Tuesday, December 17, 2013

10 Futuristic Jobs That Barely Exist

Ever wonder what the future career world might look like? Check out the infographic below to get a look at some potential careers to come in the future!

Monday, December 16, 2013

REMINDER: Resource Centre Winter Break Hours

It's that time of year again...when students are just finishing final exams and final assignments and are getting ready for a much needed WINTER BREAK!

The Career Services Resource Centre will be open regular hours up to (and including) 
December 20th (9am-4:30pm)

We will be closed from December 21st - January 5th for the winter break

We will re-open Monday January 6th and will return to our regular office hours:
Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm

We hope you have a restful and relaxing break and we look forward to assisting you with career-related advice in 2014!!

Jami Coughler, Senior Career Assistant
4th Year Bachelor of Public Health [Honours]
BA: Sociology [Honours] '11

Friday, December 13, 2013

Graduate School Applications - What do you need???

Further Education – Application Resources

Graduate school application deadlines are fast approaching and Career Services wants to make sure you are well-prepared!

Documents required for graduate programs will vary depending on the university you are applying to. For an exact list of things to do and documents to include, consult the program website that you are applying to.

Some common documents that are required for application are: Curriculum Vitaes (CV), letters of intent/statements of interest, academic transcripts, and letters of reference. Below I have included some information about what these documents are, how to prepare them, and how Career Services can help!

1) Curriculum Vitae - Commonly known as a CV, this document can most easily be described as an academic resume. CVs demonstrate your education, academic achievements, research interests, research experience, among other important information. They are usually required when applying to academic positions or graduate school programs.
  • The main difference between a CV and a traditional Resume is that the goal of a CV is to present a full history of your academic credentials; a traditional resume presents a brief snapshot of your skills and experience that communicates your ability to perform the job you are applying to.
  •  CVs are usually much longer than a traditional resume; there usually is no maximum number of pages for a CV.
  • Research experience and interests are highlighted on a CV in order to represent your scholarly potential; teaching experience (such as experience as a Teaching Assistant) is also something that can be highlighted if you have any.
 Career Services has a variety of resources that can help you create and edit your CV:
  • Handouts: 
    • CV vs. Resume…what is the difference? 
    •  Categories for a CV
    • CV Template

 *These, and more, can be found in our Resource Centre or online! 
  • Other Print Resources: 
    • How to Prepare Your Curriculum Vitae (book) 
  • Services:
    •   Free, drop-in review sessions during office hours with a trained Career Assistant (hard copy required)

2) Letters of Intent & Personal Statements – These letters may be required as a component of your grad school application. Both types of letters demonstrate an example of your writing skills so make sure to have your letter edited as many times as you can to make sure it is perfect!

To be clear about how to write the letter, you first must know what type of letter they require. This information should be clearly outlined in the application requirements section of the program website.
  •   Letter of IntentMost common for graduate or professional schools.       
    • Focus: Your research interests, reasons for choosing the department/program and your post-degree plans 
    • Format: Proper business letter format; no longer than 2 pages unless otherwise stated
    • Language: Formal, professional, and tailored to the audience
  • Personal StatementUsually required with an application for an academic research program.
    • Focus: How your experiences (volunteer, work and personal background/characteristics) have contributed to your interest in and knowledge of the profession
    • Format: Essay format, double-space (typically); candidates may be asked to respond to broad or specific questions within the letter; page limit may be outlined in application package
    • Language: Formal, professional, and tailored to the audience; may be more personal than the letter of intent
        *General Tips for Writing:
    • Research: Review the program’s website and contact the department for specific guidelines; read the Dean’s message, the policy on admission, etc.; ensure that you provide relevant information that matched each requirement
    • Organization: Use a thematic or chronological patter of organization; consider the idea or theme – your experiences should support the theme; use effective transitions to ensure your ideas flow; avoid unnecessary repetition
    •  Content: The introduction and conclusion are very important – consider writing these after you have completed the rest of your letter/statement; represent yourself honestly and answer all questions; avoid controversial issues; pay special attention to word/page limitations and font size requirements; keep copies of your submitted application (noting when and where each was sent)
*For more Tips, drop by the Resource Centre or check out our Online Resource Centre for online versions of all of our handouts! 

3) Academic transcripts – These must be ordered from academic institutions you have attended and are official documents of that institution. They usually must arrive to the school you are applying to in a sealed and stamped envelope (done by your current institution). More about how to get these can be found on the application requirements website and on your current school’s registrar’s office website.

4) Letters of References – These are letters written by other people that can speak to your academic (usually) and/or professional competencies. Typically, graduate programs require all academic references (i.e. a professor that taught you) but in some cases, professional (someone you have worked for) or character (someone who can speak to the kind of person you are) references may be accepted. Again, consult the program application requirements for how to submit letters of references (some require them in a sealed and stamped envelope, some require them to be submitted online by the person writing the reference, and some require them to be submitted by you with your application package).

Tips for Arranging References:
    • Make friends with your professor – this doesn’t mean you need to be on a first name basis with them or see them outside of class…what it does mean is that you need to get yourself noticed by the professor so that when you request a letter of reference, they know who you are and what kind of student you are. Your reference choices should be those professors you feel know you and your academic work/abilities the best!
    • Ask early – Professors have busy lives and requesting a letter of reference a week before your application deadline just isn’t going to fly. They need time to write the letter and may also need time to review some of your previous academic work so that they can write about your abilities. Giving them such a short timespan to complete your reference also shows a lack of organization and a lack of respect for their time. Start contacting professors at least a couple of months before the deadline to give them ample time to write the letter, as well as give you time to contact your “back-up” references if your first choices decline. 
    • Have back-ups! – professors may not have time to write a reference letter for every student that asks, they may not know you well enough to feel comfortable doing it, or they may just say no for various reasons. Having a couple back-up options for a reference is crucial in case this happens so that you aren’t scrambling to get to know your professor half way through the term!

Our friends at cosmiccoachingcentre wrote a great article about this topic that I think complements this post well:

Grad school Application Materials

For those who are seriously considering applying for graduate school, it would be very helpful to find a source of information about entering a graduate school, particularly in terms of the requirements. As an interested applicant, you are encouraged to check out the website of the specific department you wish to apply to. There you will see all the detailed information regarding the process of enrolling in a graduate program. Generally speaking, though, the following are the materials that you need to prepare:

Personal Statement

Graduate school applicants are required to send a personal statement expressing their interest in enrolling in a particular graduate program. You may find that certain programs would also require you to use your personal statement to provide answers to specific questions.


Applicants are encouraged to submit a scanned copy of their transcript when they submit their application because this can help speed up the process. Those applicants who have earned their degree from international schools must include their transcripts with English translations. These documents should then be forwarded to the Graduate School admission office. As for college seniors, they are required to send their current transcripts, with the official transcript to be sent at a later time.

Letters of Recommendation

It is common for graduate school programs to require three letters of recommendations from their applicants. These recommendations must come from individuals who are qualified to attest to the applicant’s eligibility for graduate study. These letters should mention the applicant’s ability to conduct research and perform in the coursework required by the program. 


Those applying to doctoral programs are required to send to the Graduate School the results of their Graduate Record Examination or GRE. There could be some supplementary materials and other tests that will be required in some doctoral programs. Thus, you should take the time to visit the GRE page of the website of the graduate program you are considering.


Graduate School applicants coming from countries where English is not the native language must submit their official IELTS or TOEFL score. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are always a requirement for international graduate school applicants.


The interview is of course not going to be part of the graduate school application process, but it is worth noting that interviews are often used by graduate school programs to have a better look at the interested applicants. But for graduate school applicants, an interview is also a great opportunity for them to know whether or not the programs offered by the institution will be a good fit. Keep in mind that there’s a bigger reason for your decision to enter a graduate school, like for career advancement perhaps. Thus, you would want to know if the program is worth investing your time and money in.

I hope this overview of the most common graduate school application documents has helped you begin your grad school applications (although I hope you would have already started at least a portion of it already!). Good luck and don’t forget to stop by the Resource Centre Monday to Friday 9am-4:30pm with your questions, concerns, or documents for review!

Jami Coughler, Senior Career Assistant

4th Year Public Health [Honours]

BA: Sociology [Honours] ‘11

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Post-Graduate Studies: College vs. University

Masters and PhD programs aren't the only option for post-graduate studies. If you are looking for a
more hands on and specialized post-graduate experience you might want to look at both university and college based programs. While both have the potential of offering this type of experience, university post-grad programs tend to be more research and academic focused while college post-grad programs offer hands on, industry specific skill sets. However, keep in mind that there are always exceptions to this rule - I'm just putting them into neat boxes in order to give you a general idea of how both of these institutions work.

A great website to consult if you are wondering what your target industry prefers in terms of post-graduate programs is Career Cruising (found through Career Zone). Many programs, such as Museum Studies, can be done as both a post-graduate certificate and a masters degree. However, it's important to do some research to find out which type of post-graduate program a typical employer in your industry is looking for. There are three ways to conduct this research:
Our past few posts have really stressed the importance of research when it comes to answering these types of questions. The reason that we promote this so much is because, unlike our parents generation, we are going to have a much more difficult time staying at one company for our entire work lives. We need to learn how to do career research while we are in university since it is a skill that we will need to carry with us forever. 

If you have any specific questions about choosing post-graduate certificate programs over a masters program feel free to stop by the Career Resource Centre!

Ashley Paolozzi, Lead Career Assistant
4th Year History of Art (Honours)

Some excellent articles to take a look through:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Is Graduate Studies Right for You?

While the fourth years are currently busy filling out their graduate school applications it's time for the third years to start looking into what schools and programs they are interested in applying to next year. Making the leap from post-secondary to post-graduate school is both difficult and stressful but it's the path that a lot of students are considering today for a number of reasons. However, graduate school isn't necessarily for everyone, nor is it something that everyone will benefit from doing. (For more information
check out my previous blog post "Pass vs. Honours? Master's vs. Undergrad?"

You should ideally be choosing graduate studies only if you have a specific reason for doing so. If your dream career requires a Masters, PhD, or post-graduate certificate then it is definitely something you should consider. Grad school should not be an alternative to avoiding the 'real' world outside of the university campus. Not having a exit-strategy in mind for when you complete graduate degree will only leave you 1-7 years older and in more dept then when you left university the first time around. Ask yourself "why do I need to go to graduate school" and don't tell yourself "I have nothing better to do then go to graduate school". The application process is stressful and time consuming and you more then likely wont want to complete the entire process unless you are passionate about what you are applying to.

Consider graduate studies if you need additional education in order to gain entrance into the field you want to work in. If you have done in depth Occupational Research (as discussed in a previous blog) then you may already know which careers require post-grad and which ones don't. Is spending an addition 1-7 years completing a Master's and/or a PhD worth the time to acquire the job you are interested in?

I'm definitely not trying to scare anyone out of applying. If going to graduate school is what you want to do then you already know this and are probably already looking into the schools you will be applying to next year. However, if you are on the fence about it then it is important to take the following into consideration:
  • Are your grades high enough and, if not, will you be able to improve upon them before next year?
    • Find the required GPA for a particular program by consulting that particular program's website. Each university and program will have different entry GPA requirements, however you should aim for having a B+ (75%) average at the minimum.
  • How do you plan on paying for graduate school? 
    • Considering the potential expenses involved in living in a different city as well as program costs, textbooks, etc. There are also grants and fellowships that are available for many students as well as scholarships opportunities.
  • Do you actually want to go to grad school?
    • Seriously ask yourself this question. What would be your reason for going? Do you truly think it will be worth your time? Go through potential programs that may interest you and take the time to understand your reasons for applying.
We have a number of student staff that are currently filling out their graduate school applications (including myself!) so we are well aware of the stress and time involved in this process. If you need any help figuring out if graduate school is right for you then we encourage you to stop by the Career Resources Centre for a quick chat about your options!

If you have any additional questions feel free to stop by or email us at career@brocku.ca.

Ashley Paolozzi, Lead Career Assistant
4th Year History of Art (Honours)

Check out the Canadian Guide to Graduate Studies' Guide for Potential Graduate Students which can be found here: http://www.brocku.ca/webfm_send/27174