Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Career Planning - Taking Action!

Your next step in the career planning process is to do something about it! This step involves actively seeking employment in a position or company that you would like to work in. The following are some key steps to landing meaningful employment:

1.      Know Yourself – You should have already completed this step during the other stages of career planning, but if you haven’t, do it NOW. This step allows you to become familiar with your strengths and assets which you will then highlight in a cover letter, resume, and in your interviews!

2.      Prepare Your Resume – Your resume is something you should be proud of and not something to be thrown together at the last minute. Your experiences should reflect your accomplishments and skills that you think would make you the most desirable candidate for the position you are applying to. Career Services offers an online workshop – The Basics of Resume Writing  – through CareerZONE ("Workshops" tab), as well as free drop-in resume reviews in our Resource Centre during our hours of operation. We offer one-on-one assistance and advice about how to improve your resume and how to best highlight your achievements. We also have resume templates in our Resource Centre that can help you in formatting your resume to ensure it is professional and up to par with employer expectations. 

3.      Tailor Your Cover Letter – Yes…your cover letter needs to be tailored to each and every job you apply for…ALWAYS! Writing specific cover letters for each job may seem like hard work, and it may very well be, BUT Career Services has tons of resources that can help you! Our Basics of Cover Letter Writing workshop, also on CareerZONE, and our drop-in cover letter review services, can assist you in highlighting how exactly you meet the employer’s expectations, as well as how you would fit in with the company, in a tailored cover letter. By using the job posting and company website you can get a lot of crucial information that will make this process much easier. Our cover letter templates and sample can help you with format and content, after that it’s just a matter of “responding” to the job posting by specifying how you meet the employer’s criteria with concrete examples from your experiences!

4.      Be Professional – Make sure you always act professional when meeting with potential employers - they want to know that you would take the job seriously and would represent the company well. Stop by the Resource Centre to learn more about appropriate attire and how to act during interviews and career events! In addition, remember that in these high-tech times, employers are now turning to social media to help them get to know candidates and employees – Hint: be professional even on your Facebook because you never know who might stop by to check out what you are really like! In addition, do a quick Google search of yourself to see what comes up because employers will be doing this as well!

Relax, be yourself, be professional, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t land your dream job after your first application! Job hunting can take time and you may have to work your way up to your ideal career, but following these steps will ensure you start with your best foot forward. Happy job hunting! :) 


Jami Coughler, Senior Career Assistant
4th Year Public Health (Honours)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Career Planning--Decision Making

So you just graduated and now what? The big question you need to ask yourself is “what do I want to do with my life”? Career planning can be a frustrating and confusing process. Some students may go through an entire undergraduate degree without any clue of what career they are interested in.  Luckily, Career Services has a variety of valuable resources to help you with your decision making process.
To start off, try some self-assessments. Type Focus and Career Cruising are great online tools located on Career Zone which can help you identify your interests and skills. Career Cruising will also link you with jobs related to your interests and results of your assessment. Check out our blog post from May 7th for more information on these great self-assessments.

Once you have decided on the career that best fits with your skills and interests, check out our Degree Exploration Guides (DEGs) on Career Services' website or in the Career Resource Centre. Career Services has a DEG for every program currently offered at Brock University. DEGs encompass great information such as career options, degree specific skills, internship and volunteering information, career and job search resources and much more! Each DEG is specific for each program and is a great way to further explore your career(s) of interest.

Once you have narrowed your search down to one career…or a few, you can further explore the career outlook, wage expectancies, the skills and knowledge required for a position and more on a website like Working in Canada.

All in all, the career decision making process can be long, tiring and difficult. However, a career is going to make up a major part in your life, so make sure you enjoy what you are doing! Try not to be too narrow with your career choices, and be open to variation…you never know what may catch your interest.


Nella Paris, Senior Career Assistant
4th Year Psychology Major (Honours)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Career Planning - Research

An important part of the Career Planning process is researching potential careers you are interested in so that you know what direction you are headed and can create a plan of action. After completing Self Assessments, you may find yourself still wondering if a particular career is right for you – this is where your hard work will pay off. While the research process might seem daunting, it is well worth the effort if you want to find a career that best suits you, one you are best suited for, and one that you will love doing!

Here are some tips and resources that can help you in the research process:

1.  Degree Exploration Guide – The Career Services Resource Centre has degree specific guides for each program at Brock. On these, you will find potential career options, information about where to look for jobs specific to your industry, professional associations (which can be paramount in helping you network, job search, and find the most current industry standards and information), as well as other information relating to your individual program. Our Degree Exploration Guides are also available online!

2.  Explore Career Cruising – You can simply search various careers that you want to know more about or you can complete the self-assessment (which I recommend!) and then click on the various job titles that Career Cruising generates for you. Find info about the job, education requirements, average salary, working conditions, as well as related careers! Visit Career Cruising through CareerZONE ("Resources" tab) or stop by the Resource Centre for help on getting started!

3.  Know Yourself – Career and Self-Assessments, such as Type Focus, are a great way to get to know your interests, personality, and values. Type Focus also allows you to explore occupations, set goals, and help you prepare for your job search. Getting to know yourself is crucial to the career planning process because it helps you narrow down what jobs you would enjoy doing and thrive in.

4.  Attend Career Events – Your faculty may have a “Careers Night” where individuals come in and tell you about the career path that they followed using their degree. In addition, Career Services also attends or hosts events on campus throughout the year that can help you gain imperative information about a specific career or company. Check the CareerZONE events calender throughout the year, or contact your faculty’s program coordinator or adviser, to learn about upcoming events!

5.  Ask Questions – The more you ask, the more you will know! It never hurts to ask questions because you want to know as much as possible about a career before you make any concrete plans (i.e. What level of education is needed and in which subject? What is the average salary? Are there opportunities for advancement?). Information Interviews can be a great way of getting to know a little more about a specific career, or even a company. This involves contacting someone in a position you are interested in and arranging a meeting to pick their brain about some of your most salient questions. For more information and “tips” about an Information Interview, stop by the Resource Centre and grab our Information Interviews Quick Tip!

While this is not an exhaustive list, the points I have mentioned should get you well on your way to planning your next steps for your future career. 

Jami Coughler, Senior Career Assistant
4th Year Public Health (Honours)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Breaking News...

Good morning everyone...I realize you are not used to hearing from us on a Friday morning BUT we have some fantastic news to share...

Our very own Career Services blog has made the list for "10 Simply Awesome College & University Career Service Blogs"....WOW!! We are ranked among some pretty prestigious schools, such as Harvard and Dartmouth. The author, Jessica Miller-Merrell's blog is ranked as one of the top career site by Forbes Magazine, so to have her rank OUR blog so well really means a lot!

Special thanks needs to go out to our out-going Senior CA team for their amazing efforts on making the Career Services blog so spectacular...we have some pretty big shoes to fill now!

Read what Jessica had to say about us HERE and keep following our blog - it's the right thing to do... :D

Jami Coughler
Senior Career Assistant
4th Year Public Health (Honours)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Self-assessments are valuable tools which can assist you in your career planning process. To find a career that fits you, you need to know about yourself. Self-assessment—or identifying what's important to you—is the first step towards making effective career decisions. Career Zone has two great self-assessments—Career Cruising and Type Focus—which can be accessed upon logging into Career Zone with your Brock user name.

Career Cruising is an online career exploration tool that helps you narrow down career options based on your interests. It provides you with specific job information such as job descriptions, salary/wages, working conditions, education requirements and more! Additional features include a skills and learning styles assessment. Upon completion of the online assessment, Carreer Cruising will then match you with suggested career options based on the results of your assessment.

Type Focus is an interactive self-assessment tool that can help you better understand yourself and assist you in making more effective decisions regarding the next steps in your life. Using this tool, you’ll be able to clarify your values, skills and interests, which will help you to develop goals and a focus, setting the stage for putting your career plan in motion.

Don't underestimate the value of self-assessments. They can provide you with insight and knowledge about yourself that you would have otherwise been unaware of. Take the time to do a self-assessment. A few minutes of your time could provide you with a lifetime of self knowledge!

Nella Paris, Senior Career Assistant
4th Year Psychology Major (Honours)