Em­brac­ing strengths, be­ing pos­i­tive among ways to help ad­vance ca­reers: ex­perts


who have a creative skill set that can bring a lot of value to their role, but they be­lieve there’s a more di­rect ca­reer path for some­one who is an­a­lyt­i­cal.

“They may try to shape them­selves into that per­son or they might try to fit into that skill set to ad­vance fur­ther and not tap into that skill set they have that could re­ally pro­pel them fur­ther.”

As­so­ciate pro­fes­sor David Ness is with the Stu­dent Coun­selling and Ca­reer Cen­tre at the Uni­ver­sity of Man­i­toba, which of­fers ser­vices to stu­dents as well as re­cent alumni up to six months af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

Ness, co-or­di­na­tor of ca­reer ser­vices, said one thing he con­sis­tently does with stu­dents is dis­cuss how to cre­ate un­ex­pected ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties for them­selves based on the ca­reer-plan­ning “Hap­pen­stance The­ory.”

That in­cludes en­cour­ag­ing them to carry and rep­re­sent them­selves well and to bring pos­i­tive en­ergy into the work­place, as well as to try to work with oth­ers and get as in­volved as pos­si­ble. Ness said it’s about go­ing be­yond the job de­scrip­tion to look for other op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“If you rep­re­sent your­self well with en­ergy, and you can con­nect well with peo­ple, that cre­ates un­ex­pected op­por­tu­ni­ties in any or­ga­ni­za­tion,” he said. “More peo­ple will get to know who you are, hope­fully will re­spect the work you do and the type of per­son you are, and that can pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for ad­vance­ment or moves into other types of re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

“ What I re­ally en­cour­age stu­dents to do is to not be in­vis­i­ble.”

For work­ers want­ing to place them­selves in a po­si­tion where they’re tak­ing on new chal­lenges, Khamisa said there should be an on­go­ing con­ver­sa­tion be­tween em­ploy­ees and their bosses on the sub­ject.

“Some­times I’ve seen the mis­take that early ca­reer in­di­vid­u­als make is that they’re think­ing about their own ca­reer de­vel­op­ment but they’re not think­ing about the or­ga­ni­za­tion,” she said.

“ The more that you can be proac­tive and iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties where you can de­velop your skill set and ex­pe­ri­ences and ben­e­fit the or­ga­ni­za­tion as well... that’s what’s go­ing to be the in­cen­tive for your su­per­vi­sor or man­ager to be on your side and help you to get some of those types of op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

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