When thinking about your career journey, myOptions is all about researching and gathering career information to guide your decisions. As you embark on this process, it is vital to have a sense of occupational trends, field requirements, and any further education needed in your areas of interest. How does this happen? When exploring your options, you typically gather information through purposeful conversations and do your own research through relevant websites and databases, all of which helps you become more knowledgeable and able to make decisions that are more informed.
Are you curious about a certain field: what does the day-to-day look like? What experiences help applicants stand out when they’re applying for positions? One of the best ways to learn more about a job or profession is by connecting with those directly doing the work. An informational interview is an informal, but intentional conversation that helps you learn and get advice from an industry expert.
Check-out this webinar on informational interviews, including how to identify who you want to speak with. The key words: preparation, curiosity, and follow-up.
These conversations are a great way to clarify goals, improve communication skills, and initiate a professional relationship in a particular field.
Mentoring is a great way to increase your communication and networking skills, help you prepare for your future career and transition into the professional work force, and is an opportunity for you to develop your skills while learning from someone else’s experiences.
Career Treks are one-day experiential opportunities that give Brescia students exposure to a workplace and learn from its professionals about their career stories (think: what they studied, how they gained experience), about their organizations (including the skills and experiences that are valued) and about day-to-day operations.
Sometimes it’s a tour, sometimes it’s a panel discussion or Q&A, other times it’s a departmental roam. Career Treks are a great way to gain insight in a workplace and the fields working within it.
During the Trek day, we’ll meet for an pre-Trek Orientation and afterwards we’ll debrief over dinner. It’s a day of exploration, learning, and discussion that helps you gain first-hand knowledge and generate options.
Brescia’s annual fair, Beyond Brescia, showcases career opportunities and further education options to help you plan for your life beyond Brescia.
It is a great way to make connections and learn about the jobs and hiring practices available in various industries, as well as show you different types of further education programs that are specific to your career goals.
Beyond Brescia gives you practice presenting your professional side in a safe, lower-risk setting. Even if an employer is not actively hiring, a meaningful conversation can help build a strong foundation for pursuing future opportunities.
Or, go off-campus to the London and Area Works Job Fair, organized by the London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC). Hiring companies vary, from finance to tech, to manufacturing and not-for-profits. Review the list of employers for the upcoming fair and view the “Maximizing your Job Fair Experience” webinar.
After the Fair, keep building your network: take a moment to reach out to individuals you spoke to with a brief thank you note. You can see a sample note here, but be sure to customize yours to the employer!
Alongside on-campus employer information sessions and career fairs, there are lots of opportunities to expand your network in the community. Organized by sector and interest, there are lots to choose from. An extensive list of local networking opportunities is available on EventBrite.
Want to connect with like-minded people? There are sector-specific networking events like SocialPreneurs, an informal, monthly drop for people interested in social enterprise, entrepreneurship, and community development.
Career panels are a great way to learn more from others career stories and can include anything from their journey from degree to career, challenges they faced and tips for new grads.
If a panelist’s story resonates with you, take a moment after the event to say hello and introduce yourself. Try expanding your network!
Panels happen on Brescia’s and Western’s campuses. At Brescia, ‘My Career Story’ is a panel series with alumnae or professionals based on relevant career themes like, Twists and Turns or The First Two Years after Graduation. By hearing from alumnae from all disciplines, My Career Story panels help demonstrate that your Brescia degree provides you with many options and opportunities.
If you’re interested in seeing what Western has to offer, you can see the full list of events here.
The Management and Organizational Studies (MOS) Internship Program offers students an opportunity to gain practical 8 to 16 months of industry working experience between their third and fourth-year of the MOS program.
These sessions are an ideal way to learn from employers about hiring practices, organizational culture, sought-after skills, career paths in their organizations and employment opportunities.
At Brescia, we host Meet & Eats throughout the year. Held over lunch or dinner, Meet & Eats are a way to connect with employers to learn about opportunities within their organization. This allows for meaningful conversation, Q&A and intentional relationship building.
There are also a number of employer information sessions at Western. The employers who come range in industry and focus: take a look at the list and register on Western Connect if there’s one that interest you.
A few tips:
Deciding to pursue additional education takes a lot of consideration. Graduate or professional school, post-grad programs, and professional development courses or credentials can add value to your undergraduate degree and are also expensive and time-intensive.
You want make an informed decision for the right reasons. It's important to think about the steps you need to take to prepare for further education and how it will help you get to your career of choice.
This helpful guide is a good first place start if you're thinking about graduate school (geared to academic grad programs). You'll want to thoroughly research programs, take time to compile your applications, references, and personal statements, and prepare for interviews.
There are a number of labour market resources that can provide you with some big-picture perspectives on some occupational trends in your profession of interest:
Career Cruising is a self-exploration and planning program that supports people of all ages achieve their potential in their journey school, career, and life.
A partnership with the City of London and the Ontario government's Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT), the London Centre is part of network of more than 50 Small Business Enterprise Centres operating across Ontario.
It provides thousands of entrepreneurs with training and support to start and grow successful businesses.