Thursday, January 29, 2015

An Overview of Career and Work-Related Resources at UTSC: ONSA and Career Counseling

With all the possible jobs out there, it is reasonable to be confused about what you want to do in the future. A great place to start is the Online Self Assessment, or ONSA. It takes about 20 minutes to complete and allows you to choose skills, personal qualities, and values that are most important to you. After you complete it, the tool generates a career profile summary displaying your choices. You can make an appointment with a Career Counselor to discuss your career profile summary if you wish. I will be discussing my experience at my appointment.

             I walked into my appointment feeling somewhat nervous. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I knew the duration of the appointment was an hour and I didn’t know how we could discuss my results for such a long period of time. However, my career counselor put me at ease very quickly; she was very welcoming and kind. She explained how the appointment usually works: she was going to ask me to tell her about each of my choices of skills, personal qualities, and values (10 of each). From there we would look for patterns in my choices, and think of possible career paths I was interested in.

            It was a lot harder to explain my choices than I thought it would be. I am a student in Co-op Management and wish to specialize in finance, but a lot of my choices appeared to be unrelated to this program. In the personal qualities section, being understanding and compassionate were in my top ten, as opposed to more analytical skills. In the values section, I also chose helping society and generally helping others as well. The questions my career counselor asked me in relation to these choices made me realize that it was extremely important to me to help people. She also pointed out that non-profit organizations and charities need people who specialize in finance, so that was something I should consider.

            I had also thought that the artistic side of me had no place in my future career.  However, in my ONSA results, I saw that being creative was the number one thing I valued. I talked about my theatre background with my career counselor, and she spoke with me about arts management or a minor in creative writing.  The most important thing I learned is that you can’t choose an aspect of your personality and try to pick a career based on this. You have a unique combination of talents and you want to choose something that you will excel in and enjoy. I’m choosing to stay in management, but I will definitely take creative writing classes.

            While I was given excellent career advice at this appointment, my career counselor also talked me through a lot of fears I had for the future. A lot of us have an unrealistic idea that when we graduate, we will get a job, and we will stay in that job until retirement. However, the only way to find the right job is to try new things, and be open to the options we have. I definitely recommend trying ONSA and making a career counseling appointment. It’s helped me see that my options aren’t as limited as I think they are, and I walked out of that appointment feeling a little less afraid of the future. And that is a good feeling!

Until next time,


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