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!

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