Building a Safety & Health Portfolio
Congratulations! You’re studying Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in an institute of higher learning! Perhaps you just concluded a non-OSH programme and doing your OSH certification or academic qualification.
Responsibility to Create Demand
As a student, one of your primary responsibility towards yourself is to ensure that whatever you learn in college, it will help you secure your OSH job of your dreams at the salary you want. In other words, you are responsible to make sure you’re valuable and demanded by many firms/companies.
Showing You’re Practical
To help you started, maintaining and keeping a safety and health portfolio can mould that critical and creative cognitive skills required when you’re an OSH professional. Through this portfolio, you want to show your prospective employers that you can apply the things you have learned – as well as be updated at all times – in the prospective employer’s workplace.
Yes, knowledge is power. Applied knowledge, however, is in demand and makes money. Brian Tracy urges that whatever you learn, make sure it contributes to your bottom line. As an employee, your bottom line is your salary.
We overestimate what we can do in 12 months, but we underestimate what can be accomplished in 5 years.
– Brian Tracy in Ultimate Goals Prorgram
Begin from Day 1. Have a focus: where do you intend to work after graduating? In what industry do you want to start earning the big bucks from? Where do you want to be 5 years from graduation? Are you working in Malaysia or overseas? Use this as the objective(s) and theme of your portfolio.
For example, if you want to work in the shipping industry in 5 years time, mould your portfolio in that direction. Be alert to any and every development in the shipping industry. Start liaising with people in the industry. Find out what the shipping industries expect from the top 5% OSH professionals working for them. And, from Day 1 and as you progress, build up the portfolio or skills that takes you closer to that position.
Case Studies and Reflection
Fill up the pages of your portfolio with case studies. Based on the developments in the news, local and foreign, apply the theories and principles that you’ve learnt in the classroom. Ask:
- How does it apply to the industry?
- How does it not apply to the industry?
- How can it be refined further to be applied in that industry?
- What alternatives are there in applying the principles?
- What are the possible applications of the principles and theories besides the one currently in practice?
- How would new solutions benefit your industry/company?
Do this exercise and you’ll be ahead of many in your class – if not your college.
The perception is students study the syllabus just to sit for the exams. With this portfolio, you think 5 years into the future. You’re forced to see how relevant or irrelevant the principle or theory is. You are beginning to think for application, not theory.
As you find more innovative solutions, you can join the Top 5% of the industry. Why? Only the top 5% do more and beyond what the remaining 95% does.
Use your portfolio to compile your finings in your industry of choice. Critique the current practices in the field and offer alternatives. Rest assured, firms are more than happy to employ people with better and cost effective solutions. It saves money and boosts productivity.
Be Specific, Be Focused
I cannot emphasise this enough. Begin to be specific: which industry do you want to work in? Which company or top 5 companies you want to work with? Based on that, tailor your portfolio to meet the needs of that company/those companies.
Also, as focused as you may be, be consistent.
(Posted originally in Ilang in the Sampan 2.0 – http://musings.aldrictinker.com)