Jump-start your career while at Concordia
It’s never too early to start thinking about your career, says Meghan Atherton, a career counsellor at Concordia’s Career and Planning Services (CAPS).
“All too often, students only begin thinking about their career path during their last term, or after they’ve graduated,” says Atherton. “This is a shame because there are so many unique opportunities and resources available to you as a student.”
Atherton has five key strategies to help you get started on planning for your career.
Find a direction
“When we talk about a career, we’re not just talking about a job or profession,” says Atherton. “We’re talking about the life you want to lead. We’re looking at the bigger picture.”
Atherton notes that students who have an end goal in mind when entering university tend to perform better academically. Still, it is normal, she says, to be unsure about what you want to do, or to have doubts about your chosen path.
This, she says, is where career counselling can help.
“A lot of students who come to my office think they’re alone in this, but you’re not,” she says. “We’re here to help. CAPS offers one-on-one guidance to help you find the direction that’s right for you and set meaningful goals.”
Test the waters
It’s important to try out new things and discover what you enjoy, says Atherton.
“Get involved,” she says. “Join a student club or volunteer with an organization in an area that interests you. Think strategically about your summer job placement, or look for internship opportunities that interest you.”
“University is your time to explore and try on different hats, gather information, develop skills and find a passion.”
Attend career fairs and panels
Career fairs allow students to meet with people from different industries and to ask them questions.
“Some students assume that fairs are intended more for students who are graduating and actively seeking employment,” says Atherton, “but really they’re a great opportunity for any student at any stage in their studies to learn about their field.”
“It’s a place where you can bring your CV, get feedback and speak with recruiters about what employers are looking for.”
Concordia’s career fairs are faculty specific, and a full list of participating companies can be found online prior to each event.
CAPS also hosts career panels, in which alumni share their professional experiences and advice with students, and answer questions.
All panel discussions are recorded and can be accessed at the career resource centre.
Gain relevant experience
Atherton points out that Concordia students who want to gain practical experience related to their field of study can apply for internships with the helps of CAPS or join the Institute for Co-operative Education.
“Internships and Co-op work terms provide students with a chance to test-drive their career choices, and build their networks,” she says. “It gives them a headstart when they join the job market after graduation.”
CAPS has its own online job bank, where employers post both jobs and internships for students.
Develop your tools and access resources
“Students can also come to CAPS for our job search advising,” says Atherton. Students can make an appointment with a career advisor, and, or attend workshops for help with résumé and cover letter writing, interview preparation and internship and job search strategies.
It’s also worth noting that John Molson School of Business students can visit Career Management Services (CMS), which offers resources and advice specifically catered to them.
Upcoming CAPS career fairs and workshops
Education Career Fair
Tuesday, September 19, noon to 4 p.m.
This fair is for both students and recent alumni enrolled in Concordia’s Education programs.
Engineering and Computer Science Fair
Monday, September 25, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
EV and MB atriums
This fair is for both undergraduate and graduate students in Concordia’s Engineering and Computer Science (ENCS) programs. CAPS will be hosting several workshops from September 12 to 18 to help ENCS students prepare for the career fair.
Graduate and Professional School Fair
Tuesday, October 31, noon to 4 p.m.
This fair is for students who are thinking about continuing their studies after graduation. Over 30 educational institutes will be attending to talk about learning opportunities and admission requirements.
Find out more about upcoming career events offered by CAPS, as well as the other services they provide.
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