Canada Career Month: Advocating for Career Development Helps Canadians Thrive

Canada Career Month 2019

By Maureen McCann.

What is the value of Canada Career Month?

When we come together to champion and advocate for our profession, we raise the profile of career development professionals while simultaneously increasing the perceived value of the work we do to support Canadians.

Canada Career Month (CCM) takes place every November. What used to be a week-long event has expanded to the entire month.  Why is CCM such a big deal for our profession?

As the CCM website defines it: “Canada Career Month advances the agenda of improving access to career services and education so that all Canadians are better prepared to develop their careers and transition into the emergent labour market.”

It’s an opportunity to come together to build community within our profession and expand our outreach, networks, and services across the country. We work in private practices, employment centres, academic institutions, government-funded agencies and non-profits across the nation, each of us serving and supporting Canadians in finding meaningful employment. Increasingly, we’re helping clients navigate the future of work.

As part of the volunteer outreach and advocacy group of the Canadian Council for Career Development (3CD), I count myself fortunate to work behind the scenes with dedicated volunteers committed to engaging you, promoting you, and celebrating you: the Canadian career professional. I wanted to know what Canada Career Month means to others working in the field, so I reached out to career development professionals across the country to find out.

As a profession, we don’t often “toot our own horns.” We save that for our clients. So, you can imagine how delightful an exercise it was for me to contact our colleagues to get their take on Canada Career Month.

“For me, it’s about giving back to my professional community,” says Ali Breen, Millennials Career Coach and a member of the CCM volunteer working group. Ali believes advocating for our profession promotes us all.

As career development professionals, we care deeply about the work we do and the impact it can have on the lives of Canadians. Still, many people are unaware of the service(s) and the value offered by our profession. That’s why it’s important to come together and celebrate the work we do.

Riz Ibrahim, Executive Director of CERIC agrees. “[CCM] provides a rallying point for the field to champion its role helping Canadians lead rewarding and satisfying lives.”

For Paula Wischoff Yerama, Executive Director of the Career Development Association of Alberta, it’s about “bringing awareness to the value of career development professionals and services in supporting people to connect with learning, work, and leisure activities.”

In the words of Paul D. Smith of Loyalist College; “Canada Career Month helps to build our community.”

The more Canadians know about our profession, the more they understand the work we do and the better prepared they are to work with us. Rather than spend countless hours educating individuals, one-by-one, about what we do, wouldn’t our time be best spent actually doing the work of helping Canadians connect with meaningful work?

Sharon Graham, Executive Director of Career Professionals of Canada (CPC) says CCM “is an opportunity to give back to our career community.”

Giving back is something we do so naturally as a profession. It makes perfect sense we’d take time out to celebrate our work with the same enthusiasm we might show a client.

What do you do to celebrate Canada Career Month?

I reached out to two CPC colleagues and asked how they mark Canada Career Month. Gail Kastning, owner of Purposeful Careers and Karine Touloumjian of Distinct Resume both took an introspective approach, noting that CCM is a time to assess professional development goals and realign with their purpose.

This was a wonderful (and much-needed) reminder to step back from the day-to-day work we do and reassess where we’ve been in our careers and whether our goals remain aligned with our vision of the future.

How to get the most out of Canada Career Month

Here are 5 ways to get involved with Canada Career Month where you live.

  1. Host a human library. For details on how to host a human library watch Ali Breen’s 8-minute video on how to set up and host a human library near you.
  2. Help someone host a human library.
  3. Ask your library to set up a book display of Canadian-written career books.
  4. Promote Canada Career Month and your profession all month long using the hashtags #explorethepossibilities | #careermonth | #careerpro | #cdp | #CCM | #pdc | #moiscarrière | #explorerlespossibilités
  5. Find new ways to support your profession. Share your ideas in the comments.

Check out these useful and informative CCM resources: the Canada Career Month website, Twitter feed, Facebook page, Instagram account, and Vimeo presentation.

Every day, Canadians are served by career professionals

From exploring career possibilities to building confidence and resiliency, career professionals offer customized support to clients and students.

“Canadians are ready to take a more purposeful approach to our working lives,” says JP Michel, founder of SparkPath. “CCM brings curiosity and awareness to the question: ‘What if there was a better way to prepare people for their careers?'”

As we know, the field of career development is full of caring, helpful, and supportive professionals sharing best practices to support and serve Canadians. Brad Whitehorn, Sales & Marketing Coordinator with Career Lifeskills Resources Inc. (CLSR) believes, “[We] have a unique set of skills that help people at all ages and all stages of their working lives. We thrive on the successes of others and are passionate about what we do.”

As for me, Canada Career Month is about coming together as a profession, advocating for and promoting the value we offer Canadians in finding meaningful employment. Together, we support Canadians and our Canadian economy.

CCM 2019: Join Us!

Join us as we celebrate Canada Career Month this November.  Get involved. You can host a human library, celebrate with an event, create a podcast, share a social media post, tell a friend, write an article. Do whatever feels right for you.

Let’s make this the best Canada Career Month yet!

We would love to hear from you. In the comments below, share what Canada Career Month means to you.

Maureen McCann is a fierce advocate of career development, committed to preparing Canadians for the future of work. Founder of Promotion Career Solutions, she is one of Canada’s top executive résumé writers with 15-plus years’ experience teaching, mentoring, and facilitating career development. She is a senior board advisor to Career Professionals of Canada and an active member of both the Canadian Council for Career Development Outreach & Advocacy committee and the Canadian Career Development Foundation’s National Stakeholder Committee.

This article originally appeared on October 8th, 2019, in CareerWise published by CERIC.


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