How a student capitalized on career planning resources at U of T
As Christina Martensen winds down her last year at U of T, with final exams in April, she is already well into her job search. Christina has a solid vision of her career path and even knows the organization where she’d like to work. How did she arrive at this point?
“I moved from my home in Ottawa to attend UTM, and I really wanted to meet people and get to know the place. I immediately joined a few student clubs where I made new friends. One club involved field trips to Toronto and helped me become familiar with the area.” Another club, the Student Management Association, helped Christina to connect not only with like-minded students, but also with staff and faculty behind the scenes.
Christina started her career planning by meeting with a Career Counsellor who helped her determine her skill set and hone in on key resources in the Career Resource Library. She also had her resume critiqued
because, “The worst thing you can do is submit a resume with typos. And a well-written resume is a chance to show off your writing skills – high on the list of what most employers are looking for.”
“One of the best things I did was to participate in the Alumni Career Connections Program
. I was matched with an alumnus who worked in marketing. We met one-on-one three times, and I got to hear real-life stories about how he got where he did, great resources and books to read; he even gave me names of other people in the field that I could connect with. I learned so much.” Christina also attended a Dinner with 12 Strangers
event where she networked with students, alumni, staff and faculty members that she otherwise would never have met.
Christina has held a part-time job at UTM’s career centre for the past four years. A job in the Career Centre is a coveted one, and provided Christina with the advantage of close contact with Career Centre staff and the chance to observe other students navigate their way though workshops, events and resume clinics. However, any campus job can help students make stronger campus connections and polish their networking skills.
UTM’s Career Centre offers a number of career fairs and events, and Christina has attended just about all of them, including the Summer Job Fair
, the Career Expo
and the Get Experience Fair
. Says Christina, “When I started out, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Every year throughout my studies, I explored different programs and services offered by the Career Centre. I knew that it would be overwhelming to wait until my final year to cram it all in. Now I feel confident about my path.”
When Christina graduates in June with a double major in Art & Art History and Management, she plans to continue to take advantage of Career Centre Resources that are offered free of charge to U of T alumni for two years following graduation. This includes access to job listings in the Career Centre as well as to the highly qualified career Centre staff. “Some students don’t realize what a great deal they’re getting here – all these services are included with our student fees and are free to new alumni. Out in the real world, an experienced employment counsellor is usually pretty pricey.”
Christina is a shining example of how university students should spend their time outside the classroom. During her years studying at U of T, she took full advantage of the opportunities available to explore her career options, preferences and strategies. Students who capitalize on just a few of these resources will be ahead of the game when it comes to their career planning.
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Career Planning Resources for Students
The services below are covered by student fees. These are only a few of the many programs and services offered by U of T career centres:
► University of Toronto Mississauga Career Centre
► University of Toronto Scarborough Academic Advising & Career Centre
► University of Toronto St. George Career Centre