Friday, January 30, 2015

E-Portfolios

With the spring and summer months approaching, it’s time to shift those New Year’s Resolutions to something more career-focused. Why not spice up your summer job application with an e-portfolio? How to go about creating one you ask? Well, we've got the rundown to get you up to speed on establishing a strong online presence without the technical difficulties.

Before we dive into things, we recommend thinking of a layout of how you’d like your personal portfolio to look. Feel free to draw inspirations from websites which you find aesthetically pleasing. Now it’s time to gather the resources you want to showcase for the world to see.  Consider including the following:

               About Me
o   A section to tell the visitor about yourself and what you have to offer

Resume
o   This is good to include as a PDF or an interactive section

A Blog
o   A great way to show your interests and career-related activities to show your passion towards your field of interest

Skills/Expertise
o   Experience Plus Transcript, performance evaluation, completed self-assessments

Extra-curricular Activities
o   Volunteering (athletic/social), sports teams (played/coached), school competitions

We recommend checking out our checklist here for more ideas. We encourage including pictures, pamphlets, and awards to add merit to your work. The next step is to choose an online platform which is easy to use and full of functionality. Here are a few worth checking out:





 www.wordpress.com (if you're feeling brave)


Some online websites that assist with portfolio creation might have upgrade options if you’re looking to maximize your exposure. We recommend having a section for your resume for prospective employers looking for a quick snapshot of your skills.


Once you get your sweet, new website running, be sure to make note of it on your cover letter to draw employers' attention to your work. Remember to stop by our Career Resource Centre and take advantage of our amazing resources if you’re having any trouble.


Wajeeh Alvi, Career Assistant
3rd Year Computer Science, Brock University 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gaining Experience for Your Resume and Future Career

 I can't get a job because I have no experience because I can't get a job because I have no experience....

What can you do about that conundrum? Many employers will post a minimum level of experience that they would like their applicants to have, but often times that is just on their "wish list" for the perfect candidate. While we don't suggest that you go applying to jobs that state they would like 15 years managerial experience, there are things you can do to get your foot in the door with limited experience.

Having ZERO experience can be limiting, but if you are reading this blog you are already interested in your career path and will be willing to take steps to gain some relevant experience... right? Right. Some of the ideas below may help you build your skillset.

Volunteering

Many skills (and transferable skills that are applicable to all employment) can be gained through volunteer work. The types of volunteer positions out there are endless and can be tailored to suit your career goals. Often times organizations are very happy to have volunteers, even if only for a few hours. Volunteering is something that can easily be squeezed in to a busy school schedule. Start early to accumulate the most experience, but do not be shy about starting if you are almost graduating, or have graduated.

Blogging/ Managing your Online Presence

Blogging or other types of website management are useful technical skills to have. Blogging for an organization as a volunteer  is useful for exploring topics that may be outside of your familiarity zone. Managing a career/ industry related blog helps you to stay current on trending issues and shows your interest in your field.

Managing your online presence is so important. Having a work appropriate online presence can be created through linkedin, twitter, involvement in online industry related forums or groups ( many can be found on linkedin). Have you googled yourself? What comes up? Many employers will google you and check you out online. Take control of your image and make it as wonderful as you are.

Contract Work

Temporary work contracts may be available to both undergraduate and graduated students. Keep in mind, it may not be your dream job right off the bat, but  its a foot in the door, and any experience is good experience. Short contracts are excellent for networking and creating relationships with people in your field. If it went well you will have gotten some experience, and hopefully a glowing positive reference letter that will help you gain more experience in the future.

On Campus Involvement

Involving yourself in the many different on campus activities can give you experience in a vast variety of different situations. Some of the ones that come to mind for me are: politics, event management, administration, project management, volunteer coordination, and the list goes on. On campus involvement allows you to grow as an individual and improve upon your leadership skills. If you start early, you may be able to "work your way up" the ladder and take on a leadership role in your later years of school. These higher positions speak volumes about your personality, dedication, and transferable skills and shows you are able to act as an ambassador -  an important trait for any business.

Summer/ Part Time Positions

Summer time is a great time to get a job and start racking up your experience. Starting with jobs that give you a wide variety of transferable skills and building from there is an excellent way to boost your level of experience. You learn how to work with different people, in different situations. It doesn't have to be your dream job just yet, but if you can find a picture perfect summer position that's even better!


Come on in to Career Services if you would like any advice on how to get involved on campus, or find a volunteer or job opportunity that suits your career related goals. We would love to help you!

Becky W.
4th Year  BA Tourism and Environment
Lead Career Assistant


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Goal Setting in the New Year!


Getting back into the school setting after a relaxing holiday can be overwhelming. All of a sudden you have assignments to prepare for and final marks to think about. It is so easy to fall behind, but setting the right achievable goals can lead you to a successful term.

First you want to decide what your goals are! Here at Career Services we made a tool to help lead you to the completion of your goals, we call it the Goal Action Form. We use this tool often with students especially if they are preparing to write up big career documents (such as a CV or Portfolio) or if they are applying to grad school or teacher's college. However you want to use this tool, it can provide anyone with a visual step by step process to keep them on track. We have a bunch of these at the Career Resource Centre that you are welcome to come pick up any time!

Goal seeing is an important method of deciding what you want to achieve in your life. It separates whats important from whats irrelevant or a distraction. It is also a tool for motivating yourself, and building your self-confidence based on successful achievement of goals.

If you don't already set goals, try starting now. As you make this technique a part of your life and use the resources that surround you, you'll find your goals accelerating and you will wonder how you did without it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy 2015!

Everyone here at Career Services would just like to wish everyone a happy new year. The second semester has just started, and we are open for business again!

As a reminder, we are open Monday-Friday, 9am-4:30pm. Drop-in any time to use our services which include the following:
- Resume, cover letter, CV, letter of intent, portfolio, and LinkedIn profile reviews
- Job search (full-time and part-time, off-campus and on-campus), summer job search
- What can I do with my degree?
- I don't know what I want to do after I graduate!
- I don't know if I am in the right program!
- Going abroad (teaching, working, studying...)
- Post-grad options

- Interview preparation
- Self-Assessments

... and so much more. It is difficult to keep track of all of the services we provide!

You can also email us a career@brocku.ca if you cannot make it into the Career Resource Centre or are out of town, or you can talk to us on the chat between 9am-4:30pm on the Career Services webpage.

Stay tuned to our blog for a plethora of informative posts this year.

Anthony Mancuso
Senior Career Assistant
Honours Bachelor of Sport Management - Year 3

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Career Services Exam and Holiday Hours


The end of first term is coming quickly. This is a great time to get your resume and cover letter ready for the new year! Here is all you need to know about our Exam and Holiday hours at CS:

Career Resource Centre

December 5th-16th- 9:00am to 4:30pm
December 17th-23rd- 9:00am to 3:30pm
December 24th- 9:00am to 12:00pm

To ensure staffing is available for your visit, please contact us at extension 5115.

Career Services Administrative Offices (ST 119)

December 5th-23rd- 8:30am to 4:30pm
December 24th- 9:00am to 12:00pm

The office is closed for lunch daily from 12:00-1:00pm


Regular business hours for the Career Resource Centre and the Career Services Administrative Offices will resume on Friday, January 2nd. 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Quick Overview: College Post Graduate Diplomas VS Masters/ PhD

 We talk a lot about different career paths on this blog, but sometimes we need to refocus on how to get there. You can find the job but what if you don't have the right qualifications? In order to avoid this scenario it is important to work backwards from your dream career to identify the education path you will need in order to obtain that job in the future.

In general: One is not necessarily better than the other. It all depends on you, and your life goals.

  • College level post graduate certificates give you practical skills for a particular job, or small sector of jobs. These certificates compliment your undergraduate degree and prepare you for the workforce.
    • Typically 8 months - 1 year
    • Offered in a variety of subjects
    • More focused, practical, and economical
    • Can serve as a bridge to a masters program

  • Masters/ PhD programs vary and are based around research, teaching, and writing. If you are not passionate about those big three things, perhaps a masters/PhD program is not the best fit for your interests.
    • Typically 1-2 years of full time course work
    • Offered in a variety of subjects: Broad career fields
    • Upfront costs are typically much higher than graduate certificates
    • Necessary for certain careers ( Professor, Doctor, etc)

In the job market today, it is becoming more common to need a masters degree to obtain senior management positions, or a college instructor position.  To teach in a university setting, a PhD is almost always required. Researching your chosen career path, along with taking an honest look at the job market demands should help you decide which avenue is right for you.

If you need help deciding on which way to go, please come in to see us! We have college program information, and plenty of MA and PhD information and preparatory books. We would be happy to show you around CareerCruising and help you identify the relevant education needed for your chosen career path!

Becky White
Lead Career Assistant
4th Year  BA Tourism and Environment


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Organizing your Job Search Research

Job searching can be a difficult task for people. Usually the person is under some pressure to find a position which can cause them to become anxious and stressed.

The most important thing to remember is that there is something in the market for everyone. Today, we see a lot of graduates graduating with degrees that have a variety of transferable skills (for example, skills you've obtained from overcoming obstacles throughout your university study). By completing almost any degree that doesn't specifically lead you to a career path (ie. Nursing, Teacher's College, etc.) you will be obtaining these skills. These are what will assist you in finding your career path and will most likely be the most used skills on the job.

Since you will have all these skills coming out of university, you will need to know how you use them. Everyone has had a different learning experience and knowing your own will help you determine your desired career. We call this Self Assessment, assessing your personality, values, and preferred working environments. Check out our post of Self Assessments and how you can complete this step by clicking here.

Once you have assessed yourself you should have a good idea of where you would work well and what you would like to be doing. Beginning your research is next!

Your research on jobs should begin with knowing exactly what the job entails (Is it in an office environment? Are you working with a team/group of people? What hours would you be working? What are the challenges people face in this occupation?). All these things can be answered through online research, visiting your Career Centre, or reaching out to those in that occupation using the Information Interview approach.

It would be helpful to keep all the research you've found important to this point in a binder or folder so you are always able to refer to it. Especially when you have looked at a few types of careers, you can keep them separate from each other by using dividers. It may be very likely that you are interested in occupations that are close in nature, but you still want to keep them separate so when the opportunity comes along you know where to go to get your researched information.

Another tip you could explore further is making customized resumes and cover letters to fit the different positions you are interested in so when you see a posting you will be ready to review their qualifications to make sure you emphasize them and then apply!

For more tips on organizing your job search check out these quick tips from TalentEgg here!
Good luck searching and remember our Career Resource Centre at Brock University is always here to help you out!

Alysha-Lynn Kooter
Senior Career Assistant
3rd Year Concurrent Education: Visual Arts 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Is Your Career in Demand?

In today's ever-changing labour market, it is important to stay updated on what jobs are in demand and what jobs are more competitive. Staying updated, while it sounds daunting, is actually very easy and can be done from these two resources:

Job Bank Canada:
http://wladyslawlizon.ca/sites/default/files/job-bank_0.jpgThis website, updated weekly with labour market news per Canada as a whole, province and territories, and even municipalities, gives ratings for professions in regions across Canada. Want to know where Pilots are in demand... maybe thinking about moving to Calgary? The extensive search criteria allows you to peek inside the labour market for that job in that area.


This resource also does a complete overhaul at the beginning of each year for all of their statistics. This means that in January 2015 we will have a completely new batch of information to draw from! Stay updated, Career Services will be using this resource to develop our labour market and trends binders in the coming months.


Glassdoor.ca:
http://static.glassdoor.ca/static/img/mobile/icons/touch-icon-114.png?v=125292Glassdoor is unique in that it allows not only a look at if jobs are in demand, but the culture of those jobs and companies. Employees who have worked there review the job, location specific most of the time, and can help identify if that profession or that company is something you want to do or work for.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will also get a quick listing of trending jobs and salaries. The best part is it is all Canadian! Glassdoor.ca is a fun and informative website to use when analyzing the labour market. They also have a mobile app, so you can search your careers demand on the go!



It is important to know where the jobs are in your profession, and to understand where the jobs will be in the future  and where your industry is headed. These two resources are only the tip of the iceberg but provide a bountiful amount of information that is relatively easy to access.


Anthony Mancuso
Senior Career Assistant
3rd Year Honours Bachelor of Sport Management

Monday, November 17, 2014

Volunteerism is more than Meets the Eye


As an employer, when hiring someone you need to know who they are as a holistic package because how much sense does it make to hire someone who knows nothing about you?  Volunteerism is a way to highlight the experience that you accomplish for the reason of that it’s what you’re passionate about. In my experience in my position as a Career Assistant, I have never heard of someone doing something out of the goodness of their heart that wasn’t passionate about their volunteerism area. Volunteerism is something that really does impact a person’s life from day to day. My personal purpose of volunteering and my career is because I aim to inspire and empower others to do great things and to me I want to make sure that I explain this in my resume through the volunteerism section. Let your employer know that you don’t care about the money only, rather that you do other things for the reason that you are just passionate.  Use the strategy of putting yourself in the employer’s shoes, would you really want to hire someone who has no volunteerism?

I (Anthony) actually received consideration for my seasonal employment because my employer was so intrigued by my volunteer section on my resume, as community involvement was a big area of focus for their organization. Thinking about it objectively, the best way to get something is to give something in return, and giving back to your community while also contributing to a cause you care about is a great way for employers in the community to give back to you... by offering you a position!
 
http://www.nocarbsafterfour.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/volunteer.jpg
Some of the great benefits of volunteering
We offer a variety of resources for students looking to volunteer. Careerzone always has volunteer opportunities being posted for Brock students and Alumni to access, year round. There are both local and abroad opportunities being offered all the time. We also have a resource that offers a list of websites available to look at more volunteer opportunities. This resource can be found on careerzone on our online resource section, as well as in our resource centre. 



Brock also offers Volunteer Plus, a program designated to reward those who spend an ample amount of time volunteering during the year. Be sure to track all of your volunteer experience on Experience Plus to qualify! There are 3 levels:

Bronze: 30-40 hours
Silver: 41-75 hours
Golf: 76+ hours

All volunteer experiences can be recorded on your Experience Plus transcript! It may seem like a lot to volunteer for 76+ hours, but over the course of an entire year it is actually very minimal. Volunteer hours for Volunteer Plus are tracked from September 1st-August 31st, so you have all year including the summer to get involved!


Written by:
Tyler Harris
Career Assistant
3rd Year Psychology Major

Co-written and Facilitated by:
Anthony Mancuso
Senior Career Assistant
3rd Year Sport Management Major

Friday, November 14, 2014

Follow Ups and Thank you Notes

 So you have done your research and found a job you think would be  a great fit for you. You carefully edited your resume and wrote a killer coverletter and were invited for an interview - which you aced! So... now what do you do?

The next step in the interview process is about following up with your interviewer.



When?
 It is important to thank the interviewer(s) within 24 hours of meeting.

What do I say?
Send separate notes to everyone involved in your interview to thank them for their time, the opportunity to be considered, and also lets you reaffirm your enthusiasm for the position. Don't be afraid to restate your  relevant skills, and why you would be a great fit for the position. Did you forget to mention something during the interview? You may add it in your follow up, just make sure it is concise. Restating your relevant skills could also be used to demonstrate your understanding of the company's needs and challenges.

Length?
 An effective thank you note is short, sweet, and to the point. Aim for around 6- 10 sentences. You don't want them to lose interest in your message.

How?
Thank you notes can be physical notes, or follow up e mails. Make sure you proofread your e mails before you send them. You don't want to  tarnish the great first impression you made with typos. Be sure of their names and how to correctly spell them.


Thank you notes and follow ups can boost your chance of getting a job. A survey by AccountTemps (2013) found that 76% of Canadian executives polled said that sending a thank you note demonstrates initiative and courtesy. The act of simply thanking someone for their time and the opportunity to be considered for the position can set you apart from other applicants.

If you would like more information, or you would like to see some sample follow ups, please feel free to stop by the Career Resource Centre and check out our Interview Techniques Binder, or chat with a Career Assistant. We are always happy to help you! Mon-Fri 9-4:30 


Becky White
Lead career Assistant
4th Year Tourism and Environment