Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Welcome Summer!

I hope everyone is enjoying spring and summer so far! My name is Alysha, I will be working as a Career Assistant throughout the summer and will become a Senior Career Assistant this coming September. I am super excited to start blogging with the Brock community (and other career seekers as well!) and hopefully give everyone some helpful information!

There are some interesting topics coming up for the blog throughout the summer such as: Career Planning, New Grads Info, and Faculty Specific Information for those looking for careers in their field. With all that action happening on the blog, I would also like to remind you guys about our resource center at BrockU!

Summer Hours:
The Career Services resource center will be open throughout the summer months. We are open 9am - 4pm from Monday to Friday. There will be a 30 minute gap from 12:30pm-1pm where we will close for lunch. You can find us on the first floor of the library J.

Feel free to visit us at the resource center for any career assessment resources, information about job postings, a resume or cover letter review (no appointment necessary!), or any other questions you may have associated with your future career. I would love to be able to help students throughout the summer to build and develop their career goals.  Summer is a great time to catch up on updating your resume, your portfolio, and doing further research on the potential careers you may want to pursue!

Thanks for reading! I look forward to sharing many tips with you throughout the summer J.

Alysha Kooter
Career Assistant 
Concurrent Education: Visual Arts and English 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Welcome new senior team 2014-2015!!

It's that time of year again...our new senior team for next year is established and we are in the process of hiring some great new students for next year! With that said, I have the honour of introducing the new Senior and Lead Career Assistants for the 2014-2015 academic year...

Becky White - Lead Career Assistant
Becky is going into her 3rd year of Tourism and Environment (Honours) and hopes to be involved in tourism marketing and sustainability. Next school year will also be Becky's 3rd year with career services as our new Lead Career Assistant. Becky describes herself as a "professional cat lady" and this couldn't be more true...Becky has helped maintain an adequate supply of funny and endearing cat photos, drawings, and videos that has kept our team entertained all year (or at least she has done that for me and I will miss it so much when I am gone!). Becky says she is "looking forward to another great year at school surrounded by awesome people". The new team is lucky to have someone as fun and energetic as Becky to lead them next year :) 

Michael Pratas - Senior Career Assistant
Mike is going into his 3rd year of Political Science and has aspirations to go into teaching, something he would obviously be very successful at based on his strong ability to guide students through their career planning process, or a career in politics. Mike has developed so much in his role as a Career Assistant and is now ready to take on the role of a Senior CA. Mike says he is looking forward to "working with the new team of CA's and taking on more of a leadership role here in the Centre". Mike will most definitely be a great teacher, effective leader and excellent mentor to the new team next year.

Anthony Mancuso - Senior Career Assistant
Anthony is going into his 3rd year of Sport Management and hopes to be a team marketing manager for a sports team. Anthony wants to be able "to connect high-profile organizations with major and minor league sports teams to help generate revenue, kick-start the economy, and build  strong brands which will inspire youth to participate in sport". Anthony says: "I am looking forward to being in a position of increased responsibility, so I can challenge myself even more than I already have as a CA while also helping to shape the direction of Career Services...[and] to being in a mentoring role for the new CA's so I can help mold the future of Career Services and build a welcoming culture for all students seeking advice or help on any career related items". Anthony has demonstrated so much motivation to get involved this past year which has well-prepared him for his new leadership role.

Alysha Kooter - Senior Career Assistant
Alysha is going into her 3rd year at Brock studying Visual Art and English Concurrent Education. Even though Alysha did not join us until December, we immediately knew she was a wonderful addition and asset to our team. Alysha will be working full-time in the Career Resource Centre this summer updating resources, creating training materials for the new team, and as our new graphics designer! She will also be taking over the blog posts for the summer so you will hear lots from her over the next few months. Alysha hopes to "express leadership by inspiring and guiding new Career Assistants throughout the year to ensure their knowledge of materials and resources that are present in the center, while helping them create new ideas to encourage their involvement as an impacting member of the Career Services team". Alysha's initiative to learn quickly and lead effectively will surely make her a successful Senior CA! 

Welcome to you cool new cats!!!  #welcome #hello #CatsOfCareerServices
Stay tuned for our upcoming post saying farewell to the Senior CAs and CAs who aren't returning next year.

Jami Coughler, Senior Career Assistant

4th Year Public Health [Honours]; BA: Sociology '11

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Maximize Your Time Off School

Our friends at CosmicCoachingCentre wrote us a great article about how you can make the most out of your time off this summer :)

Maximize Your Time Off School

School breaks are what most students always look forward to every semester or school term. Having some time off school allows you to do all the things you find really hard to do while at school, like watching TV until midnight, going out with friends even during weekdays, and just not having any books to read or power point slides to prepare.
While the thought of merely spending your time aimlessly is very tempting, it won’t be a good idea for you to consider this time off school as hibernation. It wouldn’t hurt much if you sleep late and spend time watching your favorite TV shows during the first week of your vacation; you deserve it. But after that, you must get yourself out of the couch and do something productive.

Here are some tips on how you can best make use of your time away from school:

1. Make a workout schedule to stay fit!
We all make so many excuses for not doing the activities that will make us physically fit. It is very likely that you didn’t have enough time to hit the gym when you were still in school. But now that you are free from all school work, there is no reason at all for you not to have a workout routine.

2. Apply for an internship
Internships are made available by companies and organizations particularly during summer and winter breaks. This is their way of encouraging students to be productive during their breaks.
By joining an internship program, not only will you gain a real life experience, but you will also make yourself known by more people in various industries. You may not really appreciate what this can do for you, but you have to realize that as you build your career later on, you will need connections who will help you find employment. Furthermore, an internship experience is something you can include in your resume in the future. Employers and hiring managers are always impressed by those who bother to become interns during their school breaks.

3. Clean up your room or apartment
Having a messy room or apartment is not normal for anybody, but it can be understandable for students like you who are always preoccupied with school work. If, however, you go back from vacation into a messy and dirty living space, this just means that you didn’t use your time off school wisely. The school break is the perfect time for you care for your things, especially your apartment or your room perhaps. By doing this, you will feel very excited about starting another semester in a pleasant living space.

4. Read ahead
While your school break is the time for you to relax, it won’t hurt if you pick up a book to read every once in a while. Reading ahead is an effective way of learning in advance what your professors will teach you during the semester. If you do this, you are actually relieving yourself of so much pressure and burden when the time comes that you have to make a report about the book you have already read.
By planning your school break schedule, you will remain productive and you can avoid wasting precious time. This is also an excellent time for you to do some career planning, especially if you are nearing your college graduation.

About the author:

Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Center, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Benefits of taking time off (Gap Year)

I am a firm advocate for the gap year. I took 8 years between high school and university (due to a competitive and then professional figure skating career). During this break I traveled, worked with the show, and learned the answers to those common proverbial questions like: who am I? what is my purpose? what makes me happy? what am I good at? Prior to getting into the ice show, I had the admission papers in my clammy little hands for a 3 year program in sociology at another university (gasp! another thing I figured out while away is where I wanted to go to school!). I am SO glad I allowed myself the time to make the right decision.  My gap year was longer than most other peoples break from education, but the overall outcome was the same. I returned to school focused and confident in my decision and that has formed the base of my educational success.

A gap year (which doesn't have to be a full year) can be taken at any time, but make sure that you can return to your program in good standing if you happen to break in the middle of your degree. Many people ( and parents) fear that gap years can lead to a long term interruption of educational plans. This is not the case! Most students return to school within one year with renewed focus and energy. The benefits of a gap year vary from person to person and it does not come with a guarantee of an "AHA!" moment that will direct all of your future actions but many times, answers come to you before you even ask the questions. Time away may only serve the purpose of recharging your batteries, or it may mean something more profound like answering those nagging questions, or choosing your life path. Even if you don't find the answer to all of lifes' questions, you will return with new stories, experiences, and friends! Some people have such an amazing experience in another country that they decide to establish themselves there instead of coming back for school - which is another path you could take!

Some people choose to travel, some choose to work, and some choose to pursue hobby-like interests. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you feel productive and fulfilled. Setting goals is a great way to gain some momentum during your break. What would you like to learn or accomplish? How will you learn/accomplish it? SMART goals are an excellent tool to guide you to achieving your gap year goals. Gap year work and volunteering experiences can be a great boost to your resume. There are plenty of gap year associations out there that can connect you to  various organizations, but in my opinion it is easy to arrange by yourself with a little help from a search engine.

A word of caution: travel and hobbies can be expensive. Be careful with your finances during your time away from school. You don't want to show up to school with a negative balance in your bank account.

If you are not sure what you would like to do with your future, or if you need some time away from school a gap year may be the answer for you. Remember to be realistic with yourself and your finances, be informed of due dates, application dates, and payment dates, and go out there and have an adventure!

Becky W.
Senior Career Assistant
3rd year Tourism and Environment (Hons.)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Making Connections: Networking and the Job Search Process

Networking is a vital component of the job search process. It is about sharing knowledge
and contacts, helping others and building relationships before you need them. Networking
does not mean you need to meet 20 people every week. Instead make it a goal of adding 1
person to your network every week; it is not about the quantity of contacts a person has
but the quality. For this reason it is important that once you add a person to your
network you keep in touch with them periodically. This can be done through social media
(LinkedIn), over the phone, or a face-to-face conservation over coffee. Some places you can build
your network include …

•        Your classes / seminars
•        At work
•        Conferences
•        Volunteer opportunities
•        Online (through sites such as LinkedIn)

Networking on LinkedIn
•Users with complete profiles are 40x more likely to receive opportunities through
•Networking does not mean reaching out to strangers. The best networks begin with those
you know and trust, and then grow based on personal referrals.
•Always customize your connection requests with a friendly note.
•Stay on other people’s radar by updating your LinkedIn status at least once a week.
•Help your connections with their questions, comment on their statuses, or forward job
listings to show your generous side. You will find that your generosity is usually
•Search by similarities (i.e., school, program, concentration) to generate new

While online networking has become more and more popular, it should not replace
face-to-face conversations.

Come stop by the Career Resource Centre in the Learning Commons where we have a variety
of networking resources including LinkedIn tips, accessing the hidden job market and
information interview resources.

Mike Pratas, Career Assistant
2nd Year Political Science

Thursday, April 3, 2014

6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer Vacation

1. Work a Part-Time or Full-Time Job: 
This is the most obvious way to spend your time in the summer but its also beneficial for more reasons than getting you out of the house. Starting to build up your financial savings is a really important part of working as a student. It will also help ease the stress of rent payments and textbook purchases in the fall. And of course making some extra cash can always go towards something special for yourself - like a trip! Check out Career Zone for the latest job postings for Brock students!

2. Volunteer:
Volunteer work will spice up your resume and allow you to get some experience that might not be accessible as a part-time job. Volunteering can occur both locally and abroad, so don't feel like you need to stick around in St. Catharines to get some volunteer experience.You can track your volunteer hours to put towards your Volunteer Plus certificate!

3. Work on your Portfolio
You know all of those papers you have been hoarding in your desk for the past few years? Why not organize them into something useful! Career Services can get you started on developing your own Career Portfolio this summer. This is a great way to physically document your academic, volunteer, work, and extra-curricular activities that you have completed during you time at Brock. After you have created your Career Portfolio, consider bringing it to your next job interview!

4. Update your Resume
Take advantage of having no (or less) courses than normal and spend some time going through your old resume and make a brand spankin' new one! If you need some help getting started, stop by Career Services and we will be more than happy to give you some templates to work with. You can also bring in a printed copy of your resume for us to review. If you would like to start working on your resume at home then visit the resume development section of our website.

5. Take some Spring/Summer Courses
Enrolling in a few summer courses will alleviate some of the stress you will have during the following school year since you might be able to take less classes (double check this with your academic adviser!). You could also take a course in the summer that caters to an interest of yours that you couldn't normally pursue during the school year. To see the current spring/summer course listing check out the newly posted list here

6. Go Somewhere You Have Never Been Before 
This could be a new country or that new restaurant down the street that you've been meaning to try but never had time to. New experiences keep boredom at bay and allow you to develop new interests as well as likes and dislikes. They also make you a more interesting person to talk to! Allow time in the summer for personal growth and exploration!
We are still open during the exam period and would be more than happy to help you make the most out of your summer! Stop by Career Services if you have any questions or would like us to review your resume/cover letter/CVs! Best of luck on the rest of your exams/assignments! We're almost done!

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

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A glimpse into the future...

An interesting website came across our office last week so we thought we would share it with you...a glimpse into what the workforce might look like by 2030!


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