Career prep advice for students

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Calvin_Bill_300x200

Going to college is a great experience and can be a lot of fun, but most people attend with the goal of starting a career after graduation. We talked to Carlos Santos, GBCareers Coordinator (pictured left), and Calvin Bill, Career Advisor from the George Brown College Career Centre (pictured right), to highlight how their team helps students prepare for their career while in school.

  1. How would you describe Career Services to someone who’s not familiar with it?
  2. CB: We help with Career Clarity or Planning, Career Skills Development, or Self-Marketing. Some students come to our centre wanting to learn how to find a part-time job and others are hoping to figure out their Career Strategy. Or they might have an interview coming up, and we can help them practice sounding more confident and make a memorable impression.

    CS: Our advisors are trained in providing information you wouldn’t be able to find on Google. Labour market information can be overwhelming to students who already have a heavy workload, but we can demystify career development for them.

  3. Are there any misconceptions that students have about what your area does?
  4. CB: We are more than resume help (but of course we can help you with that). We help with professional skills development and career planning for your success. The sooner you start developing, the better.

    CS: One of the most common misconceptions is that students should only come to Career Services in their last semester, when they are job searching. The truth is that it would be very helpful for students to come to Career Services in semester one, so that they have even more time to build the skills necessary to face the reality of the industry they are getting into.

  5. Can you tell us a bit about Career Fairs and why you think they're beneficial. Why should students attend?
  6. CS: Career Fairs are a great way to practice your networking skills. It’s an opportunity to market yourself to potential employers. Not all career fairs are meant to find jobs but are set up for students to talk to employers to gain a better understanding of their industry and build a contact list.

    CB: It’s a chance to meet the humans, as it is people that will help you get the job in the end. Even in your first semester, you should go to industry-relevant career fairs to learn and make connections.

  7. Who are some of the biggest industry partners that have hosted or attended fairs in the past?
  8. CB: We have a variety of employers related to all of our programs: from large international companies, to start-ups. As a Career Team we are always trying to find ways to get employers on campus and connected to students.

    CS: We have known companies like RBC, The Hudson’s Bay, Indochino and many others, that come to our centre to meet with some of our great students. Career Services is moving forward with a plan to host more small career events to provide our students with more employment opportunities.

  9. How should students prepare to attend a fair? (Should they dress up? Have resumes or cards available?)
  10. CS: For most career fairs, students are required to dress up for an interview, as some of them might get interviewed on the spot; so, sneakers and sweaters are not acceptable. They need to have their résumés ready, so we provide Résumé Clinics prior to the events for students who need that last-minute review.

    CB: You should either have some business cards or at least your LinkedIn contact details ready to exchange. It is important to get the contact details of the employers you meet – and follow up with those contacts!

  11. What other career-related events/workshops take place that students might find useful?
  12. CS: Career services have several different tools that help students develop their skills, such as curated employment/career-related playlists on Lynda.com, to provide students with opportunities to learn remotely, on their own time and at their own pace. For example, we have a video playlist dedicated to Networking skills. Having these playlists already made means students save a bit of time not having to search. We also provide students with opportunities to network using the Ten Thousand Coffees platform, where students can connect with seasoned professionals for an information exchange.

    CB: Peerconnect’s Career Coaches also facilitate 30-minute workshops on LinkedIn and employability skills such as Time Management. In addition to career fairs, there may be employer information sessions in your academic centre.