Thursday, November 3, 2016

Putting the Right Foot Forward: Kick-Start Your Career

By Helen Li, Career Assistant (Work Study student)

Someone once told me: “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” I have always believed that I had no real say in what I wanted to pursue after I graduated as I was always influenced by my family, friends and those around me. But in the end, you do have the power to choose what and where you want to be. Follow me as I share my own experiences in exploring my career prospects!

What is Career Exploration?

November is considered ‘Career Exploration Month’ – a full month dedicated to students looking for exciting opportunities to explore potential career interests and pursuits for the future. There are a vast number of opportunities you can take advantage of including: In the Field tours, Career Chats, Extern Job Shadowing, Alumni Connections, and Rapid Resume Reviews.  You can also take advantage of several workshops dedicated to this topic. In my case, I have taken advantage of a bunch of opportunities from Jobs for Management Grads, LinkedIn for Job Search, Daily Rapid Resume Reviews, Mock Interviews, Extern Job Shadowing, you name it!

Where Do I Start?

Like most students, I was extremely overwhelmed by the fact that my undergraduate degree was coming to an end. The idea of being on that podium, receiving my diploma and then having to contemplate how to start my “life” was nerve racking. But it doesn’t have to be hard if you don’t make it hard on yourself. There are plenty of resources to take advantage of including a variety of events and workshops that are available to you, free and relevant to your area of interest!

What Do I Need?

Familiar with Career Learning Network? Well, it will soon become your best friend. Through CLN, you will be able to have access to any upcoming workshop or event. And better yet, many of these opportunities may let you work towards your CCRRecognition, which essentially will help you find opportunities at U of T beyond your classroom. You will also have your skills and experiences captured on an official document. You can even access real-time job opportunities, including work-study opportunities as well – a must visit!

How Will I Benefit? 

I certainly don’t see any loss in kick-starting your career to progress and move forward! All I see is a great opportunity for you to grow as an individual, and learning more about yourself. For me, I have grown so much through learning and identifying which careers aligned with my academic and personal interests – coming to this point was not easy. 

The steps that I have taken throughout my journey here by volunteering, taking advantage of experiential learning opportunities, and even job hunting, has definitely helped contribute to bringing me closer and closer to my future career goal.

By attending Rapid Resume Review sessions, I was initially able to gain a better sense of what recruiters were looking for - the crucial “key” words/phrases that may be able to make or break your chances of advancing further in the recruitment process. After I attended the Rapid Resume Review sessions, I landed an interview for a particular position I had applied for… then realized, what next? That’s where Mock Interviews came into play. From my experience, mock interviews really helped me because it was essentially imitating a “real interview”, with added feedback for continuous growth.

Why am I telling you all this?  

These steps were necessary to gain that experience, which again helped reinforce my career goal -  because I loved what I was doing! Sometimes, such experiences can also tell you what you don’t want to be doing in the future – and that’s okay, because it again will bring you one step closer to what you want to be doing! So definitely take advantage of Career Exploration Month.

Moving On…

Maximize your potential by taking advantage of all the various resources available to you this month.  Brush up on your interview skills, obtain a resume and/or cover letter critique, and attend workshops and events! You will be much more confident in putting yourself out there in pursuit of an area of your interest. Whether it be getting information through employer sessions, or actually gaining experience through job shadowing a professional, you will be putting the right foot forward for great success! 

Visit the AA&CC for drop-ins or book an appointment to meet with a Career Counsellor for further information– We are here to help you!
Access the events and workshops by following the pathway below:
Visit > Login with your UTORid > Click on Events & Workshops > Click on Scarborough Calendar

I hope this post has given you more insight to help propel you into the ‘real world’ of potential career opportunities just waiting for you to take them!

Good luck!

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