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UTM Career Centre Blog

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

Month

December 2015

Reflections of a Career Assistant

UTMCC_Circle_LOGO-02If you walk into the UTM Career Centre, you’ll be warmly welcomed by me or another one of my fellow Career Assistants. I have been a Career Assistant since September 2014, and it has been a fulfilling experience. As I’ve been reflecting on my role, I wanted to share a bit about my experience.

I originally pursued a position as a Career Assistant because I was knowledgeable about the Career Centre’s resources and interested in advising others. The one thing that I like the most about my role is seeing the spark in a student’s eyes when they talk about their passions and interests. Even when these passions and interests seem miniscule to the student, it’s really inspiring to see their drive!

As a staff member, I’m continuously learning about career planning and development. The one thing that has struck me the most is the importance of networking and making connections. As a self-proclaimed introvert, I find this to be challenging. I try to make the effort to get out of my comfort-zone and look for opportunities to make connections. In my experience, it has been interesting to gain advice from others and to learn about their experiences.

The one pleasant surprise on the job has been the amount of support that I find from my colleagues. I originally envisioned this position as involving me to primarily work independently. Though this is the case for the most part while updating our print resources, I’ve come to realize that my colleagues are very supportive and open to assisting when I reach out.

As this is my second year as a Career Assistant, I have taken on an additional leadership role, mainly in preparing, updating, and facilitating training pieces for fellow student-staff members. This was challenging because it was new territory for me – involving some degree of creativity and collaboration with both student and non-student staff members. It was satisfying to see months of hard work all come together during student-staff training.

Moving forward, my goal is to manage my time more effectively. Time management is continually something that I actively try to improve upon. I’ve been creating an agenda for myself daily which keeps me on track. Being consistent is key for me continuing into the New Year.

The past 1.5 years working at the Centre has gone by so fast, and I know that I will miss being a part of this multi-disciplinary team after graduating in June.  If you are interested in becoming a Career Assistant next fall, keep an eye on CLN for that position posting.  The posting usually appears in early February.

– Pamela Adjei, Career Assistant

Small Talk

Peggy bus image

The end of the semester is almost here!  It’s also the beginning of the holiday season and with it plenty of invites to parties.   For those of you who are looking for work, parties are a great place to network.  Students usually cringe at the sound of the word networking.  It conjures up images of people putting on fake smiles as their eyes peer just past your shoulders to see who else is in the room.  It’s not a very warm and fuzzy feeling when you feel completely unheard and unnoticed standing in a room full of strangers.  And, I guess they are right. We all want to be noticed, heard & appreciated.

I was one of those people who hated networking especially at formal networking events.  It felt so inauthentic.   Then, I read a quote that changed my perspective.   It read “The secret of positive networking is discovering what you can do for someone else.” I loved that line because it took me completely off the hook. I decided that instead of trying to figure out something clever to say, I would simply ask questions.  I also found that by making others feel more at ease, I was more at ease too.   Instead of trying to sell myself I became curious about how I could be of service.   I would introduce new people to each other, pass on information, help or talk to a person sitting alone by making small talk. You see, you don’t have to spend the whole evening pitching yourself to others.  You still need to practice whatever it is that you want people to know about yourself but when you’ve done that……it’s all about the small talk! The topics are endless, vacations, new cars, sleepless nights with a new baby, love those Leafs.   Need I go on?  It’s called the art of conversation!  The trick is to do more listening than talking.  You will find other ways to make deeper connections than just finding out about their work. When it comes down to it, people want to connect with people they like so just be yourself and form relationships that will last your entire career. If you aren’t connecting with the person then move on. Go rescue the wallflower standing on the sidelines looking petrified. You can do this.  The choice is yours to make.
Peggy Shkuda, Career Counsellor and Networker

 Quote:  Work the Pond by Darcy Rezac – check it out in the Career Center library!

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