Friday, July 29, 2011

Career Exploration: Matchmaker

Ah the infamous Career Cruising assessment. Remember when your high-school teacher forced you to complete a Matchmaker assessment and you got results like zoo keeper and race car driver? It could be because you were 14 years old, not taking it seriously and/or had no idea what you were actually interested in or skilled at yet. Now that your brain has developed, this career exploration tool can be very helpful to guide you through your career planning process.

Why I like Career Cruising:

  • You can skip the assessment and search specific job titles
  • Provides valuable information like job description, working conditions, earnings, sample career path, related careers and the education required to get there.
    • The career path is my favourite because it displays what you can expect to develop into after a given number of years as a professional in the industry.
  • Ranks careers best for you based on your likes/dislikes and skills
    • Just a tip: avoid clicking the yellow square that says "doesn't matter" to receive more accurate results.
  • Save multiple assessments and compare results.
    • My results changed a bit between 1st and 3rd year and from then on it's been the same - shows that I've been focused on a specific goal.
  • Also provides an education/employment search engine
  • It's Canadian!
  • It only takes 15 minutes

It's a great tool for everyone to use, no matter how old you are or how far you're into your degree/profession. It can provide insight and become a starting point for job search or maybe it will confirm your plans! Use your Brock ID to log into Career Cruising here.

Gr.10 Chimney Sweeper,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kiersey Personality Assessment – What’s your temperament?

Well, after completing the Type Focus assessment, I’m sure you’re itching to find out more about yourself, aren’t you?

As a complement to the Type Focus Assessment, Kiersey Temperament Sorter attempts to analyze your personality traits, likes, dislikes, and preferences and plop you into one of 4 temperament types. As mentioned before, knowing yourself just that much better will definitely serve you well in the career planning process by allowing you to better recognize your own strengths, weaknesses, and preferences and match them to specific fields of work.

Kiersey Temperament Sorter has you fill out 71 questions that are somewhat similar to that of Type Focus, looking a little something like this:

Is clutter in the work place something you
tolerate pretty well
take time to straighten up

After you’re done you will be able to see a free version of your assessment results which conveniently points out for you what your temperament type is and explains it in detail – even what your personality type is like at work! I myself am an Idealist; so I like friendly cooperation and focusing on personal growth and achievement as it describes in my temperament description. The other temperaments are Rationals, Artisans, and Guardians. But what’s really cool about Kiersey is that you can find your more specific personality type too. Remember that 4-letter code from Type Focus? Use it to find out if your results match up from both assessments!

So, I am an INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) which constitutes to the “Counselor” in Kiersey. My 4-letter type happens to fit under my temperament type, the Idealist. From there you can find out more information about your 4-letter code including your best job fit.

Because it only takes a few minutes, Kiersey Temperament Sorter is a great way to build upon your self knowledge and your previous results from Type Focus! What are you waiting for? Get started here

Summer Senior Career Assistant
Lia M.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Type Focus: Personality Assessment

Since Gr.13 has been cut from the curriculum in Canada students have been pushed into higher education without realizing what they actually want to do, what they’re interested in or the possibilities available to them. We’ve just listened to our academic advisors who are really only trying to fill a quota – so helpful.

Whether you’re just entering secondary education, climbing your way out or have finally graduated and are thinking ‘now what?’ a self assessment can do wonders for you. Most schools introduce career cruising to their students in Grade 10, but I have a new one for you today: Type Focus.

Type Focus provides a survey of questions that will overall help to clarify your interests, values and skills. Furthermore, it allows you to develop goals and make more effective decisions concerning your future whether it involves academics or a career.

After completing a personality questionnaire of 66 questions that look like this:

Choose the word or phrase that you find more attractive
matters of the heart
matters of the head

you will receive a 4-letter assessment. Mine is ENTP; that stands for Extrovert, iNtuition, Thinking, Perceptive. I am given a group of keywords that describe me followed by a general description which is freakishly spot-on, and an idea of careers/education that would suit my type. There are 16 personality types made up from a combination of: introversion, extroversion, sensing, thinking, judging, intuition, perceiving, and feeling.

The assessment is a great tool to use to clarify why you’re interested in certain topics and helps you understand the next steps you should take towards your future. It only takes 10minutes, and if you’d like you can progress deeper into the assessment to complete a full portfolio. Go ahead and try Type Focus with your Brock ID here.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting rid of your pre-interview jitters

I hate interviews. I think I would be right in saying that I’m not the only one. If someone said to me that they loved being grilled by a panel of strangers, I would probably stare at them with a look of disgust and disbelief. We all know the interview process can be daunting, especially when you are applying for your first job right of university. This is where Interview Stream comes into play.

If you are not sure what employers would be asking you for a particular position, or are just terrified of interviews in general, Interview Stream was made to take some of the pressure off and make practicing easier. All you need is a computer with a web cam and a quiet room. Visit the Interview Stream link from the Career Services website to get access as a Brock student and set up a free account. This gives you full access to the website and all of its resources.

We suggest that you view the tutorial before using Interview Stream to make sure everything on your computer is working correctly before beginning. The idea is that when you click “conduct interview” an interviewer will appear on your screen and ask you questions related to your program or job you’re applying for. You then record your response on your web cam and have the opportunity to email others for feedback. It’s a great way to see and hear yourself, and to catch “filler” words like “umm,” which is my personal interview downfall.

Many people don’t realize that interviewers also watch what you are doing as well as what you are saying, so recording yourself is a great way of seeing your non-verbal response to a question. Our Senior Career Assistants are trained to give feedback from these videos, so if you would like someone to view your responses, email and someone will respond within 48 hours. If you would rather have a one-on-one mock interview with a real person, you can book an hour session with one of our full time staff members by calling 905-688-5550 x3242 and set up an appointment. We do ask for at least 48 hours notice for this service to prepare. The Resource Centre also has a lot of print services on interview tips and tricks for you to check up.

Happy practicing!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Teaching Abroad: Shane's World Part 1

Today's blog post will actually be a series of Teaching Abroad topics. My former CS co-worker Shane is currently teaching in Thailand as has been for a year now. I've asked him to provide his advice and experience as a new grad teaching abroad and he kindly provided all of this information! These are his words of wisdom:
*insert Law and Order sound effects*

Should I use a recruiting agency?

First off there are a ton of recruiting agencies to choose from before you go abroad. Some of these places are pushy especially the ones recruiting for the UK (I still get emails from them even though I have requested to be taken off their list, Hannah also was receiving phone calls at 7AM). After looking at numerous agencies it became clear that the agencies did not have the best deals. For example the places we looked at in Thailand offered a salary of less than a quarter what we make. This is not the same for Korea or the UK but I’m still not sure I would have gone through an agency if I went in that direction. Agencies offer piece of mind and probably not much else, they don’t guarantee you end up at a great school. They hire you before you go and help set you up in an apartment and ensure you are ready for your first day of teaching. However, if you do some research yourself and choose a good school or education company they will do all of that. Our school was immensely helpful in helping us get through the transition period.

Should I wait to get hired before I go abroad?

Hannah and I waited to get hired before we went abroad. This took a lot of work on our part but made things easier once we got to Thailand. There was great piece of mind, and some important things (like applying for a visa if necessary) cannot be done once you are in the country.

However, those who are more adventuresome have a lot to gain from waiting to find a job once they arrive in the country. This is definitely the most popular method in Thailand. You can travel around and find an area you like and then apply to the schools in that area. If you choose this method I suggest you come a month or two before a new school term because this is when many companies get desperate looking for new people. Also ensure you have enough money to live without work for at least three months (including the costs of getting and setting up a new apartment). The chances you will get a job are in your favour but if you can’t wait around for one you will be racing against the clock.

What should I look for in a job?

There are a few things that I would suggest you look for in a job to make your experience the best possible.
Location – just because you are in the country of your dreams doesn’t mean you will be in the best location. You can end up teaching in somewhere very remote with no other English speakers and not many amenities. That can be a tough experience if that is not what you are interested in. If you choose a location for a specific amenity (for instance the beaches) make sure that where you are working is within travelling distance. We came to Thailand thinking that there were beaches everywhere and ended up teaching inland, several hours from the sea, this wasn’t really a deal-breaking factor but is something to consider. 
Salary – I would recommend being on salary. Many teachers get offered hourly rates but that can lead to problems (you may not get as many hours as promised, we have seen this many times). Your hours are not guaranteed and work can be inconsistent. You don’t want to be at your schools beck and call. Also make sure your salary is enough to get you by and maybe enough to travel and pay for a flight home.
Time off – Assuming you are teaching abroad to see the world and the country you are staying in you will probably want time to travel. Ask about holidays and how much time you get off. Just because you are a teacher doesn’t mean you get summers off.
Benefits –it is VERY important that you have a health plan where you are teaching. If the company you work for will not offer you health benefits (and they should) make SURE you sign up for a plan in Canada. Sometimes the benefits that come with your school may not be all inclusive, it may not be a bad idea to sign up for a travel insurance plan back in Canada even if you are offered one abroad. They are often not that expensive and we know of several instances where people have had to rely on their back-home coverage in big accidents. Some companies also help you find a place to live, pay for your flights or cover other expenses. Make sure to ask what kind of benefits you will receive. 

More teaching abroad topics by Shane continued here

Teaching Abroad: Shane's World Part 2

This is the continuation of Shane's advice on teaching abroad from here

What country should I choose?
Korea and the UK are probably the most popular choices, at least for qualified teachers, but that doesn’t necessarily make them the best or only choices.

There are so many options so it can really pay off to think about what you are looking for and pick your ideal place. Many countries in the world need English teachers and only require TESOL (Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Japan, China, Czech Republic). It is important to think about what you want to get out of the experience; we were looking for a totally new cultural perspective but that kind of culture shock may not be for everyone! Do research into what it is like living there from a Western perspective. This can be helpful for example you might not be able to find the same amenities as home. For instance in Thailand deodorant is different so you might want to pack some.

Also visit a travel nurse (if possible at least three months in advance), they can tell you a lot and will make sure you have all the necessary vaccinations.

If you are already a qualified teacher you probably won’t need to take this course to get a job. It can be a helpful course though if you need some pointers on how to properly teach the English language. Trust me, the English language is harder to teach than you would think. If you are not a qualified teacher I highly recommend taking this course as many individuals you will be competing for jobs with will have the qualification. You can either take the course before you leave or at your destination. Both options are good, but if you are looking to make some connections and meet new friends it is a great idea to take the course in the area you will be teaching

Further Tips

·        Class size: some schools think it is acceptable to have one teacher for 50 kindergarten students, if this isn’t something that seems acceptable to you, you should ask about class size.
·        Resumes: resumes can change substantially between countries. Try to find out what a resume looks like where you are applying. For example, we were surprised to find that a photo is standard on a resume here.
·        Daves ESL café & have frequently updated job boards
·        Many recruiting companies or English teaching companies have been reviewed online; it is worth searching the company you will be working for to see if it has reviews. Some companies seem great on the face of things, but treat their teachers really poorly.


       I want to give a big thank you to Shane for taking the time to provide advice from first-hand experience. Hopefully you can digest this information and be able to make more affective decisions. I know a lot of students and friends who have graduated from the Niagara region and expect to find a teaching job within 5 years. The truth is, there aren't any secure positions available and supply teaching is limited due to seniority. By teaching abroad you can get the experience you require to move ahead when you arrive home... it also gives you some wild stories; I know Shane is having a blast!

       Good luck!
       Samantha Del Duca

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Anywhere But Here: Work Abroad

Many graduating students find that they aren’t quite sure what to do once they get their degree. It is a challenging decision, one that can make or break the start of your career. It would have been common place years ago to take a year off to travel abroad, and the trend is now starting to gain popularity again as many alumni are realizing the opportunities available to them overseas. It’s not for everyone, but if you like to travel, immerse yourself in new cultures, meet new people and make money at the same time, working abroad might be right for you.
There are tons of websites offering work exchanges and internships to Canadian students to places like Korea, Australia, the UK and the US to name a few. You are wrong in assuming that working abroad only involves teaching English. It is easy to find international positions that incorporate many of the degrees offered at BrockU. Companies around the globe are looking for new talent, and if you are willing to travel and have the qualifications it would serve you well to bring your Canadian work ethic to their attention.

Just like international students that come to Canada to study, working abroad means that you are now the foreigner and have to fill out a lot of paperwork! Things to consider would be documents you need to work in another country. Visa’s change depending on where you are traveling. The Going Global website mentioned this week is a great resource for finding out what you need in order to work in the country of your choice. Housing is always a costly experience you have to factor in before getting a job as most companies will not include this in their offer.

Career Services is jam packed with information regarding work abroad. We have so many resources, I can’t mention them all! First of all, I would pick up a copy of Verge Magazine which we have on our magazine wall in the Resource Centre. It is full of job postings and interesting articles about other’s experiences overseas. The Career Services website also has a slew of websites and job boards giving you all the information you could ever need before making this life changing decision. The International Student Services department at Brock can also help you with any questions you might have.

Happy job hunting!
Rachel Mills

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Going Global

Yes, the thought of going abroad can be exciting, but once you sit down and think about how you ought to prepare yourself it can be very overwhelming. You'll have to arrange work-permits, passport documents, insurance coverage and on top of that, condense your packing list - let's face it, you don't really need five pairs of shoes.

Career Services has created an account with Going Global to help you prepare with the latter. By signing in with your Brock ID, you have a world of information available at your fingertips!

The country guides are broken up into categories:
Job Search Resources - find government, internship and other job positions with agencies
Resume/CV Guidelines - other countries have their own expectations of resumes for example, China requires photo identification.
Work Permits & Visas - depending on  your situation (holiday vs work vs student) you can find the document that's right for you.
Interview Advice - learn the differences between Canadian and International interview expectations
Top Companies
Industry & Employment Trends - focuses on popular job categories within the country
Cultural Advice - embrace a new culture
Financial Considerations - your main costs will consider housing, food and transportation
Business & Networking Groups
Embassy Listings - handy in case you run into a bit of trouble *knock on wood*

This is a great tool to begin your research and decide where's best for you to travel in consideration with your goals. There is an extensive employer directory and they've also created USA/Canadian city guides.

I encourage you jump with excitement throughout your planning process but strongly advise to remember the little things. Being on your own in a new territory is thrilling but anything can happen. Look-out for yourself, be aware of your surroundings and always have a back-up plan for situations ie. stolen passport, lost luggage, getting sick etc. At the same time, no matter how prepared you are, it doesn't mean it will stop things from happening but it will assist in overcoming those situations.
In a nutshell, have fun and be smart!

Another website I'd recommend to help decide where to go: Lonely Planet

Leaving on a jet plane; don't know when I'll be back again...
Samantha Del Duca

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

International Students in Canada

Welcome to Canada! At Brock during the 2010-2011 school year, we had 1,265 international students on campus. That’s a lot! Can you imagine traveling to another country to go to school? Thousands of hungry young minds take the trip every year and many decide that Canada is the place to be.

Living and studying abroad can be very costly, which is why many international students decide to work during the school year. If you are considering working in Canada, there are a few things you need to remember depending on where you would like to work.

Campus jobs are the easiest to apply to as you do not need a work permit. Not only do you get to make some money, but working where you study can help in the transition to your new school, assisting in finding your way around and meeting new people.

If you are looking for work off campus, you must first receive an off campus work permit. To be eligible to apply, you must already have been in Canada for 6 months, be a full time student and in good academic standing. An off campus work permit allows you to work up to 20 hours per week during each semester and up to 40 hours during scheduled holidays such as Christmas and spring break. To apply for an off campus work permit, you can go to and download the application, or apply online at the same address. If for any reason you discontinue your studies or are no longer in good academic standing, you MUST return your work permit. You don’t want to mess with Immigration Canada!

Finally, once all that is complete, make sure to stop into the Career Resource Centre to Canadian-ize your resume. This will give you a better chance of getting that all important first interview and showcase all of your wonderful international experience. Career Services is open to you for all of your work related questions! If you have any specific questions, ask the international experts over in International Services!

Rachel Mills

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pack Your Bags!

For those of you who are itching for a change of scenery, want to indulge in new cultures, gain new skills and find adventure outside the corporate world it may be time to consider going abroad!

Going abroad will not only provide amazing photographs and memories to last a lifetime; the experience will introduce new skills, cultures and basic things liiiiike responsibility.
Also, having international experience can help in your ultimate job search once you return to home…if you return home!

There’s an entire world for you to discover and you’re just sitting here at your computer staring at your tropical screensaver. Decide why you want to go abroad and what you’d expect from it. There are generally 3 types of people: culture seekers, partiers and shopaholics.

Cruise the Greek islands, dance till dawn in Barcelona and eat your heart out in Italy; or be an archeologist and do excavations in Peru, help with animal conservation in Thailand and get your hands dirty building homes in Jamaica. There’s something for everyone out there. Yes, you can do all of these things at home – but where’s the culture? Where’s the adventure? By working, volunteering, interning or just plain travelling abroad you are providing to a community and receiving a wealth of experience unlike any other at home.

So if you’ve caught the travel bug – whether it’s within your province, country or abroad – get on board and be proactive! This week the blog will discuss things to consider before your trip and provide resources to help you get there.

Hasta la vista!
Samantha Del Duca

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Question You Fear Most


I'd suggest doing some research on the expected salary prior to the interview. If you have a general idea of the salary given to similar positions in the same city you're one step ahead. The Canada Salary Calculator can provide information based on job categories in your province or postal code area.
Penelope Trunk's blog discusses how to avoid proposing the salary before your employer. This is a good strategy because you don't want to shoot too high or low. If you are stuck and need to respond, you could answer something along the lines of: "I've been told a position of this stature would generally offer between $ - $"; this way you are restating your advice rather than providing a definite answer. Also saying something like "I believe the salary of your previous employee in this position would be fair" could open up a negotiating conversation.

Thanks for the response Chris! And thank you to the students asking on Jack's facebook!

Good luck!
Samantha Del Duca

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thank You!

A thank you note goes a long way in keeping you fresh in the mind of the interviewer, especially if you have just had the best interview you have ever had. It is a great way to show that you are genuinely interested in the position and have reflected on what has been said. It can even increase your chances of getting a job offer. Now who doesn’t want that?

First of all, you should decide if you are hand writing or emailing. Hand written notes add a touch of thought and personalization that emails sometimes lack. On white paper, or something with a minimalistic design, your note should be short, clear, addressed specifically to the person you were speaking with and preferably hand delivered to them or their secretary the next day.

What you say should always be genuine and show that you have been interested in the interview process. By using phrases like, “Upon reflection,” and “Listening to the points you made,” can help show you have been paying attention and allows you to tie your skills to the position you are applying for.

Finally, make sure that you leave your details for how and when you can be contacted. Instead of having to pull out your resume again, this simple reminder will save the employer time and help them make the crucial decision to hire you.

When you are networking or going to job interviews, the thank you note is a key tool in ensuring that you stand out from the rest of the crowd. If you would like more information on how to write a thank you note, stop into the Resource Centre and speak with a Career Assistant on how to craft a great personalized thank you. Alternatively, Monster has a nice template you can look at to get you started: here

Rachel Mills

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Do You have any Questions for Us?

At the end of an interview the employer will ask if you have any questions for them. They're not just trying to be nice, they actually expect you to have prepared for this. This is especially when they can tell if you've done research on the position, department or company. The more knowledgable you are about the position, the more specific questions you can ask. "How ‘bout them Yankees" could be an entertaining icebreaker but here’s a few suggestions to follow up on after the sports and weather talk ;)

What exactly would my day-to-day responsibilities be?
It is essential that you clearly understand your role and the tasks that you would be expected to undertake. It’s easy to make assumptions and get the wrong impression from the job posting so don’t be afraid to dive-in and ask specific questions.

What do you see ahead for your company in the next five years?
What types of people seem to excel here?
What are the opportunities for training and career advancement?
These questions serve two purposes. They help you to understand where the job might lead and what skills you might acquire. They also signal your ambition to advance and that you’re setting goals for yourself. If you research ahead and mention you've heard of a specific project and are curious how it'll play-out or if your position will obtain a role in the project you'll appear to be dedicated and well-informed.

How do you feel that I measure up to your requirements for this position?
Ballsy question indeed! If you can muster up the courage for this one you’ll receive quick feedback and won’t go home pacing. If they say you’re a good fit, you can ask if there are any reasons you may not be offered the position. If they say you’re lacking a key skill or attribute you can politely point out some relevant experience or strength that you may have previously left out.

What are the most immediate challenges of the position that need to be addressed in the first 3-6 months?
You are showing the employer that you are ready to jump into whatever projects are lined up or have been left behind by your predecessor. This demonstrates your interest in the position itself and also shows a personal desire to contribute to the company’s success. By understanding the challenges ahead of time you are able to dive-in and create a successful plan-of-action instead of belly-flopping.

Never ask a question that can simply be answered with a yes or no. Consider it like a first date; you’re going nowhere with a flat conversation. And if the employer skips this part of the interview, speak up and ask if they wouldn't mind if you had a few questions for them.

Be creative; be enticing; be analytical; be you.
Samantha Del Duca

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Grad n00b to Experienced Professional

As a new graduate it's unlikely you have all the experience required to step into a career with 110% confidence. The skills and experiences you have from previous employment, internships, volunteering or class can help you. The only thing you need to do is recognize what skills you've obtained that are transferable into your field of work. I'll let you in on a little tweaking your resume (not lying!) and using key words to target an employer, your chances of beating your competition are automatically raised.
When you are applying to a large company or online in general, your application is put through a large database and saved on-file for about 3-6 months. During that time period, HR can use search words to find the "perfect candidate's" application in just one click. The more key words your resume uses, the better chance you have of being found in the database. (Even if it doesn't go through a database, employers recognize certain words while skimming your resume better than others.) I'm not telling you to use the same word 10 times in your application. Read the job posting, note the requirements that you qualify for, and then use a variety of key words within your application. It's that simple.
For example, by working in customer service you can break it up into various skills such as oral & written communication, time management, active listening, critical thinking, attention to detail etc. Use these transferable skills within your accomplishment statements or cover letter and you'll sound like a pro in no time!

Now when they ask in the interview why you'd be an asset to their company you have a handful of quality skills to offer. For more help with writing your application and brainstorming transferable skills view your Degree Exploration Guide on our website or visit us in the Resource Centre for a hard copy. D.E.Gs are our #1 resource provided to students because they're so handy!

Evaluating Ideas, Theories and Evidence,
Samantha Del Duca

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Hot Seat: 5 Commonly Asked Questions

Well…I have a pet hedgehog and 3 brothers. I like swimming and just hanging out with my friends when I can… – Confused? So is the employer listening to your ridiculous answer to your first interview question “tell me about yourself.” You think I’m joking? I’ve heard answers like this before and had to keep a straight face. So, save yourself and your interviewer the awkward moment and prepare yourself before going to an interview!

The Career Resource Centre holds valuable information to help you prepare for your interview. But for those of you scrambling at the last minute I will be your savior for the next 5 minutes. You’re welcome.

Let’s review the top 5 questions and how you can go about answering them.

Tell me about yourself
Ah, the famous icebreaker to an interview. The key is to be concise. Being a chatty patty can ward off the interviewer but being too short is bland. Keep your answer professional and focus on your experience, work attributes and skills. If they want to know more they’ll ask!

What is your greatest strength and weakness?
It’s the most obvious question to ask, yet so many people are surprised by it. (Provide 3 examples each.) Instead of trying to toot your own horn discuss the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers/coworkers who’ve commended your skills at working under pressure, balancing priorities and getting the job done.
The only wrong answer for a weakness would be time management, working with others or difficulty taking direction. Always provide an answer to how you are overcoming these weaknesses.
P.S it’s cheesy to use weaknesses that also act as strengths like “I work too hard. I care too much. And sometimes I can be too invested in my job.” – Michael Scott

How would you fit into the position/company? Or What can you do for us?
The million-dollar question. If you’ve done your research on the company and read the job posting you’ll be able to highlight parts of your resume to explain why you’re the perfect fit.

How would your previous employer describe you?
Emphasize your skills. They don’t need to know you’re friendly, they can already tell if you are or not.

Tell me about a time when you faced a conflict and how you solved it.
Choose a situation you have actually dealt with yourself. The employer wants to know how you approach problems and determine if you are creative in resolving difficult situations. Do not say you’ve never been involved in a conflict – pick something, even if it involved school or a sport etc.

Not so hard now is it? For more assistance with interview questions use Interview Stream! It’s a great new tool that you can access on our website. Our Resource Centre has a variety of books which go into great detail on various aspects of the interview process. If you’re confused about a specific question such as salary expectations, Google can provide quick answers or ask here for a personable chat =)

Practice makes perfect!
Samantha Del Duca

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dress to Impress

This week I’m going to break down the interview process. Keep in mind there’s hundreds of extra tid bits to consider within the topic so don’t be shy and ask questions!
What better way to start than picking out your snazzy outfit for the interview. This way, you can go on multiple shopping trips between reading my posts ;)

In this vlog, Rachel and I point out the basic do’s and don’ts of dressing for an interview.

So, before you step out the door to make your way to the interview do a quick check for the following:

- Pretend you’re going to church – no bare shoulders and no knees. If you’re unsure about your skirt or top go with the standard dress pants & blouse
- Polish off your outfit with a blazer or cardigan
- Don’t overpower your outfit with rainbow nail polish, facial piercings, bedazzled jewelry or dark makeup – you want the employer to see you, not your accessories
- Wear comfortable shoes that you can walk in with confidence

- Wear black socks with a dark outfit/shoes. No ankle socks & never white socks.
- A long-sleeve dress shirt & matching tie are key. You’re not Dwight Schrute – that means no short-sleeve shirts. Except for your white undershirt of course.
- Wear your suit jacket to the interview. If it’s too hot you can remove it once inside.
- No jewelry unless it’s a wedding band or metal watch.

If you're well prepared for the interview there's no reason to be nervous - which means you shouldn't be sweating buckets. Just in case...don't forget to wear deodorant. As for perfume - please don’t smell like the factory, it will overpower your appearance.

Lastly, colours make a statement. Depending on what field you're in you can "get away with" wearing certain colours. For example, business people will most likely stay within the neutral zone whereas artists are encouraged to wear colours and patterns. Read about the impressions these colours make and take some tips from the pros.

Happy shopping! Don’t forget to cut the tags off!
Samantha Del Duca

Friday, July 8, 2011

Who's Creeping Your Facebook?

The results are in. The most popular answer to our survey concerning your most addictive social media tool was Facebook. Surprise, surprise.

Regardless of the social media you prefer to use, there are rules and regulations that have to be followed, especially if you are building your online reputation. Facebook is no exception. Unfortunately, some people just don’t understand the permanent nature of the internet. Being careless on Facebook can cost you your job - and you do not want to be that person.

It is no secret that employers use Facebook to research applicants for positions. Vanessa Holmes, the Communication and Talent Coordinator for Innomar Strategies says, “Facebook is no longer just a means of keeping in touchIf an employer wants to research you, the first site they will probably go to is Facebook.” So if you have an account, it is vitally important that your profile is professional and not full of content that would make your grandmother blush. Ensure that you are proactive in removing any questionable pictures or comments made not only by you, but your friends as well.

When commenting on others profiles, keep it positive. Facebook is not a forum for ranting or spreading gossip. If you don’t have something positive to say, don’t say anything at all. Your brand should show that you are engaged in your surroundings. No one wants to be friends with Debbie Downer.

Use your privacy settings! If you feel your profile is a little too personal, start from scratch and make a professional account that is visible to everyone. Vanessa says, “If you are cognoscente of your behavior and take the time to control your privacy, it shows that you care about how the world perceives you and securing your identity.”

Facebook is also a great tool for finding old connections. People don’t like creepers, but if you genuinely know someone who could help you find a job, why not reconnect? Search for networking events to attend and keep on top of companies posting positions through the site.

P.S Did you know that Jack McIsaac has Facebook? I can’t think of a better first “friend” to have on your new professional page. Jack regularly updates with career information, events on campus and job postings from our board.
You can also read more about Facebook on Vanessa’s blog “Facebook Etiquette 101.” It’s definitely something to “like.”

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How Loud is Your Tweet?

Welcome to Generation Y, where the early bird still gets the worm or, tweeters get the latest gossip, news and deals. Let’s face it, our world is kickin’ it into high gear and we’re not slowing down any time soon. Twitter delivers the press hot and fresh by the second in a painless 140 characters or less. Days of the tin can and string are over folks. It’s time to join the 21st century or be left behind.

A lot of people are staying faithful to Facebook because they don’t understand Twitter. I finally made the shift in March and I love it. It takes about a week to get into but once you follow friends, celebs, companies etc and they follow back you’re set!

Just like any presence online, you should maintain a professional image. I would even encourage you to set a theme to your tweets to attract specific people to you. For example, if you are looking for a job involving sports, add athletic associations, clubs, athletes etc to stay in the loop and have your name noticed in the world of sports.

Your twitter username is important because it will be used any time someone wants to mention you or retweet one of your many interesting posts. If you use your real name be professional! Don’t taint your name by tweeting personal matters or being insensitive about world issues. Remember, once something is online it’s there for good. Even if you delete it, who knows how many people already saw it and re-posted elsewhere. Practicing social media etiquette will not only make you a professional avatar, it will also reflect on your personal presence.

Know that you can be as involved in Twitter as you like. Add photos, videos, your current GPS location and hashtag trends on your tweets. The more #swag your tweets have, the more likely it is for them to show up in searches and be viewed by others.

If you’ve only made a Twitter account to keep up with celebs and gossip I’d suggest you make your profile private – protect your tweets. Once that option is checked, your future tweets will not be available to the general public.

If you’re still snuggled in your little egg, hatch already and tweet your heart out! Check out this guidebook if the thought of Twitter has birdies and stars circling your head. AND we have this cool book in the Resource Centre!!! Why I like it: 1. Covers the basics of Twitter, 2. Networking and your brand 3. Job search with Twitter 15 minutes a day. Follow @JackMcIsaac for updates on events, job postings, cool articles and more :D

P.S a social media tip: Tweet after 5pm or during lunch hour to have the most views.

Samantha Del Duca

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

LinkedIn: A Professional Network

What happened when you Google’d yourself on Monday?

My professor once asked: if you don’t have an online presence do you really exist? Think about it…more and more companies are moving from our phone books to our browser's favourites list. I tried searching for a pizza company’s phone number the other day – it didn’t come up on Google so I opted for somewhere else. It’s not laziness…it’s convenience. So, when an employer looks at your resume and tries to find you online you want something to pop up, and that something better be professional or they’ll move on too.

Since you’ve already made your Linked In account and joined the GradLINK Network last week, I can go ahead and tell you how to make it snazzy and pro.

Give yourself a title. When the big boss searches your name you want to be associated with your specialization like: Jane Doe – 3D Animator. The user automatically knows Jane’s field and her position without even going to her profile. Go ahead and include your current/past employment with accomplishment statements following it. Just because it's online does not excuse grammatical errors or short points.

Complete every section of your profile and keep it relevant. For example, Jane may include film, video games, drawing, and fantasy novels. Now the viewer knows Jane is probably interested in working in a tv, film or game industry. It may look odd if she included 'shopping-sprees with the gals' though.

Get connected and expand your network. Join groups, ask for recommendations, and include a link to your website, twitter account or portfolio.

Finally, give your profile a friendly face and upload a professional photo of yourself.

Linked In won’t “hook you up” with a job but it will make it easier for you to find the networks that can. Subscribe to the Linked In channel on YouTube for tips on how you can benefit from this networking tool.

More resources at Career Services for you:


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


YouTube is an extremely powerful medium. We all use it on a daily basis and it's a great tool for finding out more about what is going on in the world around us. Content is continually being uploaded with more than a days worth of footage going live every hour. But do you know how to manage your account?

When choosing a name for your account, keep it professional. No one is going to want to take you seriously with a name like "hotgurl11" or "beerpongking". Always make sure the details you wish to disclose on your account are accurate incase someone wants to search for you. Information such as interests will also be associated with your name, unless you choose to leave that section blank. Just be careful what you include, as the permanent nature of the web can sometimes come back to get you.

There isn’t much privacy online, but the best you can do is check your settings to make sure you are protecting yourself and your content. Your channel should be the first thing people see once they’ve successfully searched your name. You can check your settings to select what you want visible on this page. Remember to keep all content professional! We and every company approve all comments before they are posted online to protect our brand. Include your subscribers to show your reliability – and keep track of what is in your history.

Any videos you upload should also be tasteful. Don't have others in your videos unless they have given their consent. You wouldn't want someone to upload a video that compromises your professionalism, so treat others the same way. Jack’s history showcases career-related videos to carry on our theme within Career Services. If we had videos of Call of Duty...well, that might look a bit odd.

That’s pretty much YouTube... just remember that everything you upload is permanent and can be shared through many people in a quick time span. Keep it relevant, keep your image.

For more information on using social media professionally, stop into Career Services and talk to a Career Assistant. We would love to talk with you!

Your gals,
Sam & Rach

Monday, July 4, 2011

"Google it"

Have you ever tried to Google your name? No? Well, maybe you should. You might be surprised with the result. With the internet ever present in our lives, sometimes we forget that what goes online stays online. Everything from that angry blog comment to the awkward drunken picture of you taken last Friday night is available for anyone who searches you. Scary, huh?

More and more employers are choosing to Google their potential employees and many do not like what they see. Your online presence is just as important as your day to day one, so portraying yourself in a light that represents the real you is as important as ever.

Having a professional online presence is crucial for anyone starting a new career. People have access to all sorts of information about you, and let’s face it, privacy has pretty much been thrown out the window. Even if you don’t have Facebook or Twitter, people can still post searchable content about you, so your reputation can be damaged by just about anyone.

So what can you do about it? There are a few ways to make sure your online reputation stays professional so your next employer doesn’t run for the hills after hitting “enter”.

  • Always make sure your social media accounts are up to date and professional.
  • Activate your privacy settings! If you have personal accounts, make sure they are only accessible to those you want to see it.
  • Remember, anything that is posted online is there forever. When in doubt, leave it out!
  • Set up a Google Alert for your name so you are notified when people post things about you online. This way you can be proactive in managing your online reputation and doing any necessary damage control (we are all human…).

Here is a blog post by Seth Godin on “Personal Branding in the age of Google.” It’s funny because it’s true. So Google your name and see what you find. You might be surprised.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Canadian Content

EH! Whether you're at the cottage fishing, escaping to the beach or just relaxing at home, whatever your plans are for this holiday weekend, the Career Services gang wishes you a safe and sunny Canada Day full of laughs with friends and family!

In honour of Canada Day, I've put together a quick list of some Canadian resources we have at Career Services for you:

Print Material:
Fuel Inc. magazine
Job Postings magazine
Alternative Career Paths for Teachers binder
Government Jobs and Programs binder
Labour Market binder
Trends binder
Business Career Development binder
International Student Work Permit forms

Mastering the Personal Statement
How to Find Work in the 21st Century
The Canadian Guide to Working and Living Overseas
Get Wired, You're Hired
No Canadian Experience, Eh?
How to Find a Job in Canada
The Canadian Summer Job Directory
The Best Canadian Resumes
The Best Canadian Cover Letters
Why We Need a New Job Search Mindset
Hire Power
How to Get Any Job with Any Major

This Blog
Our Website
Our Listed Job Boards and Programs
Our Career Development Workshops
Odyssey: Live the Canadian Experience
Career Cruising
Talent Egg
Job Postings
Information Niagara
211 Toronto

Visit the Resource Centre or our website to find more information that will assist you in your career planning endeavours. If you're looking for anything specific just leave a comment on this post!

Happy Canada Day Beavers and Badgers!
Samantha Del Duca

GradLINK - Be the Competition

Now that I’ve dished out the basics on applying to ‘the real world,’ I can show you GradLINK: a service designed to assist students through their transition from school to work. This is exclusive to Brock University graduating students and recent alumni but, I encourage students of other institutions to ask your Career Centre what they have created for you - and continue reading because I may have another surprise for you.

By joining the GradLINK Network you will receive emails based on your interests (that means no junk mail!) Resources available include job postings, employer recruitment sessions, career related workshops, and a supportive network of fellow students and yours sincerely at Career Services. All you need is a Linked In account!
…Please tell me you have a Linked In account.

Alright, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you need to get in on this fast! Linked In is a social networking tool similar to Facebook – except it’s clean, professional and essentially creates an online resume/portfolio for you. Remember our chat about networking? It pops up quite a bit. Linked In creates an environment for professionals to (re)connect with each other. So, if you go to an employer showcase you can add them to your network and keep in touch!

GradLINK Network is a group on Linked In. All you have to do is follow these steps. Make sure you complete your profile! An empty profile can make you seem bland or inexperienced. If you’re curious on how your profile can look, take a peek at mine. Once you’re a member you can add interactive widgets to showcase more of your work. For example, I’ve added a portfolio from the Behance Network to display artwork.

Anyway, whether you’re a Brock student or not – get on Linked In and make connections! And then actually use it! Linked In has great potential; in fact, over 60 million people agree! It’s like Facebook – if you don’t write to anyone, update your profile or post photos, your presence goes unnoticed. So be pro-active. Join the GradLINK Network on Linked In today!