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Finding your place in the job market

How to be present in your career while utilizing your degree


When you're looking for work, where you're looking plays a big role. The Nova Scotian economy isn't one single engine so much as it is a team of five different horses, all running in the same direction. And those horses are geographical areas of Nova Scotia.

As the province's official immigration website — — puts it to potential emigre workers, there are five "key regions" in Nova Scotia: Cape Breton, the Annapolis Valley, Halifax, Northern NS and Southern NS. The regions have distinct industries, which means different job markets for members of the labour force.

The Annapolis Valley, for example, is dominated by agriculturally driven sectors and construction, while southern Nova Scotia provides forestry, fishing, mining, and oil and gas opportunities. If you want to work off the land, these regions are an obvious starting point to look for job leads. But if you're hoping to put your business degree and marketing background to use, it can be difficult to see an opportunity.

In contrast, Halifax employment is dominated by service. Being a tourist destination, and a city that loves to mingle and meet, the service sector accounts for 85 percent of jobs, which is significantly higher than the rest of the province. Northern NS also skews towards service, but with a strong component — 25 percent of jobs — from the "goods industry."

The final region is Cape Breton. "Health care and social service sectors, as well as public administration have all been on the rise," says the immigration site, a sign of prosperity and increasing work opportunities. At least for people in medical fields. What's a photographer to do?

Getting job-specific training for an industry that's dominant in the area you want to live is one route to career success in Nova Scotia. But it's not the only path. Meshing your work passion with a seemingly unrelated company isn't just possible, it's vital to make the province's economy dynamic. Marketing professionals, there are agricultural companies that could benefit from your skills — you just need to tell them how. Photographers, ask the manager at your day job if they need new headshots or website photos.

Having the right mindset is key to succeeding in Nova Scotia. There are ample opportunities for everyone in every sector, but it depends if your heart and mind are in the right place. Find the job that allows you to grow from within, and if they don't ask, offer your service. Eventually you'll find the place that is right for you.

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