UTM Career Centre Blog

Weekly thoughts, musings, sharings, and everything in between from your pals at the UTM Career Centre.



  • Are you curious about a specific profession or field of work?
  • Want to meet and learn from professionals working in that area?

If you answered Yes, then Extern is for you.



Extern is a job shadowing program where participants explore a career by visiting with professionals in the workplace.  Participants meet with their host (UofT alumni), observe daily work activities (anywhere from 1-5 days), tour a number of departments or meet with staff to discuss the industry and learn about the workplace culture.  This exposure will help you with your own career decisions.




“Extern gave me insight on the career I wanted to explore as I was unsure as to what career I wanted to pursue.”

“I had a wonderful time and I learned a lot”.

“Signing up for Extern was one of the best decisions I have made so far during my undergraduate journey.”


HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?    Extern is just a click away!

Read up on Extern and sign up through CLN

 (on your dashboard – select Programs – Extern – then follow the steps). 


One more reason to get involvedDaniela-calout

EXTERN will be recognized on your Co-Curricular Record (CCR).

Read up on the CCR here


Daniela Cristini,

Career Counsellor

A Glimpse of My Experiences as a Research Assistant

RA-pictureWorking as a Research Assistant for UTM’s Career Centre has been one of the greatest highlights of my university life. My two years in this role have equipped me with extremely valuable experiences and memories.

I can ramble on about the analytical, time management, communication, and organizational skills I have gained at the Career Centre but I won’t.  The openness and motivation of all staff members is something I’ll always cherish. However, despite all these wonderful aspects, the most valuable part of this job has been the memorable teams I’ve worked with and the confidence I’ve gained in myself.

I started the position very unsure of how well I’d do. For the first few months, I became well known by other Research Assistants for running into odd problems. They found my short-lived moments of panic, followed by a series of epiphanies, amusing. My own resilience surprised me. Before this role, I was unaware of my strong ability to problem solve, and I’m surprised with how well I’ve become at tackling new challenges.

I’ve also discovered that it’s nearly impossible to have learned absolutely everything in any role. Just when I think I’ve perfected being a Career Centre Research Assistant, I come across something new. Either it’s a new feature added to the online database we use, or new insights from the other Research Assistants that motivate me to learn something new.

I’ve found it helpful to step back and explore the intrinsic value in everything I do in order to excel in any role. I regularly catch myself encouraging other UTM students to get involved on campus in order to make their university experience memorable. I can’t wait to take everything I’ve learned as a Research Assistant in all my future endeavors.

Memoona Irshad
Research Assistant, Career Centre

Four Career Words to Live by: Assess, Explore, Reflect, Action

The winter term is over and summer just around the corner. Before you move on to summer jobs, travelling or taking more courses, why not take some time to think about your career, what you’ve been doing and what you want to do next. If you are stuck or confused about career direction, here are four words that can help you work on your career goals.

Assess: what do you like about your studies, your job(s), volunteer or extra-curricular activities? What don’t you like? What places or activities bring out the “best you”, where you feel the best fit?

Explore: what career area are you curious about? What skills do you want to try out or further develop? Even if you don’t know what career an activity might lead to, check it out anyway if it sounds interesting to you.

Felicity1                         Felicity2

Reflect: what activities have you engaged in this year that might help you with your career? Consider everything you’ve done e.g. paid, unpaid, volunteer, extra-curriculars, etc. Anything you do can help you learn more about yourself and what kinds of work might best suit you.

Action: keep moving on your career goals! Every small step helps you get closer to where you want to go, so try to include them as you plan out your next year. This idea applies whether you are just finished up first year or are now set to graduate; you’ll be doing this throughout your working life.

At any of these points, remember the Career Centre is here to help you (while you are a student and for two years after you graduate). If you are feeling stuck, not sure what you are supposed to do next or need to bounce ideas off someone, drop by or call to make an appointment with a career counsellor. Check our Events Calendar to see what you can attend. Or just come and ask us for some help; that’s what we are here for.


Felicity Morgan

Director, Career Centre



At some point while studying at UTM someone is going to ask you ‘So what are you going to do with (insert your area of study here) when you graduate?’ You plan to visit the Career Centre, but with classes and everything else you don’t have time. The Career Centre website is always open so it’s easy to fit checking it out into your schedule.  The amount of information on the website can feel overwhelming so here are some highlights that will help break things down for you and, hopefully, help you to figure out the answer to that dreaded question.

Careers by Major  can be a starting point for generating ideas for potential career areas. The skills section can be used to help you identify the skills you need to develop. Or the skills section may confirm how the skills you are gaining in your summer / part-time / work-study or volunteer job will be beneficial when applying to that job when you graduate.

Career Planning by Year  suggests a couple of things you could be doing  each year while you’re at UTM to build skills and putting together a career plan for when you graduate

Building your skills may require you to submit a resume to apply to a job. The resume resources on our site are quite extensive. Start by clicking  the Resume Resources link our home page. The Resume and Cover letter Toolkit with its samples from the first draft of resume through to an improved version shows you what you can include on your resume the goes beyond just a list of jobs and duties. Read the marketing strategy section to learn how the resume is one of your marketing tools and how it fits into your plan for finding work.

We continue to review and add to our website. Right now we are working to make it more interactive by adding information about creating a powerful LinkedIn profile, some short videos and quick 2 minute activities that you could do to gradually move you forward with your plan. So when SOMEONE  asks “what you are going to do after your graduate” you not only have an answer but you are working on a plan.
Cathy- Ann Cope

E- Learning Specialist



Avoiding the “Noise” of Job Search Advice

ron image.pngDid you ever notice that many people claim to know how you should approach your job search? Many of these “experts” provide contradictory and negative information. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the job search information out there.

While those providing the advice are well-meaning, how do you decide which advice to take without being overwhelmed? Here are a few tips.

Listen to Positive People

While job search is challenging, it’s important to stay positive. Rather than spending energy on why something is not possible or difficult, listen to people who have ideas that can help and avoid the naysayers. If someone consistently tells you why something is difficult (or impossible), it will be difficult for them to provide you with information you can actually use.

Consider the Source

There are many sources of information. Before following the advice, think about who is giving the advice. Are they knowledgeable in the career or industry to which you have an interest? Beware of information framed as “everyone should” as each industry and situation is different. Focus on tips such as “based on my experience, recruiters in industry _____ have stated a preference for.. .”

Rely on Your Own Research

You are the expert on you. One of the best ways to research information is to conduct information interviews with individuals in your area of interest. This way, you can focus on the issues that are of greatest interest to you. Ask the individual specific questions related to your situation.

Filter the Advice

It is impossible to follow every piece of advice. Think about which suggestions that you can follow today and in the near future based on the relative value of the information. Remember, advice is a gift. You can choose to use as much or as little as you want.

Brainstorm With Someone You Trust

Once you have reviewed all of the advice, talk about your situation with someone you trust. This can be a mentor, a trusted friend or a career counsellor/employment advisor. This will help you put together a plan based on your individual situation.

Smart Job Hunt for Graduating Students

The Career Centre is hosting our annual Smart Job Hunt event for graduating students on April 26 and 27. Join us to learn pro-active job search strategies, meet other graduating students and get advice from employers and alumni to help you with your next steps. Please register on the CLN

Still Not Sure What to Do?

Please visit us in the Career Centre. We’re here to help!


Ron Wener

Employment Advisor

Careers in Human Resources

jelena image

Back by popular demand – Careers in Human Resources Panel discussion March 9, 2016!

Organizations depend on human resources department’s to function. The HR department is responsible for talent recruitment and retention, payroll functions, organizational effectiveness, equity and employment law, and total rewards and benefits. Many people find themselves interested in a career in HR because it’s so versatile. For instance, if you are interested in human psychology you can explore the organizational effectiveness stream where you will work to implement strategies that will motivate employees to bring their best performance forward. If you are passionate about statistics and finance, then you may enjoy payroll administration and total rewards. Talent recruitment and retention is great for people who…like people! This stream of HR allows you to connect with people and bring on board employees that will help benefit the bottom line of the organization. This is a very rewarding role. So as you can see, HR has something for everyone and the HR panel on March 9 is a great opportunity to learn more! Many of the skills you are gaining while in school (such as analytical and numerical skills, writing, communication, and interpersonal skills) will be a great asset in HR careers. On top of all that, it is very versatile because HR professionals are found  in all industries. Whether it is government or high tech, HR professionals are there!

Don’t miss out on this  unique opportunity to talk directly with HR professionals!

Mark this date in your calendar, March 9, 5-7pm and plan to attend!


Monica Scott

Outreach Consultant


Jelena Vulic

Coordinator, Events and Employment Services



Do you feel unfulfilled from full-time academics?  Are you in debt? Worried about your sparse looking resume?

If I had been asked these questions during my first three years of university, I would’ve answered a booming YES across the board!  Luckily, near the end of my third year of studies, I secured a position as a Career Assistant at the UTM Career Centre.  At the time, I was really only doing it to remedy the challenges above.  I wanted to become engaged outside of the classroom, pay off some bills, and fill out my resume.  In essence, I thought a part-time job would help and an on-campus one seemed easiest.  What I didn’t count on though, was just how life-changing my new part-job would be.  Working at the Career Centre helped me learn a lot about professional development.  I was able to make great connections (yay networking!), have easy access to great career-related books, and have an excuse to attend counselling sessions that I didn’t even realize I needed.    Plus, helping other students made me feel so personally fulfilled that my whole university experience finally came to life.  It even emboldened my choice to go into the field of counselling myself; and now, five years later (with a recent Master’s Degree in hand), I’ve begun working as a Career Counsellor at the Centre.  Who knew what a part-time job on campus could lead to down the road?!

If you’re thinking about gaining experience, getting involved, paying off some bills, or trying something new, I’d strongly suggest that you consider working at the Career Centre.  There are different positions available based on your interests and personalities; so all are welcome to apply! You can find out more information by checking out the postings on the Career Learning Network.  If something catches your interest, don’t hesitate – apply!


Kayla Sousa

Career Counsellor

Undecided about your career? Not sure what to do? (read on)

Keep Calm and Come to the Career Centre


I regularly meet with students who are overwhelmed with the prospect of making career choices and decisions.    These include students in their first year right up to and including recent grads.    A good proportion of students don’t have a career focus early on in their academic experience and become increasingly motivated as they near graduation, when the reality of finding employment sets in.

Why the indecision?

There are a number of reasons that could contribute to career decision-making difficulties, including:

  • Not knowing how to make a career decision
  • Limited information about oneself (eg. capabilities, interests, personal qualities)
  • Lack of information about occupations and how to obtain career information
  • Inconsistent information due to internal or external factors (eg. difficulties related to the developing personal identity of the student, insecurity about one’s ability to achieve a career goal, limited career exposure, or expectations / opinions of significant others)

Making Career Decisions 

Below are some questions to ponder if you’re having difficulty making a career decision:

  • How do you prefer to make decisions? Has this approach been beneficial for you in the past?
  • How well do you understand yourself (likes, dislikes, strengths, values, personality)?
  • How does your self-knowledge suit different occupations? What else do you need to know?
  • Do you have sufficient (reliable) information to make and evaluate your career choices (Eg. career information, required training, contacts in the field)? What else do you need to know?
  • What’s your timeline for making a decision?
  • What’s in the way of making a decision?


Identify the road blocks in an effort to help you move towards a solution.   Whatever the reason, don’t ignore the challenge or put off taking action.     You do not need to agonize through your career decision making woes.  There is plenty of support available on-campus to assist you with each step of the way.

 How the UTM Career Centre can help: 

  • Career exposure opportunities connecting students to working professionals in various fields and organizations. Read up on “In the Field” and “Extern” programs in the Career Learning Network at  (check Programs as well as the Mississauga Events Calendar for upcoming sessions).
  • web-based resources on occupations and career decision making (check CLN, under “resources”)
  • workshops on topics including career exploration and decision making, job search, interview skills, professional/graduate school planning and much more. Also, networking events and career nights with industry speakers who share insights about their own career path and tips for students. (check the CLN – Mississauga Events Calendar, for upcoming sessions)
  • a variety of assessment tools (to identify your skills, interests, values, personality traits)
  • individual appointments with staff to discuss your career or job search questions and concerns

Visit the UTM Career Centre for support.  We’re committed to your success.

Daniela Cristini, Career Counsellor



Morgan Tracy, Ness David.   Career Decision Making Difficulties of First Year Students.  Retrieved from

(The Canadian Journal of Career Development).


Experiential learning is learning through experience and then reflecting on that experience. Reflection is key as it helps a person gain perspective into their likes and dislikes.

So, why is experiential learning important when it comes to career exploration? It is important because it allows students to participate in an activity that will help them learn about what careers align with their passions, strengths and values.

I am a big advocate of experiential learning. I think that university can be an overwhelming experience because there are so many options. Options everywhere! For everything! Even deciding where to eat lunch requires a “pros and cons” list. So, how is a student supposed to know what they want to do for the rest of their life? Am I right? This is why experiential learning is so great! It helps students experience first-hand things that are of interest to them and decide if they actually like it or not.

The Career Centre is a great resource for experiential learning. Our Career Exploration programs are carefully designed to provide a meaningful learning experience. Our In the Field program takes students on site to various organizations where they can learn about the day-to-day operations of individuals working in various departments. How cool is that? Very cool, if I may say so myself (and not only because I help organized them).

In the month of March, we will be hosting two In the Field sessions to CAMH and Peel Regional Police. Students will get to tour the organizations and spend the day with yours truly! If you haven’t had the opportunity to sign up for these fun filled days of learning, please check CLN because spots are limited.

These types of opportunities are so valuable and often times underutilized. I highly recommend that all students do some further research on experiential learning and how it can benefit your personal career exploration.

As always, I encourage students to contact me with questions! I’d be happy to chat with you about various Career Centre initiatives and how they can help you.

Happy Learning!


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