Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book Review: Work Your Way Around the World

Living in North America we are faced with a very competitive job market, especially for those seeking jobs in teaching. Because of this it seems that now more than ever before graduates are making the decision to finish school and move on to travel or work abroad. Working abroad is truly becoming an ideal option for many, since, for a lot of the jobs being offered (especially in teaching) the expectation is that you will have completed an undergraduate degree in any field, but that's it. Often students will complete their TESOL Certificate (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), that is if they're going into teaching since it puts them at a salary advantage and also provides them a better general knowledge for how to teach english, but even that is optional. It seems so easy to do, but some of you might be asking, "are there really opportunities other than teaching overseas?" and "so where do I start this process?"

There are tons of organizations that will help a graduate make their overseas transition into working abroad, and teaching isn't the only industry that they're recruiting for. You can find many of these organizations sites through a simple google search, but how can you know whats legitimate and who to trust?

In her book Work Your Way Around the World, Susan Griffith acts as your "tour guide" for understanding the ins and outs of going abroad for work, travel, school, or for any other reason! She breaks her book up by country, outlining the differences in working conditions, earnings, lifestyles, and the booming industries in each place. For each country she outlines specific companies and organizations to work or volunteer for. She even goes into aspects about how to prepare to leave, such as what to bring, what you might need at the border, and even outlines how to attain a VISA. She outlines what legal documents are required in each specific country, money conversion, how taxes work in each place and even what to do if you need to do a money transfer to or from home. She also provides tips on staying healthy in a new country and gives information on which insurance providers to go with.

With all of this preparation speak she also provides a disclaimer to warn the new traveler that once you start, it's often difficult to stop - for many reasons. She reminds her reader that travelling can become very addicting, and not to get yourself into a situation where you can't make it home. It can be difficult setting out, but once you're there it's often much easier to stay there than come home because the resettlement process can often be severe, leaving you feeling like you're "back to reality" and that "life was so much easier abroad". Being prepared and planning ahead carefully can help you steer clear of any negative feelings for home or the country that you've travelled to.

The section entitled "Extremis" is a particularly interesting read as it offers up examples of extreme scenarios a worker or traveler abroad might find themselves in and offers practical solutions to overcoming them. The Independent coined this book "the globetrotter's bible" and I believe that Griffith's coverage of all countries, scenarios, and possible questions that someone might never have considered before is what makes this statement true. Her appendices are also very helpful as she offers a currency conversion chart, useful phrases for all countries, possible travel itineraries and even international dialing codes.

This book truly has it all and it's a definite must-read for anybody who wants to live or travel abroad, for any duration of time. I plan on going to teach abroad
when I am done school and I found it to be an invaluable resource and researching tool.

Good luck and happy travels!


PS. If you want some tips for how to create a resume, CV or cover letter for the country you intend on travelling to, or an online search of the popular industries abroad, check out Going Global!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Still No Summer Job?!

So it's the end of July, summer's practically over and you still can't find a job. Never fear - there's still some things you can do to fill your time, and ways to prepare yourself for next year's job search!

1. Volunteer
 - Agencies are always looking for people who are interested in helping out - no deadlines or worrying about the competition! An easy way to get that experience you might be looking for, just without the pay check (if you can manage that).

2. Job Search for September
 - At this point, a lot of places are listing their jobs for the upcoming school year when their student staff might be heading back to their university towns, or just moving on after their summer position. Now's a great time to start that search, and hey, you might get hired on early! Land yourself a school year job and make some cash for the last month of summer too!

3. Independent Skills Exploration
 - If it's a skill you want to work on, why not take the time to develop it on your own? You know that language that you've been meaning to learn, take it up now! You can learn about pretty much anything for free on websites like Open Culture, which provides free lectures to students! Languages are included. Or you could take the time to develop professionally; sign up for a workshop - see what's available in your city or school community!

Check out this website for some helpful tips for what to do in your summer job search, where to find jobs, and what to look for. Super helpful, and hey, it might even help you land something for August!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Networking for People Who Hate Networking

As an introvert I tend to feel an unnecessary isolation from the extroverted portion of our society. My occasional need for ‘me time’ and an extroverts constant need for social stimulation has, in the past, created boundaries during conversation. Things can get awkward and uncomfortable for both parties when the need of each individual isn’t being met – especially when you’re at a networking event.

Devora Zack’s charming guide 'Networking for People Who Hate Networking' provides a humorous and comprehensive analysis of both sides of the spectrum. Networking can be intimidating for everyone, even extroverts, which makes this book an excellent companion for all of the social (and not so social) butterflies out there.  

Zack creates an immersive read with her comedic writing style and light hearted attitude. My favourite chapter, Networking Survival Kit, covers the basics of a networking event from conversation management (feeling in control of the conversation from start to finish) to dealing with your networking name tag. Zack takes a genuine fear of many individuals and turns it into something that is almost bearable (almost!)

‘Networking for People Who Hate Networking’ has the potential to unite, what Zack cleverly calls Introville and Extroland, allowing us all to remove those awkward moments from professional interaction. In general, in order to succeed in each others company we require a solid understanding of how the mind of our opposites work. I can question all day why someone would choose to spend their evenings surrounded by other people in a crowded bar or I can take the time to learn about why extroverts require this type of environment to flourish. And, in return, extroverts can take the time to understand why I prefer to spend my time curled up on my couch with my dog, a cup of Earl Grey, and a good book. 

'Networking for People Who Hate Networking' is available for citizens of both Introville and Extroland in the Career Resource Centre!

- Ashley

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review: No Canadian Experience, Eh?

It's tough enough for Canadians to get hired with relevant experience in their field, let alone for those who do not. These people end up stretching out their achievement statements in order to prove how their skills qualify them; it can be a difficult process. Now imagine the difficulty for a person who might have little to no experience, or even some excellent and relateable experience, but not in the country which they're applying. This is a common occurrence for International Students and Immigrants, people who come to Canada seeking better education or work, but without Canadian experience they can end up feeling lost.

Brock University is full of International students who choose to stay in Canada following their studies to pursue something in their field here. What some of them are realizing is that their lack of Canadian experience is getting in the way of their career goals and job search. Or is it..?

In the second edition of "No Canadian Experience, Eh?" Daisy Wright covers literally everything a Canadian newcomer will need to know about how to immerse themselves in the culture of our career search, and even provides some helpful tips about Canadian culture as a whole (the term "eh?" is defined on page xiii, haha).  From attaining the accurate legal documents and creating a resume, to putting the references sheet together, sample thank-you letters and even success stories, this book has it all!

Wright identifies key areas where an immigrant to Canada might have difficulty transitioning, especially when it comes to job search. She provides specific suggestions for how to deal with resume writing, filling in gaps and structuring all experiences, as well as how to market yourself and prepare for the interview.  At the end of each section there is even a quiz to complete, helping the reader guage how well they are understanding the material in order to ensure confidence as they move forward in their Canadian career search!

Another great aspect about this book is something we're very big on at Career Services - goal setting and self assessments! She begins the book by having the reader get to know themselves, and understand how to set achieveable goals for their job search. She reminds the reader that it could be a lengthy process, but knowing yourself and making SMART Goals are imperative first steps to help make the process go smoother, if not faster!

My favourite part of the book is Chapter 9: Navigating the Job Search Maze. This chapter includes various sections on success tips, real life examples of job search mistakes, the hiring manager's perspective in the process, and even suggestions for preparing yourself for a job layoff. As an immigrant to Canada herself, Wright has a good understanding of what information is important to relay to Canadian newcomers in order to facilitate job search success and confidence, with no surprises!

Here are a few testimonials about how beneficial this book is, if I haven't yet convinced you:

"this book is an outstanding resource tool and thoroughly prepares our newcomers to take a pro-active and fresh look at addressing some fo the employment barriers that they will face"
Dauna Jones-Simmonds - Manager, Diversity Programs and Initiatives, TD Banks

"a must read for new immigrants. I wish I had this book before coming to Canada"
 T. Small, Legal Assistant

"This book is outstanding. It provides many valuable resources to people who plan to immigrate to Canada, and it allows newcomers to take a fresh look at the challenges they could face in immigrating, but also offers advice on how to overcome those challenges"
D.r Cheng, former University Professor in Taiwan

I'd also say that after reviewing this book, I find that the tips that Wright provides are beneficial for every job seeker in the Canadian market as her tips are universal to the fundaments of Canadian job search success.

 So those of you reading this blog who feel like you could benefit from some guidance on how to structure your resume and job search without any Canadian experience, never fear - drop by the Career Resource Centre in the Learning Commons and have a look through! You won't be disappointed :)


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review: Designing a Digital Portfolio

We may live in an age where the job market is extremely competitive, but there is one thing that current job hunters have that previous generations didn't: a much bigger world of job opportunities! Thanks to the internet we are able to connect with potential employers world wide. One of the greatest ways for artists, architects, programmers, photographers, game developers, or any other visually creative individual to reach this global audience is by creating a digital online portfolio.  

Nothing feels greater to an artist then having their work fashioned together in a way that highlights their character and talent for curious employers. But what does the creation process of such a medium entail? Cynthia L. Baron's book 'Designing a Digital Portfolio' (2nd Edition) highlights the process of creating an online portfolio, what to include, and how to present it.

Baron covers topics such as digitizing your art, writing your biography (keep it short and sweet!), portfolio reels, and the risk associated with posting your work online. With plenty of eye-catching images and creative page layouts, this portfolio guide is easy to navigate and offers information for both tech savvy individuals and fearful technophobes. 

Complete with examples of real digital portfolio's at the end of each chapter, 'Designing a Digital Portfolio' is an excellent resource for both beginners and experts of the digital realm. I highly suggest that students in Brock programs such as Visual Arts, Interactive Arts and Science, Computer Science, and Film take the time to read through the information within this book and begin organizing their own creations into an inspiring online presence.

If you are interested in reading 'Designing a Digital Portfolio' by Cynthia L. Baron, feel free to visit Career Services at Brock University. If you are looking to creating a more traditional portfolio we have plenty of resources and sample portfolios that have been generously donated by Brock alumni from programs such as Classics, Recreation and Leisure, and Biomedical Sciences!

I wish you the best of luck with the creation of your portfolio! If you have any questions or would like your portfolio reviewed Career Services will be more then happy to assist you! :)

- Ashley, Summer Career Assistant