Is This Your Year to Pursue Professional Excellence?

By Daisy Wright.

As career practitioners, it’s easy to become so engrossed in our role of guiding clients along their career paths that we sometimes neglect our own professional development. It is a good idea to regularly examine where we are on the professional development spectrum and look at ways we could advance our own careers.

During this introspection, we should ask ourselves these questions:

  • Have I carved out any “me” time to focus on my own needs and wants?
  • Is professional development one of my ongoing goals?
  • Am I keeping abreast of trends in my industry?
  • Are there ways that my prior learning and experience could count towards obtaining an industry certification?

Being in the career development sphere for a long time, I am a strong proponent of continuous professional development. The operating word here is “continuous.” Many of us believe that once we have earned our certificates, diplomas. or degrees, learning stops. Not really. We must always be one or two steps ahead of our clients. They depend on us for guidance and support. When we encourage our clients to engage in professional development, we must lead by example. We must mirror the image we want our clients to emulate.

One of the exciting things happening in Ontario, and across Canada for that matter, is a trend towards career certification, allowing us to expand our knowledge base to better serve our clients. Professional certification not only gives us a competitive advantage and enables us to stand out from others, but it shows a commitment to our profession. When we invest in our careers, it indicates to clients, employers, and coworkers that we are committed to our profession and will do what it takes to excel in our industry.

According to Sareena Hopkins of the Canadian Council for Career Development, “Certification raises the bar for our field, demonstrating to our employers, funders, policy makers, and the public that our work is grounded in professional excellence. It operationalizes the competency standards and ethical guidelines that were established through the S&Gs.”

As career development processes become more formalized, now is a good time for us to reflect on the skills we already have and identify the ones we want to acquire, or improve upon. In fact, most of what we do as career practitioners is already covered in the Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners (S&Gs), so we are almost there. We could also embrace and join our respective provincial/territorial association, or other associations such as Career Professionals of Canada, and take advantage of their training opportunities.

If one of your goals in to validate your expertise with an industry certification, there are several options you could consider.

There is the Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP) designation which is under the jurisdiction of provincial/territorial Career Development associations or boards. Ontario, through the Career Development Practitioners’ Certification Board of Ontario (CDPCBO), has joined other provinces in offering the CCDP designation. Prior work experience in the field satisfies part of the requirement for certification and is worth exploring.

Career Professionals of Canada (CPC), an organization that had its beginnings in 2004 (and of which I am a founding member), offers two of the required courses for the CCDP designation. These are Career Development Ethics & Standards and Career Development Theory, Models & Practices.

In addition, CPC recently developed Career Competence, a free self-assessment tool to measure one’s competencies against the Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners. The tool provides you with an opportunity to reflect, gain insight, and self-manage your career. Click here to download your free copy.

There are several ways to track your professional growth as a Career Development Practitioner, and earning a certification could be your first step. As a founding member of Career Professionals of Canada, a member of its Advisory Board and an Ambassador, I will be pleased to answer any questions you may have on how to accelerate your professional development.

Photo: Daisy Wright presenting to CPC Members Janet Barclay, Wayne Pagani, and Sharon Graham at a professional development meet-up.

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