Your summer career check in
Students, don't let your career plans go cold this summer. Career Services offers some tips for you to keep in mind while you enjoy the sunshine
While it might be tempting to just sit back and soak up the summer heat, you shouldn’t let your career plans go cold. For many students I work with, summer is the perfect time to take a step back from their studies, reflect on how the year has gone, and think about where they see themselves in the future. If you’re wondering where to begin, we’ve put together a few tips below to get you started. The best part about exploring potential careers is that it can be done from wherever you are right now, whether that’s your lunch break at your summer job, soaking up the sun at the beach, or relaxing on a patio or park bench.
How was school this year?
Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to think about the school year that was and how you feel it went. What were your favourite courses this year? You might notice that you typically love classes about people, that are hands on, or that involve creativity. Whatever the reason, your goal should be to seek out more of this in your studies and in the world of work. Identifying what you didn’t like about certain classes can also teach you plenty. For instance, if chemistry isn’t as interesting as you may have thought, it might be time to reconsider your plans to be a pharmacist or dietitian. There’s no question your academic plan is complicated and sometimes many factors impact your performance in a particular course. We suggest getting together with both an Academic Advisor and a Career Consultant to have a conversation. You can also use the Career Planner on your own, where we talk in depth about how subject preferences connect to occupations.
Imagine what your career would be like in real life.
While career goals can sometimes feel distant and abstract as a student, especially early in your program, there’s no better time to dream about your future than while outside enjoying the warm weather. Start at your goal. Imagine what a day (or night) at work would be like: think about the location, who you would talk to, what you would be doing. Now work backwards: how did you get to this point? Think about the people who you need to meet, the education you require, and what qualifications and experiences you need for the job. If you’re having a hard time imagining the specifics, you might need more information. Sometimes the career you’ve imagined or the day-to-day work involved might not sit comfortably with you. If that’s the case, it might be worth coming in to chat with a Career Consultant to help find some clarity or identify other possible paths for you to consider.
Research, research, research.
Good career information = good career decisions. Find the information you need from places such as our occupational library, talking to people in the profession, and putting yourself in career related environments. Take the time to learn about the industry you want to work in: identify the educational paths that can get you there, figure out what a work day would be like in this occupation, and explore volunteer or work experiences you could take on. To find this information, we recommend searching alis, the NOC, and LinkedIn. While it might seem a bit early to start looking at job postings, this is another great way to get an idea of where you might work and what you might be doing some day. Beyond this, use our Job Search Workbook and your Googling skills to seek out relevant professional associations, sector councils, and job boards to build yourself a complete picture. We promise this is a lot more fun when done on a patio, so head out with your device of choice and try it there. If you need some more support, stop by Career Services.
Nail down your backup plan.
Many students find applying to competitive programs extremely nerve-wracking. However, if you’re strategic from the beginning by making thoughtful course selections and by carefully seeking experiential opportunities that would be applicable to multiple fields, you can keep your long-term options open. An example of this would be working on your science degree; volunteering with youth with disabilities; and taking the prerequisites for medicine, prosthetics and orthotics, and occupational therapy. Sometimes plan B eventually outshines Plan A, and that’s okay. Be open to possibilities and you might just uncover a brand new career path.
Come talk to someone at Career Services.
This is the best tip so far, because you get to see the summer campus, where the flowers are blooming, the parking is closer, and the Career Services staff are still hard at work helping students. Plus, figuring out who you are and what types of occupations meet your needs isn’t something you need to do on your own. Our Career Consultants can help you discover new career possibilities and help keep your occupational options open. We look forward to seeing you this summer.