Job hunting when you’re a student, especially a student with family responsibilities, can be a daunting task. To help student parents navigate this complex issue, last week the Family Care Office offered a workshop on career planning, facilitated by Karen Carrel Rice. Karen, a counsellor at the UofT Career Centre, helped several students feel more confident about their career pathways by encouraging them to make use of the Career Centre’s many, many excellent resources.
For me, the workshop was quite timely, as I’m about to finish my last year of undergraduate study. When I went in to this workshop, I felt pretty secure in the knowledge that I had a solid plan for after graduation, and that I was well on my way towards meeting my goals. After the workshop it was a slightly different story…but don’t let that discourage you! The major takeaway from this workshop was that I need to start visiting the Career Centre. And if you’re approaching an education or career transition, so do you!
If you’re just getting started on your career search (like me!) or if you’re making a change to your career or educational pathway, you should take a moment to evaluate your skills, interests, values, and personality. (At the workshop we did a work values assessment, and I was definitely surprised by what my top work values were.) If you aren’t sure how to begin, the Career Centre has resources that can help you identify your values, interests, and skills more clearly. Take one of their frequently-offered workshops, like “You and Your Career Options,” which is open to all students.
No time to make it to the office in person? Don’t worry! The Career Centre has just introduced a brand new eLearning series, which can be accessed here. Online tutorials and workshops will take you through the process of writing a resume or CV, finding work after graduate school or after a long break between jobs, writing applications and personal statements, and much more.
One of the most important tips I picked up from the workshop was to start turning the tables on my job search, and conduct my own “informational interviews.” An informational interview allows you to pick the brain of someone whose position or career you’d like to have someday. You can ask that person about their education, career path, and volunteering to get a sense of how they got where they are now. You can ask them about their daily tasks or what kinds of rewards and drawbacks are inherent to the job. You can find out if the field is stable or growing, or if any major changes are coming up so that you can take them into account. It’s the perfect opportunity to find out firsthand how to best prepare yourself for your dream job, not to mention it’s a great way to make contacts!
Don’t know anybody with your dream job? The Career Centre has you covered. Take part in their Extern Job Shadowing program (coming up in June!) or dive in to their Informational Interview Contacts binder, available at the Centre.
And if you have more questions about your career planning strategies, you can always visit the Career Centre to schedule an appointment with amazing counsellors like Karen. I highly recommend it!