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Watch Linda Ryan discuss how BCCA-IN can help you with skills, education, and licensing assessment.

To achieve professional success it’s vital to develop a career plan. But, where do you start? If you don’t know where or how to start to develop your plan, then continue reading and get helpful tips.

Linda Ryan is the National Program Manager with BCCA-Integrating Newcomers, a government funded, Canada-wide, pre-arrival career coaching service for high skilled construction professionals immigrating to Canada (*BCCA-IN).

A career and certified performance coach, she and the BCCA-IN team specialize in helping newcomers plan for, and achieve, employment success, no matter what city or province they are moving to.

When it comes to developing a career plan, Linda Ryan shares the top five things you can do to achieve success! Prepare for Canada spoke to her to get her valuable insights about how to develop a career plan. Ironically, none of her tips even mention resume, job hunting, or LinkedIn. Those elements, Ryan stated, are all about attitude and approach. In contrast, the tips she offers provide the building blocks of any successful life transition. And, that includes helping newcomers develop a career plan to achieve success even before arriving in Canada.  

Developing a Career Plan Starts with these 5 Tips

We asked Linda Ryan for her advice on why it’s essential to develop a career plan and where to begin. She discussed five key tips that she has come to believe are the building blocks of any successful transition.

1: Get focused

2: Get real

3: Get knowledgeable

4: Get prepared

5: Get on with it.

PFC: What’s a good starting point to develop a career plan, especially for people who want to build a new career in Canada.

Linda Ryan: My first tip is to get focused. “Adopting the ‘‘I’ll take any job’ mindset is one of the most unhelpful approaches to career transition, especially in a new country.” Accepting any job, or what’s also known as a survival job, serves to pay the bills while you search for a job that aligns with your:

  • Career dreams
  • Education
  • Qualifications, and 
  • Industry experience. 

However, accepting “any job” is not a sustainable career development strategy. And, taking any job will leave you feeling unfulfilled, unproductive, and unhappy.

A better approach is to focus on what you would love to do in one, five, or 15 years from now.

To help you get focused, you can look at your interests, aspirations, existing education, and experience. 

Linda Ryan

The next step is to look at the: 

  • Professions
  • Requirements, and
  • Local labour market conditions to find a balance of what is possible for your career development.

It’s helpful to focus on up to three possible role types that you would like to pursue. This will help you decide what specific activities you must act upon to develop a plan and achieve career success. 

PFC: Can you tell us more about your second tip: Get Real?

Linda Ryan: It’s important to be realistic about the job prospects in Canada. So it’s a good idea to access high-level labour market information for the city, province and profession where you plan to settle. Job Bank is Canada’s national employment service that’s available as a website and mobile app.

It helps you develop a career plan and find work by providing an overview of your profession in Canada. This career planning tool is invaluable and provides information about:

  • Education/certification requirements 
  • Credential recognition
  • Career paths
  • Role title variation
  • Earning potential, and even
  • Local job demand.

PFC: Your third tip talks about the importance of knowledge when developing a career plan. What specific advice would you give?

Linda Ryan: It’s helpful to know if your profession is regulated or unregulated in Canada. When you confirm this, you’ll know what you require to work in Canada and what it actually means for your goals. With this knowledge, you can adjust your career-planning activities accordingly.

PFC: Your fourth tip is to get prepared. What specific activities would you suggest to help people prepare for their career in Canada?

Linda Ryan: One vital activity is to understand the difference between education evaluation and credential evaluation.  There are clear differences between each activity that can help you prepare for career success. 

If you plan to arrive in Canada soon, you can start these activities before you arrive. Because doing so is smart and strategic! To learn more, check out this post.

Also, get comfortable with planning. In fact, you should have a Plan A and a Plan B (maybe even a Plan C) for your career. And expect to change these plans as your circumstances and experiences change.

Why Newcomers Need Two Career Plans

Education Evaluation and Credential Recognition | What Newcomers Must Know

Career Counselling Helps Newcomers Build Success

Working in Canada | A 5-Step Approach

PFC: Tip five is to get on with it. What more would you like to say about this tip?

Linda Ryan: Only you are accountable for developing a career plan, no one else. However, it’s healthy to ask for help and seek guidance from experts. You can even access free newcomer services to help you achieve your career goals faster. It’s also helpful to build connections with peers in your local industry.

But, it’s up to you to take consistent and constructive action to build the career that you want. So, get into action, adjust your plans, and keep on doing.

Learn More about BCCA-IN

*The BCCA-Integrating Newcomers program is a free, pre-arrival, Canada-wide service, focused on helping high-skilled newcomers explore and build successful construction careers. Services include one-on-one career guidance, tailored resume, cover letter, LinkedIn advice, and an in-depth skills and education assessment to help newcomers focus on the best career, credentials and connections activities. The Integrating Newcomers team not only has multi-industry experience but are also immigrants who have built successful careers in Canada.