Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Putting that Career Plan in ACTION.

We're really glad you've decided to spend some time and work through the first 3 steps of the Career Planning Process! By now you have probably made some valuable discoveries about yourself and possible career options after having self-assessed and done your research, and you are now realizing which of Further Education or Direct Employment is the best options for you. We know making that decision was probably difficult, but we hope that our tips have made that process easier for you!

AND!... it's not over.  It's finally time to put your money where your mouth is and TAKE ACTION. A good plan is awesome, and it's a wonderful start, especially once you've made some concrete decisions about what you want to do and which pathway you've decided to follow. But unless you're going to make the appropriate steps to begin your journey down that chosen path, it's all been hard work for nothing (and you and I both know this thing called Career Planning isn't exactly easy to do!) Today I'm making some suggestions to help you figure out exactly what you need to do in order to successfully Take Action when it comes to your Career!

First and foremost, and if you haven't already, you should make sure you really have fullfilled the first 3 steps of the process. Maybe you've self-assessed and have identified the types of jobs you think you're best suited for, and thats great! But if, say, you haven't figured out what skills you have and which ones need enhancing, you could potentially run into difficulties down the road when it comes to finally creating that resume and you can't seem to solidify those accomplishment statements with a skill that was acquired or an end result that was achieved. Fill out your very own Personal Career Checklist to be sure that you've completed the previous 3 steps, and if you've missed something, make sure to go back and complete it! This is all part of making SMART Goals; if you've missed something in the Career Planning Process it's likely that you'll run into further issues in ultimately achieving your career goals in the future.



1, Entrance Exams - Find out which programs and which schools expect the completion of an entrance exams before admittance, and also be sure to give yourself enough time to both prepare mentally and financially for the examination so you don't have to worry about missing the application deadlines for Graduate School!

2. Reference Letters - Most Grad schools require the submission of 2-3 letters of reference from your professors (and sometimes one employer). Be sure to ask well in advance, and don't be thrown off if somebody you asks has to say no. Sometimes its a matter of being sure that they can provide you with the best possible reference, and if they don't think they have had enough experience with you to know, they would rather give you the opportunity to ask somebody else!

3. Letters of Intent/Personal Statements - Prepare this document well in advance, and be sure to check out each individual's institution for what is expected and what to include. You can also drop by the centre for some helpful writing too, or bring a draft and we'd be happy to look it over for you.

4. Funding - Most Graduate programs will offer you funding, depending on your marks and how much they are interested in your research. DO NOT accept Graduate Schools that do not offer this to you, especially if you're already relying on students loans. If they're not willing to pay you for your research, they are not worth your effort. If you're pursuing a Post-Graduate Degree or Certificate which is course based, funding opportunities are often still available, but for either option it is important to consider external funding opportunities if you need them. You want to get the most out of your studies, and worrying about the financial is the last thing you're going to want to do.

*If you need to work part-time during your further studies, you most likely can! Most programs allow up to 10 hours per week for employment outside of your Teaching Assistantships so be sure to check that out too!


1. Network - Find out who you need to meet and what you need to do to land that awesome position that you've spent so much time researching about! You know who you want to work for, and now it's time to build up that network and make the appropriate connections to get your foot in the door! If all else fails, as for an Information Interview!

2. Keep Researching - So you've got a list of jobs and employers already in mind, but there's no guarantee that any of those positions will still be available when it comes down to applying for them. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities that appeal to you, even if they're not the career you had in mind. Every opportunity counts and gets you one step closer to that Dream Job.

3. Interview Prep - Every interview is different, but it's important to keep yourself on your toes and prepared for whatever it is they might throw at you! Be ready to talk about your strengths, weaknesses, and the research you've done on the company. They want to know that you know yourself well, and what you think makes you a good fit for the position you're offering.

For some more tips to consider when completing the final step of your Career Planning Process, check out  our website!

Good luck and congratulations on finishing up this process!


*Don't forget to leave a comment, send us an email at, or come by the Resource Centre on the 1st floor of the Learning Commons if you'd like us to further discuss your Career Planning Process with you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Decisions, decisions!

If you've been following our blog over the last couple of weeks, chances are you have completed your Self-Assessment and Career Research. It's now time to start making some decisions! If you are comfortable in your degree (or you’re switching into a preferred area of study) it’s important that you start deciding on what path you are likely to take after graduation.

The two major options you should start considering are:

  • Further Education: Am I interested in completing post-graduate studies?
  • Direct Employment: Am I interested in going straight into the work force?

When considering the second option it’s important to keep in mind that some occupations require post-secondary education.  It’s imperative that you triple check your research to determine whether or not post-secondary is necessary in order to obtain your career goal. Post-graduate studies are a wonderful way to expand your knowledge of a subject you feel passionate about but it’s important to keep in mind that it takes additional time and money to complete. 

If you are interested in going straight into the work force after graduation it’s important to network with individuals in your field and to consider finding an internship to gain relevant experience which can be included on your resume. It also never hurts to get involved in the community by volunteering which can give you even more hands on experience in something you are passionate about. The career world is as competitive as ever right now so remember to do anything you can to make yourself stand out over everyone else!

Once you’ve decided between extending your time in university or jumping into the work force it’s time to start making SMART goals:

   Specific: What are you doing and how are you going to do it?
   Measurable: Are you choosing a goal that you can watch yourself progress through?
   Attainable: Do you feel that you will be able to stay committed to your goal?
   Realistic: Are the expectations you are setting for yourself too high?
   Timely: When do you want this specific goal to be obtained by?

On the Career Services website we have a couple worksheets available to help you with your SMART goal planning:

Brittany and I have completed both of these worksheets for our own career goals and would be more then happy to assist anyone else having difficulty sorting things out. I personally find that having a physical copy of my goals to look over is extremely valuable when sorting through my many unorganized thoughts.

Decision making can be stressful and discouraging at times, but its all about keeping things simple! Don't stress yourself out by making unrealistic goals. I mean, if you aren't going to go to med school you aren't going to be a doctor!

And don't be afraid to conduct any additional research in order to fine tune your SMART goals. Double and triple check any information that is vital to your goals to ensure any confusion and unnecessary stress down the road.

Good luck and feel free to email us or stop by if you have any questions!

~ Ashley

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Always Do Your Research!

So you've self-assessed! You now know ALL about yourself, exactly what you want to do and exactly how you're going to do it! ...right? Well, for some of you it might have been that easy to figure it out, and that's great! We're happy for you! But for those of you who are still unsure, you're on the same side as most of us. Sure, we might have an idea and various options for career and/or educational pathways now  (I put mine on a flow chart :D), but it doesn't end there. Before you DECIDE on a career pathway, it's always important to first do your RESEARCH.

Ask yourself...

Is this Pathway the right FIT?
  • Am I willing to proceed with Further Education or is Direct Employment right for me?
  • What are the job responsibilities?
  • Am I cut out for this type of work?
  • What else is out there?

Do I have the right EXPERIENCE?
  • Will I need experience before entry-level positions?
  • How can I gain that experience now (volunteering, internships, part-time jobs)?
  • What are the skills and knowledge requirements of the position?
  • Is there room for professional development and on-the-job training?
  • Am I looking for advancement opportunities? Is that available to me within this field?

What is the Typical WORK ENVIRONMENT?
  • Will I be working inside/outside? With children, with people older than me? Alone?
  • Am I adaptable?
  • How much will I be making? How do raises happen?
  • Is there a demand for this type of work?

Who HIRES for this type of work?
  • What should I know about the field? The company/organization?
  • How should I prepare to apply?
  • How do I ask/prepare for an interview?

And always the BIG ONE:
  • Will I be granted a pension? Benefits?

While these questions might be simple and provide you with the  little details, the affects of the answers can have some pretty great affects in the long run.

Here are some things to remember...

1. Do what is right for you. Job earnings are important, but don't let the dollar sign cloud your vision when it comes to deciding on something you know will make you happy.

*That also goes for career choices and graduate school. Some people will refrain from doing a Master's program or Post-Graduate Degree because they feel like they should be done spending money, and instead earning it. My motto is "short term pain for long term gain" - anything extra we do now will only make it easier to pay off those student loans later on.

2. While it's important to  be qualified for a position, don't let that stop you from applying to jobs of interest. Hey, you might not meet all of the job requirements, but maybe nobody did! You could still be the best applicant. If you tailor your resume and cover letter right, you could come out a shining star in their list of candidates. So come on into the Career Resource Centre for a review, and then get on out there!

3. Your work environment should never be compromised. You will be talking to these people, seeing these walls, and smelling these smells more often than you'll ever be seeing your family, your walls or the smells in your household. Make sure it's going to work for you. And if it doesn't, next!

Check out our website for some more tips and handy links for researching here. And remember, drop by the centre anytime between 9am-4pm, Monday to Friday and Ashley or I will be happy to discuss your research with you, or even help you get it all started!

See ya then,

Brittany :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Don't Stress, Self Assess!

All through high school our parents and teachers bombarded us with questions about what type of degree we wanted to pursue once we started university. Now that we are actually in university and have chosen and experienced our current programs we are being asked a slightly more intimidating question - 'what are you planning on doing with your degree?'

This may be a more frightening question for some students than for others. Perhaps you are currently in a program that you are academically successful in but feel no passion for. It's also possible that you're studying something that you dislike altogether. Or maybe you are in a position many other students are experiencing: you love what you are currently studying but you have no idea what you want to do with your degree once you graduate.

It's time to stop stressing out! It's never too late to stop or alter what you're doing and begin moving in a more personally fulfilling direction. Here at Career Services, we have a number of Self-Assessment tools that you can complete at any time on our website. Self-Assessment allows you to explore questions such as who you are, what you are interested in, and what values you hold when it comes to the workplace. By learning about yourself through self-assessment it will be much easier to zone in on career and program choices that reflect who you are. I'll highlight a couple of my favourites below:

  • Career Cruising: Career cruising has an in depth self-assessment tool that gives the user a list of potential career choices based on their personal interests. Each of these careers can be explored in great depth on the website, including information on which university or college programs need to be taken in order to enter this career path.
  • Keirsey Temperament Sorter: This self-assessment is designed to help you learn more about your values, skills, and interests, which will help you develop and plan goals for the future.

Remember to check out our website to access our 11 different self-assessment tools that cover personality, skills, interests, and workplace values! Feel free to bring your self-assessment results in to Career Services and we will be happy to assist you in planning out your new career path!

It took changing my area of study 4 times before I discovered a program that I feel personally fulfilled in. Do not be afraid to explore. Taking these self-assessments has encouraged me to try new things and combine my personal interests with my area of study. Do not regret decisions you have made in the past. All of our personal experiences make us who we are and help us in determining what we dislike and what we enjoy!

Don't give up, your perfect career is just around the corner!
- Ashley

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Introducing . . .

Greetings! This is Ashley and Brittany, your new career blogging friends! We just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves, and to also introduce the variety of things we've got planned for the Career Services Blog this summer!

Ashley Paolozzi
Program: Interactive Arts and Sciences, minor in Art History
Career Goal: Level Artist and/or Italian Renaissance Researcher
Career Aspiration: Disney Imagineer
How the Career Resource Centre Helped: By making her aware of the opportunities that are available in her field and by helping her organize her varying career aspirations and ideas into realities.

Brittany Stewart
Program: English Language and Literature and Dramatic Arts
Career Goal: English and Dramatic Arts Educator and/or Theatre Director
Career Aspiration: Broadway Performer
How the Career Resource Centre Helped: The variety of resources available in the centre quieted her anxieties about teaching prospects, and opened her eyes to the possibility of alternatives to in-school teaching, and to the prospect of teaching abroad! She also learned a lot about the various programs Brock has to offer, and has spiked a newfound interest in Linguistics!

So that's who we are!  Now for a preview of what we have in store for the blog over the next four months. It's definitely something to include on your reading list this summer! ;)

May: Career Planning
We'll be touching on the four steps of the Career Planning Process, from self-assessment to researching career prospects, to the decision-making process and finally on to what it means to take action! Here in the Career Resource Centre we can guide you no matter what stage of the process you are in, and we encourage you to check out the Career Planning section of our website for some valuable tips as well!

June: New Grads
First, a BIG congratulations to everyone who completed their final exams/essays/assignments/presentations/etc! You did it! You're finally done! But what comes now? In June you'll be getting that diploma and you should also be checking out our blogs for some next steps for what to do after school ends, and before the next stage of your life begins! We'll be providing tips for using social media and networking in the job search process, alternatives to joining the workforce right away, as well as 10 things all new grads should know. June is a hot month for you to be following us, no matter what year you're in!

July: Book Reviews
In the centre, we have a WIDE variety of print resources for any student inquiry. We will be reviewing four of our most popular books in order to give you the scoop, and hey, maybe we'll convince you to come by and check them out yourself! They are:
  • Get Wired, You're Hired by Mark Swartz
  • Job Search Magic by Susan Britton Whitcomb
  • How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and Other Social Networks by Brad and Debra Schepp
  • 101 Career Alternatives for Teachers by Margaret M. Gisler

August: What's New?
In August, there's a lot of new things going on. New resources, the newsletter comes out, new training program to plan for the new Career Assistants, and onto another new school year! We'll be blogging to remind you about all of these things, and any other news that pops up!

That's it for now! Hope your summer has been good to you so far, that you're all happily employed, or enjoying some awesome adventure somewhere! Don't forget to stop by the Career Resource Centre for any job search inquiries, or for a resume or cover letter review to land that summer or fall position. We're always happy to help you out :) Our summer hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm.

See you soon!

Ashley & Brittany