Want a Job? 4 Things You Must Do Before Graduating (Part 3)


Connect with faculty for references.

 Even though you might currently be working or have a reference from your last job, it’s never a bad thing to have a few different references on hand. Speaking to your faculty about a reference can be beneficial in numerous ways.

First it doesn’t close any doors for educational opportunities in the future. Maybe a few years down the road you’ll be interested in applying to opportunities in the future. Maybe a few years down the road you’ll be interested in applying to university or a graduate degree program. A faculty reference will certainly be needed for this.

Secondly, it affords some diversity in your current reference list. Don’t get me wrong, employment references are fantastic but allowing an employer the opportunity to contact an educator could prove to be beneficial. For example, an instructor is able to comment on characteristics such as hard working, punctual for class and assignment completion, works well with others, and achieves excellent grades. This will be taken into consideration with your other employment references in that you are able to effectively manage multiple demands.


MCACESBlogs is a series of blog posts created by Career Consultant students at Mohawk College to assist fellow job seekers with job search and career development. Like what you read? Be sure to follow our blog and pass it along to fellow job seekers. Happy reading!

Want a Job? 4 Things You Must Do Before Graduating (Part 2)


Schedule and attend informational interviews.

Yes, it needed to be said. Scheduling the interview isn’t enough. You also need to show up for the interview to be effective.

Informational interviews are a meeting you schedule with someone who works in the field you are interested in. This can be a manager, supervisor, or employee. There are generally two occasions to schedule this type of interview (although anytime is a good time).

This first occasion is before applying to schools to gauge if the industry is a good fit for you.

The second is before graduating to ensure your education and experience match what is required for the job and what the employees is looking for. Informational interviews should be treated as a typical job interview.

Arrive early, dress professionally, and come prepares. This means, know who you are scheduled to meet with, have your questions ready, bring your cover letter, resume, and references. After all you never know when an informational interview could turn into an opportunity for a volunteer placement of even a job.


MCACESBlogs is a series of blog posts created by Career Consultant students at Mohawk College to assist fellow job seekers with job search and career development. Like what you read? Be sure to follow our blog and pass it along to fellow job seekers. Happy reading!

Want a job? 4 Things You Must Do Before Graduating:


Want a job?? 4 Things You Must Do Before Graduating:

Part 1 of 4:
Volunteer in the field where you intend to work.

You’re approaching graduation, you’ve made good grades, maybe you have a part-time job or a summer job that you’re planning to return to until you find your career job. Does this sound like you? If it does, keep reading!

A lot of students graduate with little to no hands-on experience in the field they have pursued through post-secondary education. Utilize this summer as your opportunity to start networking and gain the practical work experience that all employers are looking for. You have spent a lot of money and time earning the qualifications for the job, now is your opportunity to show you can do the job. It’s a lot easier to find a volunteer position than the salary job you’re expecting will find you.

You have the rest of your life to make money.

This summer is your opportunity to learn about your career, develop connections with employers, and acquire a working knowledge of your industry that is priceless.

MCACESBlogs is a series of blog posts created by Career Consultant students at Mohawk College to assist fellow job seekers with job search and career development. Like what you read? Be sure to follow our blog and pass it along to fellow job seekers. Happy reading!

Leaving the Military and get a job that doesn’t suck: Know yourself and find your perfect path

My aim here is to make things easy, why bust a gut on 12 mile march in full combat gear when you can achieve the same results jogging around the park in your Nikes!

Face facts and ‘grow a pair’ – (Please note this is not a male thing, women also have a pair)

The date is fast approaching and there is nothing you can do about it and the sooner you accept that fact the better. You are about to enter a civilian world and you cannot change it into a military one. You have already proven that you ‘have a pair’ by your military service, now just continue to use that pair as you have in the past. As I moved up through the 6 different ranks from Private to Warrant Officer I changed job 10 times in 24 years.

With each new job came different roles, responsibilities and training. Although there are many challenges moving from a military job to a civilian one you have the experience of changing jobs many times throughout your career. The only difference between a military job and civilian one is that in a civilian job your uniform is different. You were most likely trained for the different appointments and roles you played in your military jobs and you will be required to train for your civilian jobs as well, why would you think any different? One main advantage you have over your civilian counterparts is your adaptability and capacity to be trained and change roles. Maintain the same drive and enthusiasm that helped you climb the Military ranks and you will be successful in whatever civilian role you set your mind too. If you feel your pair shrinking and you want to roll up into a ball and feel sorry for yourself read the book ‘Grow a Pair’ by Larry Winget. This straight-talking, New York Times bestseller will help you get back on track for sure. If you’ve ‘lost your pair’ uncle Larry will help you find them.

Establish your direction - I joined the military when I was a spotty 16 year old youth. I would love to say I joined because I wanted to proudly serve my country but that would be a crock. Like many young Scottish men and women in 1978 I joined to secure a job and avoid unemployment. Was I suited to a military career and lifestyle at that time? Probably not, however strict discipline, training and operational deployments trumps unemployment and poverty any day of the week. As I moved up through the ranks and my job changed with each rank and appointment I discovered that some military jobs suited me better than others, but I never really thought why. I loved being outdoors and training troops but hated being stuck at a desk, in an office, writing reports and completing files and paperwork.

My current job working in the employment field has shed some light on why some jobs suit some people better than others. My post-military training in career consultancy and employment counselling has taught me that the jobs in which we excel are those that closely matched our personality type. One employment planning tool that I find extremely useful, particularly with clients who are unsure of which career path to take, is the ‘Self Directed Search’ (SDS).


The SDS tool produces a report that explains the user’s personality type and corresponding ‘SDS Summary Code’ (Holland code) and also generates a list of jobs, hobbies and interests that matches that Summary Code.  The SDS website has a section specifically for ‘Veteran and Service members’. This section allows you to explore career options that correspond to your military experience. Used in conjunction with the SDS Summary Code, the Veterans and Military Occupations Finder can:

Help clients explore career options by linking military occupation titles with civilian occupation titles.
Match each individual’s Summary Code to Occupational Information Network (O*NET) career options and required education levels.
Helps active-duty personnel—or those considering the military—to better understand how military paths career may relate to civilian career options.

The ‘Self Directed Search’ is an excellent tool for military personnel who are unsure of which employment field to enter as it allows them to better understand the types of skills and activities they have honed while in the military and to explore civilian occupations that require similar skills. If you are unsure of which direction to head or simply want to explore different career options use the SDS. It is certainly worth the $10 (Canadian) dollar investment.

In phase 2 (blog 2) we will narrow down your options and help identify the best career choice for ‘you’.

This post is the second in a series of blogs relating to finding work after the military. Author David Quinn is currently a student in the Career Consultant Certificate Program offered at Mohawk College. Be sure to follow MCACESBlogs, a series of posts assisting job seekers and their peers with the many facets of work search and professional development. Happy reading!military work

Who’s on your bench?


I have to admit I’m really excited about the Grey Cup game this weekend and not just because my hometown team is playing (although that is definitely adding to the excitement!) I just like football. Why you ask? It’s the combination of physicality, strategy but most importantly team dynamics. In football your teammates literally have your back, well more specifically the quarterbacks back, but you get the idea. So how does this apply to job-searching?

Well it’s easy to get tunnel vision and just play defense and focus on your own network, but have you thought about how you can become a part of someone else’s team, particularly potential employers? That’s the first step to becoming a mentee or protégé.

 I recently read an article entitled “The Protégé Effect,” in it researchers found:

  1. Caucasian leaders with a posse of protégés are 11% more satisfied with their own rate of advancement than leaders who haven’t invested in new talent.
  2. Visible minority leaders that have developed new talent were 30% more satisfied with their career progress.

It has been found that good leaders surround themselves with a wide field of qualified candidates. In order to become a protégé however, you must step up to the line of scrimmage and prove yourself.

Prove you can take it to the end zone!

According to research, a third of U.S. managers and nearly half of UK managers say they wanted to sponsor a “producer,” a go-getter who hits deadlines and offers 24/7 support.

Provide full coverage

37% of male managers and 36% of female managers said that loyalty is the key attribute in a protégé. They need loyal team members to go the distance and deliver clear, unbiased and timely reports of what’s going on.

Smart employers try to create a diversified team they can turn to, that way they can avoid “groupthink” and take advantage of a wealth of talent and skills each person can bring to the game. They need to know their weaknesses and hire or mentor someone who can complement their strengths by addressing their weaknesses.

 “The best piece of advice I ever got,” says James Charrington, EMEA chair of BlackRock, “was to have the courage to employ people who are better than me.”

Go Cats Go!!!

Elaine Logie is a MCACESBlogger and student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program. MCACESBlogs was designed to assist job seekers developing their own play books for a customized, effective job search. Like what you read? Be sure to follow our blog today and pass it along! The MCACES Job Search Program is also found on Pinterest; http://www.pinterest.com/mcacesjobsearch


Get an education *Find a job in your field of study * Live happily ever after.

If you are reading this blog, you might have just accomplished your educational goals and must now plunge into the job of career planning.  I don’t mean the “decide what you want to do for the rest of your life, educate yourself and get a job in your field of study” type of career planning because if it was that simple everyone would have a job in their field of study.  I mean the career planning that takes into account all the options, being open to taking risks and trying new and related careers.

Many students just finishing school have a lot of pressure put on them.  Perhaps it is pressure from parents/spouses wanting them to get a job now and move on with their lives, or pressure from the burden of student loans waiting to be paid off, or even self-imposed pressure from the number of options out there and not knowing which road to take.  At this point you may be feeling a lot of career uncertainty.

Career planning is a funny term because if you ask anyone out there how they ended up  at their job you would find an endless number of people giving you a career path far from the “get an education, find a job in your field of study, live happily ever after”.  So what to do…….

It takes a lot of soul searching to decide what to do next.

Taking into account such things as your values, skills, education, you could pursue many different careers.  There are many theories as to which is the best approach to take.  Some say take off for a few months, travel and explore.  You need to clear your mind before jumping into a new career.  Others say study the job market, network and don’t be afraid to try new things outside of your comfort zone.  Whichever route you take, be open to opportunities as they present themselves or you might not recognize them as opportunities and you will miss a potential career path that you did not even consider in the beginning.

As I mentioned before, ask around and see what others have done.  Jason started out working at a kid’s camp after completing a degree in kinesiology. This led to an opportunity to work with young offenders which led to managing a treatment program for young offenders and eventually morphed into a career as a probation officer. Jason originally wanted to go into the medical field but things did not go as planned.  He was open to other opportunities resulting in his career taking a completely different direction.  He found he liked working with kids and when he was not accepted into med school he stayed on with his “help pay the bills” job, proved himself with management and other opportunities opened up for him.

One motto which you should always follow is “whatever you do, be the best you can be”.  If you are a sales associate be the best sales associate ever, if you are an IT technician be the best technician out there and if you are a Walmart greeter be the best Walmart greeter they have ever seen.  You will likely not stay in the job you started out with but you will have explored many different career options, had many ups and downs despite always given it your best.  The one you end up with will be the one that is the best fit for you.

Dawn Walker is a recent graduate of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. MCACESBlogs is a series of blog posts related to job search and career development tips from Career Practitioner students and grads for the job seeking community. Like what you read? Be sure to follow MCACESBlogs today and share our posts to your network. Happy reading!Image

3 Questions to ask BEFORE the Interview

Getting called for an interview is THE goal of the job search process. Exuberance can easily trump rationale if you aren’t careful.

When a job seeker receives a phone call for an interview, sometimes the excitement and nervous energy can replace the need to ask some important questions. If the following information is not provided by the recruiter or human resources professional prior to the interview, these questions may assist in preparing for the process.

Use these 3 questions to ensure “getting the call” goes smoothly.

Where do I go?                                                                                                                                                                   The bigger the company, the more challenging it may be to find your interview destination. There may be a visitor’s parking area or a specific entrance that’s closest to the interview location. Whether you drive or take public transit, be sure to do a “test run” of how long it will take you to get to the location.

Who will be interviewing me?                                                                                                                                      It’s perfectly acceptable for a job seeker to know who in the company will be present at the interview. It may alleviate some anxiety knowing who (and how many) people will be there. Such information could also assist you with thinking up some questions to ask for the interview.

Is there anything in addition to the interview itself that I should prepare for?                      Many job interviews consist of a question and answer period in addition to some type of testing or presentation process depending on the scope of the position. It’s always best to be prepared ahead of time. Sometimes, an employer may surprise job candidates, and not inform them of any tests.

Be rational.

If a job posting lists proficiency with a specific program, or that the position requires a good amount of public speaking, chances are you will be tested on the competencies that are heavily weighted within the job description.


Lidia Siino is the Professional Development and Communications Strategist for MCACES, the Mohawk College Association of Continuing Education Students. MCACESBlogs is a series of blog posts created by students and faculty from the Career Consultant Certificate Program for readers seeking new and improved levels of employment. Like what you read? Be sure to follow MCACESBlogs. Happy reading!


Get a Job Search Wingman

Don’t you wish you knew someone who could get you out of awkward networking situations? Like when you forgot an important contact’s name or when you tried to speak to a manager with a mouth full of cocktail shrimp?

How about for all those lonely hours spent in a darkened room on the computer staring at job sites until your eyes go bloodshot, or for when your family and friends try to delicately change the subject every time you start on one of your rants about the lack of jobs in your industry…well here’s the answer, find yourself a job search wingman or wingwoman!

Just to be clear, your “wingman” doesn’t have to be looking for the same position, however, being in a similar industry would definitely help since they’d have a good idea what you’re looking for and could vouch for your skills. Now bringing them to interviews or cold-calling visits is still a BIG no-no, but your “wingman” can still offer other kinds of support:

  1. They can share tips on job search sites and openings. It’s like you have an extra pair of eyes looking on your behalf.
  2. Together you’ll feel more confident going to networking events, plus two working a room gathering tips and information is better then one. Just don’t remain joined at the hip!
  3. Prepare for interviews together. Watch each other’s body language, rambling answers and relevancy to your industry.
  4. They can help edit your resume or cover letter when the words start to blur together in a frustrating jumble.

    Getting a Job Search Wingman can take your job search to new heights!

    Getting a Job Search Wingman can take your job search to new heights!

  5. Celebrate your successes and let out your frustrations. Another job-seeker is going to have more sympathy and understanding than family/friends who may mean well but sometimes just don’t get it!

Now don’t you wish you could have a “wingman” for all things in life!

Elaine Logie is a student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. Like what you read? Be sure to check out MCACESBlogs often for tips, tools and techniques for the work of find work! Happy reading!

HELP! I don’t know what to do with my life!!!

Career choices. There are hundreds of different career choices out there with hundreds still to come into existence over the next five to ten years. My sons, who are 3, 6 and 7 respectively, will have career choices presented to them that I can’t even imagine. With so many options out there many people get stuck in their career decision making out of fear of making the wrong choice. We are in an economy that does not offer the greatest stability and as a result many people have lost jobs and entire labour market sectors have been decimated- think manufacturing.  Who wants to spend thousands of dollars and devote all that time and energy to train for a career only to find out at the end that they chose a career that is not in demand? How do you know what career has the legs to stand on over the next twenty years? How do you pick?

You can look at it in a couple of ways. I have had clients study those jobs that always seem to be in demand even in a poor economy; recession proof if you will. Well, as about ‘recession proof’ as a job can get because no job is truly recession proof. Some just have more padding against economic downturns and they usually involve meeting people’s needs on things we can’t do without. People require medical care, housing, people need to be taught, to have their hair cut and to bury their loved ones.  I’m thinking about jobs in medicine, carpentry or construction, mechanics, teaching, computers, hair stylists or funeral directors. Many people seek out these jobs and hope the skills required to perform those jobs are a match against their own interests, skills and abilities.

Other people look within themselves for the answer. It can be difficult to write down your own strengths and weaknesses, which is completing some career assessments can help sort out the facts. Employment Counsellors can administer assessments that measure your interests, abilities and values.  Assessments can also shed some light on your personality and can help explain why you do those things you do; why you thrive in some environments but not others. All of this is fantastic information to take into consideration as you decide what career to follow.  First you find what environments match up best with your interests, vales and abilities and then you begin to look at career options.

In my opinion, the best approach is an educated approach. Take a good hard look at yourself and determine where you are at your best. Talk to Employment Counsellors and complete some assessments. Then look at the labour market to see what’s in demand. Take a look at what you need in a career and what you are willing to do in order to pursue it, for example, how many years of post-secondary school can you afford, do you want to stay locally or are you willing to commute, what kind of salary do you realistically want to earn.

Don’t rush the decision. Do the leg work, talk to over with someone and you will find the perfect career for you.