Top 10 Things We Learned at the Career Corner Coffee Chats

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2021

Every second Friday, from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., you can get live career advice on topics ranging from finding a great part time job, getting hands on experience in start-ups, choosing to go to graduate school or join the job market and how to network at job fairs. The Career Corner Coffee Chats, hosted on @uOCampus’ Instagram Account, are hosted by Cynthia Allan, a Career Development and Experiential Learning Specialist with the Career Corner. These hour-long chats include important career advice and personal employability stories from invitees who are experts in their fields.

So far this semester, Cynthia has sat down with 8 guests over the course of 5 Coffee Chat episodes to bring you some key career advice! We have summarized below the big takeaways from our latest episodes.

Why meet with a Career Counsellor?

In this episode of the Career Corner Coffee chat, Cynthia speaks with Career Counsellor Anthony Daigle on the advantages of meeting with a Counsellor from the Career Corner to help advance your career.

  1. A Career Counsellor can help you explore what types of careers, jobs or volunteer opportunities that best fit your personality, your chosen field of work and field of studies.
  2. Career Counsellors have scientifically backed tools such as the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment and the Strong Interest Inventory  to help determine what types or careers and work environments would be most compatible with who you are as a person. Those along with considering skills, values and many other factors can assist you in making career related decisions.

In addition, the Career Corner can help with resume building, interview preparation, job search strategies, LinkedIn profiles, graduate school applications, and more! These services are free and are available to all uOttawa students and alumni.

Tips for finding great part-time jobs

In this episode of the Career Corner Coffee chat, Cynthia speaks with two uOttawa Marketing students from the Telfer School of Business on their experiences with part-time jobs. Mehdi El Adlouni, an international student from Morocco, speaks about his responsibilities and opportunities coming to Canada at 17 and Martina On speaks about the skill set she owns thanks to experience in different fields.

  1. Working in part-time jobs in the customer service field is a great way to challenge yourself, and acquire a variety of experience and skills, including communication skills, teamwork skills and multitasking abilities. As Mehdi says, “dealing with problems makes you grow so much as a person and a professional.”

    Did you know? Cynthia Allan was previously a recruiter, and she specifically noted individuals who had McDonald’s on their resume because of the training program and the fast-paced environment.
  2. There are a multitude of online tools to help you find a part-time job, on and off-campus. Those online tools include the uOttawa Work Study Program, the Federal Student Work Experience Program, JobsNow.
  3. Finding part-time work requires a bit of research and persistence. Using job sites, handing in resumes in-person (and sometimes more than once), doing research on your dream company and checking their website to get a sense of their values and upcoming opportunities are all actions you should take to land a job.
  4. Cannot seem to land that dream job? Look for volunteer experience or internships to get your foot in the door! Volunteering can help with soft-skill development and networking.
  5. Use your connections to your advantage! Do not be afraid to tell people in your network that you are looking for a job as one might present you with an opportunity.

Importance of Networking

In this episode of the Career Corner Coffee chat, Cynthia speaks with Amine Manceur, an Employer Relations Coordinator at the University of Ottawa and Kevin St-Jacques from Altitude Gym, on networking from an employer’s perspectives.

  1. Your career is 2 things: What you do each day, and where you do it. Ideally you want both to match your values, and keep them in consideration when you are networking.
  2. Most of the time, employers who are hiring part-time employees are looking for individuals who take initiative, are energetic, and have some form of passion for the field of work. These qualities can help a part-time employee take on more responsibility and advance within the organization.
  3. Networking, especially at a Career Fair, is an opportunity to explore potential employers, to find out what they do and what they are about. They are not about companies advertising their own products.
  4. Networking does not have to be formal – it is primarily about making a connection with someone. Amine advises that “Sometimes you might meet someone at a social event and later find out that this person is in an organization or company you are looking to join.”

Tips for when you are considering Graduate studies

In this episode of the Career Corner Coffee chat, Cynthia speaks with Bianca Gaspini, a Recruitment and Marketing Officer at the University of Toronto about the graduate school application process.

  1. Start exploring graduate school options early – Find out what programs are out there and what the requirements are to be accepted to these programs. Speaking to recruiters at various institutions, one-on-one as well as at recruitment events, can help you get more tailored suggestions, can help you select your current major, can help you understand what you need to get into graduate schools and help prepare for it early.
  2. Some Graduate programs use admissions essays and resumes to assess a student’s abilities and interests in relation to the program.
  3. If you are not sure about your next step, consider taking a gap year to explore, volunteer, network, write practice tests and prepare for graduate school financially. The gap year does not harm your graduate school application.

Getting hands-on experience at Engineering and High Tech Startups

In this episode of the Career Corner Coffee chat, Cynthia speaks with Julia Fame, a uOttawa alumni and the Business Development Manager/Director of Partnerships at the Kanata North Business Association, as well as Eric Yang, a recent uOttawa graduate currently working at Teldio.

  1. You do not need to have a tech background to get into tech. There are opportunities for all careers within the high-tech sector. Collaboration and communication skills, including skills, you have obtained getting involved in student organizations or through volunteer opportunities, are some of the key skills required for all roles within a start-up. Eric suggests trying to build a personal connection with Teaching Assistants, Professors, and fellow students to build these skills and to grow your network within the industry.
  2. Entry-level positions are the door into the technology space. Your skill set and drive is the key to growing in your career in the technology space.
  3. Landing a job in tech can take time. Eric started applying to jobs and networking on LinkedIn 5 months before the end of his undergraduate degree and got his job offered right before his last exam. His words of wisdom are “Start early, and don’t be shy.”

Head to @uocampus Instagram every second Friday from 11:00 a.m. to Noon for the next episodes of Career Corner Coffee Chat, or as we like to call them C4’s!


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