Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Using Linkedin for Career Success!

It's one thing to simply have a Linkedin profile, but it's quite another thing to utilize this platform to maximize the amount & caliber of job opportunities that come your way. This is a rather simple thing to do that involves utilizing the job search function, working within your network, and joining or following groups, organizations, and companies you wish to work for!

The job search function on Linkedin is a great starting point to begin using Linkedin for career success. Using Linkedin, you can search by job title, keyword, company name, and company location. You can even save jobs to apply to later, save your searches, and look at past applications! In this sense, Linkedin helps you organize and plan your job search, making it super easy to hunt and apply for the perfect position.

You can even discover jobs within your network without even searching, allowing you to leverage your connections! At the bottom of the "Jobs" page on Linkedin, you'll find jobs coming from within your network, meaning you can easily reach out to your connections for details about the job or find out information regarding hiring and interviews for that particular company. This is a great way to use those already made connections to your advantage while you are job searching.

But beyond just utilizing the "Jobs" tab on Linkedin and working within your already established network, there are also other ways to find the position of your dreams and achieve career success. Joining groups or following companies or individuals which relate directly to your skills and career goals is another way to search for employment. By joining these groups and following these companies, you will be notified when positions become available without even searching! You can also begin making connections with other professionals within these groups and companies in order to expand your network and learn more about the industry you wish to work for.

Another great way to expand your network is to follow professional associations and related to your field. For example, I follow the American Psychological Association (I'm a psychology major!), which allows me to learn more about professions in psychology while also allowing me to join discussions and network with well established professionals. Check out our Degree Exploration Guides to find the associations that relate to your major!

With platforms like Linkedin becoming more and more popular, it's clear to see that we've come a long way from the traditional format of physically handing in resumes to employers which has truly made the duties of the job seeker much more simple and streamlined. So what are you waiting for? Job hunt the easy way by utilizing Linkedin for career success!

Scarlet Stark
Career Assistant
Psychology Major

Friday, July 3, 2015

Smart Start 2015!

Looking back and reflecting on my first year here at Brock University, the first word that comes to my mind is "chaotic". I had a hard time navigating my way around campus, had little knowledge of the resources available to me, and did not get involved in any on-campus activities. Now I am in my third year at Brock and I am not only an extremely active member on campus, but I am also well versed on all that Brock has to offer me as a student! But instead of being like myself in first year, why not start university on the right foot? Luckily, there is a way for new Brock students to start university with an arsenal of knowledge on how to become an active member of the Brock community!

Smart Start is a program implemented by Brock University to help make the transition to university seamless for first year and mature students. Aside from getting the grand tour of Brock facilities and faculties, new students will also get the opportunity to visit the Career Resource Centre and our expo table to begin thinking about career options and exploring different degrees and skills, and to find out about all the great involvement opportunities that Brock has to offer, like the Mentorship Plus Program!

Whether it be tips or advice on getting an on-campus job or exploring the different career options based on faculty and program, we at Career Services are all about providing the resources students need so they can reach their career goals and their fullest potential during their time here at Brock.

In order to keep up with all that we have going on at Career Services, my best advice for incoming students is to follow us on social media. Upcoming events, new resources, professional development, employment opportunities, as well as tips and tricks on everything from interviews to social media for job searching are posted regularly on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Click HERE for our Twitter page and HERE for our Facebook page and get in the loop today! See you at Smart Start!

Scarlet Stark
Career Assistant
Psychology Major

Monday, June 29, 2015

Linkedin for Students

If your a student and do not already have a Linkedin profile of your own, follow these 5 easy steps and you'll be on your way to utilizing one of the best social media platforms for job searching and professional networking!

1. Choose Your Picture (Wisely!)
It doesn't have to entail booking a professional photo shoot, but there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind. If you are making "the duck face", are with a large group of people, or are engaging in non-work related behavior in the photo (chugging a beer with friends or crowd surfing at a concert), it might not be the wisest choice for your Linkedin photo. Remember, Linkedin is for you to connect to professionals & employers and is really about making a good first impression. So make that impression count and keep your photo as professional as possible.

2. Make Your Headline
Your headline is one of the first things others actually read on your profile before they get to the other content. Highlight what you are currently doing and what you are looking for. For example, "Student at Brock University" isn't eye catching and is rather vague. A headline like "Marketing BA Candidate at Brock University Seeking Internship Opportunities in Business Promotions" is specific and informative.
3. Write Your Summary
As the section title suggests, summarize what you are currently doing and mention your goals and future plans as well as any other skills or interests related to this. Make sure your content is concise yet professional! And if you'd like, mention opportunities you are looking for! This will help your audience figure out your overall objective professionally and may lead to connections which can aid you in reaching your goals.

4. Add Your Experiences
This includes: work experiences, volunteer experiences, professional development, certifications, diplomas/degrees and awards (to name a few). Obviously, you may not have content for every category, but that's perfectly alright! Just like with a resume, you don't need to have an experience for every section. However, adding your experiences may highlight areas you could be working on or areas in need of improvement. For example, if you have no volunteer experience, perhaps it's time to explore some volunteer opportunities so you can implement that section into your profile.

5. Customization
Adding work samples, photographic examples and content, creating a personalized URL, and adding specific keywords to your "Skills" section are all ways you can customize your profile and set it apart from the rest! Linkedin is constantly updating the ways in which you can customize your content, so keep in mind that customizing your profile will be an ongoing work in progress, much like a resume!

So there you have it! A simple guide to creating the perfect student Linkedin profile! And don't forget, we offer free drop-in Linkedin Profile Reviews here at the Career Resource Centre at Brock. Using our newly developed criteria checklist, we can go through your profile and ensure that the content is the best it can be. Additionally, we offer handouts on building your student profile and are more than happy to aid in any way possible! So what are you waiting for? Get Linkedin today!

Scarlet Stark
Career Assistant
Psychology Major

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

6 Things ALL New Grads Should Know

To end this month long theme of graduation related blog posts and information, here are 6 things ALL new graduates should know:

1. Know Your Network
So you have a network of 500 + people on your Linkedin; but how many do you make an effort to keep in touch with or catch up with professionally speaking? Make sure you know your network and everyone in it. By this I mean making meaningful connections that can open up opportunities for both parties! Even if your network is small, make the effort to maintain contact. Also, keep in touch with your graduating class and professors; these connections are great to maintain, especially if the thought of doing graduate school has ever crossed your mind!

2. Know Your Skills
Identifying the key skills you gained through your education, work, and volunteer experiences is imperative to finding work that correlates to your expertise. If your skilled at writing and have extensive experience writing blogs and articles, you can narrow down fields to work in by looking for those skills in job postings. This will help you to be on your way to utilizing what you know professionally to land the perfect entry level position! Our Degree Exploration Guides can help with identifying degree specific skills so be sure to check them out!

3. Know Your Transferable Skills

We've all had that job where we said to ourselves "What am I learning from this experience?". Often times, it's occupations in the service industry like serving coffee at your local Tim Horton's or waiting tables at Boston Pizza. However, never forget the transferable skills being gained through these types of positions. Not only are skills like teamwork and customer service being gained, but also other valuable skills like time-management and organization. So if the job of your dreams isn't available right now, never turn down other opportunities! Where there is work, there are transferable skills to be gained!

4. Know Your Goals
And when I say goals I mean both short term and long term! The job of your dreams may not be hiring right now, but that doesn't mean you should put your life on hold. If something is in the way of a long-term goal, work on your short-term goals, and vise versa. And never stop setting goals for yourself! It's truly the difference between those who find themselves stuck in a "rut" and those who progress! For some extra goal-setting tips, check out another great blog post here

5. Know Yourself
It's the classic scenario: you are in an interview and they ask you to "Describe yourself in 5 words" or "Tell us your biggest strength or biggest weakness". Even though we spend all day with ourselves, these questions are sometimes the most difficult to answer. This is why knowing yourself inside and out is beneficial! Write down some strengths and weaknesses or words you feel encompass your own personal brand in order to get to know yourself better. This will not only help with goal-setting and networking, but will also make interviews not only easier, but much more successful! 

6. Know Your Resources
If you need help, it's important to know where to get it. For example, as Brock Alumni, new graduates will have access to extensive career resources both in the Career Resource Centre here at Brock and on-line through Careerzone and the Online Resource Centre. From career document reviews, to workshops, to job search help and interview practice, and even graduate school information, we've got you covered on all fronts! Be sure to check out Grad LINK via Linkedin and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter too! Utilize the resources you have available to you to succeed!

Again, a big congratulations to ALL graduates! Hopefully these must-knows will help you not only get to know yourself better, but also make the transition from university to work seamless & successful!

Scarlet Stark
Career Assistant
Psychology Major

Monday, June 15, 2015

Alternative Paths for New Grads!

Convocation week has just ended here at Brock which means it's time for a blog about alternatives after graduation. For most, the expectation is that they will slide into a career right away and start working full-time. For others, this expectation may not be attainable or ideal. If working full-time right after you graduate isn't your plan, there are many alternate routes that can be taken! Here are 4 different paths to take after graduation that don't involve working full-time, but are guaranteed to give you some practical knowledge while still being a fun learning experience!

1. Go Abroad

Why not skip out before that cold Canada winter comes and head overseas? With so many different work, internship, and volunteer opportunities, your time abroad can be more than just a fun vacation, but can double as a way to gain professional experience while becoming more culturally knowledgeable. Going Global, accessible through Careerzone for Brock students & alumni, has thousands of opportunities overseas, ranging from work to internships to volunteering, in a vast number of countries, from the US to Italy and even Finland! They even provide detailed city guides so you'll know all the logistics, like the cost of living, visa and embassy information, and how to fit in with the local culture.Other sites like Go Abroad also offer valuable resources and information on working, interning, or volunteering abroad. 

2. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to dip your foot in the pool without fully committing yourself so to speak. For example, if working with kids has always been fun for you but your not sure if you want a career in that field, spending a few hours a week volunteering might help you realize if this is the right path for you. Along with being able to try new things, volunteering allows you to network with other professionals, gives you extra experience to add to your resume, and is extremely rewarding, especially when the volunteer opportunity is something you are passionate about. Directories like 211 Ontario offer endless information about foundations and organizations who regularly take volunteers so the opportunities are truly endless. Also, if there is a specific place you would like to volunteer, a quick google search should give you the information to find out about volunteering there and what it would entail.  

3. Intern

Another great way to gain some practical experience that doesn't require a major commitment is through internship opportunities. Much like volunteering, many internships do not require the same amount of time or commitment that a full-time job would, but will allow you to get a feel for the industry and whether or not it's something you wish to pursue further. Internships are also a great way for entry level grads to break into the field! CareerEdge is a great program which offers paid internships to students looking for their big chance to shine! Even the Ontario government offers a paid internship program

4. Part-Time Jobs

If the thought of going right from graduation to full-time work is daunting, why not start with working part-time? This will allow you to gain experience and make money, all the while allowing you time to explore other opportunities simultaneously. Maybe you'll work 20 hours a week and volunteer for 10 hours. Or maybe you'll see that the part-time job you took isn't for you and take on another to explore different industries. Whatever it is you decide, part-time work opportunities are plentiful and are a great way to get your feet wet! Be sure to utilize advanced search options on websites like Careerzone, Indeed, Monster, and Eluta (to name a few) which will allow you to narrow down these part-time opportunities with ease!

So don't feel like you are limited if working full-time after graduation isn't the right path for you! As you can see, other opportunities are available and are just a few clicks away!

Scarlet Stark
Career Assistant
Psychology Major

Monday, June 8, 2015

Grad LINK: Stay Connected!

Calling all Brock Graduates! This week you will be walking across that stage with your peers to receive your reward for all these years of hard work at Brock! But with graduation can come some bittersweet feelings and, of course, some big questions, like what if I lose touch with important people I've met here at Brock? And how will I navigate my way from university into a successful career all on my own? The team at Career Services has already thought about these questions and, of course, have the answers for you!

Grad LINK is a group on Linkedin exclusive to Brock alumni which allows graduating students to stay connected not only with the team here at Career Services, but also with your fellow graduating peers, Brock staff, and employers. Career and employment related information involving recruitment, networking, and relevant articles is also shared through this group, making the transition from being a full time student to a full time employee much easier by giving you the tools to help you make your mark in the world professionally! 

Registration is simple and the benefits are huge! Follow these 4 easy steps to join:

1. Complete the on-line registration form! Click here to fill it out!

2. Next, review the "Getting Started" presentation to get the most out of the group and gain an understanding of the resources that can help you specifically. Click here to view it!

3. Create a Linkedin profile (if you don't already have one) and make the content reflect who you are as a professional!

4. Join the Grad LINK group on Linkedin!

Once you have registered or created your profile on Linkedin, you may be asking yourself: How can I make my profile stand out to employers and professionals? Well don't fret because we've got you covered in this department too! Check out the Online Resource Centre for some great tips on how to make your Linkedin profile stand out and feel free to come into the Career Resource Centre for a free profile review as well as access to extensive books on Linkedin and how to get the most out of your profile! Also, don't forget to check out past blog posts on Linkedin profile creation to help make this process painless! Click here to read more!

So what are you waiting for? Join Grad LINK today and take advantage of this great alumni resource! And if you have any questions or concerns about Grad LINK, send them to gradlink@brocku.ca. Thanks for reading!

Scarlet Stark
Career Assistant
Psychology Major

Monday, June 1, 2015


First, I'd like to take a minute and say, on behalf of the Career Services department here at Brock, a big congratulations to all those students who are graduating! Through the good and bad, you stuck it out and get to leave Brock not just with a BA, MA, or whatever degree you were pursuing, but with the satisfaction of knowing that all the hard work and sleepless nights have finally paid off!

With that being said, the Spring Convocation ceremonies are right around the corner! The ceremonies and celebrations are taking place beginning on June 9th and ending June 13th, 2015. Be sure to head to http://brocku.ca/registrar/grad to find out when to attend.

This year will also mark the first year that Brock is holding a Convocation Twitter Chat on June 3rd at 2pm! Simply login to Twitter and follow #BrockUGrad to stay in the loop and get all your questions answered! Our handle for Twitter is @BrockCareerServ, so be sure to follow us to get all your questions answered and to find out how to kick start your career! For more information about the Convocation Twitter chat, head to http://brocku.ca/registrar/grad/twitterchat.

Finally, don't forget that here at Career Services, we are dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to succeed both as students, and as alumni. From career document review services to job search help, we encourage all new graduates to make use of our resources and our services to get the head start they need in establishing their careers following graduation!

Scarlet Stark
Career Assistant
Psychology Major

Monday, May 25, 2015

Lights, Camera, ACTION!

So you've decided on your career path. You know the field you want to work in, and you perhaps have an idea of where exactly you would like to start your journey into the field that interests you. So now what? Now, it's time to take action! There are many ways to take action at this phase of the career planning process; but ultimately, you want to begin with finding the position or job which speaks to your passions and your skills. As exciting as it is when you find the position of your dreams, paying careful attention to the job posting itself is critical. This is where tailoring comes in! And no, I don't mean taking your pants to get hemmed!

Tailoring both your resume/cv and your cover letter to the position you are applying for is extremely important and will immensely increase your chances of landing an interview. When employers see that you have critically reviewed the job posting and incorporated this with your own experiences, you automatically make a good first impression! And in the job market, first impressions could be the difference between landing an interview or being rejected altogether. For example, if you are reviewing the posting and the word "organized" is listed, perhaps this is an important skill in relation to the job which you should be highlighting throughout your resume and cover letter. 

Additionally, pay attention to the instructions! If the job asks that you physically hand in your career documents, it's probably not the greatest idea to e-mail them! Keep in mind the following:
  • How do they want me to apply for this position? (e.g., In person, E-mail, On-line application)
  • What format are they asking for? (e.g., PDF, Word Document)
  • Are they asking for a cv or resume? (e.g., Make sure your document is exactly what they are asking for)
  • Am I required to submit any other supporting documents? (e.g., Licenses, Certifications, Portfolios, Work Samples)
After you've done the following, your phone rings and it's a recruiter looking to arrange an interview for the position you applied for! HOORAY! This is where the action continues! When preparing for the interview, be sure to come up with some practice questions which you think they might ask you, and utilize tools like Interview Stream, a program which allows you to see how you look and sound when answering interview style questions, to identify areas in need of improvement, like mumbling or fidgeting. Doing a bit of research about the company in question may also allow you to come up with some questions of your own to ask during the interview. Additionally, make sure you are dressed professionally; if you'd wear it to the gym, it's probably not appropriate for an interview!

The action phase is probably the most exciting in the career planning process, but can also be devastating if you do not receive an interview or an offer of employment. To finish, keep your head up and understand that this process usually doesn't happen over night! Rather than letting rejection get you down, utilize it to do better and ask for feedback from jobs you didn't get so you can continue to improve. And don't forget to come on down to the Career Resource Centre if you'd like us to help you with the action phase! We are always happy to assist with tailoring and interview preparation, and love hearing success stories!

Scarlet Stark
Career Assistant
Psychology Major 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

If only deciding your final career path were as simple as flipping a coin! Making a final decision about your career path is probably one of the most difficult and challenging decisions you will ever make. If your anything like me, you have many careers in mind that interest you or that you are passionate about. The self assessment and research aspects of career planning from the last two blogs should help narrow down your options to 1-3 broad areas or fields that you are passionate about. But now it's time to get more specific! Here are three steps to making this ever so difficult decision less daunting:

1. Discussing

  • Seek out people in the broad areas you defined through assessments and researching to speak with about their position; a great way to do this is through looking up organizations you are interested in and finding individuals who 'speak' to what you think you might like to do. And of course, don't forget to utilize Linkedin for this!
  • Once you find someone you'd like to reach out to, send them an e-mail requesting an opportunity to ask them questions about their field and explain your interests in the occupation to the individual briefly. 
  • The discussion doesn't have to be face to face; if the person you are interested in speaking with is not local, utilize Skype, e-mail, or the phone. 
  • Find out what they like and dislike about what they do, as well as what qualifications lead them to the career path they are currently on, or any other questions you feel are important to know.
  • Prepare your questions ahead of time! Not only will you be presenting yourself professionally, but you will also get all the questions answered that you are curious about without forgetting to ask something important!
2. Observing
  • After speaking with the professionals already in the fields you are interested in, the next step is to arrange a chance to observe them in action; if this is not possible, making a visit to the site which you would like to work at will give you a good idea of how things operate there and what you would be required to do.
  • When at the site, keep the atmosphere, morale, and of course yourself, in mind.
  • It's important to ask yourself questions like: Does this seem like a place you would want to come to everyday? Does everyone seem like they have too much/too little to do? Are the tasks they are completing of interest you? Do you picture yourself working here? 
3. Doing
  • Now comes the fun part! Once you have discussed and observed the occupations you are interested in, it's finally time to get out there and actually experience it for yourself!
  • Look up volunteer, internship, or co-op opportunities in the fields that interest you and dedicate some spare time to getting directly involved; this is the only way you will truly know whether or not the work involved is something you are passionate about and want to pursue seriously.
  • Think of it like a "try-out"; you don't know if you made the team yet, but you are learning about the team and the game itself by just being apart of the try out! 
  • This step will be crucial in making that final career decision! You truly don't know if something is for you until you try it out for yourself, so seek out the best opportunity for you to do so and get the most out of it as you can in order to make an educated and informed decision about your career path!
I hope these steps help you navigate your way to making a final career decision that works for you! And remember: As long as you have clearly defined goals and are utilizing steps to reach them, no difficult decision is ever too much to handle! Check out our past blog on goal setting here if you'd like more information on how to define and meet your goals successfully!

Scarlet Stark
Career Assistant
Psychology Major

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

It's Time to Get Researching!

Whether you've figured out your career goals through self assessments or all on your own, the next step in the career planning process is research. Researching the career you hope to obtain one day is one of the most important steps in career planning. Not only do you gain more information about the direction you are heading in, but you also gain valuable knowledge about different aspects of the career you are pursuing and how to break into the industry.

You may be asking yourself, "Where do I look for this type of information?" or "How do I know where to begin my research?". It's a lot simpler than many think! Once you have established the career you want to pursue, the first step is to check the qualifications related to the specific position you desire and determine whether you meet them. A great way to find out what you need to work in certain industries is browsing through job boards. By doing this, you will learn valuable information such as:

  • Average Pay/Wage
  • Typical Duties/Responsibilities 
  • Education/Training Requirements
  • Experience Requirements 
  • Availability (Is the career in demand right now? Are opportunities scarce?) 
Many general job search sites will have this information for you. Here are a few examples to start your research:
Once you have figured out what is required of you to obtain the career of your choice, you may have to research post-secondary institutions for additional certification or training. Depending on where you live, all of this information will vary. However, a simple Google search of the training you will require should provide you with the information you need!

The second step is to network with other professionals in the field you wish to work in. Social media and information interviews are a great way to do this. Utilizing Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter for career research and networking is amazingly beneficial. You can look up professionals in the field and find out how they met their career goals as well as discover organizations or associations you wish to work at, or are curious about, to find out more information about them.

Information interviews involve setting up a meeting with someone already in the industry you wish to work in. This gives you one-on-one time with an industry professional, so be sure to plan your questions ahead of time! Brock students are fortunate to have programs like Cafe Connect to help with this, a mentoring platform that connects students with industry professionals. I highly encourage any Brock students to try it out! It helped me immensely with my own career planning! Check it out here: http://www.brocku.ca/career-services/students-alumni/mentorship-plus/caf-connect-2

Finally, don't be afraid to seek help with your research from your local career centre or employment centre. They are there to help you with this and can provide you with the resources and tools you need if you can't find the information you are looking for! Here at Career Services at Brock, we help many students and alumni with this process and encourage students and alumni to reach out to us! Also, be sure to check out how to organize your research by reading another great blog post here.

Now get researching everybody! And feel free to comment below on anything interesting you find out along the way about the career you wish to pursue! Have a great day!

Scarlet Stark
Career Assistant
Psychology Major