Career Development

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
OADM 1410
Career Development
Office Administration
Commerce & Business Administration
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hours Seminar: 1 Total: 3 hours per week
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

The instructor will use short lectures and modeling to introduce new concepts and behaviours. Videos and speakers may be incorporated into the course. Role plays will be used to simulate employment interviews. A video camera may (with student’s permission) be used to facilitate self- and peer-assessment.

Course Description
This final semester course for Office Administration students is designed to provide students the foundation career planning knowledge and skills necessary for continued success in their administrative career path. Students will self-assess their skills, wants, personality, and short-term and long-term goals to determine their workplace fit and career plans. The course will cover relevant provincial employment legislation, employee rights and obligations, and differences between collective bargaining and non-collective bargaining workplaces. Students will apply the tools and techniques used in the job application process, and will define, quantify and compare the value of benefits in compensation packages. Students will learn techniques and strategies for preparing for performance reviews, determining salary expectations, and negotiating wage increases. During this course, students will apply job search techniques to searching for a practicum placement. NOTE: STUDENTS MUST TAKE THIS COURSE DURING THE SEMESTER BEFORE THEY INTEND TO COMPLETE THEIR OFFICE PRACTICUM.
Course Content


  • Determination and discussion of attitudes and behaviours for success in a business environment including positive attitude, cooperation, punctuality, regular attendance, flexibility, sensitivity to differences, networking ethical behavior, submission of quality work, and open communication
  • Determination and discussion of necessary knowledge or “technical” or hard skills needed for a chosen occupation
  • Self-assessments to ascertain wants, needs, communication style, learning style, strengths and weaknesses, values and interests
  • Realistic current and estimated future financial needs

Workplace and Career Assessment

  • Determination of workplace attributes that match or fit personal assessments
  • Realistic, measurable short and long-term personal, educational, and career goals to support one’s career plans
  • Work experience analysis – work experience necessary to reach career goals
  • Strategies to facilitate life-long learning
    • Educational needs analysis
    • RESP
    • Professional development
    • Professional associations

Career or Employment Portfolios

  • Employment portfolios which evidence the student’s skills, education, and qualifications
    • Artifacts that document skills, education, and qualifications
    • Descriptions of personal life examples demonstrating each attitude and behaviour required for success in a business environment
    • Descriptions of personal examples of the education, training or life experience that demonstrates knowledge or ability to perform necessary “technical” or “hard” skills
  • Benefits of having an employment portfolio when creating resumes or submitting applications for work
  • Compilation of an individualized employment portfolios
  • Creation of specialized presentation portfolios from the artifacts compiled in an employment portfolio
    • Interview portfolio
    • Salary negotiation
    • Performance reviews

Job Hunting Tools and Techniques

  • Profile employment opportunities that will meet one’s needs including salary/benefits, location, size, national or international, union or non-union, and travel opportunities
  • Generation of a list of prospective employers
  • Effective marketing strategies to promote oneself in writing, in person, and on the telephone
  • Review of employment portfolio in creation of resume
  • Targeted letters of application, resumes, and thank you letters
  • Job hunting plan and tracking mechanism for contacting and following up on prospective employers
  • Proper interview and workplace wardrobe
  • Review of employment portfolio in preparing potential answers for an interview
  • Interviews – answering questions/interview portfolio

Compensation and Financial Concerns

  • Retirement
    • Canada Pension Plan
    • Old Age Security
    • Guaranteed Income Supplement
    • Defined Benefit Pension
    • Defined Contribution Pension
    • RRSP
    • TFSA
    • RRIF
  • Benefits and quantifying before tax and after tax value of benefits
    • Dental
    • Medical
    • Extended Health
    • Life Insurance
    • Short Term Disability
    • Long Term Disability
    • Sick Days
    • Miscellaneous (education, gym, flex days, banked time, etc.)
  • Payroll deductions and calculating estimates of payroll deductions
    • Marginal tax rates
    • Employment insurance
    • Union dues
    • CPP
    • Pension
    • Benefits
  • Budgeting
    • Determination of personal budget
    • Consideration of short-term and long-term personal or family needs, including but not limited to
      • Large purchases (car, home, etc.)
      • RDSP
      • RESP (Child’s education)
    • Calculating employment related costs(after tax), including but not limited to

      • Commuting
      • Clothing
      • Childcare
  • Salary Negotiation – tips/strategies/use of salary negotiation portfolio

Performance Reviews

  • Purpose of performance reviews
  • Use of performance review portfolio

Employee and Employer Rights

  • Discussion of employee obligations to employer
  • Discussion of employer obligations to employees
  • Human Rights in the workplace
  • Provincial legislation, including but not limited to, Employment Standards Act, Labour Relations Code, and Workers’ Compensation Act
  • Right to terminate
    • Probation period
    • Termination without cause
    • Termination with cause
    • Wrongful dismissal
    • Constructive dismissal
  • Background of collective bargaining
  • Employee rights in collective bargaining workplaces
Learning Outcomes


The learner has reliably demonstrated the ability to

  1. assess self and determine financial needs and goals;
  2. set educational, workplace and career goals;
  3. plan strategies to achieve educational, workplace and career goals;
  4. compile and define the uses of an employment portfolio;
  5. define and explain different methods for job hunting;
  6. create a job hunting plan;
  7. identify the pros and cons of different resume formats;
  8. draft resumes and cover letters;
  9. create an interview portfolio;
  10. prepare for and participate in a job interview skills practice;
  11. evaluate his/her performance in the job application process;
  12. identify and quantify different elements of compensation packages;
  13. identify and estimate payroll deductions to determine net wages;
  14. define and contrast different retirement financial options;
  15. define strategies for salary negotiations;
  16. explain and define strategies for performance reviews;
  17. identify and explain employee rights and obligations in the workplace;
  18. define relevant employment legislation;
  19. identify the differences of employee rights and obligations between workplaces with and without collective bargaining;
  20. identify the pros and cons of collective bargaining; and
  21. search for a suitable practicum placement.
Means of Assessment

Interview Portfolio

10 - 15%

Interview Skills Practice

20 - 25%

Letter of Application




Test 1

15 - 25%

Test 2

0 - 20%


0 - 10%

Employability Skills (criterion based/assessed twice over semester)

0 - 10%



There are no assessments requiring oral presentations in this course.

Students may conduct research as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans, which can require obtaining Informed Consent from participants and getting the approval of the Douglas College Research Ethics Board prior to conducting the research.

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students

Campbell, Joan I. Pitman Office Handbook, Latest Ed. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada 

Course packs as determined by the instructor

or other textbooks and materials as approved by the department.