November and Careers. What’s the Connection?

The month of November is associated with remembering those who fought for the freedom of Canadians. A time where we honour our veterans on Remembrance Day and proudly display our poppies on November 11 as a sign of our respect and thanks. And we do have a lot to be thankful for in ‘the land of the True North Strong and Free’. For it is that very freedom that has allowed us to choose our own path and be who we want to be.

Sometimes the idea of choosing our own path is intimidating to students. What if we choose wrong? But that’s the simple beauty of freedom. You have plenty of choices and options and opportunities to try and try again until you find what fits and feels authentic to who you are.

November is also Canada Career Month. Because of the freedom afforded to Canadians, you have possibilities to explore and services to help you identify your strengths and interests, articulate your personal and career goals, and help you discover opportunities that match. And whether you realize it or not, these activities greatly contribute to your career development.

The Canadian Standards & Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners (2012) defines career development as a “lifelong process of managing learning, work, leisure, and transitions in order to move toward a personally determined and preferred future”(1). This puts you in the driver’s seat to navigate your path in whatever way feels most comfortable for you. You have the freedom to make choices along the way that will affect the direction your career will take.

One way to ensure that you are making informed choices is to invest some time considering your career development and researching options. It is interesting to note that Statistics Canada says the average age of retirement is 63.5 years old (2). From the moment you first start working until the day you retire, you may have invested thousands of hours in the labour force. By comparison, how much time do you actually invest in thinking about your career development and in researching your interests, educational options, and career possibilities?

Canada Career Month is about fostering awareness of career development and reminding Canadians that they are in the driver’s seat. We have the freedom to make choices about the kind of life we want and we have access to services and supports to enhance our quality of life. As we explore the possibilities available to us, let us honour and remember those who paved the way by embracing our right to choose, investing our time in making informed choices, finding our career purpose, and creating a life well lived.

(1) Canadian Council for Career Development. (2012). Canadian Standards & Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners. Retrieved from Canadian Council for Career Development: https://cccda.org/the-career-development-profession/what-is-career-development/.

(2) Statistics Canada. (2019). Table 14-10-0060-01 Retirement age by class of worker, annual. Retrieved from Statistics Canada: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1410006001.

Got the summer job search woes? Read this.

Looking for summer work is often the last thing students want to think about in February. At this point in the semester, students are often tired, overwhelmed, and let’s be real…they are just focused on making it through a day of classes without relying on copious amounts of coffee and just dreaming of when they can catch up on their sleep again.

And why think about summer work now anyway? That’s months away, right? Yes, the last day of classes is still 9 weeks away, BUT did you know that most summer student jobs are advertised with closing dates in January and February? So the earlier students start their job search, the more options they will have for finding the job that suits them best!

And that’s where the Student Employment & Career Centre comes in. We understand how busy students are. And we also know that the job search process can be truly intimidating. Trying to figure out just what it is that an employer wants can feel as complicated as the hardest homework assignment ever given. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Our office has the privilege of working with between 200 – 300 employers during each academic year, and we host numerous student events to try to bring students and employers together. Our goal is take some of the stress off of students by demystifying this process and helping students make connections with employers.

One way we do this is through events like the Community Job Fair, which takes place on Wednesday, February 6th from 10am – 3pm in our Centennial Hall and B-wing hallway. This event will bring more than 40 employers on campus to highlight their job opportunities ranging from summer jobs to permanent career positions. These employers represent a variety of industries so there really is something that could appeal to all students.

The Community Job Fair serves as a great opportunity for students to get some one-on-one time with employers and learn what they can do to make their applications stand out from other jobseekers. There are some steps students can take to enhance their job fair experience:

  • Practice an introduction – knowing how to network effectively begins with the ability to greet someone and share appropriate and relevant information.
  • Dress appropriately on event day – this is an opportunity to make a great first impression on an employer.
  • Visit as many booths as possible – learn about the organizations in attendance, what they do, and the types of career pathways they offer (students are often surprised to learn about the different ways their diploma/certificate can be used in industries that don’t seem directly related). Plus it is a great way to practice networking and interacting with employers.
  • Be professional and courteous – be positive, enthusiastic, and genuinely interested when meeting employers. Don’t just load up on swag and giveaways without asking employers some questions about their industry and organization.
  • Follow through – after finding opportunities of interest, meet with the Student Employment & Career Centre to get assistance with customizing resumes and cover letters, job search strategies, as well as practicing interview skills. This is a free service for all students.

Meeting employers does not have to be intimidating or feel overwhelming. The more prepared students are in knowing what to expect and how to present the best versions of themselves, the better those interactions will be. The Student Employment & Career Centre is located in centre core, across from Registration. Stop by to learn about the ways we support students in reaching their career and employment goals.