New Year, New Career

Steps to Success

by Christelle Agboka

It’s that time again: time to take stock of the past 12 months — what went well, what didn’t go so well— and to determine how to make the upcoming year better. For many, seeking a new career is at the top of their list of resolutions. Among those pursuing a new career are recent graduates looking for exciting opportunities, downsized or laid-off workers, people re-entering the workforce after an extended leave of absence, and individuals on the hunt for increased financial rewards and/or personal satisfaction from their work. Whatever category you fall into, careful planning is critical to career success.

Photo by Mihai Eustatiu, Romania, 2007

Next Steps Employment Centre’s own Tess Desa (job developer) and Carmen Chouinard (employment advisor)  share a few tips for individuals wanting to set their careers in motion in 2012. Desa stresses that there is “no one-size fits all solution” for career conundrums. For instance, laid-off workers should consider Second Career – a government program providing laid-off workers funding for re-training in high-demand fields, student loans through OSAP, free training options, apprenticeships, internships and language enhancements (more info here and here). New graduates should job shadow and talk to professionals in their area of interest to learn “what is actually involved in a career.” They should also look at the Working in Canada’s website to find out about employment outlook, trends and research. People re-entering the workforce should attend workshops to gain a better understanding of current job and professional image requirements. They should also keep abreast of labour market news through newspapers.

For all job seekers, once you have a clear goal the next step is to market yourself. Chouinard emphasized that today a resumé is a “marketing document” rather than a “historical document,” or a list of job descriptions. It must be current and relevant. If you have a great amount of work experience, highlight the important ones from the last 15 years. Customize it to what the employer is looking for by highlighting accomplishments and showing the results of your efforts. She continued, “You may be the best candidate for the position, but if you can’t sell yourself, your skills, your expertise, and your abilities to the interviewer in a confident manner, you won’t get the job. It is not the most educated or even the most qualified candidates who get the job, it is the candidate who believes in what he/she has to offer and can convince the interviewer of the same.”

Desa added that job seekers should also consider self-employment options. Following the example of one of her clients who started a successful dog-walking business, they can find work by analyzing what the Danforth community needs and providing those services. She concluded, “Th[ese] are key word[s] for the new year – be resourceful.”

To help you reach your career goals, there are several organizations offering employment services in the Danforth-Riverdale area, including:

  1. Next Steps Employment Centre – Riverdale (997 Gerrard St. E., 416-396-2313,
  2. Woodgreen Employment and Training Services (989 Danforth Ave., 416-462-3110,
  3. Newcomer Women Services Toronto (745 Danforth Ave., 416-751-8886,

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