Thursday, June 17, 2021

Brock CareerZone Blog 10-Year Anniversary: Part 1

Brock’s CareerZone Blog is celebrating a special day today: its 10-year anniversary! 

The first blog post was published on June 17, 2011 and we thought what better way to celebrate this milestone than by sharing CareerZone’s best career advice offered in last decade! So, without further ado, here are the top 10 of 20 career tips for 2021 pulled from over 500 blog posts. Stay tuned this week for the next 10! 

1. Take Small and Manageable Risks: “Career exploration is like filling out a crossword puzzle. Once you have some answers, the rest is easy.” (2011) True! Students often jump into job search without conducting the necessary preceding steps like getting to know themselves, discovering possibilities and experiencing more. Before activating your plan by doing the deep dive into job search, engage in some career assessments and self-reflection, research your Degree Exploration Guide, volunteer in the community and/or experience a position related to your career, business or field of interest.

2. Let Go of General and Passive Job Search: Based on convenience, job listings can be last resorts for employers. (2011) Out of convenience, employers are more inclined to hire internally or through their personal networks. This is a concept we often explain to students because it demands the need to be innovative by deploying proactive job search tools and strategies. When you are sifting through job advertisements, remember that they only account for about 15-20% of all positions available to you. Work with CareerZone to uncover how you can connect with employers and build your network! 

3. Experience More: Work and volunteer experiences should be situated around your career aims. (2012) Humans are creatures of habit and it is easy to continue working in positions that you’re comfortable in. This can be a subtle trap when it comes to broadening your understanding of different career paths and experiences. Everything happens outside of your comfort zone, so if a volunteer position is out of your wheelhouse but compliments your studies, give it a go! These types of experiences matter greatly and will teach you a lot about what interests you and what doesn’t. 

4. Innovative Networking: Use holidays as a networking advantage. (2012) Simple but effective! Use holidays and larger gatherings throughout the year as opportunities to have career conversations and potential informational interviews. Holiday parties are a great place to gather and mingle with your family, friends, coworkers, as well as extended social circles of partners and others in your extended network. Additionally, another innovative idea is to utilize holiday cards as a way to update your circles on your future career objectives. Instead of a photograph of kin, put your business card in the holiday card (or both)! 

5. Curricular, Co-curricular and Extra-curricular Advantages: Med Plus students have a higher rate of acceptance into medical school. (2013) Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities will always be a game changer. Our co-curricular programs, such as Experience Plus, Med Plus, Law Plus, Lab Link, and Fit Link, still work to set candidates apart who have similar education and work experiences. These opportunities ensure that you are a well-rounded candidate for an employer, so it is important to adamantly build your “extra” knowledge and experience. 100% of programs at Brock have an optional experiential component, too. This embedded curricular experience is a simplistic way to get hands-on experience in university. 

6. Perception Matters: “Replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity.” (2013) Many students are overwhelmed by the large task of career exploration. To alleviate career anxiety (especially for upcoming graduates), approach this process with curiosity since it largely is about determining what is meaningful to you on a day-to-day basis. We explain to students that they are not defined solely by the program they’ve chosen. Additionally, when researching prospective avenues, it is important to find the much-needed balance between realism and passion. You will naturally feel compelled to explore something that stimulates your mind over something you feel forced to do. When in doubt, be curious about experiences that require you to use your brain and your specific knowledge, skill set. Does the employer need your brain or your time? 

7. Who am I?: The Importance in Knowing Yourself (2014) Understanding yourself is a key component of career development. Taking inventory of your past and present experiences and reflecting on your skills and qualifications can help provide focus and direction to your career search. Three core ideas to ponder are pace, expression and working with others. Here are questions to pose to yourself: Is this job fast paced? Would you be required to work under pressure? How well do you preform under pressure? Do you enjoy preforming the same, well-oiled tasks everyday, or do you prefer spontaneity and variety? Do you have some creative freedom over your work? Along with these types of questions, think about your values. Values lay the foundation for everything you do in life. Here are questions to pose to yourself: What is important to you? Do your values coincide with that of the employer? Are you able to uphold your values at a certain job or in a particular position? Remember to continuously self reflect and self discover. 

8. Expect the Unexpected: The path to a career after grad oftentimes doesn't happen the way you picture it to in the beginning. (2014) Things don’t always happen the way we intend them to. Chaos and uncertainty have a way of creeping into all aspects of our lives and we continually need to adapt and exercise flexibility and resiliency. Everyone’s path is different and sometimes we find ourselves having to re-evaluate our plans or our approach to finding our way. Take the time (or time off) to experience life and possibilities. Seek out the supports you need to help you navigate your next steps. 

9. Volunteering: A Huge Investment in Your Future (2015) Community volunteering is a great way to get involved and gain experience. However, students sometimes do not grasp all the compelling benefits. Consider volunteering as your “unpaid internship,” per se. Volunteering is still the pillar in gaining transferable skills. Not to mention, the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes for helping and giving to others. Communities rely on volunteers, so don’t ask what your community can do for you but what you could do to contribute to your community. Watch out for CareerZone’s new volunteer job board coming this summer! 

10. ACT: Lights, camera, action! (2015) A saying that we often use with students is “the action dictates the strategy.” Action changes things (ACT), so it is important to think about putting your plans to the test in real time. Students are often working through this process theoretically, so we encourage them to explore and discover. Whether this be a physical visit to CareerZone for a document review or attending a career event, the actual part of engagement in career exploration is where you will discover what types of opportunities are available to you. CareerZone is here to support and guide you through your career journey.

Written by Lisa Brown, Career Assistant and Blog Manager
Edited by Kara Renaud, Supervisor of Career Education, CCEE Department

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