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Take charge of your career – It’s Possible!

Unemployment rates across the country are dropping. In September, Ottawa’s rate dropped to 5.6 per cent, bringing us ever closer to the region’s pre-pandemic rate of 4.2 per cent. While recruiters and hiring managers struggle with labour shortages, job seekers have much more power than usual.

You may have heard of this thing called “The Great Resignation” (also being referred to as “The Big Quit” or “The Turnover Tsunami.”) Essentially, as the pandemic slows and the economy recovers, workers are changing jobs and careers in unprecedented numbers. Up to 50 per cent of Canadians – 52 per cent of Ontarians – are planning to change jobs in the coming year.

Reasons for the shift vary with each individual, but there are definite themes. Some workers have been happily working from home and plan to move on if their company discontinues remote-work options. Others face burnout after surges in demand brought on by the pandemic and feel desperate for change. Generally, the last 18 months has given us all time for deep reflection. Canadian workers are carefully considering their experiences, determining what they want and need, and most importantly, realizing what is possible.

Each November, career professionals in Canada come together to mark Canada Career Month, which celebrates meaningful work for all Canadians and promotes awareness and access to career services. This year’s Career Month theme is “It’s Possible.” As someone who interacts with Canadian job seekers daily, and sees the desire for change, I don’t think this theme could be any more timely. My clients are coming to me having finally realized:

  • It’s possible to succeed.
  • It’s possible to have work-life balance.
  • It’s possible to recover from job loss and come back stronger.
  • It’s possible to take charge of your career in a changing world.
  • It’s possible to achieve your dream through planning and dedication.

How can you best prepare yourself if you find yourself among those seeking a job or career change in the coming months? Plan ahead so you can focus your efforts and stay organized. Keep these strategies in mind:

  1. Set priorities. Remote work or flexible hours may be at the top of your mind, but there are other factors to consider too. What kind of office culture are you seeking? What benefits would support your work-life balance?
  2. Create a timeline. You may want to act quickly, or you may want to see how your current company adapts to reopening. Be realistic and know that the average job search in Canada takes 20 weeks, and timelines are longer for more senior positions.
  3. Try again. If you were job hunting during lockdown without success, you might still be feeling discouraged. Know that your chances have improved as the jobless rate falls and the labour shortage intensifies.
  4. Be strategic. Study the labour market to see where the growth is. You should, of course, not make an important career decision based solely on job numbers. But if you are torn between various choices, knowing who is hiring and in what industries or specialties can lead to better decisions and easier transitions.

There has never been a better time for a change. That job you dream about may have just been vacated by someone with a different dream. Take the time to understand yourself, clarify your career objectives, and find a job that can keep you engaged and fulfilled.

Not sure where to start? Reach out to a career development professional for guidance.

Natalie MacLellan, owner of Best Foot Forward, is a multi-certified, multi-award-winning resume writer and career consultant. She is a certified professional resume writer, a certified employment interview consultant, and a certified employment interview consultant.