Career development guide

Planning your studies: Before planning your career path, you must plan your studies path. Begin planning your journey at university by taking a look at the University of Ottawa's Undergraduate Admissions section. You will find the information needed to get a head start as a potential student.

Financing your postsecondary studies: Before registering to a program of study, you must plan your finances. To help you build a good action plan, take a look at the University of Ottawa’s Financial Aid and Awards Service Web site. You will find the list of scholarships offered to its students. Also take a look at the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) Web site. You will find the list of student loans and scholarships offered by the federal government of Canada and provincial governments of Ontario.

Planning your graduate studies: Before pursuing graduate studies, you must do research. To help you build a good action plan, take a look at the following resources to discover available programs and their requirements, to contact professionals in your field of interest, and to write a letter of intent.

Work-study: A part-time job allows you to gain work experience while studying. The key is to find the right balance between your work and academic obligations. On-campus employment is a great option for this. Besides being conveniently located and providing flexible working schedules, an on-campus job provided by the Financial Aid and Awards Service’s Work Study Program allows you to give priority to your studies. On top of that, the JobsNow Web site also holds important information concerning employment opportunities on campus.

Summer employment: A summer job is a great opportunity to work full-time without interfering with your studies. It also allows you to develop important skills and contacts relevant to your field of interests. A summer job may even be a stepping stone to a contract or a permanent full-time position once you graduate.

Full-time employment: A full-time job is an asset for your résumé, as it reflects solid professional development in your fields of interests. However, know that full-time employment can present challenges when it extends beyond the summer months, for example trying to balance your commitment to both options or having to choose between them. To measure the consequences of this eventuality and to build a good action plan, use the resources provided by the previous section: Making a Decision section.

Volunteering is an excellent way to gain professional experience, as it is an opportunity for personal growth and community development. It also demonstrates, among other qualities, that you have a sense of compassion and responsibility. Note that some educational or career fields require a prior involvement in the community. For example, such is the case of medicine and teaching. Employers generally say that any volunteering experience enhances your options in any career field because it reinforces your personal values and develops your employability skills no matter your field of interests. With the University of Ottawa’s online volunteering opportunity search tools, you can proceed to a volunteering opportunity research that’s right for you.

Co-op programs: A co-op placement is a great opportunity to apply the knowledge you learn in class to various work situations and to gain educational and professional experience, enabling you to develop essential skills specific to your field of interest. A co-op work placement can also lead to a permanent full-time position upon graduation. For more information on co-op programs, visit the Co-op Programs Web site.

Internships: Employers can offer a determined period of employment through internships such as 3, 4, 6 months. An internship:

  • can have different eligibility criteria (e.g., be employed or underemployed, be a certain age, have a post-secondary degree)
  • can be a paid or an unpaid work experience
  • can be a summer job, a part-time job, a contract, a co-op term or a volunteer position

Studying abroad during your university studies can be an enriching opportunity. For more information on exchange programs helping you build a good action plan, visit the University of Ottawa’s International Office Web site.

Every day, you meet people that provide a wealth of information to guide you in your career path. Know how to build and maintain these relationships, whether it is with your family, classmates, colleagues, employers, professors or other professionals. Be sure to read up on networking and information meetings to take advantage of all situations.

You have built your action plan? Then go to the guide’s next section: Planning your Job Search. (Remember that you can come back to this section at any time to review your action plan.)