UTM Career Centre Blog

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


September 2015

You Asked – We Answered! (part 2)

image of cartoon characters colored in

Last week, we responded to a whole bunch of questions posed at our Orientation fair that was held two weeks ago.  Here is Part 2!

How hard is it to open a private enterprise vs. joining an already established one?

  • Great question – but it’s a bit tricky to know what’s “hard” since each person has different ideas about what that entails.
  • Ask yourself questions about the labour market, your connections, access to funding, clientele base, and overall vision for your business. Answering some of these questions may help create a plan.
  • Since there is no blanket “hard” or easy path, book a career counselling appointment and check out our entrepreneurship package so you can start thinking about what your next steps after grad should be.

Are there Law /Medical/Pharmacy/graduate schools Fairs?

  • The Graduate and Professional School Fair is an annual event that will be held on September 30 from 10-2 in the RAWC this year. Have a look at the schools attending by visiting the Fairs page on the Career Centre website.

Interested in a Medical Career – doctors, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, medical technologist.  There is a lot to do to prepare for a career in medicine and knowing the requirements early is a good way to build toward success.

“I don’t know what I want to do! Help me!”

  • Have no fear! Did you know that 20-50% of all students entering university are undecided about their major and between 50-70% of students change their major at least once during their students? So, if you’re uncertain – you’re in good company!
  • Book an appointment with a professional at the Centre to start talking about your options.
  • Attend a workshop tailored to helping you decide what program is the best fit for you.
  • Check out our online career planning guide to give you some ideas about you can clarify your goals.

Well, there we have it, folks.  We hope these tips were helpful in answering your questions.  Thanks again for asking away!  If you have anything that’s lingering, please don’t hesitate to visit the Career Centre in DV 3094 or call us at 905-828-5451.

Monica Scott, Outreach Career Consultant

Kayla Sousa,  Assistant Outreach Career Consultant


Check out your options at the Graduate & Professional Schools Fair

aerial shot of Grad Fair with tables set up and people conversing

Are you guys as exhausted as I am about hearing that there are no decent opportunities for
new grads out there? It seems like almost every few weeks or so we hear or read something about the entry level job market that never sounds super promising. Be it television, radio (yes, I actually am a millennial that listens to talk radio), social media, or good old fashioned newspapers – we’ve all heard this message. The most frustrating part for me, however, is that many students begin to second guess their undergraduate degree and experience and start thinking that the next logical step to get themselves ahead of the pack is to apply to grad school.

Now, grad school is a wonderful option, but if the only reason you’re considering applying to grad school is to try to get ahead of your cohort, you may need to do a bit more soul searching. Is grad school right for you? Is grad school necessary to get into the career of your dreams? What skills and experiences are also necessary to develop for that career? Have you considered cost? Do you know exactly what you want to do with your Masters or PhD? Is grad school something you can circle back to after a few years in the working world? These are a few questions you might want to consider in deciding whether to apply to grad school.

Luckily, at the Career Centre, we have thought of a great place for you to start: The Graduate and Professional Schools Fair which is this coming Wednesday September 30th from 10am-2pm in the RAWC. We will have over 100 programs and faculties represented at this years’ fair, from med school, to teachers college, even a graduate degree in forestry! We will also represent college post-graduate certificates, and more! The grad fair is a great place to start answering some of the questions about whether grad school is the option for you. You can find a list of programs participating at the fair at This is a great opportunity to start asking some questions of the representatives attending about their respective programs. Our Career Centre staff will be on hand at the entrance and exit tables to answer any questions you have as well.

If after the fair, you’ve decided you’d like to pursue to option of grad school, we have many workshops listed in the Career Learning Network that you can register for, or you can make an appointment to speak to Career Counsellor by visiting the Career Centre in DV3094, or by calling (905) 828-5451.

image of Michelle Atkinson at the Grad Fair

Full disclosure, you guys: if you read my bio, you’d know that I was seriously considering teachers college in my final year of university. It wouldn’t have been the right move. However, now that I have been in the working world for a number of years, I’m starting to feel like my master’s degree is something I would like to pursue. Come and find me at the fair, I’d be happy to share some insights!

Michelle Atkinson

Coordinator, Events and Employment Services

You Asked – We Answered!

image of cartoon characters colored inConsider this post to be one GIANT shout-out to all of you wonderful folks who made our Career Centre Carnival a huge success!  Since we had so many great questions from those who came, we decided to answer them here.

How can I find a part-time/volunteer opportunity? Do people hire 1st year students on campus?

  • The Get Experience Fair on September 23 is a great place to start looking for experiences to build your skills. To see the list of organizations attending, visit the Fairs page on the Career Centre website.
  • Also, be sure to check out the Part-time work/study jobs listed on the Career Learning Network. For more information about on-campus positions, visit the on campus opportunities page on the Career Centre website.

When Does Extern Start?

  • The Extern Job Shadowing Program is definitely a great way to connect with professionals in a related field of your choice.
  • It runs three times a year (Reading Week, once in May, and once again during the summer).
  • For more information on the exact dates as well as info about the program, click here.

Are we supposed to make various types of resumes?

  • Good question. The short answer is YES! If there’s any takeaway you receive about your resume, let this be it: tailoring is key!
  • To see some helpful tips about how to make your resume pop effectively, visit the online Resume & Cover Letter Resources.
  • Also, be sure to sign up for a resume or cover letter critique through the Career Learning Network; students and recent grads are eligible to have 3 per term with a hardcopy handy.

How do you apply for a job you are underqualified for?

  • This one is a bit tricky; be sure to research the requirements early and start gaining experience so you can become qualified.
  • Have information interviews, network, and volunteer so you can slowly build your resume.
  • And remember: if you meet most of the criteria on a given job posting – apply, apply, apply! Many employers are willing to provide training so highlight what you have to offer rather than what still needs developing.Stay tuned for

Monica Scott, Outreach Consultant

Kayla Sousa, Assistant Outreach Consultant


Get Experience Fair – Opportunity Awaits!

It was not too long ago that I was exactly where you are; a student wondering what I’ll do after graduation and if I’ll be able to find a job that would enable me to support myself into t
he next chapter of my life.

I applied, applied….and I applied. Then, I re-applied (because surely, image of Jelena Vulic these fine employers were not receiving my resume and cover letter correctly if a university educated person such as my self was not getting a call back!). As it turns out, they were receiving my resume but what I needed to even be considered for an entry level job was, you guessed it, EXPERIENCE!

Now, what really discouraged me at the time was this notion that I needed experience to find employment yet no one was willing to take me on and give me the opportunity to gain said experience.  At the time, I was re-reading John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany” (which by the way is a classic that you must read. You are welcome) and I remember thinking to myself, despite the fact that Owen is fictional, these ideas resonated with me “Everyone has their own hardships. You have no excuses to hide behind. Zero. No one is going to make anything happen for you unless you make it happen for yourself”. So,  I began cold calling companies and although awkward at times, it was worth it because someone did take me on. It was un-paid, but it was a learning experience that I’m grateful for as it marked the start of what so far has been a meaningful career.

If you are able to relate to my story, then I have some great news for you! I have been busy organizing the Get Experience Fair that will be taking place on September 23rd at the RAWC from 10 am to 2 pm. The purpose of this event is to connect students to employers looking to hire UTM students for volunteer, part-time and on-campus opportunities. It doesn’t matter what year of study or program you are in as there is something for everyone. This is a great chance to learn about opportunities that will enhance your resume and make you more marketable to future employers.  Here are some of the benefits:

  • Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteering your time toward a cause has many benefits that extend beyond building friendships and helping your community. Volunteering builds confidence, communication skills and leadership skills to name a few.
  • Part-time Opportunities: Part-time work allows students to earn some extra money while gaining valuable work experience. Remember that transferable skills are key! For example, time management skills that you gain while working at a restaurant can be applied to any job in the future.
  • On-Campus Opportunities: Did you know you can find part-time work right he
    re on our campus? That’s right! Whether unpaid or paid, working on campus allows you to connect to your UTM community and take part in many exciting programs and initiatives that can help you better understand your passions and interests!

I love watching students connecting to employers and their community. It’s what drives and inspires me. Knowing that I am helping students tap into their potential is incredibly rewarding. I look forward to seeing you at the fair!  Here’s my photo.  Be sure to say hello.

Books That Make You Think

Congratulations!  You survived the first week of classes.  Take a deep breath and exhale.  You’ve had a lot of information tossed your way this week and I certainly don’t want to add to your burden but I do want to let you know that each month the Career Centre library features books that may be of help to you.  The monthly feature is called “Books That Make You Think”.  We are hopeful that the books we present to you will assist you in your career discovery, job search exploration and basically, um…make you think!

book cover

This month we put the spotlight on an international award winning book written by a former UTM student.  It’s called Your Guide to Succeed in University.  The goal of this guide is to help you to become more confident, well-rounded and successful in your overall education experience.   It’s a must read for every first year student.  For a free electronic copy, click on and then scroll down to Books That Make You Think.

-Peggy Shkuda, Career Counsellor and Book Lover

Come to the Fair!

Aerial shot of Get Hired Fair 2014Perhaps you’ve heard about the multiple fairs that the Career Centre hosts each year; Get Experience Fair, Graduate and Professional Schools Fair, and the Get Hired! Fair. ‘What’s the point of attending?’ you might be asking yourself.  The academic year can be super busy, trust me, I know! I’m here to share a secret – there’s a lot that you can take away from the fairs, no matter what year or program you’re in. Whether you’re just dropping by to browse or spend a little extra time, here are some reasons why you should be in attendance:

Be Curious

  • Curiosity can get you to so many places. You might discover something new and exciting! Feel free to chat with people and ask a lot of questions. You never know where it might lead you.

Gain Professional Skills

  • You may not consciously think about your posture, tone of voice, or handshake but being at the fair is an opportunity to meet people and strengthen these skills. You don’t necessarily have to wait for a networking session to practice these skills!

Guests In-Demand

  • Professionals whom you read about online or have to wait for hours before you can talk to on the phone are actually giving you the opportunity to meet them in person. They come seeking you so use this to your advantage!

Institution/ Company Culture

  • Whether you are talking to a representative from a company or an institute, you get a sense of what they have to offer and whether it is a good fit for you. It is a good chance to find out whether their values align with yours.

Free Stuff

  • Hopefully this isn’t the main incentive of attending, but how could you resist freebies?! I know I could always use a few extra pens and highlighters.  Show up to see what surprises are in store for you!

Ask questions

  • Our friendly Career Centre staff will be rocking their lime green Jimmi t-shirts. Feel free to ask us any questions you might have and we will be more than happy to help. We don’t bite, I promise.

It’d be a good idea to take some time to prepare before any of the fairs. The Career Centre website will be updated regularly so check out which organizations are coming and which ones interest you. Follow this link to other Career Fair tips on what to keep in mind.

Hope to see you at our Get Experience Fair coming up on September 23rd 10am-2pm at the RAWC.

-Zamera Kabir and Pamela Adjei, Career Assistants

What Inspires Me – Monica

Interesting work, great ideas, beautiful art and music all inspire me. All of these involve creativity and ingenuity. The lived experience of people as they engage in their creativity has always fascinated me. That’s why I love TEDTalks. Just reading through the list of TEDTalks is usually enough to get me thinking more creatively. If these people can ask their questions, find solutions and create or do something interesting, somehow that makes it seem possible for me to do something “more” in my day.

As Career Outreach Consultant, I work with members of the UTM community to bring career education to UTM students. I work with campus partners to help students explore questions like:

  •  What can I do with my degree?
  • Where can I get some experience?
  • I like so many things – how do I choose?

The first step is to take advantage of the rich environment we enjoy here.

Did you know that UTM hosted a TEDX conference two years ago? We did! Two creative and energetic students led a team to host a TED conference right here at UTM and along the way developed a lot of skills and experiences to help them answer these questions.

The key is to find what inspires you. Figure out what lights a fire in you and then find others that share the vision. At UTM we have so many opportunities both in and outside of the classroom. Take advantage of UTM clubs week to talk to student involved with the clubs, find out about the academic society for your area(s) of study and pay attention to which opportunities gets you excited. That’s the one to start with, you’ll be happy that you did!

rainbow colored spark ignited by a wooden match

Let me know which club/society you join. Comment below!

Meet Jimmi and get involved!


Jimmi is the UTM Career Centre’s mascot and ambassador. You’ll see Jimmi pop up from time to time in posters, digital signage and, on special occasions, in his corrugated entirety to help promote UTM Career Centre events and services. When you see Jimmi around campus, be sure to note that it is your opportunity to get involved and get engaged in self-rewarding co-curricular activities.

Speaking of getting involved and getting engaged, the number one message I try to leave with students wherever I am is to get involved.  Opportunities are everywhere, and in order to be competitive you need to find a way to stand out.  How do you do that?  It’s your commitment and willingness to get involved!  That does not mean you have to go out and start your own club, or do something that makes you feel uneasy, but if you need help, that’s where the UTM Career Centre and I actually come in.

My role at the UTM Career Centre is to help promote all of the opportunities available from our Centre, through various marketing and communication vehicles. Working closely with Michelle, Jelena and the entire Career Centre team, my job is to encourage  you  to attend events  and workshops  so that you can equip yourself  with the social and/or technical tools you’ll need the next time you feel uneasy or uncomfortable while trying to get experience.

For the shy types, getting involved could start with being active on Social Media. Did you just “like” a Facebook post? You just got involved!  Did you just retweet something to your followers, or post a reply, maybe even ask a thought-provoking question? You just got involved AND engaged! Maybe Social Media is not your cup of tea, but did you just log on and play an online game? Guess what, you got involved! It counts. It all adds up.

Whatever you are passionate about, try to get involved with others that share your passion. As you get more involved you’ll meet others and start to build your network. With a strong level of committed involvement/engagement, your network will keep you top-of-mind and hopefully contact you first when an opportunity opens up.

Are you still timid to take that next step? Feel free to read our staff bios. You might find that you share a common passion, hobby, or feelings of uncertainty that would make for a great conversation ice breaker.  Check out our UTM Career Centre Events Calendar for upcoming sessions, workshops, events, (and FAIRS) and if you fancy, follow @UTMCareerCentre on Twitter and feel free to “like” and comment on our Facebook page, UTM Career Centre.


Welcome Message

Welcome to the UTM Career Centre’s staff blog! With a new academic year starting, we wanted to help UTM students learn a little more about who we are at the Career Centre, and how we can help you while you are a student here (and two years after you graduate as well!) With our blog, we’ll tell you a little bit more about all of us (have a look at our “Bios” section), what inspires us, and we’ll share current and relevant news with you in our weekly entries. Feel free to comment back to us – we’re happy to have conversations!

While you’re at university, it’s great to start to thinking about your next steps in a way that works for you. At the Career Centre, we try to “meet you where you are” and help you move ahead from there. We’ve got a variety of services, and our programming each year offers lots of opportunities for exploring, developing skills and reflecting on where you are going and how you are getting there. Be sure to check out the Events calendar on our website and on the Career Learning Network regularly!

Felicity Morgan

Director, UTM Career Centre

Anne Gaiger

Assistant Director, UTM Career Centre

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