without a plan for success is simply planning to fail. The work of interpreting job postings identified knowledge weakness in her resume while at the same time identifying some management leadership competencies required for success for the entry job she would seek as well as future growth opportunities.
The task was broken into three parts;
- Job market research – what firms or organizations did Candice want to work with. What were their CSR initiatives, growth potential, employment opportunities, etc.?
- Skills Identification – using her research into job descriptions and postings Candice identified some skill and knowledge areas she should improve upon to help make her transition to this sector move forward more smoothly and that could be foundational in her future promotions.
- Management/Leadership Competencies development – management and leadership were part of her mandate in the current career. Although she had ample experience, Candice lacked any specific training in this area and wanted to assess her competencies to look for areas of improvement.
Candice set a two-year window to transition from her current career to the first position in her chosen field and then, working with CTP, began to organize her thoughts and goals into a workable action plan.
Her initial research identified Supply Chain Management as an interest and helped Candice develop an understanding of the new knowledge and skills she needed to enter and succeed in this field. She opted to pursue some additional formal education, on a part time basis, to secure a designation in Supply Chain Management from one of the industry professional groups. Working with CTP, Candice explored the requirements, applied for standing using her university/college credentials and identified 3 additional courses she would pursue on-line to meet the requirements and become certified as a Supply Chain Professional.
Management/Leadership Competencies Development:
Although Candice had significant experience managing people, she wanted to improve her level of sophistication in this area. Canadian Training Partners worked with Candice to complete the CTP 360 Manager/Leadership Assessment Tool. The assessment explores 24 specific leadership competencies and helped Candice identify areas where she demonstrated high levels of competency and other areas where her feedback team felt she could improve. As part of this process Candice also explored her Leadership Style, Leadership Orientation, Leadership Approach and her rating as an Authentic Leader.
Job Market Research
Candice used a version of the CTP ‘Identifying Career Choices’ workbook to identify the 10 organizations she would be excited about working for and explored their published information to determine the fit for her ambitions and goals. At the same time Candice explored her network to find people who could help her along the way. Using the CTP workbook, Identifying Your Networks, Candice examined what networks she was connected with and then develop an plan to improve each network through positive interaction and to explore making deeper connections with individuals who could help her succeed.
Professional/Personal Development Plan
The final step in the process of taking control of her future saw Candice collect all this data into a Professional/Personal Development Plan. This exercise provided Candice with some specific objectives and a timeline for her success.
Candice was hired as a customer support manager at one of her targeted firms about 6 months after she began this process. She has advanced through the company while pursuing her studies and is now the Associate VP charged with the success and operation of the Canadian importing division of the company. Candace completes a 360 degree feedback instrument annually and uses the result for her development and she encourages all her employees to do the same.