Page 1


career options For Canadian Post-Secondary Students WINTER/Spring 2012 / Volume 26 No. 1

06 “You’re Going Where?!” International Exchanges

26 Summer Jobs and

Co-ops in the North

38 Are You the Team

Leader Employers are Looking For?

THIS WAY TO ADVENTURE! Working and living in Canada’s North

Download a free QR barcode reader for your mobile at

career options Winter/Spring 2012

G et a Head Start on the Summer Job Rush: January is the time to start searching…and other tips page 36

5 Going the

Distance…Literally: International experience makes well-rounded employees By Kathleen Clark

6 You’re going

23 Defining the

40 A New Approach

Northern Adventurer

to Networking By David Lindskoog

By Maria Church

42 26 Why Money Matters Beyond your Comfort Really Matter Zone: Summer Jobs and Co-ops in the North By Erin Jackson


30 Northern Arts and

By Erin Jackson

12 Rich with

Culture: A Source of Heritage…and Jobs

Resources—and Opportunity By Hilary Thomson

18 Telemedicine:

By Hilary Thomson

By Kathryn Young

20 Myths and Realities

45 Discover a career

in capital markets: a challenging and rewarding career for both men and women

36 Get a Head Start on

By Deborah Grosdanis

By Kathy Kirkpatrick and Jill Latschislaw

Good for Others, GREAT for You!

the Summer Job Rush

Technology that Improves Life in the North

By Philip Cutter

38 Are you The Team

46 Volunteering: By Andrea Migchelsen

Leader Employers are looking for? By Mariane Jobin

of Living in Northern Canada By Maria Church

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


What’s on at


[even more] career options As always, you can check out the latest issue of Career Options online, or browse the archives for more great feature articles from past issues. But there’s a lot more in store at our all-new website,

Blogspot is a space where guest bloggers share their thoughts about post-secondary education, entering the workforce, finding the “right” job and getting a career on track. Submit your own blog ideas at:

Open your mind… There’s no such thing as a “right” career path. Each job you take teaches you new skills and experiences that help shape the kind of worker you’ll ultimately become. Read about how our profile subjects found on-the-job happiness and success by following unexpected career paths.

Keep up with the latest career advice, news and views: follow Career Options on Twitter, join the Facebook page and subscribe to our RSS feed.

We Would Like to Thank Our Advertisers… 43, 49 Brenntag Canada Inc. 24, 50 Cameco Corporation 48, 49 Canadian Automotive Repair and Service Council (CARS) 54 Canadian Forces 34 Canadian Grocery HR Council 28, 50 Canadian Payroll Association 9, 52 Centennial College 52 CEO College of Osteopathic Studies 35 Concordia University College of Alberta 31, 48 DMC Mining Services 39 EDH Group (EFAP) 29, 52 Enterprise Rent-A-Car 25 Forest Products Sector Council 51 Graham Group Ltd. 27, 49 Halliburton 50 Halton Regional Police Service 16 Harris Institute 50 Heartland Health Region 15 Human Resources Council of Canada 53 Humber College Business School 52 IFSE Institute 4 Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) 31, 50 Insurance Institute of Canada 50 Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme 2

23 Kativik School Board 22 KPMG 41, 49 Language Industry Association (AILIA) 46 McGill University, Faculty of Engineering 44 17 National Job Fair & Training Expo 37, 51 New England Center for Children 1 New York Chiropractic College 32, 49 Nexen Inc. 21, 50 Queen’s University, Faculty of Education 51 Queen’s University, School of Graduate Studies 2, 51 Railway Association of Canada 33 Recruit in Canada Student Fairs 47 Rio Tinto 11, 50 Ross University ii, 48 Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) 7, 49 St. George’s University 19, 51 Sun Life Financial 10, 49 Talisman Energy Inc. 35, 49 Teck Coal Limited 37 University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business 47 University of Waterloo, Master of Public Service

w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca reerop ti o n smaga zin


career options

A Northern hold on our imagination


Paul D. Smith Managing Editor | gordongroup


Kathryn Young Project Management | gordongroup

anada’s North. It fascinates us. It defines us. Peter Gzowski, famed national radio personality, once described the North as the soul of Canada.

Andrea Migchelsen Art Direction / Print Management | gordongroup

Leslie Miles

The idea of North permeates Canadian culture. In our national anthem, we describe our country as the “true North, strong and free,” and the federal government is spending time and treasure to protect our Arctic sovereignty. We display the polar bear on our two-dollar coin. It is a romantic ideal glorified in art, poetry and song, yet most of us have never been beyond the treeline, even for a visit. Most of us are southern, urban types whose experience of North is a cottage on the Canadian Shield, but it has a hold on our collective imagination. The North is our last frontier, the last place where the adventurous can go to reinvent themselves. For that reason, and many others, it is precious to us, even if we spend time there only in our minds.

Design & Layout | gordongroup

René Dick Alina Oliveira Director, Direct Marketing | gordongroup

Thomas Krayer Advertising sales manager | gordongroup

Kirill Kornilov Advertising Sales | gordongroup

Pauline de Gonzague Colleen Hayes Andrew Moore Chris Wolski Contributors

Maria Church Kathleen Clark Philip Cutter Deborah Grosdanis Erin Jackson Mariane Jobin Kathy Kirkpatrick Jill Latschislaw David Lindskoog Andrea Migchelsen Hilary Thomson Kathryn Young Career Options is published bi-annually in January and September by the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE), 720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 202, Toronto ON M5S 2T9. For subscription information, contact Paul D. Smith:

Tel.: 416-929-5156 ext. 223 Fax: 416-929-5256 Email: Website: For advertising inquiries, contact Kirill Kornilov, Advertising sales manager, gordongroup:

Tel.: 613-288-5363 Fax: 613-722-6496 Email: Website: 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.

In this issue of Career Options, we investigate our relationship with the North, paying particular attention to the opportunities available to those who are willing to experience the boreal life. We examine the natural resources sector, which is an important contributor to the northern economy. We discuss the impact of innovative communications on health care and the quality of life in the North. Natural resources and technology have always been a source of employment in the Great White North, but new sectors are adding energy and excitement to the region. The arts offer new opportunities for those who live in the vast land, and for those who might be willing to go there. As the northern economy diversifies, young people will have more opportunities to stay in their home communities, close to family and friends. The result will be an even more vibrant and compelling northern narrative. As you read this magazine, I invite you to imagine yourself in the North. Most of you may be city born and raised, but those of you who can find your way into the hinterland will discover the rewards are well worth the trip.

Career Options is distributed to students at post-secondary institutions across Canada. Career Options is available free of charge through campus career centres. 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.

The National Student Resource of: Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers 720 Spadina Ave., Suite 202, Toronto ON M5S 2T9

Paul D. Smith is the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers and Editor-in-Chief of Career Options magazine. Email Paul at

For more information, visit:,

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


Going the Distance… Literally

By Kathleen Clark

International experience makes well-rounded employees


he world, they say, is at your fingertips. You can armchair travel in 140 characters or less for hours, Skype with people across a dozen time zones and barely notice a lag, or virtually order shawarma and have it at your door in 30 minutes or it’s free. But the global village isn’t just on the web. And in such an interconnected world it is increasingly an asset to have experience with the globe beyond the view of a 15-inch screen. “We’re seeing a trend by employers to kind of hone in on international, intercultural competencies in their selection process,” says Jeff Watson, the Recruitment Team Coordinator at the University of Western Ontario’s Student Success Centre. “And it makes sense that they are because a lot of these companies are global entities themselves.” According to a 2009 publication by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), “globally mobile” people will likely populate the future job market. As companies sign contracts across continents and more and more workplaces themselves become microcosms of the earth at large, employers will seek out folks who “fit.”

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


So to be competitive, you have to be willing to go the distance. Literally. A tried and true method of gaining this key global savvy is studying or interning abroad during your post-secondary education. More and more colleges and universities are promoting global experience by requiring it in certain programs, or offering it as choices. And more and more career counselling centres can help students set up these opportunities. Surveys by the AUCC show that studying abroad has also become a more popular choice among students in the past decade. Western conducted its own survey asking students why they wanted opportunities to go abroad for school. “Surprisingly, career planning wasn’t one of the top reasons why they want this international experience,” says Stephanie Hayne, Western’s Experiential Education Coordinator. “The reasons were more connected to learning about other cultures, meeting new people—those types of goals. But of course, we know at the end of the day that it’s going to help prepare them to be more successful in their post-graduation job search.” Indeed, you can bring back more than school credit and pretty pictures from study abroad experiences. “We’re talking about concepts that aren’t easy to define. It’s not like somebody graduates and they have a transcript that has a stamp on it that says ‘You are a Global Ready Graduate!’” Hayne says. But there are four broad skills to be learned from venturing into the world that will let future employers know you might just fit.

You’re going



f you had told me at the beginning of my university career I’d be going on a student exchange to the Netherlands, I simply would not have believed you.

Born in Yellowknife and raised in Ireland, I decided to move back to Canada to study journalism at Carleton University. Hopping on a plane at age 18 to start school in Ottawa, having never been to the city before, I already kind of felt like a long-term exchange student. But fate must have had something else in mind for me. In this case, fate was kick-started by Karl, an Australian exchange student. Hearing the Melbourne native pipe up with a question in my third-year television class must have had my subconscious working overtime. Three weeks later, in the journalism office taking care of one routine question, I stopped before leaving and asked another: “By the way, does Carleton have exchange programs for journalism students?” The answer was a ringing “Yes” followed by “Utrecht University (in the Netherlands) has a research, reporting and travel course.” I don’t quite remember the rest because I had everything I needed right there. Of course, the opportunity had been there all along; I just hadn’t been paying attention. Zip forward 12 months and I have completed all of the application processes, forwarded my grades, reference letters and heartfelt appeals to let me study abroad, and I am set to leave for Utrecht. Since I hadn’t been looking to go on an exchange from the start, I was left with a dilemma. I could go in my fourth year, but I would have to come back to Carleton for an extra year to complete my studies. Going on exchange means a delayed graduation—do not pass Go, do not collect $200 (or in this case, your degree). The temptation to race to that four-year finish line was almost too much to resist. Then, at some point in the decision-making process, it struck me that the chance to live in


w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

By Erin Jackson

a foreign country, study and travel with other international students is a rare opportunity. By studying abroad, I hope to be exposed to European reporting, and to life in Europe. This is a chance for me to step outside what I know and challenge myself, while having fun. What better way to expand your horizons than to immerse yourself in a new culture and see where it takes you? Still, it is a daunting task to call your parents and tell them you won’t be graduating next year and will be taking a slight detour to Holland. I expected them to tell me I had lost my mind but they genuinely thought it was a great idea. Not only were they proud of me for taking the initiative, but my mother pointed out what an exciting time it is to be in Europe—especially for a budding journalist. Inter-railing between countries and immersing myself in a political hot bed of reporting issues? Sign me up! I already consider myself something of a global child, with three international flights under my belt by the age of two. But as the date of my flight gets closer, the nervous excitement seems to grow—emphasis on the nervous. So far, the internet has been my greatest student exchange saviour. I have booked a room through Short Stay housing, researched the city and campus, gleaned ways to travel and the expected costs. The things I can’t learn instantly online— such as language and cultural nuances—are just waiting to be tackled upon arrival. For now, a little book of basic Dutch and the reassurance that there will be a kettle in my room is all I need to help keep those nerves at bay. CO Erin Jackson is a Carleton journalism student on exchange in the Netherlands. For more information, visit:,

Intercultural competence “There’s a difference between traveling somewhere for a couple of weeks and living somewhere for a few months at least,” says Emily Bishop, a Trent University alumna. She spent the third year of her International Development and Anthropology undergrad in Ecuador, first taking courses, and then managing development projects in a small village on the edge of the jungle. “It just affords for experience immersed in a culture. You get a sense of the people, a different sense of rhythm you don’t necessarily experience when you’re traveling.”

day to day? If they are doing some farming in the morning, for example, follow them, see what they are doing and ask questions.” Learning how to ask questions will give you the means to understand people from any number of backgrounds. “Companies today often have staff that are really diverse, so a ‘global ready’ graduate can fit into that really diverse work environment and make meaningful contributions,” says Hayne. “Somebody who’s got some level of intercultural competence: they’re able to work in environments with people from all over the world.”

Bishop says she knew in high school that she wanted to go abroad for at least a semester at some point in her post-secondary education. When she finally made it happen, she spent time learning the nuances of the culture she was visiting. “Be open to what’s available to you,” she says.

Having a second (or third or fourth) language “I chose Ecuador as a country because I wanted to learn Spanish,” says Bishop. “It really challenged my language and interpersonal skills.”

see what’s going on in their lives. What do they do

When it comes to knowing languages, the more the merrier. An employee with multiple language capabilities is a boon for any business with


ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

“Spend time initially just talking to people and

w i nter/sp ring 2012

international customers or organizations with branches throughout the world. “It’s crucial to be immersed in that situation,” Bishop says. “I’d taken two years of Spanish in university with little success and after a month in Ecuador I felt much more confident. It’s amazing how fast you progress after a month. And I definitely said ridiculous things, but you just have to laugh. You won’t be judged as harshly as you may think.” Adaptability Working and studying abroad is a great way to showcase your independence and adaptability. “It says something about your level of confidence in handling myriad tasks because being abroad likely means that you’ve encountered things that are outside of your comfort zone,” Bishop says. “An employer is definitely looking for those kinds of characteristics when they’re hiring,” she adds. Though you may go into the experience with well intended plans and be running on a thousand

A global mindset Do you see the big picture? Chances are if you’re contemplating going abroad you’re already aware that sometimes the world at your fingertips is not enough. You have to go. Since her year in Ecuador nearly a decade ago, Bishop started working in international development and has been back to Latin

was and the different monuments that you saw,” says Hayne. They may be colourful stories but they’re not what an employer is looking for. “When the graduate is able to articulate the learning, the life lesson, the big gain from the experience, it creates that feeling in the employer that ‘Wow, this person has the maturity and international experience that would diversify my team,’” says Watson. Transferable skills aside, going abroad can be a great adventure if you’re open to it. “Just do it,” says Bishop. “Life is about surprising yourself.” CO

America several times. Working in a ideas a minute, she notes it’s important to stay flexible. “I think it’s quite easy for somebody to come into a situation like that and say ‘I’m going to do A, B, C, D and add this to my resumé,’” Bishop says. “It’s great to be proactive but I think it’s also important to make sure you’re

global context is enriching, she says. “I’m very lucky to work with people from all over the world.” These four skill categories will help you distil your global (possibly life-altering) expeditions into bitesized nuggets an employer can swallow.

connecting with people and trying to understand

“It’s not enough to go on a semester abroad and

what they would like.”

come back and talk about the food and how fun it


ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

w i nter/sp ring 2012

Kathleen Clark is a journalism student at Carleton University. For more information, visit:,,,,

Rich with Resources —and Opportunity


w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

By Hilary Thomson


outhern Canadians may think of the North as a frigid no-man’s-land dotted with the occasional polar bear. In reality the region has much more to offer than ice, snow and large white mammals. The northern parts of our provinces and the territories are rich with employment opportunities for young people—as rich as the natural resources that Canada has long been recognized for. The three main natural resource industry sectors in Canada are forestry, mining, and oil and gas. Each is currently in a human resources crunch as older workers are easing into retirement age. It’s a golden opportunity for young career seekers to head north and get in on the ground floor. A career in mining has a lot to offer, says Melanie Sturk, Director of Attraction, Retention and Transition for the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR). The industry offers “opportunities for adventure, the opportunity to think on your feet, to problem solve and work as a team,” she says.

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


According to the Mining Association of Canada website, mining occurs in 12 out of the 13 provinces and territories. In 2009, the industry contributed $36 billion to our gross domestic product and employed 306,000 workers.

employees in to the work site for two-to-four-

aim to provide trainees with the basic skills they

week shifts, and returns them home by plane

need to succeed in specific mining trades, says

for extended time off. While living near the mine,

Shelagh Rowles, Dean of Applied Science and

workers are provided with room and board as well

Management. The college is also in the process of

as recreation facilities.

developing a geotech diploma program slated to

Through labour market research, MiHR predicts the mining industry as a whole will need to hire about 100,000 new workers within the next 10 years, Sturk says.

“It is a very lucrative career choice for people,”

start in September 2012.

Sturk says. “[It is great] for a young person to

Many Yukon College students hail from the

be able to go and live in a remote northern area,

territory, but the institution welcomes students

make great money, and go back to city living with

from all over Canada. “It is a good opportunity

Better still, jobs will be available in all areas and skill levels, not just in specialized positions. There are more than 120 types of jobs available in the sector, ranging from general labourers to technicians, geologists and engineers.

their entire paycheque with them.”

not only for Yukoners but for people from other

occupation you are interested in. “There are

But the opportunities in the North extend beyond

Sturk notes that the greatest area of predicted growth will be in the northern territories. There are a lot of exploration projects currently underway in Canada’s North, and it is hoped that these projects will result in lucrative finds and mines in the future.

lots of educational programs across Canada

the territories. The oil and gas sector is highly

that provide what you need to get into mining,”

active in the remote northern areas of Alberta and

she says.

British Columbia, and in southern Saskatchewan.

Yukon College is one post-secondary institution

As in the mining industry, the demand for people

that is responding to the mining boom in the

in oil and gas is high, and the need for workers is

territories. Within its School of Mining and

only expected to rise with the retirement of about

Many mining jobs in remote locations are what they call “fly in and fly out”: the company flies

Technology, the college has introduced a couple

30 percent of the industry’s workforce within the

of pre-employment apprenticeship programs that

next 10 years. By 2020, the industry will need


ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

w i nter/sp ring 2012

When it comes to choosing the post-secondary education or training needed to pursue a career in mining, Sturk says it depends on the

provinces and territories to get an education in the context of where the activity is taking place,” Rowles says.

to hire a small city of workers—between 39,000 and 130,000 people, says Cheryl Knight, CEO of the Petroleum Human Resources Council. Knight says the oil and gas industry is a field-based industry with 80 percent of available jobs located in rural, remote environments. While the majority of business and operations support and professional roles are based in head offices (in cities such as Calgary), most of the operators, field workers and trades are located in the field. Math, science and computer skills are fundamental when considering a career in oil and gas, Knight says, because so much of the job involves instruments, chemicals and equipment. With its workers required to work long shifts and live in remote locations, the oil and gas industry may not be for everyone, Knight admits, yet it offers many different career paths and opportunities to travel, learn and grow. “It is a very exciting industry with a ‘can-do attitude’,” she says. “It is made up of people who don’t take no for an answer and are used to solving problems.” As well as the leading natural industries, however, there are also jobs to be had in other, less well known sectors in the North—opportunities for young career seekers to stretch themselves. “Because the population is smaller, the range of topics that you are exposed to in your job is much greater,” says Erin Light, a water information specialist with the Yukon government. “There is more opportunity for the development of skills.”

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


Light’s job is to offer data management and information support to three different government sections within the Water Resources Branch that deal with water: hydrology (the study of water and how it moves through the water cycle), water quality and water inspections. She helps to ensure that the data stored is held up to scientific standards. She also manages a website that provides information to the public about how Yukon water is used, managed and monitored ( Originally from Waterloo, Ontario, Light and her husband have lived in Yukon for only a few months. After studying for her master’s degree in Churchill, Manitoba, Light fell in love with the North, and when she graduated, she and her husband decided to search for jobs in the territories and build a life there. Light says there are many different water-related jobs in Yukon and the people in those positions have wide-ranging backgrounds, including technical and professional training. Some of these positions include water inspectors, water quality technicians and hydrology technicians. Jobs can be found in the private sector (Light says there are several large environmental consulting companies in Whitehorse alone) and within the territorial and federal governments. 16

w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

About three years ago, says Light, there was a push to find out how water resources in Yukon were changing. As a result, some new jobs were created in hydrology research. She admits that having a master’s degree in isotope hydrology helped her get noticed, but simply holding a diploma earned through field technician courses, or a degree in geography, geology, earth science or environment science, is sufficient to obtain many of these jobs. Considering a career path is not an easy task. It is important to know every option available—and it’s clear that Canada’s North presents a wealth of them for young people looking to start a career in natural resources. As well as a picturesque and unique part of our country, the North is home to the natural resources that create countless jobs, help support our economy, and make Canada the nation it is. CO

Hilary Thomson is a journalism student at Carleton University.

For more information, visit:,,,

Telemedicine: Technology that Improves Life in the North

By Kathryn Young


t helps save lives, enables timely diagnoses and treatment, and allows patients and health-care providers in remote areas to feel less isolated.

Telemedicine—the use of advanced telecommunications and technology to deliver health care at a distance—has made Canada a global leader. It allows children in the Northwest Territories to receive regular speech therapy and pregnant women in northern Quebec to “see” gynecologists in Montreal without ever leaving their communities, according to Canada Health Infoway’s website. Telemedicine has even allowed a dying patient’s last wish to be fulfilled, says Andrea Battcock, who helped connect the patient via video conference with a family member in another province. “They got to say their goodbyes. It’s patient and family support,” she says. “There are thousands of examples of real-life situations where telemedicine helped save lives, helped diagnose, helped treat.” On a day-to-day basis, telemedicine connects patients in remote communities across Canada with health-care providers, who may be thousands of kilometres or several provinces away, using such technologies as two-way video conference, audio conference, Skype, email, satellite communications and digital versions of stethoscopes, otoscopes and more. It’s used not only to diagnose patients and treat chronic diseases or acute illnesses, but also to provide speech therapy, physiotherapy, psychiatric counselling, x-ray transfers, ultrasounds, dental checkups, neurology assessments, continuing education for health-care providers and much more. In the past, remote communities—whether in Canada’s three northern territories or the northern areas of the provinces—had to spend enormous amounts of money flying patients out to seek health care not available locally, and many still do. With telemedicine, those patients can stay in their communities and health-care providers can “see” them at a distance. This allows child patients to 18

w i nter/sp ring 2012

stay with their families, enables more regular care for diseases like diabetes or cancer, eases safety concerns about travelling in bad weather, and decreases travel time and costs. “It’s everywhere,” says Battcock. “All the provinces and territories are using telemedicine in varying degrees, and the usage will only continue to grow.” Canada had more than 5,700 telehealth sites and provided nearly 260,000 sessions in 2010, according to a report called Telehealth Benefits and Adoption: Connecting People and Providers Across Canada, commissioned by Canada Health Infoway. In 1996, Battcock left her nursing job for a fourmonth part-time contract with a telepsychiatry project at Memorial University of Newfoundland, one of the first places to develop telemedicine in Canada. She has never looked back. Her telemedicine career has taken her across Canada, including the North, as well as to Africa and Indonesia, as she consults for governments and their agencies, regional health authorities and First Nations. Today she works for Toronto-based Healthtech Consultants but lives just outside St. John’s, and works all across Canada. She is currently helping to expand a telemedicine network in Nunavut. “You can really make a career out of it,” she says. “Telemedicine is just one part of the broader e-health world. Many health-care providers have moved into this field because it is cutting edge, rewarding and improves our health-care delivery.” Telemedicine employs people who have trained to be doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, speech therapists, dieticians or other health-care professionals, who then learn how to incorporate the required telemedicine technology into their daily work life. ca re erop ti o n smaga zin

Likewise, telemedicine also requires people trained in administration and information technology. “It’s a good career choice,” says Perry Ward, manager of the conferencing division at Professional Development and Conferencing Services in Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine. “There are exciting times ahead. If you travel, I’m sure it will bring you to many different places on the planet.” Ward has set up telemedicine technology and then trained local people to run it in Uganda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Argentina, the West Indies and Paraguay, as well as all over Newfoundland and Labrador. For example, he once set up a video conference connecting a patient in northern Labrador via satellite to St. John’s, and then via internet to a specialist in Japan. “For each case, we try to set up the best communications,” says Ward, who has diplomas in electronic engineering technology and biomedical engineering technology, and a bachelor of technology; he is working on his master’s degree in technology management. “It’s not always straightforward. You have a lot of things that could potentially go wrong.” In the near future, the technology will allow doctors to participate in video conferences and access patient records using smartphones. Video conferencing is available in a holographic format now, and in a few years may be the norm. Information technologists who know how to design applications for these and future telemedicine uses will be in high demand. “Technically, it’s pretty amazing where it’s going,” Ward says. “There’s going to be explosive growth.”

Ward has also helped organize the engineering of digitized versions of stethoscopes, otoscopes and other examination tools that are incorporated into the video links. For example, with specialized digital high-resolution examination cameras, a doctor can zoom in on a patient’s outer ear and see the smaller blood vessels. “You can’t see it with the naked eye,” he says.

nurse or nurse practitioner, who runs the local

In some cases, the telemedicine examination can work better than an in-person session. With telepsychiatry, for example, the psychiatrist can examine the patient’s body language and facial expressions up close. “Psychiatrists can zoom in to look more closely at the patient,” says Battcock. Some patients said they did not feel so closely scrutinized.

technology—something that Ward helps set up.

Delivering northern health care is tough, especially when it’s hard to recruit and keep staff. “There is a struggle with getting health-care providers to go work in those remote environments,” says Battcock. “The geography and weather are harsh. Many remote communities are fly-in only.”

“They get to experience a professional life that

Most remote communities have at least one

has been training health-care providers to use the

clinic that may serve dozens of surrounding communities. They make most decisions about patient care but, where available, they connect with physicians and specialists for decisionmaking help. They can even take continuing education courses or participate in other professional development via telemedicine For example, he arranges monthly “neurology rounds” where remote areas connect with a neurologist who discusses certain cases and their treatment, using PowerPoint slide shows and digital brain scans. Research has shown that the

technology required. Today, however, new grads are tech-savvy. “They expect to use electronic health records; they use smartphones and iPads,” explains Battcock. “They’re all used to Skyping so video conferencing is not strange to them, whereas 10 or 15 years ago some health-care providers struggled to incorporate the technology.” For students interested in health care or information technology, the career possibilities are bright. “I’ve had a tremendous career,” says Battcock. “As a nurse, the opportunity to work in telemedicine is rewarding and very exciting.” CO

telemedicine network helps decrease the sense of isolation among remote health-care providers.

is so different than what they would experience

Kathryn Young is the managing editor of Career Options.

in cities,” says Battcock. As well, there are other incentives to work in the north, including increased salaries, isolation pay and sometimes housing allowances. Part of the steep learning curve over the years

Ca reer O p t io n s

For more information, visit:,,,

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


Myths and Realities

By Maria Church

of Living in Northern Canada


he true North strong and free�: it’s an evocative line in our national anthem, one that calls to mind images of glaciers, tundra and polar bears. But the reality of life in Yellowknife and Whitehorse, the two most populated cities in the territories, is a mystery to most Canadians. There is a tendency to assume the North is flat, empty and cold. Ready to have the record set straight?



w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

Myth 1 » The high cost of living Let’s get right to the important stuff. Is it crazily expensive to eat in the North? Not according to Deborah Bartlette, Dean of Applied Arts at Yukon College in Whitehorse. In fact, she says some foods are actually less expensive than in cities like Vancouver. It’s in the more remote areas of the territories that food and goods are noticeably more expensive, given the higher cost of transportation. In a city as large as Whitehorse, the prices are rarely higher than in other areas of Canada. Best of all, no PST and a northern living allowance on your taxes means more money saved in the long run.

Myth 2 » Higher salaries, but nowhere to spend the money

Not only did she laugh when she heard this myth, Gillian Lee, a partner at an accounting firm in Yellowknife, says, “I’m sure my husband would argue with you on that one. I certainly don’t have trouble finding places to spend money!” Lee explains that there are many restaurants, boutiques and stores to enjoy in Yellowknife.

There are also many social groups, which makes it easier to plan events around town and coordinate sporting activities like hiking, camping and snowshoeing outside the city.

Myth 3 » No social life “That is one I haven’t heard, to be honest!” says Lee, who came to Yellowknife from Newfoundland right out of university. “I actually found the opposite, especially for a young person. Yellowknife has a very transient population and a lot of young professionals live here. I found that when I first came here, I met so many young people and we were constantly doing something, [whether] meeting for supper or for drinks, or doing things outside. “No matter where you are, you can be as social or as anti-social as you want,” she adds. Bartlette says the same thing about Whitehorse: “The biggest problem is becoming overcommitted!” She explains that there are all kinds of sport and social clubs, which makes it easy to meet new people with similar interests. Unique to the North: in summer, it is light until one o’clock in the morning. This means that you

Ca reer O p t io n s

can leave work and go hiking, canoeing or boating for hours if you like—a whole weekend’s worth of recreation on a typical Wednesday after work!

Myth 4 » Difficult to get there Canada’s North is far more accessible today than most people probably think. Bartlette says there are many flights a day arriving in Whitehorse, Yukon’s capital city, from several cities across Canada.Yellowknife is also easily accessible by air, and Lee explains that flight prices have gone down significantly in recent years, which she attributes to airline competition. “When I first came here, the flight to Edmonton was certainly more expensive than it is now,” she says. She also notes that Yellowknife is currently accessible by car only 10 months of the year because of the freezing and thawing of the Mackenzie River, but construction of the Deh Cho Bridge, to be completed in 2012, will open the city to traffic year-round.

Myth 5 » Uncomfortable living It’s not all cold, all the time. Bartlette explains that there is a significant difference between Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, which

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


makes it difficult to speak about climate across the board in Northern Canada. She says it is like the difference between Vancouver and St. John’s, two vastly different areas of Canada. Whitehorse is located just north of the B.C. border and has a relatively mild climate, despite its northern geography. The city is nestled in the Whitehorse Valley and surrounded by boreal forest. Originally from Manitoba, Bartlette is perfectly serious when she says, “Winters in Whitehorse are far better than winters in Winnipeg.” Yellowknife lies east and north of Whitehorse, on the northern shores of Great Slave Lake. Here the climate is subarctic, but the city rests on the Canadian Shield, which means the city still lies south of the tree line. Lee says of Yellowknife: “I don’t know if I have ever met anyone who LOVES minus fifty—I know I certainly don’t love it—but as far as I am concerned, our warm, bright summers

Myth 5 » Cut off from civilization

The Reality

Down to the nitty-gritty now: do people in the North feel cut off from the rest of the world?

Northern Canada is recognized as one of the fastest growing economies in the country, attracting investment, infrastructure and, more importantly, careers.

“Although it can get frustrating when online sellers won’t ship to your postal code, in Yellowknife I certainly don’t feel cut off from the rest of the world,” says Lee. She explains that smaller rural communities can feel isolated in the territories; however, the city has a large, relatively young population that keeps busy with social activity. For her, Yellowknife is full of potential. “I think it’s the people. I work with a great group of young people and they have a sense of adventure; they like to try new things,” she says. Bartlette feels similarly about Whitehorse. She says her city is full of boutiques and shops, art galleries and cultural events, such as “theatre, music, jazz, classical, and a fabulous arts centre.”

will mostly take care of that!” she says.

If the arts aren’t your thing, Bartlette points to ample opportunities to pursue sports like snowshoeing, canoeing, kayaking, motorboating, hunting and fishing, to name a few. With so many social activities, Lee and Bartlette say they are far from feeling a lack of civilization.

22 reero p t io n smaga zin

make up for it.” And the bugs? “Mosquitoes can certainly be annoying once you get outside the city, but once you figure out a bug dope that works, then that

w i nter/sp ring 2012

In the past, both Yellowknife and Whitehorse were known for their young populations leaving to find careers in more southern Canadian cities. It’s a different story today, with more and more young professionals choosing to return and advance their careers at home. And in such booming cities, “you can combine a meaningful, well-paid career and all sorts of career opportunities with a pretty amazing lifestyle,” Bartlette says. Mystery solved. Want to go yet? I’ll see you there. CO Maria Church is a journalism student at Carleton University.

For more information, visit:,,

By Maria Church

Defining the

Northern Adventurer


o what does it take to brave the North? Is it a certain personality type? Maybe a particular astrological sign? One thing is certain: not everyone is up for the challenge of transporting their lives to another city, never mind one located in Canada’s northern territories. So who is the right candidate for living and working in the North? It is part of Gillian Lee’s job to know. She works to recruit students for her accounting firm in Yellowknife. When she is sifting through resumés, Lee says she looks more at personality type than job experience in order to find the select few who are ready for the challenge. “A lot of it has come down to trying to assess who might actually stick around, who might actually like it here,” she says. For the most part, the people she’s looking for are outgoing and social. Winters in the North are long and can drive people inside, into what she calls “hibernation.” She believes it is important to keep active and involved in the community: “I’m not suggesting you have to be out snowshoeing or ice fishing every day, but just because it is cold outside, doesn’t mean you have to be wrapped up in a blanket on your couch.” To sum up in a word, Lee says, you have to be “adventurous.” In Whitehorse, Deborah Bartlette agrees. She says people who enjoy active lifestyles thrive in the North. Her favourite part: “The fact that you have fantastic sports facilities, arts and culture—a very vibrant community—yet within a 15-minute drive, you are in remote back country.” Of course, it’s not for everyone, and Bartlette cautions people whose idea of fun is to wander around and browse at a mall: “We don’t have that, so it is probably not the best place for you to come.” The important thing is to be open to the experience. Both Bartlette and Lee say people should come up north wanting to be there, looking for adventure. There are many experiences unique to the area that can make your visit the adventure of a lifetime—and might even convince you to stay. Lee met her husband in Yellowknife and is expecting a baby in March. When asked if they were planning to stay and raise their child there, she replied with a laugh: “We’re not going anywhere!” CO Maria Church is a journalism student at Carleton University.

For more information, visit:,,

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2



w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca re erop ti o n smaga zin

Beyond your Comfort Zone:

By Erin Jackson

Summer Jobs and Co-ops in the North


w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca re erop ti o n smaga zin


hen Kevin Robbie signed up for a three-month summer co-op placement in Yellowknife, he was expecting chilly weather and a city not so different from his hometown of Georgetown, Ontario. Instead, he found himself swimming

in the freezing cold Great Slave Lake, walking home at 11 p.m. with the sun still shining, and gazing up at the Northern Lights. Robbie, a third-year Aviation Technology degree student at Seneca College, took the opportunity to do his mandatory placement with aviation company Arctic Sunwest Charters. He thought of it as a way to travel and experience something new. With one Tim Hortons, one movie theatre and no other town for miles, Yellowknife is a far cry from Georgetown, but according to Robbie, it’s the perfect destination for the adventurous. “I’d recommend it for someone wanting to experience new things and get out of their comfort zone—not worrying about eating at a five-star restaurant or being able to get someplace in an hour,” he says. Aside from gaining work experience, Robbie says he was able to see a range of wildlife, meet new friends and join a baseball team during his northern placement. There is always something to do, as long as you are willing to keep an open mind, explore and find those out-of-the-way sights. “I think it’s a great experience for anybody, even people who are scared,” says Robbie. “Overall, I had a great time. I would do it again any day.” With the possibility of working there as a pilot, the experience could be a stepping stone for Robbie to return to the North after graduation. Either way, he says, he’s in a better position to decide where he wants to head in the future. Dane Pearce-Meijerink, a fellow student of Robbie’s at Seneca College, used his co-op placement as a chance to work for Northwestern Air Lease Limited in Fort Smith, N.W.T. He’s equally enthusiastic about the experience: “I’d definitely recommend it if you want to work up north in the future.” Pearce-Meijerink says that the short three-and-a-half month commitment was a great way to build contacts, learn about bush-piloting and travel. With plenty of work to do, the 20-year-old student found there was never a boring moment—he even lost 20 pounds as result of the active lifestyle and work schedule. Yet Pearce-Meijerink says the experience was a welcome change of pace from his school life. “Only apply if you’re willing to work hard,” he says. For Malcolm Gomes, who also chose to do his aviation co-op in the Northwest Territories, getting exposure to life outside of flight school is what the opportunity was all about. Gomes got his first glimpse of bush-piloting in the Arctic from the popular TV show “Ice Pilots,” which he started watching in his first year at Seneca College. Seeing more intensive piloting skills in action, such as landing a plane on an ice lake, encouraged the young student to look at companies up north in search of an experience outside the norm. Despite the initial culture shock, the third-year student said he was not only able to get used to life in Yellowknife, but even began thinking of returning to work up north after graduation. “So far, I’m thinking about going back up,” he says. “Maybe to the Yukon.” Whether or not he would be ready to face the harsh winter, Gomes isn’t certain, but he says the experience is one he will always remember.

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


“Forty or fifty years down the road, it will be something to tell the grandchildren,” he says.

north, she says, “we have only ever heard really

Lynne McMullen, Chair of Seneca’s School of Aviation and Technology, says the opportunity to work for northern companies gives students the chance to explore the world outside their home base, gain perspective and lay groundwork for their future.

Of course, not all programs offer co-ops or

McMullen says summer placement experience is a great asset for any student, as work experience up north will look good to potential employers. “If it was me, I would feel more comfortable bringing someone on board if they’ve gained experience and they’re not coming in without any insight into the demands of the job,” she says. She advises students in the program to try anything they are interested in. The key is to keep an open mind, be yourself and learn every skill you can. “Every piece of experience you have builds who you are,” she says. According to McMullen, work placements not only give students the chance to grow and get some practical application of their skills, but also offer a light at the end of the tunnel for their years in

positive things.”

internships to students, but that doesn’t close the door on opportunities to work in the North. Emily Pope, a third-year psychology student at the University of Ottawa, spent her summer working full-time as a lifeguard in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Travelling on her own and living away from home for the first time, she applied for the job online through the Young Canada Works program in order to experience something different. Spotting the small airport as her plane was about to land, Pope says her first thought was: “What

Culture shock aside, Pope says her main advice would be to pack food to bring with you to save yourself the expense later—and always remember to pack your peanut butter in your luggage, not your carry-on. That’s one lesson she learned the hard way. CO

have I gotten myself into?” But her doubt didn’t last long as she immersed herself in the local culture, watching throat singing and drum dancing performances, and taking time to check out various local artists’ work. The 20-year-old says she was

Erin Jackson is a Carleton journalism student on exchange in the Netherlands.

able to connect with old and new friends through Facebook, with one lively update of whales in the bay causing celebration. Pope, who admits she is not particularly daring

school. As for students who decide to venture up

by nature, says going up north is a great

28 reero p t io n smaga zin

w i nter/sp ring 2012

adventure: “As long as you want to try something new, it’s a good place to go.” She not only enjoyed her job as a lifeguard so much that she plans to return next summer, but she also found time to work at a group home and to learn how to knit. She even got to taste some unique northern delicacies—not only blubber (not her favourite) but also muskox burgers and caribou meat.

For more information, visit:,,,

Northern Arts and Culture: A Source of Heritage… and Jobs By Hilary Thomson


anada’s North: a land of ice and snow that is fertile with culture, art and opportunity. The northern territories represent a huge portion of the country’s landmass, yet are home to very little of its population. Even so, the art and culture of the North has come to represent Canada in many ways, with such Aboriginal icons as Inukshuks and Inuit carvings admired from coast to coast and around the world. Thus it’s an exciting place to be for anyone interested in a career in arts and culture.


w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


And the northern arts and culture industry is booming, says Patti Balsillie, a tourism product developer, facilitator and management consultant as well as a board member at Yukon College. She originally moved to Yukon from Nova Scotia in 1989 for a summer job, but she got hooked and moved back there permanently after university. Both performing and visual artists are doing great business, selling and promoting their art throughout Canada and around the world. “All of these energies have heightened the awareness about the North, about culture, and about opportunity,” says Balsillie. Because of the higher profile of Aboriginal art, people are coming to the North knowing more about the culture and the artists they might meet. “Tourists are looking for a more hands-on, traditional experience,” she says. As a result, Aboriginal-related tourism is in high demand. Other tourism sectors are also doing well, Balsillie says. Yukon gets a lot of traffic from cruise ships that offer land-based adventures for their guests. The territory also sees many RV travellers passing through Yukon to get to Alaska; Canadians who are interested in discovering what their country is like north of 60 degrees; and overseas visitors from such countries as Germany, France, the U.K. and Australia. All these factors are in play when it comes to job opportunities in arts, culture and tourism in the North. In the arts and culture sector, jobs will mainly be in guest services, hosting and greeting, marketing and event planning. It is also possible to work for a specific tourism destination organization focused on arts and culture or indigenous culture experiences, Balsillie says. Also on the tourism side, there are jobs to be had in wilderness guiding, retail, food and beverage service, and accommodations. 32

w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

Balsillie says that in order to have a career in arts, culture and tourism in the North, it is important to come with an interest in northern culture and some understanding of the diversity within the three territories. Having a background in interpretation or event planning is also an asset, as well as some expertise on the region’s First Nations, geography or environment. Balsillie says tourism programs around the country offer an interpretive component as part of their curricula. “This allows students who are future employees to go through a set standard of how you interpret an experience, tell a story or share a fact with a visitor that makes sense, is logical, and allows for interaction,” she says. The breadth of training available reflects the numerous career opportunities available in tourism in the North, Balsillie says. For example, Yukon College houses the School of Management, Tourism and Hospitality, which offers programs in Business Administration, Culinary Arts, First Nations Governance and Public Affairs, and Food and Beverage Operations, among others. Aurora College, which has three campuses (Fort Smith, Yellowknife and Inuvik) and Community Learning Centres all over the Northwest Territories, offers the Aboriginal Language and Cultural Instructor program. Doug Robertson, campus director at the Inuvik campus, says the program is a two-year diploma designed primarily to train Aboriginal language and culture instructors to work in the primary and secondary school system. However, other opportunities in tourism as well as in specific Aboriginal centres are also open to graduates. Robertson says that it’s typically northern residents who enroll, but the program is open to students from other provinces who wish to learn more about Aboriginal language and culture. As well, the federal government funds a number of sector councils to promote skills development and help new workers gain access to solid careers. One such council is the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council, which runs Tourism Education Councils (TECs) across Canada. These TECs can supply the coursework for EMERIT, a professional training certification program that is of value to anyone seeking a career in tourism. Balsillie says another option for students looking for jobs in the arts, culture and tourism sector is to check out the Work Info Net (WIN) for the territory they are interested in. Yukon’s WIN is called YUWIN and it lists job openings, helps with resumé building and offers career development support. The North also has many opportunities for students looking for summer employment, Balsillie says. “In my opinion, coming to the North for your tourism experience adds a lot of value. It shows you as an adventurer and someone who isn’t afraid to relocate,” she says. Finally, Balsillie reiterates that the region has a lot to offer to people interested in arts and culture who want a taste of life north of 60 degrees—those who are interested in new experiences and adventures. If this sounds like you, investigate working in the North today. CO Hilary Thomson is a journalism student at Carleton University.

For more information, visit:,,,

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2



he evidence is overwhelming: These points about natural intelligence education is the key to a secure and a willingness to learn throughout your and successful future. But what career are important for young people we often fail to understand is that trying to picture the industry as a career education comes in many forms—and option, as grocery retailers actually do that formal education does not guarantee prefer to promote and train from within. anyone a career. People—both employees and customers— Shocking, I know! But the reality is are the two most important “assets” of all that formal education and earning a full grocery retailers, independents as well as degree are not for everyone, and most postthe major chains. You demonstrate your secondary programs are not intended to people skills and willingness to learn on the meet the needs of employers or of careerjob, so starting from the bottom to show minded students like you. Universities managers who you are is a solid path into Dave Evans is the Store Manager at Mapleton ­ and colleges certainly offer knowledge and this industry. Co-op Food Market in Moncton, N.B. He started in skills, but try altering your perspective of You cannot be a great store manager the grocery business as a box boy when he was just education in relation to your career. Take unless you know what everyone does in 16. He’s done just about every job in the industry charge of your professional development the store, and love serving customers. Even and now runs a very successful operation. Yes, he took university courses along the way and does by viewing your courses as tools that may the so-called “behind the scenes” people have a degree. But he loves the business because or may not support your career goals. A in IT, store design or finance, for example, it’s a learning experience every single day. degree in three years is not the only key to absolutely contribute more to their career growth—and not everyone has the positions if they know what the store floor financial luxury of taking three to four years to earn a degree or feels like. I met many young managers who told me about career diploma, instead of earning a paycheque. paths that started with stocking and bagging and taking courses as If you’re reading this article, you are likely looking for they went along. information about what’s out there. You may be asking yourself: Another attractive aspect of the grocery sector is its stability. “What career offers the potential for me to grow personally and People have to eat! According to a recent sector study that the professionally, and if it’s not too much to ask, has financial rewards CGHRC undertook, the economics and demographics of Canada over time?” These are realistic questions for someone starting out. represent significant potential for careers in this industry. In 2009, Unfortunately, there are many industries that can meet those very the grocery industry represented approximately 20 percent of total legitimate needs but—shocking!—tend to escape the eyes and retail sales in Canada, generating some $81.5 billion in sales (up attention of career counsellors. from $68.3 billion in 2004). Given that its main product is food, So allow me to further shock you about the potential for the sector is considered “recession proof.” fulfilling careers in the grocery industry. Grocery retail/wholesale In fact, between August 2009 and August 2010, sales for companies do value learning—most importantly, life-long supermarket and grocery stores rose 4.7 percent, and specialty learning. They do their best to provide on-the job training and stores did even better at 7.9 percent. And consumers are accommodate taking courses to support your development. demanding more specialized offerings from bakery, meat, floral and In my role as Executive Director of the Canadian Grocery deli departments—all of which demand higher skilled employees. HR Council (CGHRC), I visited grocery operations throughout The industry employs hundreds of thousands of people, and Canada, from the major chains to the independents. I talked to always needs more. Skills learned in Atlantic Canada are valued in executives, managers and front-line employees about their careers Western Canada, too, so you’re more mobile than other sectors. and got perspective on the career potential in the industry. And And demographic factors increasingly favour job seekers. As there is plenty—plenty of room to get into the industry, advance Canada ages, employers must work harder to recruit. Let’s face and succeed! it: pop culture drives career choices, and grocery is a lot less sexy A warning: I won’t say you can move ahead without learning— than the oil patch or the Internet (or, for that matter, being a continuous skills development is important. I’ll also point out that cop, lawyer or vampire). But it’s a great place to be for young job there are certain types of people who are more suited to it; grocery seekers who want to learn, grow and advance in their careers. is a people industry that rewards going the extra mile. It’s also fastThe Canadian Grocery HR Council (CGHRC) is funded by the paced, much faster than any other retail type, and the food safety Government of Canada’s Sector Council program to serve the human issues make it arguably more complex. Thinking on your feet and resource needs of the grocery retail/wholesale sector. We serve some leaping in to solve problems without being told to do so are vital 95 percent of the industry, from coast to coast, from the largest to the personal attributes. smallest companies.

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


By Kathy Kirkpatrick and Jill Latschislaw

Get a

Head Start on the Summer Job Rush


s winter the time to think about your summer job? Yes! For most of you, the summer job is your main source of income; not only does it pay for your living expenses and social life, but it also helps cover most or all of your tuition for the coming year. You probably want a job that pays well, is fun and rewarding, and will look good on your resumé. So start looking now!

1 / Start sooN. If you want to start

work in May, begin your search in January. Most employers start posting their summer opportunities on campus career centre websites as soon as classes resume after the winter holiday break, so don’t delay your search.

2 / Visit your career centre. The staff

Here are some valuable tips to help you secure a job that will bring you the money and experience you need—and maybe even some fun.

there can help point you in the right direction for your summer job search. It’s their job to provide you with a range of useful resources and services, including one-on-one counselling, resumé and


ca re erop ti o n smaga zin

w i nter/sp ring 2012

cover letter reviews, mock interviews, job postings, and a network of business contacts for employers who are interested in hiring students like you.


/ Network. You might be surprised at what, and who, the people in your network know. Reach out to your friends, relatives, associates and professors, and don’t be shy about chatting up the people you meet at wine and cheese events, information sessions or job fairs. You reap what you sow; the more people who know you’re looking for a job, the greater

the odds that someone will speak up about where you can find one.

4 / Attend career fairs. They’re a great

way to meet prospective employers and get your name out there. To ensure that you make a great first impression, prepare for each job fair as you would for a job interview. Find out which companies will be attending, then do your research and prepare a suitable list of questions to ask. You should also revise your resumé so that it’s current and in top shape.


/ Register. There are a number of job programs and job banks available, and you should be sure to take advantage of them by registering with as many as possible. The Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) is administered by the federal government, and links students with relevant, fun, meaningful and well-paid summer and part-time work experience. There are also several provincial and municipal job registries that can help you, as well as a slew of privately run job posting websites that enable you to create a profile and upload your resumé. Don’t forget to make use of your career centre, which may have summer resumé banks where you can also register.

Helpful Links To summer employment information and programs:

6 / Expand your horizons. If you’ve ever

been interested in working abroad, there are plenty of organizations dedicated to helping make that happen. For example, SWAP Working Holidays provide the perfect mix of seeing the world while earning money. Look into it. While searching for a summer job, remember to keep your mind, as well as your options, open. The experience you’ll gain at work isn’t just about what tasks you perform on the job; it’s also about the skills you build and the people you meet while performing those tasks. Whether you’re a lifeguard, a camp counselor, an office assistant or a landscaper, you’ll be developing transferable skills that you can add to your resumé and apply throughout your professional career. Just make sure you start looking in time to find a summer job—it works. CO

Kathy Kirkpatrick and Jill Latschislaw are Career Coordinators in the Career Development Centre at the Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba.

Resort and Hospitality Jobs Young Canada Works! SWAP Working Holidays Parks Canada

Career Options Magazine Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) Service Canada Job Bank

Talent Egg Work as an Au Pair Disney

Service Canada Centre for Youth

Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities Overseas

Government of Canada Job Search

Tree Planting

Youth Resource Network of Canada

Retail Jobs

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


Are you The

By Mariane Jobin

Team Leader Employers are looking for?


re you familiar with the concept of leadership? Though it has become a popular word in the world of work, a little caution is in order: the term is not only widely used, but frequently overused or even misused. Do you know what leadership really is? What does it take to be an effective leader? Most important, how can you develop your leadership skills?

de communication des leaders (“Inspiring Managers: The 10 Rules of Leadership Communication”), writes: “Inspiring leaders are people who are clear, convincing, competent, and accomplished in their field. They are good listeners, they assign their team’s workload in a coherent way, and they follow through on their commitments.”

What is leadership? Leadership is a process by which a person directs a team in a specific way. A leader must have or acquire a number of skills to enable the group to meet specific performance objectives. The qualities of an effective leader include determination, vision, problem-solving ability, genuineness, independence and flexibility. As Isabelle Lord, president of the consulting firm Lord Communication managériale and author of Gestionnaires inspirants: les 10 règles

Why the focus on leadership? This concept deserves particular attention from job seekers because many employers are looking for candidates with leadership potential. “Today’s job market favours positive, ambitious, proactive young people who are willing to get involved and demonstrate strength of character and a sense of responsibility,” says Dominique Trudel, Operations Coordinator of Laval University’s Career Centre. Developing your leadership skills can be an advantage if you’re interested in working with organizations that value those qualities.


ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

w i nter/sp ring 2012

Do you have what it takes to be an inspiring leader? To find out, Lord suggests that you ask yourself three questions:


/ Am I a good listener? A good listener shows genuine interest in others. Being a good listener also means not jumping to conclusions, and listening objectively to be sure you understand exactly what the person is saying.

2 / Do I spend enough time

communicating? “Inspiring leaders spend most of their time—up to 80 percent—communicating,” notes Lord, “and they use any and all means available, from formal situations like meetings to informal ones like conversations around the coffee machine.” A good leader appreciates the importance of communication, and never considers it a waste of time.

3 / Do the members of my team speak

to me openly and directly?

Your colleagues should feel comfortable sharing their concerns and comments with you. Open communication builds their confidence in you as a leader. How can you become an effective leader? You don’t have to wait until you’re in a management position to start developing your leadership skills; all you need is an interest in being an effective leader and in improving your skills. If that describes you, there are several ways to go about it: for example, you

To improve your leadership style, “you have to be willing to take a good hard look at yourself, to accept constructive feedback from your peers, and to work constantly on improving yourself,” says Lord. As well, a big part of leadership is attitude. When faced with difficult situations, a leader sees them not as obstacles but as challenges—opportunities for the team to improve, to learn new skills and to build team spirit and effectiveness. By taking time now to develop your leadership skills, you’ll be in a good position to show your current or future employer that you are a valuable asset to their organization! CO

could join a student association, get involved in extracurricular activities, become a team project leader, or head up a volunteer group. “The idea is to develop your skills by trying out various activities and building on those different experiences,” advises Trudel. She adds that it’s

Mariane Jobin is an MBA student and a freelance writer for the Laval University Job Placement Service.

essential to have a good sense of your personal strengths and the aspects of your personality that can influence your colleagues in a positive way.

For more information, visit:,

An effective leader is NOT someone who: • craves power or popularity • seeks the approval of others • doesn’t take risks • thinks he or she knows all the answers • has to have the last word • speaks loudly • is a control freak and therefore can’t or won’t delegate

By David Lindskoog

A New Approach to



etworking, in the employment sense of the word, can be a tiresome task. It’s most often an obligation, not something you really want to do. The word evokes images of meaningless small talk, stiffly formal handshakes and business card exchanges. The act can feel competitive, inauthentic and even irritating. In other words, networking is pretty much the worst.

job seekers. However, it’s not the words in the definition that are the problem—of larger concern are the words that are absent.

Merriam-Webster defines networking as “the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Words like “productive” and “business” combine to form a discomforting recipe for most students and

In almost every in-depth career exploration session I’ve done over the past year, students have told me that it’s important to them to be doing something meaningful in their careers. They want to be fulfilled at some level by their work, whether that means making a difference in the world or in someone’s life, or satisfying some other deeply held personal value. In a way, their choice of career represents a manifestation of their core values. They don’t just want to do, they want to be.


ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

w i nter/sp ring 2012

Where is that sentiment expressed in the “cultivation of productive business relationships”? How does an hour of small talk and a stack of business cards at a career fair fit into the cultivation of a meaningful career? It doesn’t, unless drastic changes are made to the definition of “networking” for job seekers. Better yet, we can ditch this traditional business lingo altogether in favour of a term far more descriptive of what we’re actually trying to do and how it fits into our own bigger picture. That term is “relationship building.”

Where networking is about quantity, relationship building is about quality. Where networking is superficial, relationship building is inherently genuine. Where networking is something you have to go out and do, relationship building is something you’re always doing. Where networking is something people do to get ahead, relationship building is about mutual benefit and the sum being greater than its parts. We are social creatures, even the introverts among us. Our desire to seek, build and maintain relationships with other humans is innate. “Networking” as it’s traditionally meant in the business sphere is a perversion of this natural tendency, one that fundamentally pits us against each other in a perpetual quest for the almighty dollar. There is no such core motivation when it comes to relationship building, which is fundamentally collaborative. So, how can you stop networking and start relationship building? Here are three quick ideas: Focus on quality, not quantity. Building meaningful relationships is not about the number of business cards you collect or LinkedIn connections you gain. If you don’t know anything constructive about a person, what value does the “relationship” have for either of you? In contrast, if you are able to have a few meaningful conversations with people who share some of your values, it’s far easier to see how cultivating those relationships could lead to something mutually beneficial down the road. Focus on what you can do for others, not the other way around. When you do this, you’ll notice that people eventually start to return the favour. This results in great things like collaboration, mutual referrals and moral satisfaction. When you’re more concerned with getting ahead and how other people fit into your carefully constructed career plan, not only are you focusing on an incredibly narrow portion of each person’s value, but you’re creating one-dimensional relationships that are likely to collapse as soon as you get what you were after. Be genuine about your personality and values. Forget about “being perfect,” or making the perfect first impression with your flawless appearance, impeccable manners and memorized introductory script. If you want to create a genuine relationship, it has to start with you sharing an authentic piece of yourself. Embrace your personality and share a bit of your core values—if there’s a wide enough gap between your genuine self and someone else’s, it’s probably not a relationship worth having for either of you, anyway. In short, respect what you’re bringing to the table. By focusing on quality, contribution and genuineness, you’ll be creating and maintaining some very productive and meaningful relationships in no time. You’ll never have to network again! CO

David Lindskoog is a career advisor at Simon Fraser University and a regular CO blogger.

For more information, visit:,

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2



By Philip Cutter



Really Matter O

ne of the most common struggles young adults face today is debt. What’s worse, the debt problems most face aren’t even mortgages or student loans—“good debt,” if you will—but credit and overdraft charges from unchecked spending. Such “bad debt” is creating a generation of young adults who are getting off to a shaky start financially, but risk losing opportunities to take advantage of credit resources when they’re older. The allure of easy credit creates a risk that many may never be able to own cars or homes. This game of instant gratification with no thought of long-term consequences is a perilous one.

Credit, in all its forms, is a tool—it can lead to prosperity and success if used properly. Unfortunately, after reaching age of majority, most young people simply apply for a credit card and are never instructed how credit actually works. The penalties lurking behind the illusion of quick and easy money can lead to serious problems down the road. It can take years to recover from a youthful spending binge; thousands of dollars in credit bills and interest payments can impact one’s personal finances well into adulthood.


ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

w i nter/sp ring 2012

Learning self-control is probably the single most important aspect of financial planning, but the

naturally impulsive nature of teenagers can be hard to temper. Most financial advisors say that young people should learn smart financial skills and start retirement planning as early as possible. When you are 18, however, it can be difficult to prepare for age 65 because, quite frankly, it’s difficult to imagine being 65. It’s not that all young people are predestined to be terrible with money, but there is a serious deficit in how we teach them to use it. Personal finance is a skill that must be learned; ideally, it is one that should be taught early, rather than forcibly gained through painful trial and error. Young adults today

live in a world quite different from that of their parents. This generation is the first to have always lived with the quick access that debit and credit cards provide. Previous generations dealt with paper slips, bank tellers and hard currency— real, daily interactions with money that taught its value. Literally holding cash in your hand and watching it disappear as you spend is a simple but surprisingly powerful lesson.

Signs of improvement are growing, however, and

Now, the rise of cards has stripped us of those lessons. It’s difficult to understand what you’re giving up in exchange for something else when you don’t see the physical transfer. It’s only when the bills pile up that this “shoot first and ask later” mentality suddenly becomes a problem.

literacy courses for students in Grades 4 to 12

Some people are born into families that, by virtue of wealth and structure, can foster this kind of activity. Many middle-class children see their parents living well and spending liberally, and fail to understand the years of hard work they put in to afford such a comfortable lifestyle. As adults, their desire to maintain that living standard overwhelms the need to actually work towards a solid credit rating and sound financial independence as their parents did.

the lack of financial education is being addressed. As with learning a language, learning how to deal with money from as early an age as possible tends to yield the best results. Children and teenagers who learn how things like money, credit and debt work become adults who make wiser choices with their dollars. The Government of Ontario has recently decided to institute mandatory financial

skills for all Canadians. Through their youth branch, they implement learning programs and provide information for teaching personal finance. The sooner we educate young people about how to manage money, the more confident they will become when they’re out in the world as financially independent adults. The earlier they learn how to spend and plan wisely, the better the odds of a more prosperous future. CO

throughout the province. Such a program will help young people move by leaps and bounds into sound financial security as they become adults. As they learn the benefits of money and

Philip Cutter is a University of Toronto graduate with a BSc in biology and linguistics, and one of CO’s regular bloggers.

credit, as well as the consequences of their mismanagement, they’ll be more competent when they enter the economy as consumers. Personal finance isn’t hard; like any learned skill, it just takes practice and discipline. Mandatory education is one thing, but true money sense comes to those who take the initiative to learn. There are abundant resources available to those who seek them out: the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, for example, is a government

For more information, visit: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada/Agence de la consommation en matière financière du Canada: Roma Luciw, “Ontario Schools to Teach Financial Literacy”: FCAC/ACMFC, Youth Programs:

agency that promotes financial awareness and

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2



For over 12 years MEDIA JOB SEARCH CANADA.COM has been Canada’s premier website to visit and find job opportunities from companies across Canada. You will find Media Jobs in the following categories: Administration | Advertising / Marketing | Audio / Music Production Broadcasting – Radio / Television | Film / Video Production | Freelance Finance | Graphic / Web Design | IT / Network | Internships Publishing – Newspapers / Magazines | Purchasing / Logistics | Sales


By Deborah Grosdanis

Discover a career in capital markets:

a challenging and rewarding career for both men and women


career in finance means working at a traditional retail bank, right? Well, yes, it could. But it could also mean so much more than that! There are countless exciting, challenging and rewarding careers in the financial world, including the capital markets, with opportunities for both men and women.

with very competitive salaries and ample

The capital markets consist of three main groups of participants:

Course and the Chartered Financial Analyst

» Investors: people and companies with money to invest » Issuers: companies and governments that need to raise money » Investment dealers: the links who bring together issuers and investors

roles in operations, marketing, public relations,

The capital markets enable companies and governments to raise funds through the sale of securities, such as equities and bonds, which are then purchased by investors.

to advance into the highest positions in a

All three groups offer career opportunities. To work in the industry, you typically need a combination of math/financial analysis skills, communication and teamwork skills, and a demonstrated interest in capital markets. Grades do matter: it is a highly competitive industry and prospective employers often request university transcripts. However, rest assured you are rewarded well for your efforts

opportunities to advance. Traditional roles in capital markets include investment bankers, research and economics analysts, institutional sales and trading, portfolio managers and investment advisors. Often, these roles require further certifications and accreditations, such as the Canadian Securities designation. There are also capital markets accounting, law and consulting. While opportunities in capital markets are vast, women are unfortunately under-represented.

students, newcomers and seasoned professionals, have opportunities for:

» Networking » Mentoring and professional development » Career path insights for students » Forums to share best practices with industry leaders » And much more! Through the WCM University Connections Program, students can attend events that will educate and inform them about careers in capital markets, and access resources to help prepare for job interviews. For more information about WCM, including how to become a member, visit CO

Catalyst’s 2008 Report to Women in Capital Markets noted that “line experience is important company, yet women held only 17 percent of all line positions in capital markets, making no gains since 2000.” (Line experience includes roles linked with profit and loss, revenue generation, or direct client responsibility.) While there are no

Deborah Grosdanis has her MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University and has worked in the capital markets industry for over five years. She is the Co-chair of WCM’s High School Liaison Committee.

simple answers to this issue, one hypothesis is that not enough young women are aware of the wide-ranging opportunities the industry offers. Women in Capital Markets (WCM) is a nonprofit organization that promotes the entry, advancement and development of women in the capital markets industry. Members, including

Ca reer O p t io n s

For more information, visit:; (for Catalyst’s Report to Women in Capital Markets: Benchmarking 2008);

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2


Volunteering: Good for Others,

GREAT for You!


ou may think volunteering is just one of those feel-good activities that you’re pushed or even forced into in high school (40 hours are mandatory to graduate in Ontario) to “build character” and “give back to the community.” Ladies and gentlemen, volunteering is so much more important than you’ve been led to believe—not just for your community, but also for YOU and your career development! Networking Opportunities Volunteering offers you a great chance to network and make connections with some truly inspiring people at charity events, fundraisers and the like. So many different people come out to attend and support charitable events, including local community leaders and business owners. If you get to know some of them, who knows where it could lead? (Dare I say it—maybe to a job?)

By Andrea Migchelsen

You don’t even have to attend weekly meetings or spend every waking moment volunteering to get this benefit, either. Simply by getting out to support local charities—by participating in a fundraising run, for example— you get to meet some really cool people! While you’re still in university, I’d like to point out the absolute best networking opportunity you’ll ever have: vice-president of sponsorship for any campus club or organization. Your sole purpose is to contact businesses and sell your club as a valuable asset to them. Every single VP sponsorship I’ve ever met graduated with a job, along with two or three other employment opportunities as well.


w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

New Skills Development When you take time out of your day to volunteer, you open yourself to new experiences—which can help you develop new skills. When you are chair of a committee, for example, you learn teamwork, how to set up an event, how to set goals and how to manage or supervise people in a group setting. As postgraduate students with minimal work experience, you should grab any skills-building opportunity you can! You can also practise your new skills freely in your volunteer position. You can even test out some of the things you’ve learned in class if they apply to your organization. If they’re a success, think of all the skills you can add to your resumé. Resumé and Experience There are so many university students out there whose resumés could use a little more meat on their bones. Volunteering is a great way to beef up your resumé if your work experience doesn’t do much to sell you. Mention all the student organizations and clubs you belong to, and try to volunteer for organizations that reflect your studies and career aspirations.

Personal Satisfaction I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel good to help others. Seeing the smile on somebody’s face when you’ve helped them out puts a spring in your step. You can look at it selfishly and think you’ll get good karma, but you should really just enjoy the moment, and everything you’ve done. So, there really is no excuse not to volunteer. Get yourself out there, do some good in your community and use it as a stepping stone to your future! CO

Andrea Migchelsen is a recent University of Ottawa graduate and an account manager at a leading marketing and communications firm.

For more information, including a list of the top 10 things employers are looking for, visit:,

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2



w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2



w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

Ca reer O p t io n s

w in t er/s p rin g 2 0 1 2



w i nter/sp ring 2012

ca reerop ti o n smaga zin

Career Options Winer 2012  

Career Options is unique in that it’s created just for Canadian college and university students. The information is tailored to meet your re...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you