12. Career Development Tips

June 2, 2021

Way back in April, I wrote a blog post on how to get into safety. Today, I will follow it up with a few tips that will help progress your career! without further ado, here are Dave’s Career Development Tips. 

Begin with the End in Mind 

You wouldn’t go on a road trip without an end destination in mind, would you?  Uh… never mind, bad example. Some of the best road trips are just like that.  Hit the road and see where the wind blows you. That being said, what makes for a great impromptu road trip does not make for a great career path. With a career, you should always set goals and work towards them. Goals are like anchors on a timeline that pull you in and keep you from drifting! 

Good H&S Career goals might be educational in nature such as getting a career-related designation, for example, the Canadian Registered Safety Professional designation. Map out the path, figure out what education and experience you need and put a plan together! Most things don’t happen by accident. Make the plan, act on the plan, reach your goals! 

Prepare to be Educated 

You need to know that a career in Occupational Health and Safety, requires a lot of continuing education. In short, you will spend time in the classroom for the rest of your career! You might hire on with a company that wants you to take a specific accident investigation course. Maybe you will find yourself in a role that requires you to have a skill that you lack. It might also be coming to the end of the year and you discover that you need a few more professional development points to keep a designation up! 

With education, keep the end in mind again! Instead of taking a random course here and there, it might be worthwhile to look at a certificate, diploma, or degree program. That way, alongside the education, you get the parchment as well!  If you are going to spend the time in the books, you may as well reap the maximum reward. 

Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer… 

Volunteer a lot. It is amazing what doors volunteer work and the contacts that you make through volunteer work can open for you! In my own career, I volunteered on the Regional Health and Safety Committees early in my career. Later, when I was in a management position, I volunteered on the Construction Owner’s Association Safety Subcommittee. These positions, especially the latter, led to me spending time on the Board of Directors at the Alberta Construction Safety Association. When you volunteer for something, you never know where it will take you! 

Volunteering is a win/win situation. It is good for you, and good for the organization that you volunteer with. You gain skills and contacts, the organization benefits from your efforts. While I beat the volunteer drum, I would encourage you to consider volunteering for good organizations outside your career as well if you have the time. I have volunteered with numerous organizations over the years such as Scouts Canada and volunteer cooking at an AIDS Hospice for example. You always learn something and take something away, and you make the world a bit of a better place for someone else!