Monday, October 20, 2014

Defining Interests - Work-Related or a Hobby?

Resume advice!

An interests section on a Resume, or your LinkedIn profile, can be a great way to help you stand out from the rest of the professionals in your field. Although some may believe that stuffing your resume with just work experience is the best way to go, employers do look for unique traits that help candidates to stand out. Whether those unique traits are Volunteer Experience, Professional Development workshops or training sessions, or Work-Related Interests and Hobbies, they can certainly give you that extra push that many candidates are otherwise lacking. Employers are always looking for personality, and asking themselves "what makes you special?" and having something to make you stand out, along with some relevant experience, can make you a prime candidate for a position.

There is a difference between a hobby and a work-related interest, and knowing the difference between the two can make or break the professional constitution of your resume or LinkedIn profile. The key factor to consider in this section is to think about what you are revealing about yourself. For example, writing "Varsity Basketball Player" in an interests and hobbies section does not tell the employer much, except for the fact that you might need significant time off, immediately putting you at a disadvantage to other candidates...It looks more like a hobby or a pastime. However, writing something more thorough and skill-revealing such as "Varsity Basketball Player, balancing a competitive mindset with proven teamwork skills" is much stronger as it identifies key skills that an employer may be looking for, making it a work-related interest. You can also put a date on these hobbies as well. Say if you have been playing Varsity Basketball for 4 years straight now, that indicates that you are dedicated and committed to your team and your role, and may indicate to the employer that you are less likely to quit if you are hired.

Say you are applying to be an Editor for your local newspaper. Stating in an Interests section that you are an avid reader and enjoy critiquing various forms of media (ex. Literature, film or music) lets the employer know that you truly enjoy activities related to what you are applying for, which will in-turn help you to enjoy and excel at your new role as an Editor. If you have a blog or a website where you post all of this information, directing the employer to that place will show evidence of your passion. Again, putting a timeline of how long you have been doing this can also be a benefit.

A hobbies and interests section can also be a great place to put other skills that are not required for the position, demonstrating diversity, something that many employers desire. For example, if you have computer-related skills such as HTML, C++, Java, etc., and do not have a Skills section on your resume, you can put them in the interests section.

To summarize, a Hobby and Work-Related Interests section on a resume can be a great tool if used correctly. Some important things to consider are:

- Always consider the significance of the interest/hobby. If it is not relevant and does not demonstrate anything to an employer, it may not be worth putting on your resume (e.g., Video Game enthusiast since 2001).
- Always consider what you are revealing about yourself in this section. Some hobbies and interests may give off the wrong impression and put you at a disadvantage.
- Do not be afraid to elaborate on these interests/hobbies! Let the employer know what skills you have developed/demonstrated in that interest or hobby, and if you have been doing it for a long time a date-to-date (2005-Present) may be useful!
- Interests and Hobbies demonstrate diversity. Diversity does not fully make up for a severe lack of related experience, but it will help differentiate you from the crowd!

Remember if you ever need any help on your resume, cover letter, CV, or anything career-related, feel free to drop by the Career Resource Centre between 9-4:30 Monday-Friday for FREE career advice!

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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why you should complete the Type Focus "Values Assessment"

Values; a persons principles or standards of behaviour, ones judgment of what is important in life  

When you think about what you want to do for the rest of your life, you probably think about what education you need, how much money you'd like to make, and what your working conditions would be. Something else that we consider is the values that we have and how they relate to the work you would be doing. Having a job that disrespects values that you have probably isn't something you're going to enjoy doing for the rest of your life.

I think its important to consider your values first. If you are not exactly sure how your values relate to the career your looking at then no worries, there are ways of finding this out. 

Type Focus provides a Values Assessment that anyone can use to determine there most important values within a workplace. A couple of examples I got after completing this assessment were that I valued relationships (working with people) and support (having a supportive and encouraging work team). There are many more that people may have, it all depends on how you answer the questions and what kind of person you are. 

Assessments are fun and an interactive way of learning more about yourself and your future! Taking the Values Assessment through Type Focus will get you one step closer to the perfect job for you to pursue!  

Brock University students can access Type Focus through
Make sure you log in as a student, go to Career Services > Online Resource Centre > Career Assessments > Type Focus

Alysha-Lynn Kooter, Senior Career Assistnat, 3rd Year Education and Visual Arts at Brock University 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Career Cruising Matchmaker - Take with a Grain of Salt

Career-Cruising is a great self-assessment tool that provides a list of  potential career options for you based on your responses. It is a great way to look at a wide range of career choices if you are confused with what to do after you graduate, or if you are just curious! The Primary assessment available is the career-assessment, where you answer a minimum of 39 questions about work preferences and the service matches you with careers that line-up with your preferences.

You can access Career-Cruising through CareerZone under the Online Resource Centre tab, and then by clicking on self-assessment.

Here's the thing... some of these matches may be way out there. For example, I am studying Sport Management, and my top 5 matches after answering the first round of questions are as follows:

39 Questions Answered:
1. Parking Enforcement Officer
2. Martial-Arts Instructor
3. Volunteer Manager
4. Waste-Management Technician
5. Military Officer

Huh. It seems I am destined to be a Parking Enforcement Officer or a Martial Arts Instructor, not exactly what I had in mind. After answering 39 questions it is hard to tell what kind of careers might be right for you, or find one that might suit your fancy. You have the opportunity to take additional questions after the minimum 39, and I strongly recommend it. My top 5 matches after completing 116 questions are as follows:

116 Questions Answered:
1. Sport Agent
2. Martial Arts Instructor
3. Volunteer Manager
4. Human Resources Specialist
5. Venture Capitalist

Though my apparent calling to be a Martial Arts Instructor remained, after completing more questions and the skills assessment on Career-Cruising I began to see more interesting, related career paths such as a Sport Agent or a Human Resources Specialist. You begin to notice trends, with clusters of employment beginning to show. It's through these trends that Career-Cruising becomes useful as you might find a related path or similar career from one of your matches. At the very least, it gets you thinking about a plethora of different options.

On Career-Cruising, either through selecting one of your matches or simply searching a career, you can research some useful information on that career including:

- Job Descriptions
- Working Conditions
- Related Careers
- Education Required
- Sample Career Path
- Salary
- Information Interviews

So, if I choose to act on my calling to be a Martial Arts Instructor, I can research a plethora of information on that career, what to do to get there, and what to expect when I am there as well as any related careers that may further catch my eye.

All in all, take your results with a grain of salt! Your career is not set in stone by the degree you pursue or by the results in your self-assessment. Like any self-assessment, Career-Cruising is a tool, and if used correctly and in the right context, it can do a lot of good.

Have a great reading week! Our Resource Centre is closed on Monday, but operates regular hours for the rest of the week. Drop by to come and have your resume reviewed by yours truly or another Career Assistant!

I actually love working here
(I love working here!)
Anthony Mancuso
Senior Career Assistant
3rd Year Sport Management

Monday, October 6, 2014

Career Assessments: A Guide to Your Future

Whether you are graduating this year or just starting your first semester it is important that you start to think about what you want to do in a career… but where do you start looking? Still don’t know what you want to do?


Self-exploration activities, or Career assessments help you learn about what makes you unique. They identify your personality, interests, skills and values among others, which you can use to generate job titles and career options.  All of our career assessments can be accessed through CareerZone in the Online Resource Centre.

Taking a career assessment, even if you know what you want to do, may give you peace of mind that you are going in the right direction or may show you career options you may never of thought of that you may be interested in exploring.

Take some time to discover yourself and plan for your future today!

As always, if you have any questions feel to stop by the Career Resource Centre or email us: .

Good luck!

Mike Pratas
3rd year Political Science Student

Senior Career Assistant 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Goal Setting: An Important Tool in your Student Toolbox

 If you don't know where you are going, how will you get there? Goals work much the same way. In our busy lives, it seems difficult to think about the future when all we are doing is  trying to keep our head above water in our course work. However, having clearly defined goals sets you up for success.

 By taking the time to identify what is important to you, and what you would like to accomplish, you are setting parameters for yourself that you will work within.  For example, if you have decided that you would like to increase your average this semester, you may be more inclined to  take more time on your homework, not procrastinate (not that you did that before... right?), or politely decline an invitation to weekend plans with your friends in favour of studying a little harder for an upcoming test.  So you see, having predetermined goals affects your behaviour in future situations. Keeping goals and results that you would like to achieve in the back of your mind nudges your actions in a successful direction.

Setting goals is important to your future because it helps you decide where you would like to go. It helps you understand whats important to you, and keeps you moving with positive momentum. These goals don't have to be academic in nature. Setting personal goals is important too! There is more to life than academic pursuits, and by setting personal goals you will be helping yourself  to become  well rounded. Goals take persistence, commitment, drive, and energy. These positive traits are useful in so many of life's situations.

If you would like to learn more about setting goals, check out our post on SMART goals here.

If you would like to talk about your career related goals, come on in to Career Services. We would love to talk to you!

Becky White
4th Year Tourism and Environment ( Hons.)
Lead Career Assistant

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How students can utilize CareerZone!

If you are looking for tools to use to help you find a job, explore careers, prepare for an interview, attend career events, or build up your career documents, then CareerZone is the one-stop shop for you!

CareerZone is Brock's Career Services portal that includes everything you need  for career success. There are lots of categories to check out like "Career Services Events", "Workshops", and "Job Postings". On the "Job Postings" section you can find both on and off campus job postings! This is a great resource for students looking for some work during the school year. It also has postings for those who have graduated and are looking for work within their field! Use the "advanced search" option to find your best results!

Another great category on CareerZone is the "Online Resource Centre". By using the "Online Resource Centre" section you can find templates, samples, and guidelines to help you develop your career documents like your resume, curriculum vitae, cover letter, portfolio, or letter of intent.  You can count on these resources to be correct and up to date with the current trends in employment!

The "Online Resource Centre" section can also be used to help you with a variety of other career related things. The different categories to check out in this section are:

  • Career and Job Search
  • Career Assessments
  • Cover Letters, Resumes,
  • CVs, Letters of Intent
  • Portfolios
  • Interviews
  • Further Education
  • Going Abroad
  • Government Job Search
  • Volunteering
  • Internships
  • Career Magazines
  • Resources for Students with Disabilities
  • Resources for International Students
  • Resources for Teacher Candidates 
If you are looking for information about any of these topics then definitely use this online resource to your advantage! Check out today :) 

Alysha-Lynn Kooter, Senior Career Assistant, 3rd year Visual Arts and Concurrent Education 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Set yourself apart with Plus Programs!

In today’s difficult job market extracurricular activities and volunteer work are becoming just as important as your education and work experience when applying for jobs. To help make yourself standout and showcase your achievements and skills gained outside the classroom, our department has a variety of programs you can get involved in.

Experience  Plus
This program is designed to break the no-job-no experience cycle. It is free, non-credit program open to all Brock University students. Students work towards developing a transcript that documents non-academic & work related achievements. Your Experience Plus transcript will link your experiences to the skills employers are looking for and is the perfect tool to help you build your resume and enhance your portfolio. All of our department’s plus programs are tracked on an experience plus transcript. Visit Experience Plus webpage and start recording your experiences now!

Volunteer Plus
A program designed to ensure you receive the recognition that you deserve for your volunteer work. Students track their volunteer hours through their Brock portal and will receive a Volunteer Plus certificate for the total number of volunteer hours completed each year. Volunteer Plus is a great tool to highlight your community involvement & strengthen your portfolio. Visit the Volunteer Plus webpage for more information.

Mentorship Plus
A program that connects students to a network of alumni and community mentors to inspire them to become leaders in their chosen fields and contributing members of society.  Students can be a mentor and share their experiences, or you can be a mentee and learn from someone who knows the ropes. For more information on this program visit the Mentorship Plus webpage.

Corporate Mentorship
A program that give students a chance to meet with industry professionals, to network and learn more about their sector. Students will have the opportunity to: explore new businesses and career options and work closely with company executives and network with professionals. More information can be found on the Corporate Mentorship webpage.

International Plus
This program is aimed at increasing the global and cultural awareness of students through volunteer placements that spark interactions with people from around the world. The program has 3 components: workshops, lectures, volunteer experience. An International Plus certificate is a great way to highlight your diverse experiences! Check out the International Plus webpage  for more information.

Med Plus
A four year non-credit initiative designed to run concurrently with a student’s academic study. This program can provide you with the competitive edge necessary to set yourself apart from other students in the health care field. More information on this program on the Med Plus webpage.

Music Ed Plus
A four year, co-curricular experiential program which includes practical learning opportunities, as well as workshops and lectures by experts in diverse musical careers. It gives students a competitive edge when applying for jobs and/or further education in the music industry. Full details can be found on the Music Ed Plus webpage

Start setting yourself apart from the competition today by getting involved in our Plus Programs. Stop by the Career Resource Centre in the Learning Commons if you have any questions!

Mike Pratas, Senior Career Assistant
3rd year Political Science  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pros and Cons of a part time job

 There are a laundry list of pros and cons when it comes to working while in university. In order to decide if working while in school is right for you, ponder the following before making a decision.


Money money money. An obvious perk to working. You can pay your bills, get faster internet on your phone (to help with homework... obviously!), or buy that organic chocolate milk that you like. Having a bit of extra cash can go a long way to reducing your anxiety if you are worried about making ends meet. Everyone's expenses differ, so figure out your budget and know exactly how much you need each month and work from there. You may find that you can't balance your budget and therefore have to work, or maybe you can squeak by with bursaries and OSAP.

Working gives you experience, so you can get a job, so you can get experience, so you can get a job...
The cycle continues. Even if you are working at a burger joint you will be gaining work experience, time management skills, and valuable transferable skills that you can put on your resume.

You may enjoy the strict non academic time that work provides and find that you return to your academic work refreshed. I know I did!


Working lots gives you money, but it takes you away from your studies. School can be hard to balance even without any work, so add 8, 16, or 24 hours of work and your homework can quickly get away from you. It is nearly impossible to do school work AT work, since you need to be focused on your job. On the flip side, if you are stressed out about school, you will be less productive at work which bosses notice!

Depending on your work environment, working during the school year may add unnecessary stress to your life. Demanding fast paced environments are difficult at the best of times, and can become even harder to handle when you have so much else on your plate. Choose your workplace wisely.

All that work for not a lot of money! Minimum wage can be a nice supplement for other income sources that you may have, but it can be challenging  to rack up those bucks on minimum wage.

Taking all of this in to account, think carefully about what is right for  you. You may be able to balance work and school, but you may encounter challenges. Only you know best!

Good luck Badgers!

Becky White
4th Year Tourism and Environment (Hons.)
Lead Career Assistant

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Contact Us!

To help start off the 2014-2015 school year, we at Career Services felt that showing students the many different ways to contact us and use our resources would be beneficial! Everyone likes options, have you ever felt like there just weren't enough options? Fortunately for you, Career Services offers a variety of ways to contact us, for any situation! Stuck in your room with the flu, but really want your resume reviewed? Thought of a question to ask about your degree options, but you’re not at Brock at the time? Had a moment of inspiration where you thought about law school, but you don’t really know much about it? Maybe you thought of an exciting career and you want to know how to get there! Whatever it may be, feel free to come to Career Services for all advice and help on career-related matters.

Here are the ways you can use our services:

Career Email: You can email us at any time for document reviews (attach your documents!), as well as any other questions that you may have relating to Career Services. We can respond within 24 hours during office hours, so if you can't make it to the resource centre just send us an email!

Blog comments: Right here! We are always monitoring our blog, and if you have any questions about the material we post here, or anything else for that matter, feel free to post in the comments down below and we will get right back to you!

Facebook: We're on Facebook! We are always posting useful information on upcoming events that are filled with Volunteer and Job opportunities, so "Like" our mascot JackMcIsaac on Facebook and stay in the loop!

Twitter: Follow us on Twitter! @JackMcIsaac is always tweeting and re-tweeting job opportunities and events. Jack is following an incredible amount of employers and job boards, and our twitter account is a great way to stay updated.

Chat: Did you know that we have a Chat function? There is a small box located at the bottom right of the screen where there is a chat function built into our page. You can click on that and ask any question that you may have for us! While we are online a Senior Career Assistant can respond to your question quickly. If we are not online, you can still talk to us through the chat, just leave us an email to respond to your question with and the career email will get back to you!

Drop-in: Then there's the good old-fashion Resource Centre, located in the Learning Commons here at Brock. During our office hours, 9-4:30 Monday - Friday, you can drop in and use our services completely free! Come in for resume and cover letter reviews, job search strategies, job postings, degree exploration, self-assessments, career planning, anything related to careers is our function and we are always happy to help!

That's a lot of options. Feel free to use them all! No matter the situation, Career Services is just a moment away, ready to help.

Anthony Mancuso, Senior Career Assistant, 3rd Year Sport Management Student