Monday, June 6, 2016

It's Been Real...but What's Next?

We have officially kicked off Spring Convocation week, Badgers! Congratulations to all who will be walking across that stage and entering a new chapter in their life. You've spent four years or so working towards getting into the field you love. Now that it's over, where do you go from here? Whether you are going on to pursue further education, travel the world, or go directly into your career, we want to help! 

Transitioning from university can be nerve-racking, overwhelming and stressful, but mostly, it should be exciting! The hard work you put in has paid off, so start with being proud of yourself. 

Although you may no longer be an undergraduate at Brock, you'll always be a Badger, and with being a Badger comes benefits. We value our alumni and want to ensure that you are provided with the necessary tools and resources to make the most of your degree. Our services are indeed still open to you and we are happy to assist with your next steps. As a New Graduate, some reasons you should stop by the Resource Centre are: 


  • Get Your Professional Documents Reviewed. You now have the skills and abilities to do the job, but making sure that you can showcase it in the best way possible on your resume, CV or cover letter will be a big factor in determining whether or not you land the position. 
  • Pick Up a DEG. Degree exploration is something you'll do now more than ever. Come grab a Degree Exploration Guide for your program to look at possible career options and professional associations you could join!
  • Look Through our Going Abroad Resources. If travelling is something you are itching to do now that your undergraduate experience has come to an end, then be sure to look at our Going Abroad resources! Whether you want to teach in Korea or volunteer in Spain, we can help you figure out how to work your way around the world!
  • Careerzone. One thing you won't have to leave behind as a New Graduate, is Careerzone. This Brock exclusive job posting portal is still accessible to you, as long as you remember to set up your alumni account! Check it out for workshops and other resources as well.
Just because you are no longer enrolled as a Brock undergraduate, you are still part of the Brock community, and we are always happy to help. For those of you who are not local and are still interested in using our services, email us at career@brocku.ca, or message us directly on our Online Chat, accessible through the career services website. 

Time to take the next step into your future!

Lydia Collins
Senior Career Assistant 



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Get Your D.E.G On!

Get excited everyone, because I know I am! Today we're going to take a trip to the great world of D.E.G. What exactly is a D.E.G, you ask? Well I'm here to tell you! A Degree Exploration Guide is one of our most popular resources here in the Centre, and tends to be incredibly useful for the students, alumni, and community members that we work with. There is a guide for each program that Brock has to offer, and they're even colour-coded according to faculty! These resources are used to allow individuals to further explore their career options based on their program. D.E.G's are generally broken down into seven sections: 

Career Options
here you can find various possible career paths based on the skills you've acquired from your program. If you're having trouble understanding which career would be best suited for you (like most of us,) then this section will surely be a step in the right direction!

Degree Specific Skills
This handy section allows you to understand which skills will be most desired by employers in your field of interest. Familiarize yourself with these to know what to highlight in your resume and cover letter in order to impress that potential employer! 

General Business Directories
Here you can see some of the most popular business directories. Depending on your program, they will vary, however there are quite a few that will be relevant regardless of your program.This includes www.yellowpages.ca and www.informationniaga.com to name a few! 

Internships and Volunteering
Interested in taking part in a volunteer or internship opportunity that is relevant to your program? Look no further! Here you are provided with links to various opportunities that will allow you to gain real-world experience doing what you love! 

Further Education and Entrance Exams
For many of us, formal education doesn't stop after the undergraduate stage. For those who are interested in pursuing post-graduate degrees, this section will be helpful for you. It will provide you with entrance exam practice test resources and schools that offer your program. 
Professional Associations and Career Resources
Interested in being part of a professional association? Many of these are free to join and can be found easily online! This D.E.G section provides you with various professional associations in your field! 

Job Search Resources 
Under this section of the D.E.G you'll find links to various job searching sites, many of which will be specific to your field. This includes general job searching sites as well. Take a look!

Although they differ depending on the program, these are the general sections included on our D.E.G's. Whether you are interested in learning more about further education, job search information or are in need of exploring your career options, this handy resource will be useful for you! 
Lydia Collins
Senior Career Assistant 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Assess Yourself

We've all done it. In elementary school. In high school. Some of us have even done it at work. Those dreadful questionnaires that ask you to truthfully answer questions in order to know your personality type, and help you figure out which career path you'll go down. I spent years of my childhood convinced I'd be a cook, only to continuously have my results come back as bartender. I get it, they can be painful. Disappointing. Annoying. Especially when you don't get the answers you want. But I've got news for you...it gets better. Self-assessments can actually be incredibly beneficial when it comes to helping you better understand the career path best suited for you. Here are a few tips to keep in mind so that your self-assessment process isn't all bad. 


Let's Be Real Here
Seriously, be honest with yourself. If the assessment asks if you like something and you don't like it, don't say that you do. The key to getting the most out of an assessment is by being truthful and taking the time to think realistically about what you would actually like or tolerate in a work setting. Do you like working outdoors? Like working under tight deadlines? Great! As long as you answer truthfully, your results will make more sense. 

It's Not the Assessment, It's You 
I hate to break it to you, but you've changed. Believe it or not, the twelve year old version of yourself who answered in hopes that the results would come back "Unicorn Trainer" no longer exists. Throughout our personal and professional experiences, we grow (obviously,) and our interests, wants and needs change. Don't go into self assessments thinking the results will be the same now, as an adult, as they were when you were a child or teenager. 

Indecisive Isn't a Good Look
Please, I beg you, when the assessment asks if you enjoy working outdoors in all weather conditions, do not answer with "maybe" or "don't care," then be filled with rage when your results come back as "Greenhouse worker." Refrain from not caring when it comes to answering the questions. This will make your answers much more accurate and fitting to your interests. 

You Don't Need to Find Your Perfect Match
Focus less on the "perfect" job, and more on the skills. Many skills are transferable and could be used in various work settings. Think about your personal goals and passions, and the skills that you have that will be useful in your field of interest, now align that with the skills that are highlighted in the description of the jobs listed in your results. See any similarities? Yeah, you probably do!

Head to the Online Resource Centre on Careerzone and participate in a self-assessment. We offer Career Cruising, TypeFocus and Talentoday; each assessment is unique in its own way and will be beneficial to your career path search. For more information on self-assessments or questions regarding the process, drop in to the Resource Centre! 

Ladies and gents, it's time to assess yourself! 





Brockcareerserv 


Lydia Collins
Senior Career Assistant 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Have No Fear, We're Not Going Anywhere!

Hey Badgers, summertime is finally here (although the weather seems to suggest otherwise,) and that means it's time to relax...sort of. Whether you are on vacation, taking courses, or simply refusing to leave your bed until September, one thing to keep in mind is that our services can still be used! The Resource Centre will be open throughout the duration of the summer months from Monday to Friday from 9:00- 4:00. Here is some information about our services for the summer:

Who Am I? 
Different from the fall and winter terms, there will only be one Career Assistant in the Centre throughout the summer, and that's me! I'm a cat-loving Senior Career Assistant, as well as an English Language and Literature major who has just finished my third year. I am involved in Brock's English Students' Association, Young, Black and Educated (Y.B.E), Brock's East African Student Association (BEASA), and also work with the Brock Press. I hope my passion for understanding career related information, as well as my involvement on campus will allow me to assist you as best as possible. Stop by the Resource Centre this summer and say hi!

What Do We Do, Again? 

For those of you who may be unclear, have not been in the Centre, or cannot remember what it is that we do here, I'll give you a bit of a refresher. As Career Assistants, we handle almost any career related inquiries. The focus of our services tends to be on resume and cover letter reviews, but we also review documents such as portfolio's, CV's, and letters of intent. We also offer mock interviews, job search help and self-assessments. We have plenty of resources in the Centre to help you find employment, and better understand the career path you want to take!

Why Drop In?

The real question is "why not?" Many of you are recent graduates or are students still looking to obtain summer employment, so why not get some assistance to make your search a little easier? Whether you need a professional document reviewed, help figuring out what you want to do with your degree, interview tips, or simply just someone to discuss career related questions with, then this is the place for you! Fortunately, our services do not require an appointment and are open to students, alumni and community members.

I look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones over the next few months! I'll be keeping you posted on the latest career events, job postings and more! Have a fun, productive, safe summer!




Brockcareerserv


Lydia Collins
Senior Career Assistant 


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Journey at Career Services

At the end of April, my 3-year tenure at Career Services will come to an end. There has been somewhat of a Mancuso legacy here at Career Services; my sister Lia worked here for 3-years and became a Lead Career Assistant, and then I joined in the following year and worked for 3-years to also become a Lead Career Assistant! Career Services has been a vital part of my undergraduate career at Brock as it has helped shaped me to be the person I am today. I had the privilege of working with many talented and incredible people during my time, and I am excited to see what the future holds for this team.

Straight from the heart, I want to thank each and every Career Assistant who I worked with at Career Services during my 3-years; Ben, Jami, Brittany, Nella, Ashley, Becky, Erik, Alysha, Mike, Tyler, Wajeeh, Sarah, Kaitlyn, Scarlet, Simon, Monika, Sean, Lydia, and Andre. Each and every one of you had a profound impact on my development and my university life. I loved learning from each and every one of you and I really enjoyed mentoring all of the Career Assistants who came after me. Every year I worked here I learned something new from everyone I worked with. I also owe much of my success and my incredible time here to our supervisor, Resource Coordinator & Faculty Liaison Kara Renaud. Without your guidance, I simply would not be the same person I am today. That being said, I wanted to share some key pieces of advice that I learned while working here and throughout my university career.


DON'T LET OPPORTUNITY PASS YOU BY!
I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do when I graduated - I wanted to run my own hockey team as a general manager (like many aspiring Sport Management students think when they start university). I found that the more classes I took, the more clouded my career path became. In contrast, it was the volunteer and work experiences that did not directly relate to my career that ended up shaping who I want to be and my career path and goals. Simply put, you are a product of your environment. Living in a stagnant environment where you laser-focus on one particular job and only take experiences that directly relate to that end-goal is extremely limiting. 

Want to keep things exciting? Take that Ultimate Frisbee Referee volunteer position (note: it does not have to be ultimate frisbee or refereeing for that matter) and your entire world will change, albeit in a minor way, but enough to broaden your horizons. For me, being a painter for a summer and then being presented an opportunity to run my own painting business the following summer was life-changing. Painting does not relate to Sport Management, but the transferable business, marketing, training, customer service, and other skills are invaluable. I also worked at a pool store and learned invaluable customer service, problem-solving, and sales skills. Don't judge a book by its cover - don't let an opportunity pass you by! Consequently, understanding what you don't like is just as important as understanding what you do like. Use Career Services and CareerZone to identify opportunities and nail the interview. On that note...

YOU HAVE TIME - VOLUNTEER AND WORK.
There is a school of thought that in University your studies take up 100% of your time. That is a lie. Stop telling yourself that. Time management is an acquired skill that cannot be taught, only experienced and improved on with real-life experience. I know that some degrees are more demanding than others, and making sure that you have high grades is very important and school should always be your first priority. That being said, you would be surprised by what you are capable of if you challenge yourself. When backed into a corner of deadlines and limited time to study, you can excel and lift yourself to new heights. It does not have to be insane, but even volunteering a few hours of your time every week or working some evenings and weekends will limit the amount of time you have to do the things you already do. This is where fight-or-flight kicks in, and you can fight the time restrictions and become more efficient and productive in the time that you have. I found that the more I took on (to a point, of course), the more productive I was with my time and because of that my grades actually improved over when I had more free time.

As an aside, the purpose of going to university is to eventually get a job. Employers want to see what else you have done besides complete your degree - in the end, you and your entire graduating class have the exact same piece of paper... what is distinguishing about you? Maybe your proven time-management skills and experience on top of your degree! Trust me, you are capable of incredible things. We all are. Don't believe me? Read the next one. 

NEED A CONFIDENCE BOOST? TRY NEW THINGS!
When I started University I didn't know anyone and only really knew my sister at Brock University. I was extremely introverted and shy, and it was to a point where I couldn't even look people in the eye when I talked to them. It was that bad! And I know there are a ton of people out there who deal with the same feeling or even worse. My advice to you, as cliche as it sounds, is to try new things. What got me over that feeling and the shyness was challenging myself to take a small step outside of my comfort zone and try new tasks. For me, it started with making a bigger decision and buckling down to apply at Career Services. What helped me make that big decision, however, was a combination of small changes in my life. It was a combination of going on runs on different trails, listening to new bands, trying sushi, learning how to build my own computer, trying golf (and being terrible at it!), painting small miniature models, and more. It doesn't have to be huge, it can be small things that you can do on your spare time that changes your world in ways you cannot imagine.

From a career perspective, it can be as simple as taking on new tasks at your job and helping people in different departments. Maybe volunteer at an organization that has nothing to do with your career goal. Take a workshop that YOU want to take. Update your resume and cover letter with Career Services! The more you try new things and update your life, the more possibilities present themselves. I went from not being able to look people in the eyes when I talk to them to thriving in everyday interaction and client assistance. I did not do anything special to make this change. You can do it too, trust me! 



Lastly, I would like to end with a quote that has defined the way I look at life now. I've always loved Rise Against and their rebellious, cause-oriented style of rock. This song urges us to make a move and go against the norm. Take action, do what is right, and don't wait for something to come to you. For those who took the time to see me at Career Services, the students, alumni, and community members who I performed hundreds upon hundreds of document reviews for, and most importantly the people I worked with, it has been my pleasure.

"Echoes of songs still lurk on distant foreign shores
Where we danced just to please the gods 
that only ask for more
So it goes

But still we give ourselves to this
We can't spend our lives waiting to live" - Rise Against "The Dirt Whispered"







Anthony Mancuso
Graduating Lead Career Assistant
Honours Bachelor of Sport Management

Thursday, April 21, 2016

It's not Goodbye, It's See You Later...



As the 2015-2016 school year comes to end, we here at Career Services would like to dedicate a special blog post to the student staff who will not be returning to work with us in the upcoming year.


The Career Assistants who worked with us over the past few years have made a vital impact on the growth and success of the Career Services department, and we want to say thanks!

Alysha Kooter

Alysha has recently completed her fourth year in the Concurrent Education program. Her friendly smile and enthusiasm towards her role has made her an exceptional addition to the Career Services family. She is always willing to help out whenever needed, and go above and beyond our expectations. Not to mention, there is no one better to go to for great vegan recipes! After three years of working in the Centre, Alysha will be moving on to attend teachers college in the Fall of 2016 at Brock! We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.



Anthony Mancuso

We're sad to see this great individual leave us, but we know he will go on to accomplish great things! After four years working towards his Sport Management degree, Anthony will be going on to work for the Hamilton Tiger Cats as part of the SPMA Internship program! He started with us back in September of 2013 and is a great person to look to for advice. More importantly, who will set up our fantasy hockey leagues now?!?! All jokes aside, we can't wait to see the many great things he will be accomplishing. Best of luck Anthony!


Sarah Mithcinson

If there is one thing you can expect to see when you walk into the Centre, it will likely be Sarah sitting at the front desk with a great attitude, welcoming you in. Sarah has been with us for two years now and is finishing up her degree in Psychology. She will be continuing her studies with her MA in psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University in the Fall of 2016. We wish her the best as she completes her Masters!




Mike Pratas

Venturing from Hamilton every time he has a shift, there is no better way to show how amazing Career Services is than by looking at Mike's dedication to us! Mike has recently completed his Degree in Political Science, and will be continuing school at Brock as he was recently accepted into the Masters of Political Science program, no surprise there! Mike has been with us for three years and it has been a great pleasure working with him.He is the go-to person if you ever need to know a statistic about the Career World, and we are going to miss him and his extensive knowledge in the Centre. Best of luck to Mike and we are sure he will do great things!






Kaitlyn Daw

Kaitlyn, the Queen of Communication! We don't know what we'll do without her. Her experience, wisdom, and positive attitude is going to be greatly missed within the Career Services department. Kaitlyn has worked with us for two years, and interestingly enough, she was actually transferred to another position within the department when help was needed. She has just completed her final year in the English, Language and Literature program. No surprise here, Kaitlyn will be working in communications with the Canadian Mental Health Association. We are so proud of her and appreciate her being such a great ambassador for Career Services.


Overall, we are very proud of our Career Services team and all that they have accomplished! Getting to know this group of people on both a personal and professional level has been an absolute pleasure. We are so happy that we've had the opportunity to work with them, and their presence in the Centre will be greatly missed.



Love,

The Career Services Family

Monday, April 18, 2016

Advice From a Retiring Career Assistant

I’m done. In just over a week I will be working my last shift in the Career Resource Centre. Over the past three years I have reviewed hundreds of career documents, helped many students, alumni and community members with their job search and worked on many career related projects. For my last blog post I thought I would reflect on my time in the Centre and compile some of my tips for university students looking for work.

Be Unique and Get Involved!
I can’t overstate this enough. When you graduate, you will have the same qualifications as everyone else in your graduating class, what makes you stand out from them? Why should an employer hire you over everyone else? Your non-academic experiences (work & volunteer experience and extra-curricular involvement) make you unique and can all be included in your career documents. The more involved you are, the more experiences you can draw upon when making a resume or answering interview questions. 

Update Your Career Documents
Resumes/cover letters are an employer’s first impression of you; make them professional. I have seen many qualified candidates come into the Centre with disorganized and outdated resumes. You are not doing yourself any favours if you are using a resume you made in grade 10 careers class to apply for jobs. Don’t list outdated experiences in your resume; you can probably take out the summer job you had in the summer of grade 10. Similarly, put some effort into tailoring a cover letter for each job you apply for. We have a lot of resources in the Centre and in our Online Resource Centre on CareerZone to help you in making professional career documents.

Keep it Relevant
Just because you know all about Persian food, doesn’t mean you need to write that in your resume. Resumes are skill profiles; you need to prove to an employer (through your experiences) that you have all the skills listed in the job description. Therefore, your resume should be tailored to each job you are applying for.

Consider What Kind of Work is Fulfilling to You
Don’t start your job search with job titles in mind. Think about fields, industries and sectors you are interested in working in. For instance, if you are interested in helping people and working in law enforcement, consider other careers beyond being a front line police officer. Other opportunities you may want to consider include border services agent, parole or probation officer, investigator, 911 operator, court clerk and correctional officer. Expand your job search by thinking broadly about what you want to do.

Have questions? Stop by and see us in the Resource Centre Monday-Friday during regular business hours or email us career@brocku.ca.

Have a great summer,


Mike Pratas, Graduating Political Science Major
Lead Career Assistant 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Embrace the Chaos



Embrace the Chaos

                For some people, finding a career path can be as easy as finding what they want to do, and then getting right in. For most people, this may not be the case. Imagine dropping a ping pong ball in a dark room. We don’t know where the ball will land, but we can use mathematical formulas to pinpoint where the ball may land. A process like this can be a metaphor for the easier way of finding a career. Now imagine dropping the ping pong ball into Times Square, New York. Where the ping pong ball lands is unpredictable, which is similar to the way the career finding process will be for many.
                There are methods to navigate this madness. One method is to identify what cluster of jobs may work for you such as working with people. Using this example, there are many skills such as communication a person can develop which is transferable inside of the service industry.  Another method is to know that help is there when you need it. The Career Resource center at Brock University have people who are there to act as a guide to show you various resources that can help you navigate the Career Field.  

Often times, what can help an individual with the Career decision-making process are a series of chain reactions. An example of this is obtaining skills that would help towards a cluster of jobs, then finding employment into a career you never seen yourself in, and then developing in that section. Embrace the unexpected. Know those things may not go as planned, and roll with it. Make a series of small choices that will help influence the larger picture. Lastly, look at things in the big picture. Looking at things in a microscope can make things overwhelming. Take a step into overseeing the whole scheme of things and see how a domino effect can happening by making a choice. We would be honoured if we got to be a part of that process. 

http://www.careeroptionsmagazine.com/articles/applying-chaos-theory-to-career-development/

Tyler Harris 
Sr. Career Assistant

Friday, March 18, 2016

Interview Success

We all know interviews can be overwhelming and intimidating; here are a few tips to worry less about interviews and obtain employment. The day before the interview leave yourself enough time to look over the job posting, do research on the company, and take 5 minutes to reflect on each job you have had and experiences you could potentially use. Take advantage of Career Services and book a Mock Interview, which provides excellent practice by virtue of a simulated interview, or go on Interview Stream and answer interview questions and listen to your responses. This is a great way to refresh yourself on the job you’re applying to as well as previous experiences you have had. 


In addition I write down my top 3 strengths and weaknesses with a statement on how I am improving the 3 weaknesses. In my experience I have been asked to identify my strengths and weaknesses, therefore when the question arises I am able to quickly and confidently answer. I also like to write down the most important skills for the position because it reminds me which skills to highlight and discuss in more detail. By following these tips you can fight the nervousness of interviews and improve your chances of employment by being confident and communicating effectively. 

André St-George
Career Assistant
BBA Co-op

Thursday, March 3, 2016

We're Hiring!


Brock Universities Career Resource Centre is looking to hire 4 motivated students to become Career Assistants! Not only is this position perfect for anyone, it gives an individual a competitive edge when they graduate and enter the field of work. 


The Career Assistant’s primary responsibilities include:
 

  • Assisting students with career exploration and job search information
  • Referring students to the resources and services offered by Career Services and other Campus Services
  • Demonstrating professionalism by providing exceptional customer service to visitors in the Career Resource Centre
  • Utilizing active listening skills to respond to student inquiries and advise students appropriately
  • Providing constructive feedback on job search documents such as resumes, CV’s, cover letters, letters of intent, LinkedIn profiles and portfolios.
  • Participating in a variety of team projects and events such as Newsletters, Career Fairs and other initiatives
  • Actively sharing ideas and contributing to team discussions at weekly staff meetings
  • Performing administrative tasks and maintaining daily statistics as required
  • Ensuring the Career Resource Centre maintains a neat, organized and professional appearance; keeping resources stocked and up-to-date
  • All other duties as assigned
The deadline for application is quickly approaching! By March 18th, be sure to have your resume and Cover Letter handed in to CareerZone.brocku.ca!  
Best of luck to anyone who is applying! 

----------

Tyler Harris
Career Assistant