UTM Career Centre Blog

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

Calling all International students


Breaking into the Canadian Job Market: Career Panel for International Students

We are lucky enough to be part of a university that has a lot of diversity.  I love meeting and learning from international students. They have had very different life experiences from me and show so much resilience.  I often speak with international students who want to stay in Canada after they graduate.  I think the best way to learn about how to have a successful career is to talk to people who have done what you want to do.  With any kind of job search it is important to remember that you are not alone and that there are others who may have been in the exact same position as you. If you are an international student and want to work in Canada after graduation then the Breaking into the Canadian Job Market: Career Panel for International Students is the event for you!    Come out and meet others who have made the successful transitional from International Student to having a fulfilling career.    Past UTM Alumni will be there and are ready and willing to share their experiences.  Come prepared to ask lots of questions and learn some new tips and job search techniques that worked for them.

Jan 28, 2016 05:00 PM to 07:00 PM

In collaboration with the International Centre & Department of Management


Get a jump on 2016 at the Get Hired Fair


Ahhh January. That time of year when eggnog becomes a green monster smoothie, a Netflix marathon turns into marathon training, and the general sense of a fresh new semester has us feeling like we want to be a healthier, happier, more energized, and more organized version of ourselves. Am I right?! As New Year’s resolutions abound the goal setting season has officially begun. Conveniently, for all of you resolution setters, employers are thinking along those same lines. So, while the RAWC has recently been full of students and staff trying to get a jump on health in 2016, this Wednesday, it will also be packed with employers, organizations, and opportunities at the Get Hired Fair!

The Get Hired Fair is on January 13th from 10am-2pm in the RAWC and will feature organizations offering summer jobs and internships, full-time roles for soon to be or recent graduates, resources to connect students to entrepreneurial ventures and start-ups, and everything in between!

This year we have a great line up of organizations coming to campus. New to the fair this year we have RBC Canada, Best Buy, and Statistics Canada! Not to mention the breadth of opportunities for students in a wide range of disciplines.

In Life or Hard Sciences? Check out the Canadian Food and Inspection  Agency booth. Thinking about becoming a teacher? We have a variety of camps and programs attending the fair that will give you the kind of experience that will help you get into teachers’ college.  Looking for a job on campus? We’ve got you covered there too! UTM Athletics, Student Housing, the Office of Student Transition, Student Recruitment and Admissions and more(!) will be at the fair to talk about roles right here on campus!

But, the snow is just starting to fall and I only pulled out my parka last week!

I get it. It’s winter and we are talking about jobs that start as early as May 1st! Madness! The truth is that it takes a lot of time for employers to write and share job postings, review resumes and cover letters, interview, check references, and then actually hire and onboard. The work begins well before the end of classes, so you’ll find many deadline dates for summer (and even full-time) positions start to close in January or February.

If you’re feeling like your resume needs a bit of work, we’ve got you covered! The Career Centre is holding a Resume Blitz from 10am-4pm on January 12th in DV3094.

So get that resume polished, pick out a professional outfit, and we will see you on Wednesday at the Get Hired Fair!

Michelle Atkinson, Coordinator, Events and Employment Services




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!

I’m inspired by….

View of sky and math symbols

I am inspired by many things but particularly awed by people who step back from their day-to-day world in some way, see some bigger picture that relates to a larger community, and find a way to make that part of their life.

As a bit of a math-happy person, I was fascinated a number of years ago to read about John Mighton, founder of JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies) Math. Despite struggling with Math in school, he loved the subject and believed strongly that understanding and grasping it was important for everyone. Based on a true story he read about someone having taught themself a subject through sheer determination, he wanted to believe he could do the same.

To supplement his earnings as a playwright, he began tutoring elementary students in math. With his own math struggles always in mind, he developed, somewhat unplanned, a method of teaching math through observation, the absence of judgement, the assumption of ability, the insistence on breaking explanations into small steps, the understanding that people learn and respond differently, and the importance of encouragement. His tutoring success led to the creation of JUMP, with the first classes being held in his apartment kitchen and spare rooms, and growing to a program used by thousands of children with incredible results.

To add further interest to the story, Johns’ tutoring success renewed his faith in his math skills and led him back to the university classroom. He completed a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Toronto! But not to stop there, he also continued his career as a playwright and has won several awards.

It makes me a bit exhausted thinking about all that effort, enthusiasm and commitment – but it inspires me too and gives me something exciting to consider for my retirement.

There are many other people that inspire me in similar ways but this is one person I can’t seem to get out of my head. Long live math and numbers and helping people who’ve come to believe that they don’t belong to the ‘math types’ camp – it’s not genetically determined and can be found through patience and encouragement.

Have you ever thought of challenging what you’ve heard or were told about something you find difficult? It may be worth the effort and lead you to places you never imagined you’d go! Book an appointment with a Career Counsellor or Employment Advisor to find out how the Career Centre can help. We are open Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 4:00 daily and right up until December 22nd except on Friday when we are closed from noon to 1:00.

If you’re interested in learning more about JUMP Math or John Mighton, check out and

Eileen Sweeney-Bergen   – Coordinator, Resource Centre and Administration


math symbols

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined – Henry David Thoreau

One of the things that inspires me the most is an “underdog” success story. I love to hear about people who manage to succeed when the odds are against them, and when others have told them that they were crazy and could not achieve their dreams. It takes real courage, determination and belief in yourself and your dreams to succeed under such circumstances.

Little story of a man named Honda…

In 1938 Mr. Honda was a broke student who had only one dream. To design a piston ring that he would sell to Toyota. He would go to school and then work at his idea at night, covered up to his elbows in grease. After years of spending time, effort and money when he thought it was perfect, he took it to Toyota and they rejected it. He was ridiculed by friends, teachers and family for designing such a stupid gadget that nobody would want. Instead of giving up, he spent another 2 years making the design even better and then Toyota finally bought it. Over the years, Mr. Honda suffered many setbacks including his factory being bombed in World War II, and at another time an earthquake leveling his factory. Mr. Honda’s perseverance and hard work is what finally paid off as he created the Honda motor. Today, the Honda Corporation is one of the most successful in the world and outsells every car in America except Toyota.

Little story of a man named Disney

Walt Disney, according to his editor, lacked imagination and had no good ideas. As a young man, Disney went on to file for bankruptcy protection several times and overcame numerous obstacles while creating the Disney empire beloved by children and adults today. When he was seeking funding for Disneyland in Anaheim, California, it’s said that Disney was turned down by 302 bankers before he got the funding he needed.

There are countless other success stories like the ones of Steve Jobs of Apple Corporation, Bill Gates of Microsoft Corporation and even singing group One Direction whose members each got voted off of X-Factor, but Simon Cowell saw something in each of them and put them together in the group which is hugely successful today.

Do you have an idea, goal or dream that people think you can’t achieve? What is the life that you imagine for yourself and the world? Remember we are open for business right up until December 22 from 10:00 to 4:00.

Sasha Thornhill, Career Services Representative.

Personal Statement S.O.S


Personal Statement crunch time is here.  If you are juggling exams, term papers plus a part time job and didn’t have the time to attend our Personal Statement workshop, relax!  The Career Centre has your back.  We have developed an e-learning Personal Statement module (best viewed using Chrome or Firefox browsers) that will help you to kick start your statement.  It’s fun and interactive and will give you plenty of exercises to help you to get your creative juices flowing.  The best part is that you can access this module 24/7 via our Career Centre website.  Go to the Further Education tab and you will find it under Resources and Links.

Once you have completed the module, make an appointment to have someone at the Career Centre critique your draft.  We are open 5 days a week from 10:00 to 4:00 and, yes, we are open in December until December 23rd.  We’re back on January 4th.


Peggy Shkuda, Career Counsellor

In the Works: E-Learning, Career Centre Edition

cathyanns photo

Growing up I knew the one thing I did not want to be was a teacher!  Did my best to avoid it!  Yet, I got asked over and over to show the new person how to do specific tasks. I found out I loved helping people learn and I was curious about different ways people learn. So I returned to school and strengthened my understanding of adult learning. Today I work as an e-learning specialist. It’s great because it combines my interest in providing informal yet structured ways to learn with my curiosity with using technology. I still don’t want to be a teacher in the traditional sense, but I love working with technology and finding interesting ways help people process information.

My latest venture with learning and technology brought me to the UTM Career Centre. This month we rolled out the “You’re more than your GPA, Mastering the Personal Statements module” (best viewed using Chrome or Firefox browsers). The module works for students who are writing their graduate school application personal statements but their schedules are so tight they don’t have time to attend the Mastering the Personal Statements workshop.  Imagine having a resource tailored for UTM students that you can access at ANY point in your personal statement writing process – even at 2 am!

Two additional learning modules will be coming out soon. One that highlights activities you can be doing while you are still at UTM to explore your dream career. This exploration can solidify your desire to work in that area, highlight things you can be doing while still at UTM to make you successful in getting started in your career. Or it could save you the frustration of finding out in your first job, that it really wasn’t what you thought it would be.  The other module is for UTM students who graduated and returned home and found it difficult to return to campus to attend the Now that I’m Graduating What’s Next workshop.

Don’t be fooled into thinking these are your basic PowerPoint decks uploaded. These modules make you work. You will be completing worksheets; responding to questions where you write down/record  your ideas/ information that can be incorporate into a personal statement; filling in a personalized job search plan. The modules will definitely help you.   However the real payoff is bringing your drafts in with you to an appointment with a Career Counsellor or Employment Advisor.

Looking back, if I had done career exploration while I was in school, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to find the work I love.


Cathy Ann Cope, E Learning Specialist


The Career Centre here at UTM has two online sites that students can access, and that may be confusing, so we wanted you to know why we have two sites, explain the difference, and most importantly, tell you how both sites can help you!

UTM Career Centre website home page
UTM Career Centre website home page

The UTM Career Centre website ( is a living resource for career education and information about UTM Career Centre events. Based on lots of feedback that we received from many students last year, we revised the site and have tried to structure it in a way that is clear and helpful to UTM students.   We encourage you to check it regularly for information about:

  • Exploring careers and planning your next steps
  • Tip sheets on how to search for a job, internships, applying to grad schools, and a whole lot more
  • What to do with your major
  • How to create resumes and cover letters
  • Learn about the types of one-to-one appointments that are available to you as a UTM student (or recent grad – 2 years out!),
  • Upcoming events and workshops designed specifically for you

Your opinion and feedback matters so send an email to careers.utm(at) with your thoughts on our website anytime!

CLN home page
CLN home page

The Career Learning Network ( is a tri-campus online portal that acts as a job posting board and event and workshop registration system for all UofT students, employers and faculty/staff at UofT.   In 2013, the career centres across the three campuses purchased and customized this portal and all UofT students can access it directly from their ROSI/ACORN page as well as from the UTM Career Centre website.

All students want access to jobs, and a tri-campus team that deals directly with employers is actively engaged in employer outreach, encouraging employers to post opportunities directly on CLN (it’s free to employers and we currently have over 8000 different organizations registered in CLN!). All students can view on-campus and off-campus opportunities, including work-study positions in the fall and summer. You can use CLN to store your resumes and cover letters, and some employers want you to apply through CLN. You can also book a resume or cover letter critique on CLN.

Here at UTM, undergraduate students gain access to full-time job postings when they attend a “Now That I’m Graduating, What’s Next” workshop in 3rd or 4th year. We offer those workshops all the time – and that’s another thing that you can see on CLN: all the career related workshops and events offered at all three campuses at U of T. Click on the Mississauga Calendar to see what’s going on here, and register directly from CLN. We have lots of events that allow you to meet industry professionals and learn about different career areas. You can also have a look what’s going on at the St. George and Scarborough campuses – as a U of T student you have access to those as well! Finally, U of T students have access to career-related resources that all three campuses purchase, but you need to be on CLN to look at these: Career Cruising, The Career Resources EBook Guide, Going Global, Vault, and The Directory of Careers have packed with information for you!

So you see, we need two sites – one is operated completely by the UTM Career Centre and is full of resources that we update all the time, and the other is a tri-campus transactional portal, allowing UTM students to view jobs, register for events, and access to resources that are purchased by U of T. Come into the UTM Career Centre at any time – we always have student staff ready to give you more of a “tour” of either site, as well as help you with any of your career related questions (even if you don’t know what they are!). You can also book appointments in person – so come and see us in DV3094!

Anne Gaiger, Assistant Director, UTM Career Centre

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