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CO HIGH SCHOOL EDITION VOLUME II, FALL 2009


ADVERTISER DIRECTORY 46 Algoma University 34 BioTalent Canada 40 Black’s Photography 4 Canadian Automotive Institute at Georgian College 24 Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council (CAMC) 12 Canadian Plastics Sector Council (CPSC) 48 Canadian Steel Trade and Employment Congress (CSTEC) 48 Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council 50 Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council ii Certified General Accountants of BC 2 Concordia University College of Alberta 7 Contact Centre Canada 45 Cultural Human Resources Council 49 Humber College Business School 41 Hydro One 46 Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) 30 Information and Communications Technology Council

CONTENTS 5

A POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION IS MORE THAN JUST BOOKS! BY NICOLE WRAY

FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION BY ANGELIQUE SAWECZKO

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CHOOSING YOUR UNIVERSITY

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF THE ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES OF CANADA

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HOW THE FRIENDSHIPS YOU MAKE TODAY CAN HELP YOU BE SUCCESSFUL TOMORROW BY PATRICIA POLISCHUK DIVER

44 Lakehead University

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37 Mining Industry Human Resources Council 38 Northern Alberta Institute of Technology 35 Ontario Masonry Training Centre 2 Ontario Power Generation 42 Railway Association of Canada 16 SAIT Polytechnic 40 Student Work Abroad Program 26 Thompson Rivers University 24 Tim Hortons 20 Trillium Health Centre 36 University of Ottawa 10 University of Waterloo

SAY WHAT? A POST-SECONDARY GLOSSARY

32

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28 Insurance Institute of Canada

12 Medix School

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HOW TO BE A CAMPUS TOURIST BY ANNE BROWNE

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PREPARING THE BEST SALES PITCH... FOR YOU! BY SEAN JUNOR

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WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?: CAREER PLANNING FOR PARENTS OF NEW POST-SECONDARY STUDENTS BY DR. DEB BARTLETTE

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ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS

AVOIDING THE FRESHMAN 15 BY PANAGIOTA PANAGAKOS

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STUDENT SERVICES: A HELPING HAND ON CAMPUS BY REBECCA MARKEY

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10 EASY WAYS FOR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS TO BUILD INTERNATIONAL SKILLS ON CAMPUS BY JEAN-MARC HACHEY

38 Wendy’s Restaurants of Canada 22 Wood Manufacturing Council

GREAT ADVICE ON CHOOSING SCHOOLS, CAREER PLANNING AND MORE FROM OUR CROSSCOUNTRY PANEL OF EXPERTS pg.18

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VOLUME II, FALL 2009

CO career options


Welcome to Career Options – High School Edition Fall 2009!

Managing Editor Anne Markey Project Management – gordongroup Kita Szpak

If this is your last year of high school, you’re probably in the middle of making some tough decisions: whether to attend college or university, or to complete an apprenticeship; which institution to attend, in which province or city; and what you’d like to study. And by now you’re probably sick and tired of people asking, “What are you going to do next year?”, “What’s your major?”, and the ever-popular “What do you want to be?” Many of you have attended university/college fairs, visited the campuses of schools on your top 5 list, and identified sources of income to pay for school. Congratulations on managing this part of your transition into post-secondary education.

Art Direction – gordongroup Leslie Miles Design & Layout – gordongroup Dominika Kowalczyk Advertising Sales – gordongroup Thomas Krayer Fred Hanson Print Management – gordongroup Leslie Miles Contributors Dr. Deb Bartlette Maxine Dubuc Sean Junor Panagiota Panagakos Angelique Saweczko

Career Options – High School Edition is produced by the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers to offer high school students like you advice, guidance and information to make that transition easier—and hopefully even enjoyable! In addition to the print edition you’re reading right now, you can access the magazine content as well as a host of cool interactive features at our all-new website, www.careeroptionsmagazine.com.

Anne Browne Jean-Marc Hachey Rebecca Markey Patricia Polischuk Diver Nicole Wray

Career Options – High School Edition is published annually by the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE), 720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 202, Toronto ON M5S 2T9.

In this issue, Nicole Wray, a student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, discusses how post-secondary education should be more than books; Dr. Deb Bartlett, Director of the Career Centre at the University of the Fraser Valley in BC, provides career coaching advice for parents; and Jean-Marc Hachey, our expert on living and working abroad, suggests ways for you to gain international skills on campus.

For subscription information, contact Anne Markey: Tel: 416-929-5156 ext. 223 Fax: 416-929-5256 E-mail: annem@cacee.com Website: www.careeroptionsmagazine.com For advertising inquiries, contact Thomas Krayer, gordongroup: Tel: 613-234-8468 ext. 223 Fax: 613-234-8655 E-mail: tkrayer@gordongroup.com Website: www.gordongroup.com ISSN: 1712-1183 The Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) is a national, non-profit partnership of employer recruiters and career services professionals. Our mission is to provide authoritative information, advice, professional development opportunities and other services to employers, career services professionals and students.

On a more practical level, “Advice from the Experts” includes tips and advice for students from career services professionals working in colleges and universities across the country. One of the top tips that I hear over and over again is: take advantage of every opportunity possible to gain experience outside, and in addition to, your degree or diploma studies. Post-secondary education will enhance your employability upon graduation, but a degree or diploma alone doesn’t guarantee you a job. Wherever you go to school, get involved on campus and in the community. Consider volunteering and co-op placements. Take advantage of opportunities to demonstrate leadership, gain new skills and learn more about yourself.

NOTE: The opinions expressed within are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect CACEE policy. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher.

Good luck and best wishes as you move into this challenging, exhilarating next phase of your life. The people you meet, the things you learn, and the experiences you gain will in many ways shape your future—and today’s youth, in turn, will shape the future of Canada.

Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers 720 Spadina Ave., Suite 202 Toronto, ON M5S 2T9 www.cacee.com

ANNE MARKEY Editor Career Options – High School Edition

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A POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION IS

MORE THAN JUST BOOKS! By Nicole Wray

GET VOLUNTEER AND WORK EXPERIENCE SO YOU CAN… CONNECT WITH PEERS You’ll encounter great networking opportunities when meeting other students who share similar interests.

When researching post-secondary education options, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with thoughts of studying, books, courses, lectures and, of course, more studying. But while academics are certainly an important factor when you’re researching your options, finding out about potential volunteer and work experiences that different schools offer is just as important. Mastering how to write an essay or lab report may earn you top grades, but volunteer and work experience will help make your post-secondary education even more meaningful and valuable.

FINDING OUT ABOUT “POTENTIAL VOLUNTEER

AND WORK EXPERIENCES THAT DIFFERENT SCHOOLS OFFER IS JUST AS IMPORTANT.

GAIN REALWORLD EXPERIENCE

You’ll expose yourself to different work environments, people and responsibilities, which will help you to discover your likes and dislikes.

ENHANCE YOUR SKILL SET You’ll improve your “soft skills,” such as social skills, leadership skills, and the ability to build relationships and work as part of a team.

Finding career-related work that you enjoy after graduating from university or college can be a very competitive process. Work and volunteer experiences you gain while at school can help you pinpoint the career path you want to take. More importantly, these experiences can give you a competitive edge when you look for summer jobs as you work toward your degree, or full-time work after graduation. Alyssa Higginson, a fourth-year Health Sciences student at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, sees her volunteer and work experiences as a key part of her university education. “I’ve felt extremely involved, informed and purposeful while attending university due to my work and volunteer experiences,” says Alyssa. “The chance to participate in various events and tasks has increased my knowledge in many areas and has given me relevant work experience for when I graduate… I will not only

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BRANCH OUT & GET CREATIVE

be graduating with a degree, but also with invaluable work and volunteer experience.” Alyssa encourages anyone looking into a post-secondary education to consider potential work and volunteer experiences. “I would definitely recommend looking into the different work and volunteer opportunities at various post-secondary institutions before deciding to go there,” she says. “I went on a tour of my university before attending and asked if I would be able to become a tour guide if I chose to go to UOIT. My tour guide said yes. While this wasn’t the only reason I chose the school, knowing that I could have the chance to work while going to school was something that excited me.”

WORK AND VOLUNTEER “EXPERIENCES YOU GAIN WHILE AT SCHOOL CAN HELP YOU DISCOVER THE CAREER PATH YOU WANT TO TAKE.

Janice Vaughan is an Environmental Studies student at Wilfrid Laurier University. Volunteering has helped her make new friends and learn how to balance her academic, social and volunteer life. “My volunteer experiences have helped me to make many different groups of friends, which I found especially important in my first year,” Janice explains. “Also, extracurricular involvement allows me to de-stress so that I can better focus on school work.” By involving herself in various volunteer positions in her first year of university, Janice earned a spot in the co-op program, where she has been able to improve her résumé, interview skills and hands-on job skills.

WHY POST-SECONDARY VOLUNTEER AND WORK EXPERIENCE IS IMPORTANT • You’ll encounter great networking opportunities when meeting other students and professors who share similar interests. (This can lead to on-campus summer work opportunities!) • In future job interviews, you’ll have excellent anecdotes to tell that can back up the skills you possess. • You’ll improve your “soft skills,” such as social skills, leadership skills, and the ability to build relationships and work as part of a team. • You can gain hands-on experience, which many degrees and diplomas do not offer. • Most importantly, you’ll expose yourself to different work environments, people and responsibilities, which will help you to discover your likes and dislikes.

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Volunteering opportunities come in many forms. Look around your community for ways you can help. You’re sure to grow and learn new things!

THE STUDENT PERSPECTIVE Alyssa Higginson (left) and Janice Vaughan (right) both feel that their extracurricular activities enriched their post-secondary education. Alyssa says she got great work experience, while Janice says she made lots of new friends while volunteering.

WHERE TO LOOK • Research co-op or internship experiences that post-secondary schools may offer. (Don’t forget to look into the number of students accepted, when to apply for co-op, and what you can do to make sure you get into the co-op program.) • Take a tour. Touring schools you’re interested in allows you to get a feel for the atmosphere and gives you an excellent chance to talk with students attending the school about potential work or volunteer opportunities. • Find out if the school you’re interested in has a student-run newspaper or magazine. These publications tend to offer students a variety of volunteer experiences, from writing stories and photographing events to working on the business side of things. • Most post-secondary schools have a students’ union, which may offer various work positions,

CO career options

IF NOTHING ELSE… In future job interviews, you’ll have excellent anecdotes to tell that can back up the skills you possess.

volunteer roles and leadership opportunities. • If you would love to start your own business, look for a school that allows students to create a new club, fundraising venture or publication and supports their efforts. Post-secondary institutions give students the resources and opportunities to grow and learn new things about themselves before entering the workforce. By choosing a college or university that offers a variety of volunteer and work opportunities, you will put yourself on the right path towards a fulfilling and valuable postsecondary education. CO


FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR POST-SECONDARY E DUCATION By Angelique Saweczko

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WHEN YOU DECIDE TO APPLY FOR COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY, A DOMINO EFFECT TAKES PLACE. INSTANTLY THE QUESTIONS ARISE ABOUT WHAT PROGRAM TO APPLY FOR, THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS, GETTING ADMITTED, THE CAMPUS ATMOSPHERE, AND POSSIBLY MOVING AWAY FROM HOME. THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS CAN BE BOTH EXCITING AND OVERWHELMING. During the application process, many students inquire about scholarship programs and ask questions about tuition and residence costs; however, few look into all the costs associated with post-secondary education or develop a financial plan that considers all possible sources of income to help pay for school. It is important for students like you to understand the costs of going to college or university, and to know how you will fund your studies. The following outlines the main funding sources and the timelines you should consider to fund your post-secondary education.

FEW LOOK INTO ALL “THE COSTS ASSOCIATED

WITH POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION OR DEVELOP A FINANCIAL PLAN THAT CONSIDERS ALL POSSIBLE SOURCES OF INCOME TO HELP PAY FOR SCHOOL.

STEP 1: Know your expenses. It is important to have a clear understanding of the costs for a specific program at a particular college or university. Tuition fees vary from program to program and from institution to institution. Residence costs can also vary significantly depending on the style of residence and the meal plan. Many post-secondary institutions and financial institutions (i.e., banks) provide budget worksheets or budget calculators that can assist students with pulling their expenses together. STEP 2: Apply for entrance scholarships and awards at the schools you have applied to. These are scholarship and award programs that are part of the admission process. You will find out if you are eligible for scholarships or awards before you have to decide which college or university you wish to attend. Major scholarship programs typically have application deadlines between early December and mid-February, so check application schedules on the websites of the institutions you are applying to in late fall.

STEP 3: Submit an entrance bursary application. Most colleges and universities across Ontario have an entrance bursary program. You need to apply for these bursaries around the same time you are applying for major scholarships, or shortly afterwards (typically between January and April). Tip: One common mistake made by students during the application process is waiting for an offer of admission, or waiting until they accept an offer of admission, before looking at applying for scholarships and bursaries. This is too late. You should be applying for scholarships and bursaries at the same time you submit your application for admission. STEP 4: Apply for external scholarships and awards. There are many private companies and organizations that provide funding to students pursuing university or college level studies. Here are two popular websites to help you access external scholarships: • Canlearn.ca • studentawards.com STEP 5: Apply for the government student assistance program available in your home province. In Ontario, it’s called the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and provides assistance in the form of loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries. To ensure you receive funding in time to pay tuition fees in September, it is important to submit a completed application and supporting documents by June 15 each year. For more information, visit the OSAP website at http:// osap.gov.on.ca

APPLY FOR THE “GOVERNMENT STUDENT

ASSISTANCE PROGRAM AVAILABLE IN YOUR HOME PROVINCE.

Why student assistance? Many changes have been made to OSAP that provide you with more non-repayable funding. This helps you reduce your debt load throughout your studies. Also, when you apply for and receive OSAP, you can be considered for the Student Access Guarantee. The Student Access Guarantee is a partnership between the provincial government and Ontario colleges and universities that ensures students have the funding needed to cover direct educational costs (tuition, books and mandatory course fees) associated with post-secondary studies. Check out the helpful planning tools, such as an OSAP estimator, at http://osap.gov. on.ca (click on Access Window).

ON CAMPUS “ISWORKING A GREAT WAY TO EARN INCOME, MAKE CONNECTIONS AND DEVELOP SKILLS THAT WILL HELP BUILD YOUR RÉSUMÉ.

STEP 6: Once classes start in September you can apply for in-course scholarships and awards and on-campus employment opportunities. If you wish to take advantage of the Student Access Guarantee, you will need to submit the college or university in-course bursary application as part of the assessment process for your eligibility for funding under the Student Access Guarantee. Tip: Most colleges and universities offer work/ study programs that enable you to balance your classes with on-campus employment. Working on campus is a great way to earn income, make connections and develop skills that will help build your résumé. A strong résumé will greatly assist you when you are applying to graduate or professional programs or going into the workplace after completing your studies. For help with your résumé and information about job opportunities, be sure to visit your campus career centre early on and throughout your post-secondary education. Campus career centres offer a valuable range of job search and career exploration programs and services. Following these six steps provides a holistic approach to funding your education and will help ensure you access all possible sources of funding to help you pay for school. Each student will have different needs and each institution will have different fees; therefore, it is important to develop a comprehensive plan that looks at your specific situation and takes advantage of opportunities available to you. CO Angelique Saweczko, Associate Director, Scholarships & Bursaries, York University

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CHOOSING YOUR UNIVERSITY CHOOSING A UNIVERSITY CAN SEEM OVERWHELMING, BUT THERE ARE LOTS OF RESOURCES TO HELP MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOU.

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F

inding the right university for you is important. The school you choose will not only be the one that grants you your academic credentials, it will also be the place where you live, learn, work, play and socialize for several years. Before you start filling out those university application forms, consider the many variables that affect the “fit” of a university to your unique personality and educational goals. Take a look at the following factors, and decide which ones mean the most to you.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS Once you’ve decided what you would like to study, one of the main questions you’ll ask yourself is whether you can get into a certain program. First you’ll need to check the prerequisites. Make sure you have the required high school credits and that you meet other criteria for your program of choice. The average marks needed for admission vary from year to year; some universities provide cut-off ranges on their websites. See how your marks fit these guidelines. Your application will usually be reviewed based on more than just your marks, however. For some programs, such as fine art or journalism, you’ll need to supply a portfolio of work you have done. For other programs, you may be asked to write a statement about your interests, abilities and career plans. Check individual university websites for admission details, or ask a guidance counsellor for help.

PROGRAM AVAILABILITY Make sure the university offers the program you want. Check program listings online at www.aucc.ca. Remember that your first year is often a time to try a variety of courses, and then choose the area in which you want to specialize. You could explore new fields of study that aren’t available in most high schools—courses like astronomy, philosophy or international studies, for example. Be sure to find out about the process for switching majors if you change your mind, which many students do after first year.

COURSE CONTENT Have a look at the calendar for the universities you’re considering and read the individual course outlines. You can also compare how different universities design individual programs (such as course components), the structure of courses (is it group work or exam-based?), and how much flexibility students have in what they choose to study.

SIZE Do you want a small university, where most of the students are undergraduates and live on campus? Or would you prefer a larger

ONCE YOU’VE IDENTIFIED THE FACTORS THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU, YOU’VE TAKEN THE FIRST STEPS TO MAKING A SUCCESSFUL CHOICE. AND REMEMBER, WHILE YOUR PARENTS, GUIDANCE COUNSELLORS, TEACHERS AND FRIENDS WILL GIVE YOU LOTS OF GOOD ADVICE, THE ULTIMATE DECISION IS UP TO YOU.

university, with access to a greater range of facilities and programs? Consider class size and your study preferences, too.

LOCATION Do you want a university that’s downtown in a big city, close to restaurants and shopping? Or would you rather be on a campus that’s a world unto itself, set apart from the city? Your budget and a city’s cost of living (for food, rent and social activities) will influence your decision.

REPUTATION A university’s reputation is a major factor in many students’ choice of where to study. That said, choosing a university should not be based solely on reputation. You must also consider the academic programs and overall environment. Also, an institution’s reputation is sometimes out of date or overstated, so first-hand experience is often beneficial. Prospective students can visit the campuses of their top university choices, spending some time talking with current students and getting a feel for the campus. Try to get a sense of how you’d see yourself living in that particular place for three or four years.

COST The costs associated with attending university go far beyond tuition fees: your budget must also include housing, food, books, supplies and personal living expenses. These costs vary depending on the type of program, type of university, and size and location of the school.

DISTANCE FROM HOME While it’s great to go away to university, living at home is much more affordable. If you’re going away, figure out how far you’re willing to travel. Remember that being far from home may have some benefits, but it also means you’re less likely to see your friends and family often during the school year. And get ready for at least a small bout of homesickness!

HOUSING On campus or off campus? Single or shared apartment? Roommates or private room? Cooking for yourself or buying a meal plan? There are a lot of options when it comes to housing. Take a good look into what’s available at the university you’re considering. The Student Services office can help you find a place to live and will answer your questions.

ATHLETICS If sports are important to you, make sure that your chosen university offers the sport you’re looking for. Many universities offer not only varsity-level (competitive) sports teams, but teams at all levels of ability, from the most basic beginner to competitive leagues among residences.

STUDENT LIFE What kinds of clubs and facilities does the university have? Will you need daycare on campus? Are you looking for a special-interest club (e.g., students from a particular country or religion, politics, theatre, debating, lesbian or gay students)? If you’re hoping to hone your journalism skills, make sure there is an on-campus newspaper or radio station. If you want to become involved in more than just academics, check out opportunities to volunteer on campus. And if school spirit is important to you, remember that not all universities are the same in this regard.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE Many universities now have scholarship grids. These incremental charts guarantee entrance scholarships to incoming students based on their final marks from high school. Don’t hesitate to ask about the scholarships that are available. Also check out other forms of assistance, such as special work-study programs or job opportunities for students who need to earn some extra money. A number of other factors may be important to you as you make your decision about where to study. Ask about such things as professors, career preparation services, co-op programs, exam preparation and study skills workshops, orientation programs, and graduate programs and research. Once you’ve identified the factors that are most important to you, you’ve taken the first steps to making a successful choice. And remember, while your parents, guidance counsellors, teachers and friends will give you lots of good advice, the ultimate decision is up to you. Make sure you pick a university that will serve your needs throughout your university career. CO Reprinted with permission of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada CO high school edition 13


HOW THE

FRIENDSHIPS

YOU MAKE TODAY CAN HELP YOU BE SUCCESSFUL

TOMORROW

F! F B

By Patricia Polischuk Diver

TODAY, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS LIKE YOU STAY CONNECTED WITH FRIENDS THROUGH DAILY TEXTING AND INSTANT MESSAGING AS WELL AS THROUGH ONE OR MORE OF MANY SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES, SUCH AS FACEBOOK, MYSPACE AND TWITTER. STATUS UPDATES, PHOTO SHARING AND PERSONAL YOUTUBE V-LOGS MAY WELL BE SOME OF YOUR DAILY RITUALS. THIS IS THE NEW NORM. BUT DID YOU KNOW THAT THE FRIENDSHIPS YOU MAINTAIN, BOTH ONLINE AND OFF, CAN ALSO HELP YOU GET A JOB?

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CONNECT YOURSELF TO THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET

Tip Today’s technology makes it easier than ever for you to communicate regularly with your network of contacts. Sure, they’re fun, but Facebook, MySpace and Twitter might just help you get the job you want!

As you think about your future and what happens after high school, remember that any career counsellor will tell you that up to 85% of jobs are found through the hidden job market. What is the hidden job market? It consists of jobs that are not advertised, the kind you can only find out about through other people. For example, if a friend of your parents asks, “Would you be interested in a summer job at our company? We always hire a summer student.” — that’s the hidden job market in action! And your relationships can get your foot in the door.

EXPOSING THE TRUTH ABOUT ONLINE JOB BOARDS Given the popularity of the Internet, many people assume that web-based job boards are the best place to find employment. But the reality is not so simple. If you visit a site such as Monster.com, there may be thousands of jobs available to you. Fantastic, right? But think for a minute: how do you make yourself stand out from all the hundreds of people applying for the same job? How does your résumé not get lost in the pile?

85% OF JOBS ARE “FOUND THROUGH THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET.” To make hiring easier, many organizations have developed Employee Referral Programs. These programs allow employees to recommend people they know for jobs and even pay them if the person is hired.

USING YOUR CONTACTS CAN HELP YOU STAND APART FROM THE CROWD So why is all of the above important to you now? Whether you are going back to school, starting an apprenticeship program, or graduating and looking for a job, your friends, family, teachers, part-time employers and co-workers can be a source of job leads for you in the future. You’re already an expert at keeping in constant contact with your friends. Make sure you maintain these connections as you head off to post-secondary school, graduate, relocate or change jobs. It’s also really important to continually build new relationships so that your network of contacts directly increases the number of employment opportunities that may come your way in the future. It’s good to communicate regularly with your network, and sending out a Happy New Year message or responding to birthday reminders is easy with today’s technology.

I’m not suggesting that you collect random names; I am recommending that you keep in touch with your friends and acquaintances. Keep your e-profiles updated. Let people know what you’re doing with your life, and what your career goals are. This way, when opportunities arise in the future, you and your friends can help each other.

THE POWER OF PERSONAL REFERRALS Through social networking sites, I have reconnected with old friends from high school and university—some of whom are now my real estate agent, mechanic, financial advisor, etc. If given the choice of working with someone they know and trust, versus someone they found through an online job posting, most people will go with the person they know. This doesn’t mean you are going to get hired because you know someone, but it does mean if the competition for a job comes down to you and someone else with the exact same skills and experience, your previous connection can help—a lot!

DON’T LET YOUR E-NETWORK GET STALE Waiting until you need to find a job to reconnect with people is not a good idea, as you may feel embarrassed to contact someone that you haven’t spoken to in many years. Instead, keep in touch with people as often as you can. Better yet, look for ways that you can help them. You’ll be amazed at the benefits that come back to you: opportunities, information and a reputation for being helpful and good with people—both positive traits for a new employee to possess.

REMEMBER, WHEN “USING THE INTERNET,

NOTHING IS PRIVATE. EMPLOYERS REGULARLY LOOK AT FACEBOOK AND MYSPACE WHEN RECRUITING, HIRING AND SCREENING APPLICANTS.

IF YOU DON’T WANT ME TO SEE IT ONLINE, DON’T POST IT! Remember, when using the Internet, nothing is private. Employers regularly look at Facebook and MySpace when recruiting, hiring and screening applicants. Google yourself. What content is out there that you have posted, and what have others posted? This may include photos, personal blogs and content. If you would be embarrassed to talk about it in an interview, you may not want to display it online. Patricia Polischuk Diver is a Career Coach with Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions in Waterloo, Ontario. Patricia is also the Colleges and Universities Account Manager for Careego. com, a web-based career management community. CO

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ADVICE


Recently, we asked career services professionals working in colleges and universities across Canada what advice they would give high school students on these topics: 1. Selecting a post-secondary institution 2. Transitioning into post-secondary 3. Choosing a career

from the Experts HERE’S WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY… 1. SELECTING A POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTION “Look for one that offers a balance of academic and experiential activities—post-secondary is so much more than just academics.” – Angie Paisley, Durham College/University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) “Go for a campus tour well ahead of time and, if possible, speak to someone in the program area you’re interested in. Ideally, try to talk to grads or current students to get their take on the program you’re considering.” – Sue Thompson, George Brown College “Don’t let your friends influence you. Go check out the schools for yourself and speak to current students!” – Shari Kurgatnikov, University of Toronto “Visit the schools to get an idea if you feel comfortable learning in that environment and that city. Do you think both are a good fit for you? Employment opportunities often stem from employer visits on campus—if you want to work in this city after graduation, then take advantage of attending the institution.” – Lorrie Quigg, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

“Consider all factors when choosing a school, including the campus and the facilities, the city, the quality of education, the size of classes, the distance from home, etc. Choose a school that suits your personality and has potential to nourish you in all areas of your life. It will be your home for several years. Your surroundings will be a huge factor in your overall satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with your post-secondary education.” – Dawn Murray, University of Western Ontario “When selecting a post-secondary institution, students should attend university open houses, sign up for sessions, meet professors, take a walking tour of the campus (these are usually offered for free), look into the student-professor ratio in first year and following years, compare apples with apples (make sure you’re comparing the same things among universities), and use the resources that are available to you (e.g., career centres, co-op offices). In the sciences, look at universities that are doing great research, which usually means more research opportunities, and thus an increased opportunity for you to be hired during the summer and throughout the school year part-time.” – Theresa Maya, Dalhousie University CO high school edition 19


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2. TRANSITIONING INTO POST-SECONDARY “Give yourself time to get settled into a routine and become comfortable with being a student. Attend all of your classes and get to know your professors. Take advantage of first-year support services on campus, including orientation, learning communities and academic support services such as math, reading and study skills workshops.” “Once you’ve mastered your student role, branch out and try new things. Become an involved student by enlisting in extracurricular activities both on and off campus. Choose some electives other than your major to ensure that you’re looking at all of your career possibilities. Research internship and co-op experiences within your discipline to gain the hands-on experience you’re looking to acquire.” – Kim Matheson and Shari Thompson, University of Saskatchewan

“Look at what types of on-campus employment programs can help offset student debt. Look at whether your program of interest contains a co-operative education element, as this provides work experience and also helps offset debt. Get involved… volunteering, student unions, on-campus jobs, sports, information sessions, career fairs, etc. This will make your experience more rewarding and help define a possible career path.” – Chris Hounsell, Memorial University “Concentrate on your studies from day one. Taking part in orientation week will introduce you to many new friends, but don’t go so overboard that you begin your post-secondary career a week or two behind others due to exhaustion or a hangover. Begin with the end in mind.” – Dawn Murray, University of Western Ontario

“Make a financial plan and stick to it. Avoid over-indulging in too-easily-obtained credit. Take advantage of all the services available to you, such as counselling, peer tutoring, fitness centres, etc. Don’t wait until you’re in crisis to seek help. Contact someone at the earliest signs of academic or personal stress.” – Sue Thompson, George Brown College “Be sure to register right away with your campus career and employment services, and keep your eyes and ears open for employer visits, job search workshops, career fairs and other events. Even though first year may be early in your postsecondary education, you can begin now to make contacts that will enhance your coursework, lead to great networking, and ultimately increase your chances of launching a successful career.” – Pat Slatten, British Columbia Institute of Technology

3. CHOOSING A CAREER “Know that there is help available. As a college student, you may enter a program and discover that it’s not a fit with your values, skills and interests. Visit your career services office to get help from advisors who are trained to help you find areas that play to your strengths. Remember that finding out that a program isn’t for you is just as valuable as finding one that is.” – Angie Paisley, Durham College/University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) “Your career plan will likely change, perhaps many times, and that’s okay. All the twists, turns, sideroads and valleys that life will throw at you can end up being some of the most important experiences in helping you discover your place in this world. In fact, 70% of high school and university students say that at least one “chance event” influenced their educational or career path—70%! If you’re feeling uncertain or confused, it’s perfectly normal, but don’t go it alone. Seek out support from Student Services at your high school, or your career centre on campus.” – Kim Matheson and Shari Thompson, University of Saskatchewan “Take full advantage of placement, volunteer and internship opportunities. Work with an employer that will provide you with a truly valuable experience, so that you’ll get an accurate sense of that field and if it’s right for you. This could also provide you with admirable experience for your résumé. Don’t take the easy road—take the road that will give you good insight and training. It may be a little more effort, but will be well worth it!” – Alison McGeorge, University of Guelph-Humber

“Career decision-making should begin in high school. Take advantage of resources such as guidance counsellors and career cruising, and attend presentations given by college and university reps. Try job shadowing in the field that interests you, or conduct an ‘information interview’ (ask your guidance counsellor about that) with someone working in a career you’re interested in.” – Sue Thompson, George Brown College

YOUR CAREER PLAN “WILL LIKELY CHANGE,

PERHAPS MANY TIMES, AND THAT’S OKAY. ALL THE TWISTS, TURNS, SIDEROADS AND VALLEYS THAT LIFE WILL THROW AT YOU CAN END UP BEING SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EXPERIENCES IN HELPING YOU DISCOVER YOUR PLACE IN THIS WORLD.

“Take the first year of your academic career to discover. Never stop asking questions from the professionals around you. Knowledge is power and can help you intelligently plan your next course of action.” – Lorrie Quigg, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

“Recognize your strengths, build on your interests, and follow your dream! People are always happy to help—from your high school guidance counsellor to the many Student Services departments available in a postsecondary institution. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get the advice you need to make a decision that will bring you closer to that great career.” – Joanne McDonald, Algonquin College “Love the courses you are taking. Make your own choices regarding career decision making and take advantage of academic counselling.” – Lianne Gagné, Nipissing University “You can change your mind, change direction. Don’t stress out trying to get it perfect the first time, because you probably won’t. That’s okay—it’s not failure, it’s learning.” – Paul D. Smith, Queen’s University “When beginning university or college, make time to experience your degree outside of the classroom. By getting involved in volunteer endeavours, part-time work and student clubs or leadership initiatives, you not only build skills but gain the experience necessary to make informed career decisions. This will allow you to view career decision-making not as a question—“What will I do with my diploma/ degree?”—in your final year, but as a process that is fun and meaningful. Visit Career Services during your first year to find out how they can support you along the way.” – Kim Pedlar, McMaster University CO CO high school edition 21


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STU DENT SERVICES: A HELPING HAND ON CAMPUS By Rebecca Markey

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D

uring the mad rush of Frosh Week and the beginning of classes, first-year students receive a lot of information in a short period of time. In the midst of so much activity, with the pressure on to get orientated quickly, it’s easy for them to overlook the many supports available to assist them outside the classroom. If they remain unaware of these academic, personal and experiential supports, however, they may find themselves missing out on good opportunities, or worse, scrambling to find help when a crisis hits. Whether you have academic concerns or health issues, need help finding a job, or just need someone to talk to, the many supports that fall under the umbrella heading of “Student Services” are there to help you in your first year and beyond. Take a moment to inform yourself of the services available on campus at the institution you plan to attend. While every campus is different, most offer support in the following areas to help you excel both in and out of the classroom:

In most circumstances, services are provided to students with a documented disability. Those with medical conditions that are an issue only occasionally, or only at times of stress, are encouraged to register in advance to be able to access supports if and when they’re required. To get started, contact your campus accessibility centre when you receive your offer of admission and make an appointment with an advisor.

CAREER DEVELOPMENT: Helps you explore and refine your career goals, develop relevant skills, explore further education, and conduct a job search for parttime and full-time positions. Most campus career centres require you to register with them to access job postings, career counselling and special events. To get started, drop by your career centre, meet the career services staff and create a personal account.

UMBRELLA OF STUDENT SERVICES ALSO DEAL WITH MATTERS SUCH AS STUDENT HOUSING, ATHLETICS AND RECREATION.

Note that most counselling and psychological centres offer immediate services during office hours to students in crisis as a result of assault, partner abuse and other forms of abuse or violence.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SERVICES:

HEALTH SERVICES:

ACADEMIC ASSISTANCE:

Helps you develop the academic skills, strategies and competencies you need to succeed. Support in some or all of the following may be provided: note taking, exam preparation and writing, study skills and time management, to name a few. To get started, drop by the academic skills centre on your campus and make an appointment for a consultation.

ADDITIONAL SERVICES “OFFERED UNDER THE

Helps international students get orientated to both the campus and the surrounding area. Services may include accommodation assistance, information on university health insurance, updates on employment policies, and social activities. Offers many of the same services as a family doctor’s office to help students maintain physical and emotional health. Whether you have a health emergency, a question or a bad case of the flu, your campus health centre can provide confidential care, counselling and referrals.

COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES:

ACCESSIBILITY RESOURCES & SERVICES:

Additional services offered under the umbrella of Student Services also deal with matters such as student housing, athletics and recreation, financial aid and community service/volunteer support. The fee to access these basic services is usually included in the fees paid along with your tuition. In other words, you pay for these great services, so make sure you use them! To find out what supports your campus offers, check out the “Student Services” or “Student Life” section of your school’s homepage for a complete listing. Identify the services that may be of assistance and register with them during the first few weeks of school to ensure that help is available when you need it. CO Rebecca Markey, Career Counsellor, University of Toronto Mississauga

Provides support, advocacy and programming for students with learning, physical, sensory and/or mental health disabilities or conditions.

Offers students confidential assessment, treatment and referrals for a range of emotional and psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, relationship problems, prolonged stress, eating disorders, phobias and difficulties adjusting to university life. To access these services, contact your campus counselling centre for an intake appointment.

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10 EASY WAYS

FOR FIRST-YEAR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS TO BUILD INTERNATIONAL SKILLS ON CAMPUS By Jean-Marc Hachey

First-year university students are off to a new and exciting life, where possibilities abound! Does the idea of living an international life entice you? Would you like to be someone who studies abroad for a semester, backpacks and travels through Southeast Asia for a summer, and eventually finds an internship or work in Paris, Rome, Rio, Bombay or Shanghai after graduation? How would you like to visit good friends living in Nairobi, Dubai or Amsterdam? You can do all of this and more by starting early. Your first years of university are, without question, the best place to start gaining international experience and building the international skills important in today’s global economy. Here’s how!

abroad fairs and International Education Week events (often in mid-November).

ADVICE ABOUT GOING INTERNATIONAL

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• International skills are acquired step by step, starting in the first years of university. The earlier you begin to build them, the better. You need to gain international experience over time to truly develop them. But keep two points in mind: first, you can gain international experience before you even travel abroad; and second, there’s no limit to the possibilities once you have this experience.

1

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Take international courses: Register for international courses or write essays on international subjects in your field of interest. Consider taking courses on another country or region’s history or politics.

2

Contact professors who have international experience: Tell your professors that you want to go abroad and be inspired by their advice.

3

Read international news: International people follow world events by regularly reading about world news. You can start by learning to locate the world’s 193 countries on a map.

4

Make friends with international students on campus: Introduce yourself to international students in your classes and invite them to join your work teams. Join the buddy program at your International Students’ Office.

5

Join international student clubs: Volunteer to help at events and gain organizational and valuable cross-cultural work skills. Make friends and get exposed to new cultures.

6

Attend international events: Seek out public seminars by visiting scholars and attend study

Get information about going abroad: Your Study Abroad Office can direct you to workshops on how to travel, volunteer, intern or study abroad. Befriend students who have been abroad and ask for their advice.

8

Think about studying abroad for a semester or more in your third year: Start thinking about studying abroad now so you can be ready with financing or scholarships in your third year at school. It’s worth it!

Consider taking a gap semester or year abroad to volunteer, travel or learn another language: You will gain international experience and graduate with a broad and valuable set of career skills.

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Succeed in finding an international internship or internationally oriented work after graduation: If you have done all of the above, this step will come naturally in your senior years at school or just after graduating.

WHY YOU NEED INTERNATIONAL SKILLS • Students with international skills have better job prospects when they graduate. The rise of Internet technologies is driving a new global economy. Every size of business is being transformed—from large international corporations to small local firms in your hometown. Employers of all sizes now purchase goods and services from around the world, and require employees who can work online with people located in other countries. Whether you work abroad or at home, you will need international skills to succeed. Start early! Better yet—start now! • Going international is fun and exciting. Explore the world! Make new friends! Gain skills that last a lifetime!

• People who succeed abroad like change and are naturally curious. When you travel abroad, everything is different: the food, the weather, the way you greet friends and what you have for breakfast. If you are curious, you will be driven to explore the world—discovering new cities, new cultures and, best of all, new ideas. Do you like change? Are you curious? If yes, start planning to go abroad. You won’t regret it. • People who are “international” are different from people who have not travelled. When you travel abroad for four or more months, and when you hang out with people from different cultures, you will learn new ways of seeing, thinking and living. With a growing international perspective, you will learn to have an open mind about new ideas and the people you meet. • International friendships are different. Recognize that when you make international friends, they will be different from your friends back home. Accept minor differences and a whole new world will open up to you. • Take the plunge! It takes a certain amount of courage to go abroad. It may seem difficult to take that first plane ride to a new and distant country, leaving friends and family behind. But if you have a little courage, the world will open up for you and the benefits of international experience will last a lifetime. Good luck, and best wishes with building your all-important international skills! CO Jean-Marc Hachey - Author and Online Publisher: The BIG Guide to Living and Working Overseas www.WorkingOverseas.com

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say what? A Post-Secondary Glossary

Post-secondary education has its own vocabulary. Here are a few terms you’ll hear as you make the transition from high school into college or university.

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Academic advisor (or faculty advisor): The person who helps you decide which classes to take and provides academic advice about degree programs and academic regulations, practices and procedures. Academic advisors usually work in the faculty or department where you’re registered. Get to know yours! Admission: Getting accepted into college or university after meeting the admission requirements. This is different from registration, which means enrolling in classes. Application: The form, transcript, fee and other required documents that you submit to the school(s) you want to attend. Depending on the province where the school is located, you may submit your application directly to the institution or to a central processing centre, such as the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC). Your application is the first step toward getting into a college or university. Next comes admission (getting accepted), then registration (enrolling in classes). Applying: Submitting your application to the school(s) of your choice. Auditing: Attending a class without receiving a credit. Bursary: An award of money toward tuition based on financial need. Bursaries usually don’t have to be repaid. Information about bursaries is available through the Student Awards or Financial Aid office of your college or university. Co-requisite: A required course that is to be taken at the same time as another course. You must register for both courses at the same time.

Depending on the province where the school is located, you may submit your application directly to the institution or to a central processing centre, such as the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC).

Credit: A unit that gives weighting to the value, level or time requirements of an academic

course. To obtain a degree, you are required to complete a certain number of credits. Different institutions have different ways of determining credits. Some schools equate one full-year course (September–April) as being 6 credits, and a half course (September–December) as being 3 credits. Other schools use a credit value of 1 credit per full-year course and .5 credit for a half course. Department: A branch that deals with a specific area of study within a faculty. For example, the Department of Mechanical Engineering is one department within the Faculty of Engineering. Early conditional admission: A notice you receive while you’re still in high school telling you that you’ve been admitted into a university based on your Grade 11 or Grade 11 and 12 marks. Once you’ve completed Grade 12, you must submit a high school transcript and meet final admission requirements to be accepted into the university. Elective: A course of your choice, as opposed to a required course. This is an opportunity to study something that you’re interested in, but that may not be one of the courses you need to complete your degree. Faculty: 1) Parts of an academic institution that are grouped together based on related academic disciplines; 2) The professors and instructors who teach within a given discipline. Graduate degree: Usually a master’s or doctorate (Ph.D.). A graduate degree is completed after an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree. Graduate student: A student who is working towards a master’s or doctorate (Ph.D.) in a certain discipline. Honours: A degree program that offers a more intensive concentration in your major subject area. An Honours program usually takes longer to complete than a regular program.

For example, you may wish to complete a major in Communications, with a minor in English literature. A minor requires fewer credits than a major. Prerequisite: A course that you must complete before registering in another, usually more advanced course. It is important to know which courses have prerequisites so that you take them in the right sequence. Program: A prescribed set of courses leading to a degree, certificate or diploma. Registration: Enrolling in classes once you’ve been accepted into an institution and a program. Required course: A course that you must take, and pass, in order to graduate or study at a higher level. Section number: Distinguishes different sections of the same class that are offered on different days and at different times during the semester. Semester: The main periods of instruction of the academic year: Fall (September–December), Winter (January–April), and Spring/Summer (May–June/July–August). Syllabus: A course outline that each professor gives to students at the beginning of the semester. The outline lists the readings students must complete, notes when tests or reviews will take place, and helps identify key learning points for the course. Undergraduate student: A student who is working towards a bachelor’s degree in a certain discipline. Withdrawal: Dropping a course in the middle of a semester, before the deadline. A “W” will appear on your transcript. If you drop a course after the deadline, you will receive a failing grade for the dropped class. CO

Major: The academic discipline you choose as your primary specialization within a degree. For example, if you’re completing a major in English, the majority of your courses will be in that field. Minor: The academic discipline you choose as your secondary specialization within a degree.

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Dorm B

HOW TO BE A

CAMPUS TOURIST By Anne Browne

Dorm A

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Computer Labs

Dining Hall


Faculty Building

Library

Gym

I

f they’re not too far away, it’s a great idea to visit the campuses of the schools you are thinking of attending before you make your final decision. You’ll get a feel for what campus life is like, what the students are like, and whether you feel comfortable there. Most colleges and universities offer orientation days and tours for prospective students and their parents. This is a fantastic way to get to see the entire campus (residences, labs, classrooms, research facilities, etc.). We also recommend touring the campus on your own. Walking around and speaking to random students, reading bulletin boards to see what’s going on, and looking into classrooms will give you a sense of whether the campus is a good fit for you. Try to make your visit before classes end at the beginning of April.

BEFORE YOUR VISIT: • Identify what you really want to know. What type of information will help you make your decision? (For some ideas, see “What do you want to know?” below.) • Make a list of questions to ask students or professors you meet. • Review the institution’s website. If it has a virtual tour, take it to get familiar with the areas you’d like to see. • Download and print a campus map so you will be able to find your way around. • Think about how you would like your parent(s) to participate in the visit. Come to an agreement with them beforehand. For example, do you want to be the one who asks questions during the campus visit? Do you want some time to explore on your own? • Make sure your digital camera is charged.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW? Academics: We’re assuming that you know the basics—for example, does the college or university offer a degree program in the

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discipline you want to study (Biology, Marketing, History, etc.)? If not, do some research to narrow down your choices. Questions to ask: 1. How many students would be in a year 1 class? What is the largest level 1 class? 2. Who teaches level 1 classes? How much interaction would I have with the professor? 3. What is the dropout rate for the ____ program? What percentage of students transfer out of the program after year 1?

Questions to ask: 1. What percentage of level 1 students receive their first choice for housing and live on campus? 2. How difficult is it to get off-campus housing close to the campus? 3. Is there parking on campus? If so, how much does it cost? Is there a student pass for the local transit system?

Student services: The Student Services office can help you adjust to college or university life.

Student life: Find out what social activities, clubs, sports teams and recreational events are available. Most importantly, ensure that you may move around campus freely without worrying about your safety.

Questions to ask: 1. What types of academic and learning supports are available to students on campus? (This may be an important factor if you have special requirements.) 2. How many libraries are on campus? What hours are they open? 3. Is there a central as well as faculty-specific career centre? What services do you offer graduates to help them find jobs?

Questions to ask: 1. What kinds of student groups are active on campus? How can I get a list of them? 2. Is there a central meeting place on campus where students hang out? 3. How safe is the campus? If I’m attending classes or events on campus at night, are there “safe walk home” services available? What type of security supports are found on campus?

Housing: Many institutions recommend that out-of-town students live on campus their first year. Find out what your options are.

Don’t be afraid to wander around, take pictures, talk to people and take in the school’s culture. A good tourist knows how to get a taste of campus life! CO

SOME BASIC QUESTIONS:

1.

Where will I live?

2.

How many students will there be in my class?

3.

What types of student supports are available on campus?

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PREPARING THE BEST SALES PITCH...

FOR YOU! W! NE

! VED RO IMP

By Sean Junor

FOR MANY STUDENTS, LOOKING FOR A PART-TIME JOB IS PART OF THE POST-SECONDARY EXPERIENCE. JOB-HUNTING TAKES TIME, AND THERE IS LOTS OF COMPETITION. JUST LIKE WHEN YOU’RE TRYING OUT FOR A SOCCER TEAM OR A SCHOOL PLAY, THERE ARE ONLY SO MANY SPOTS AVAILABLE. SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO MAXIMIZE YOUR CHANCES OF LANDING THE JOB YOU WANT? READ ON FOR SOME HELPFUL ADVICE.

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Update your résumé. Think of your résumé as a summary of past accomplishments, activities and commitments that tells your story to an interested employer. Highlight your involvement in activities that provide insight into the type of employee you could be as well as any notable experience that may set you apart from others in the job search. Be sure to list all academic and extracurricular awards or recognitions; validation from an outside group speaks volumes about your character. Emphasize international or volunteer experience, especially activities where you dealt with the public. If you don’t have any such experience, explore ways to acquire it, or think of other ways to demonstrate your commitment and dependability. Preparing a résumé is an ongoing task. Never let yours get out of date.

INCREASINGLY, “COMPANY REPRESENTA-

TIVES ARE CHECKING WEB MEDIA FOR INFORMATION ON JOB APPLICANTS: FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, MYSPACE, TWITTER AND YOUTUBE.

Line up your personal references. Companies often check the references of each job applicant. Ask family friends, teachers or coaches who can speak for your character. Who can provide the best sales pitch on your behalf? Increasingly, company representatives are checking web media for information on job applicants: Facebook, Google, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube are just a few of the tools that companies use to find out additional public information about people. The key word here is “public,” since what is posted on these sites can be accessed by more than just friends or friends of friends. Anyone with an Internet connection can view countless pages of data on individuals. Just remember that pictures, posts and profiles that may appear fun and witty could come back to haunt you during the job search, possibly even after you’ve removed them. Your friends may enjoy those rants about things you don’t like and photos from a party or two, but would your new boss? Before you upload, stop and think: do you really want everyone to have access to this information? Have you secured all access points to the information? Prepare for your job interview. This is your chance to meet your prospective employer and

bring to life the story told through your résumé. Research the company or organization. Talk to friends or family members who are (or who know of) current or former employees of that organization. Find out what the job expectations are and what your potential co-workers are like. Knowing some background will show managers that you’re taking the job search as seriously as they are. And before heading to the interview, keep in mind that you get only one chance to make a first impression. Leave the jeans and t-shirt at home. Invest in a pair of dress pants or a nice skirt, a sweater and a crisp white shirt— they will all come in handy later anyway. You don’t necessarily have to dress for the job you’re interviewing for (e.g., someone applying for a job as a lifeguard should not wear a bathing suit to the interview!). As you search for each new job, you’ll learn and grow. It’s all about selling yourself—your abilities, knowledge and skills—to a willing buyer. Good luck! CO Sean Junor is the Senior Specialist – Workforce Planning for Cameco Corporation, based in Saskatoon. He landed his first job at McDonald’s almost 20 years ago and still has a soft spot for the fries.

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WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?: CAREER PLANNING FOR PARENTS OF NEW POST-SECONDARY STUDENTS By Dr. Deb Bartlette

SUPPORT EXPLORATION

BALANCE SCHOOL & WORK

Even though your children may be absolutely sure of what they want to do, studying new things may spark new interests.

Encourage your children to get involved in extracurricular and other activities. These are often very good ways to explore skills and abilities that may lead to a career, and build experience to put on a résumé. But remind them that these need to be balanced with their studies.

The summer of 2009 was a big one for me, as both my kids finished their post-secondary studies (at least for now) and launched themselves into the “real world.” They’re off to the races! One has embarked on what promises to be a successful career in a field she loves. The other has a highly desirable professional accreditation and a fine résumé full of related work experience and excellent references. As soon as the economy recovers a bit, he will be on his way. This is, of course, the kind of outcome parents are hoping for. After all, no matter what our reasons for encouraging our children to seek a postsecondary education, in the end we want them to be able to make a living—preferably a decent one—doing something they find fulfilling. And maybe someday living on their own, even! But for them, getting from a post-secondary education to an entry-level career position (as opposed to a “McJob”) is rarely a straightforward path, even when their parent just happens to be a career services professional! Take our family, for example. My son was clearly destined to be an engineer from about the age of two. In some ways, his biggest issue was figuring out what kind of engineer and what program to attend (except for a period where he was obsessed with being a fighter pilot, until he found out that (a) doing rolls and spins in a Cessna made him airsick and (b) you have to be in the military to be a fighter pilot—and that means boot camp!). My daughter was another story. She explored many options. After taking—and loving—auto mechanics, she wanted her own shop. A fabulous history teacher made her consider majoring in history. She finally settled on music and devoted herself to mastery of her instrument. But just as she was finishing her undergraduate degree, and thanks to picking the brains of the professionals she worked with while on gigs, she began to wonder if the lifestyle of the professional musician was for her. Yikes! What’s a parent to do? Actually, there is plenty that we parents can do to support our young adults in figuring out a career direction. Here are a few examples:

TRY NOT TO WORRY

1

Don’t panic if your child decides to major in philosophy or literature. While it takes a bit of planning, a liberal arts degree can lead to an excellent career. The campus Career Centre can help!

Support exploration! Even though your children may be absolutely sure of what they want to do, studying new things may spark new interests. And better to change majors or programs partway through than to graduate and then work in a field that no longer interests them.

2

Affirm what you know to be skills and abilities your children have consistently demonstrated. Sometimes students overlook these and need to be reminded.

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3

Talk with your children about courses and activities they are doing. What are they enjoying or not enjoying? Students often discover new things about themselves through their postsecondary experience. Your willingness to be a sounding board as they figure these things out will keep you in the loop.

4

Encourage your children to get involved in extracurricular and other activities. These are often very good ways to explore skills and abilities that may lead to a career, and build experience to put on a résumé. But remind them that these need to be balanced with their studies.

5

Part-time work must also be carefully balanced. Yes, post-secondary is expensive, but studies show that too many hours of work not only negatively affects academic performance, but prevent students from getting involved in other valuable activities, many of which will do much more to build their résumés than several years of low-level part-time jobs.

6

Resist the temptation to pressure your children to “get through and get out.” Doing internships

or co-op work terms, or taking a semester or two off to work or study abroad, can be enriching experiences and highly valued by future employers. There is no prize for finishing in four years!

7

Don’t panic if your child decides to major in philosophy or literature. While it takes a bit of planning, a liberal arts degree can lead to an excellent career. The campus Career Centre can help!

8

Remember, it is their career and not yours. Yes, you may come from a long line of doctors, lawyers, teachers or whatever, but this may not be the best path for your child. Support them even if their choice is not your choice.

9

Encourage (strongly!) your children to take advantage of all the programs and services available to them. Co-ops, internships and practicum placements offer excellent opportunities to test out a career direction. While some of these may be unpaid, the experience, references and networking they can gain far outweigh the salary or lack thereof. Career Centres offer all kinds of workshops,

events, resources and mentoring (we do much more than help with résumés!) to assist students to build skills and experience to support their career development. And most of these are free! My son took six years to finish his degree. However, he has nearly two full years of professional work experience and some great contacts in his chosen field—a real advantage over those hundreds of other new grads who have only a degree. My daughter finished her degree and didn’t know what to do next. A bit of arm-twisting from Mom convinced her to try out a few things through unpaid internships. That led to a program in arts and cultural management, which also included several internships, and a full-time job awaiting her upon graduation. My work here is done, at least with my two students. Now, parents, it’s onto yours! CO Dr. Deb Bartlette is the mother of two young professionals and the Director of the Career Centre at University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC.

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Browsing, texting, gaming, blogging, You Tubing… the skills of the wired world are second nature to Canadian students.

And that’s just the story so far.

And they are an introduction to the wider world of 21st century careers. Information and communications technology experts have explored the furthest frontiers of space, mapped the human genome, built breathtaking virtual universes for entertainment and exploration, made electrical grids smarter and the planet greener — and even found ways to use the

The Information and Communications Technology Council www.ictc.ca

Internet to resist tyranny.

Learn how to harness modern computing and communications technologies in careers that express your passions. Talk to a counsellor or visit:

The Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow’s ICT Skills www.ccict.ca This image of the Martian landscape was captured by the Mars Spirit Rover in 2005 using sensors built by technology professionals in DALSA’s microelectronics facility in Bromont, Québec. Credit: NASA/JPL

Change… the way people communicate. the way things work. the world.

46

VOLUME I, FALL 2008

CO

career options


AVOIDING THE

FRESHMAN 15 By Panagiota Panagakos

The “Freshman 15” is the familiar term for the 15-pound (6.8 kilo) weight gain that many firstyear university students experience. Although it’s not necessarily true that students will gain this amount of weight during their first year, it is true that students tend to gain weight throughout university. And most of this weight is gained in the first term of first year.

WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THE WEIGHT GAIN? The following list offers a number of reasons for why university students tend to gain weight: • High calorie and high fat content of cafeteria food • Increased consumption of fast food: Since many students are living away from home for the first time and have hectic schedules, many find that it’s easier to eat at their favourite fast food joint than to prepare something healthy • Snacking: Students tend to keep snacks that are high in calories, such as chips and cookies, in their dorm rooms • Irregular eating patterns: Because students are staying up late to either study or party, many tend to eat late at night, so their bodies cannot properly digest their food • Increased alcohol intake • Stress: While the increased stress university students feel is normal, it can cause an increase in food consumption Jakub Lobaszewski, a Rotman Commerce student at the University of Toronto, gained 10 pounds (4.5 kilos) in his third year. He attributes his weight gain to moving out of residence and in with a roommate. Jakub didn’t have time to cook. Instead, he ate a lot of fast food. At home, he prepared frozen food because it was fast.

TRUE OR FALSE? Drinking 1.5 cans of pop per day can cause you to gain 24 pounds (11 kilos) in one year. TRUE! Each can of pop contains about 140 calories and 12 teaspoons (60 mL) of sugar. Drinking a can of pop per day for one year equals 51,100 calories and 4,380 teaspoons

(2.2 L) of sugar. To lose a pound (.45 kilos), you must burn roughly 3,500 calories.

WHY DOES A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE MATTER?

To fulfill the academic expectations of university, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential. A healthy body is important to perform not only physical activities, but mentally stimulating ones as well. While in university, your physical stamina helps you endure the long hours you’ll spend studying. A student’s grades will suffer if she or he is not in healthy physical condition and therefore is unable to complete course requirements. Maintaining a high grade point average (GPA) is required for those of you who want to continue your studies after you complete your undergraduate degree. High grades are also required for many entrylevel jobs, such as in accounting, consulting and investment banking.

WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE SURE I STAY HEALTHY AND FIT? Make better choices at the dining hall: Moderation is key. Avoid going back for seconds. If you find that you’re still hungry once you’ve eaten, start your meal with a big salad next time. This way you’ll get full on vegetables instead of fries, hamburgers and pizza. Avoid sugary drinks and opt for water or low-fat milk instead. If you have a sweet tooth and can’t resist dessert, share it with friends. Eat healthy snacks: Keep healthy snacks, not high-fat chips and sweets, in your dorm room. The temptation to overindulge while studying can be huge.

Get enough sleep: Most university students stay up late studying, surfing the Internet, watching TV or socializing. At this age, most people need about eight hours of sleep every night. Make sure you’re well rested for your lectures and exams. Exercise: Adjusting to your new schedule and academic expectations is stressful. Make sure to schedule exercise into your routine at least three times a week. Exercise will not only help you burn calories, it will make you feel better, allowing you to focus better on your studies. Plan ahead: Planning your meals and ensuring that healthy food is always available for you will help you avoid fast food pitfalls. Jakub now tries to plan not only his academic, extracurricular and social activities in advance, but his meals as well. “When you plan, you’re more conscious about yourself, what you’re doing and what you’re eating,” he says. For other ideas on staying healthy, check out Canada’s Food Guide online at the Health Canada website (www.hc-sc.gc.ca). The best way to eat healthier is to start preparing your own meals as often as possible. Here are some cookbooks to help you get started: The Healthy College Cookbook by Alexandra Nimetz Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World by Lisa Lillien Your university experience is going to be one of the best and most memorable of your life. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle while an undergrad will set you on the right path. CO

Limit alcohol intake: Being on your own for the first time, you may want to take advantage of your freedom. This includes being able to drink without having to worry about what your parents will say. But alcoholic drinks are laden with calories. A bottle of beer contains 150 to 200 calories (even a light beer contains 100 calories). Since most people don’t stop at just one beer, you can see how easily these calories can add up. Remember, moderation is the key!

CO high school edition 47


48

VOLUME II, FALL 2009

CO career options


CO High School Fall 2009  
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