Career Related Articles: L.A. Picks (updated weekly)
Hi to everyone reading this! I’m Wania and I’m a part of the student staff for the Career Centre, working as the Library Assistant under the supervision of Panayiota Platanitis, one of our great career counsellors. I’m currently in my third year of undergraduate studies, with a double major in psychology and sociology. As such, I enjoy learning about people and how they operate and do my best in applying that knowledge into my daily life in how I interact with others.
This page has been put together by myself and my colleagues and is meant to serve as a resource for fellow students. It contains articles that touch on relevant issues students may be facing, such as navigating job search during a pandemic, building important skills in preparation for entering the workforce, and finding a balance between school, work, and social life. The page will be updated regularly, and I hope it serves as a useful resource for students in finding strategies to optimize success.
Want to read more from our L.A.? Check out these pages updated regularly:
Feeling anxious before an important interview is an almost inevitable feeling, and much of it stems from being unsure about what questions you’ll be asked and how to best answer them. This article goes through important questions recruiters ask about for jobs like software engineer, salesperson, registered nurse, project manager, and customer care specialists.
~ Although this article is geared more towards the people conducting interviews, it’s a useful read for anyone who’s trying to get into the heads of those recruiting them. It’s a peek behind the curtain and will give students an idea of what skills employers in different career areas deem to be most important and what kinds of things they’re looking to be impressed with. ~
Most interviews begin with the prompt “Tell me about yourself,” which can often leave candidates stumped. This article goes through tips and advice on how to best tackle this question to impress your interviewers. There’s even a worksheet you can download at the end of the article to help you build your answer!
~ The interview process is nerve-wracking for so many of us, and it can often be difficult to prepare unique yet impressive answers to typical questions. I thought this article did a good job of providing easy-to-understand and tangible advice on what to remember when answering the “tell me about yourself” question. ~
Living in unprecedented times and having to adjust the way we work has taken a toll on all of us. Do you feel like your attention is nowhere close to what it used to be? You’re not alone. This article goes over the reasons why this is the case for us and suggests ways to try to get back on track.
~ Over the past two years I’ve become concerned over how limited my attention span has become and the kind of impact that has made on my productivity. I know a lot of other students feel the same way, so I thought this was a nice article to read that, at the very least, gives us the assurance that we’re not the only ones to feel this way. ~
If the question “What are your career goals?” fills you with dread, you’re certainly not alone. Even though we know it’s important to set goals, it can feel overwhelming and difficult to know where to start. This article provides an easy-to-understand 6-step framework to setting goals for your career.
~ It can be tough to think about the future and what your career goals are. Whether it’s because you’re unsure of what you want to do, or because you don’t know which path to choose. Having tangible goals to actively work towards is key to getting out of this slump. Although this article focuses on career goals, the advice can easily be applied to academics as well. ~
Returning to Work After the Pandemic
Having to go back to work the way we used to after adjusting to the “new normal” is understandably bringing about anxiety and uncertainty. Check out some of these articles to help you prepare for what’s to come!
Trying to be productive during the midterm season can be particularly frustrating if you find yourself in a rut where your personal wellness is getting in the way of getting things done. The author of this article Juan Vazquez-Zapier is familiar with this feeling and provides helpful advice on how to get yourself out of such a rut, by using strategies like moving around and talking to a friend.
~ Having to be consistently productive for long periods of time is no easy task and can get really frustrating really fast. I know we could all use some help in balancing our wellness with our responsibilities, and I think this article does a good job at providing simple but effective techniques in helping strike that balance. ~
During tumultuous times, like the one we’re currently living in, a key factor in successfully navigating periods of transformation and systemic change is adaptability. Yet during such times, we often fall back to familiar patterns, stopping us from becoming faster and better at learning. To avoid this trap, this article goes over five important ways we can turn adaptability into an evergreen skill.
~ This article is a bit on the longer side, but I found its detail to be very informative and thought-provoking. It can be hard to step out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves in a way that really matters, but this article provides tangible, long-lasting strategies to change that. This is a useful read for any students trying to set themselves up for success in a post-COVID world. ~
Interviewing, whether in-person or over video, is an incredibly nerve-wracking process. It can often feel overwhelming to have to put ourselves in the best light possible while never being sure about whether or not it will pay off in our favour. As such, this article outlines a few important tips to keep in mind for interviewees, from paying attention to the interviewers to avoiding self-deprecation to having questions prepared.
~ A quick read with helpful strategies for anyone who’s looking to up their interview game. Even though a couple of these tips may seem obvious, it’s useful to be reminded of them and have them at the forefront of our minds whilst in the interview process. ~
In this article, recent graduate Courtney-Lynn Riviere explains her experience of realizing her need for and subsequently asking for accommodations in her workplace. Too often employers and employees are worried about having the conversation about disability and accommodation in fear they may be insulting or may look incompetent. However, it is vital that we be equipped with the tools we need to set realistic expectations and be easier on ourselves.
~ I liked this article because, through a description of her first-hand experience, Courtney effectively conveys the importance of accessibility being more accessible. Students who experience burnout and other difficulties at school or work often try brushing off their problems and pushing through them. However, this article highlights the importance of the “need to be cognizant of the invisible challenges that we each face.” ~
We are all experts at speaking to some degree. We spend a lot of time every day communicating with colleagues, family, and friends. But when the pressure is on, we can overthink this very natural, practiced skill and end up with what feels like an out-of-body experience. In this article, communication coach Vanessa Wasche likens communicating to athletic training and provides tips on how to “stick the landing” when communicating to get the results you want.
~ Presentation anxiety is a common stressor among students and non-students alike. Being able to communicate yourself clearly and efficiently is a vital skill in every field and discipline. I thought this article was both engaging and informative, providing useful advice on how to rehearse behaviour, thoughts, and breathing in order to give yourself the best chance of avoiding the “speaking twisties.” ~
In this article, Arthur C. Brooks writes about the feelings of isolation that result from remote work. Detailing the various ways in which the Zoom life takes a toll on us mentally, he comes to the conclusion that while remote technologies might be a necessary substitute for in-person work during the pandemic, they are inadequate to meet our human need for contact.
~ I chose this article because I think it articulates really well how a lot of us are feeling at this point. After more than a year of living almost exclusively online, we’ve all had to come to terms with how this has affected us mentally, physically, and emotionally. Knowing that you’re definitely not alone in how you feel makes it all a little easier, so I think this is an article that students may find valuable to read. ~
Three experts on career development come together in this article to outline just how impactful technological advancements are about to be on an industrial level. They go through where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we need to go and provide a comprehensive picture of the state of the worldwide industry.
~ I think this an interesting article to read for anyone who may be thinking about what the future of work looks like around the world. By focusing on what COVID-19 has highlighted about our workplaces, this article feels very grounded and is both easy to understand and something to ponder on. ~
If there was ever a time to discard your comfort zone and embrace adaptability, it’s now. Whatever your position and industry, chances are the “critical skills” required for your role have shifted in the past few years and will continue to do so. This blog post outlines 5 key skills that employees should work on in order to improve their adaptability in the workplace.
~ I think this an important blog post to read because it very simply lays out broad areas of improvement all employees and future employees can work on. Adopting these skills and techniques will not only be helpful to students in their careers but also outside of it in their personal growth. ~
It’s probably fair to say that most people who aren’t in the business of negotiation have a hard time with it. But for women and racialized groups, the process can be even more difficult. But if you’re looking to move up in the ranks of your career, whatever that may be, there are ways to overcome these obstacles. In this article, award-winning writer Margaret Craig-Bourdin describes 6 pieces of key advice to help those who may be struggling to showcase their worth in a negotiation.
~ Although this article is published on the CPA website, the advice in it can easily be applied to many different workforce spheres. Knowing your worth and owning it, especially as a member of a marginalized group, is critical for all students and employees. Following the advice in this article will help you showcase to others that you know you belong. ~
Whether we like it or not, the robot era is already upon us. The question is: Is the Canadian economy poised to flourish or flounder in a world where robots take over the tasks we don’t want to do ourselves? This article goes through the current and future state of AI technology in Canada and what it means for human workers.
~ I thought this was an interesting article to read through because it provides some interesting thinking points about how AI is going to affect the regular worker. It presents this information with concrete facts and statistics, rather than just discussing it in an abstract way like it usually is. I especially liked that it provided a hopeful outlook overall. ~
In this article, burnout prevention and stress resilience expert Paula Davis describes how productivity-related burnout can’t be solved by a “simple fix” like yoga. She explains what burnout really is and how we can help both ourselves and each other work through this prevalent issue, with techniques like outwardly showing appreciation and providing constructive feedback.
~ Although this article focuses on workplaces, the advice given could easily be applied to students and their peers. Additionally, although the advice focuses on how bosses can make their employees’ lives easier, the same strategies can be adjusted and applied to professors, peers, and even ourselves. ~
If you’re looking for a job, your first step may be to peruse job boards. While it’s a tried-and-true method, a growing number of jobs are “hidden,” as more companies move to employee referrals and professional networks for sourcing qualified candidates more quickly. In this article, author Stephanie Vozza describes tips and techniques on how to get into the mailbox of hiring managers directly and make yourself stand out.
~ I chose this article because it provides unique advice on job searching and how to set yourself up for success by taking initiative when it comes to your own career. I believe this article will be helpful for anyone who’s looking for ways to stand out from the crowd and forge their own path. ~
Writing cover letters can be daunting and tedious, with their free structure providing anxiety for many students. In this article, career services director Joseph Barber explains how to customize cover letters for the specific position you’re looking to get, with advice on how to make them engaging by fitting them into a narrative format.
~ I liked this article because it’s advice from someone who clearly knows what they’re talking about. I know personally, I struggle with cover letters because it seems intimidating to have to sell myself without boring whoever’s reading. By providing more of a structure for cover letters to follow, this article gives advice that’s bound to help anyone who may be struggling in a similar way. ~
With the impact of the pandemic on job prospects and the labour market, many students are looking towards post-graduate education to grow themselves, according to this article. “Students are recognizing the value of furthering their education against a challenging economic and employment backdrop,” making it vital for students to understand what exactly the competition is, in order to help themselves stand out.
The challenges brought upon by the pandemic have affected everyone to varying degrees. Thinking about students in particular, there have been unique obstacles for us to face and overcome. This article sheds a light on why international students are especially vulnerable during these times, as their ability to stay in the country hangs in the balance.
~ I chose to include this article because I feel like it’s important for everyone to read, student or not, international or domestic. It’s important for us to be able to empathize with others and place our own struggles in context. Personally, this was something I hadn’t given much thought to so I thought other students may find it eye-opening as well. ~
When many of us think back on our experiences, we see them as points on a timeline -- childhood to high school to college to a job to grad school to the future. This makes sense since we live our lives as a series of moments, moving through time in only one direction. But when talking about yourself to others, do you always have to talk in terms of past, present and future? This article goes over how to best represent the chronology of time to sell yourself, whether it be on a resume, CV, cover letter, research statement, or even in an interview.
~ I chose this article because it talks about something that I haven’t really ever given that much thought to before. It’s almost as if the author is giving you cheats on how to use time to capture the attention of potential employers. ~
When you’re in a situation where you feel like you don’t have control, it can be easy to become paralyzed by fear and unable to move forward. This often leads to bad decision-making. But as Dr. Mark McLaughlin explains, understanding how your brain works can provide you with a path for getting back on track and sticking to your goals.
~ I liked this article because with impending assignments and deadlines, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and fearful of being able to manage your time. This article provides a really interesting neurological perspective into how we can conquer that fear through self-knowledge and self-awareness. ~
This podcast hosted by Abdul-Rehman Malik features guests like Wajahat Ali, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, and Sultan Al-Qassemi, all individuals who are at the center of Muslim art, culture, and life. Their topics of discussion involve prayer and pilgrimage, politics and pop culture, love and education, feminism and film, representation and responsibility, and so much more. Launching its first episode on January 26, 2021, this biweekly podcast delves into what Malik describes as the “kaleidoscope of the Muslim experience.” This is an interesting and informative listen for anyone looking to gain a deeper insight into Muslim culture and all the varying ways in which it exists and contributes to society.
With the new year ahead of us, we’re all hoping to put the events of 2020 behind us. However, it is clear that there are some ways in which the world will never be the same. Particularly relevant to recent and future grads is what changes have occurred for job searchers. This article outlines 5 changes that might be here to stay, including having tougher competition, getting comfortable with zoom interviews, and the importance of networking.
As the world faces more than one billion jobs transformed by technology, it remains imperative that individuals maintain a focus on skill-building. This article, supported by research, explores the core mindsets and skills of effective learners, which the authors believe to be the most fundamental skill for professionals to cultivate in the coming decades.
~ I chose this article because it provides a unique take on what the most essential skills in the workforce will be in the coming years. Although we may be used to hearing what types of careers and hard skills will be most valuable, this article provides a more generalizable view that we should constantly cultivate, maintain, and improve on our learning capabilities. ~
Looking for a job can raise messy identity questions that make it hard to figure out who the 'you' is that you're supposed to be. In this article, career development director Derek Attig offers three suggestions on how to strike a balance between being real and being professional — and figuring out what that even means — when talking to potential employers.
~ Job searching can be stressful for a number of reasons, but it can be especially stressful when you’re trying to figure out the best way to sell yourself to potential employers. I liked this article because it speaks directly to students and provides helpful tips on exactly how to achieve a successful level of “strategic authenticity.” ~
With the current state of things, it’s easy to feel stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed. It’s often difficult to find the motivation to stay on task and on top of responsibilities This article gives advice on how to overcome those internal challenges, focusing on how you think, how you spend your time, and who you’re with.
~ This time of the semester is often quite hectic and can cause burnout for a lot of students. That’s why it’s important to take a step back, gain some perspective, and find a way to stay motivated. I liked this article because it covers those grounds and provides advice on how to take a breath and keep going. ~
Quarantine and isolation have provided an excellent excuse to do some reflecting and introspection. For some, that might mean deciding to change career paths. In such tumultuous times, however, it is important to keep the big picture in mind. This article outlines things to keep in mind if you’re planning on making changes or adjustments to your career plan in order to maximize your chances of a successful transition.
~ With all the uncertainty we’re facing right now, I know many students have thought about making changes to their academic and/or career paths. Making such drastic adjustments can cause anxiety and fear about being able to successfully navigate a new pathway, and so I chose this article because I like the simple yet practical advice it gave in regards to keeping a strong head on your shoulders. ~
As we all adjust to the new normal and look ahead to what a post-COVID world will look like, it is important to consider how the changing workforce will affect us on an individual level. In this article, author Linda Nazareth offers some perspective on how reliance on remote work will expand the pool of potential new hires, and what this means for competition between jobseekers.
~ I chose this article because I know many students who are looking to enter the workforce in such a tumultuous time for the economy are wondering what exactly they can expect in terms of opportunities. This article provides a good overview of what challenges such students might face and what types of workers will have an edge over others, which may allow students to plan accordingly. ~
Job interviews can be intimidating and daunting because we’re often unsure about how to provide the 'right' answers to potential employers. A particular question that can often be tricky to answer is the weakness question. This article goes over the ways in which jobseekers can make faults when answering this question, and how to best answer it in a way that will impress your interviewer.
~ I liked this article because it’s simple and gets straight to the point, while also providing valuable advice about something that many students and first-time jobseekers are unsure about. ~
Our daily schedules can often feel overwhelming as we try to juggle all of our responsibilities. It is often easy to become consumed with worry over everything we need to get done as we wonder why there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. This article provides advice on how to balance your time in an efficient way that allows optimization of productivity while maintaining energy and focus.
~ I chose this article because it provides good perspective on how we can become overworked, and how we can put in the work to overcome this. Although the article seems to be meant for those struggling with their jobs, the advice can easily be applied to students who are struggling with their academic work as well. ~
Looking for jobs can often seem like a tedious and exhausting process. This article by career coach and job search strategist Kerri Twigg provides some unique advice on how to efficiently go on the job hunt in a way that won’t leave you uninspired. The author mentions how job ads can be limiting and how to tailor your job search in a way that will best help you find your dream job.
~ I liked this article because it’s an easy read and it provides an out-of-the-box way of hunting for your dream job. ~
It is evident by now that the pandemic will have both short-term and long-term effects on the economy, and subsequently how individuals will be able to sustain their careers. This article talks specifically about the impact on the careers of young people, and mentions exactly what their struggles may look like, as well as advice on what resources they can use to best overcome these struggles.
~ I chose this article because I know a lot of students are worried about what a post-COVID economy and workforce is going to look like for them, and this article details what they may expect, and how they can brace for impact. ~
As we all become increasingly aware of the disparities between white individuals and BIPOC in the Western world, it is important to consider how these disparities carry into the workforce. In this article, career and wellness practitioner Jodi Tingling provides an overview of the myriad of ways in which BIPOC face obstacles in their career paths that their white colleagues will never experience. In doing so, she also suggests ways in which we can all come together to ensure equality and equity for all individuals.
~ I chose this article because I know much of the UTM population consists of BIPOC, and thus it seemed relevant. It’s up to all of us, no matter what our race or ethnicity, to be better colleagues and peers. This can only happen if we’re educated and aware of the issues that surround us, and this article does a good job at pointing those things out. ~
Writing resumes can often seem like a chore, especially if you’re unsure about how to sell yourself. This article provides a fun, unique approach to getting over this type of 'writer’s block.'
~ I liked this article because it provided a fresh, fun take on the classic “tips for writing a resume” advice that students may be familiar with. ~
We all remain uncertain about what the effects of the pandemic will be on the workforce in the long term. This article projects which Canadian industries will endure the most severe consequences, and where we can expect the economy to go.
~ I chose to include this article because although it may seem like a snooze fest at first glance, it provides valuable information about what the economy will be facing going forward. This may be helpful to students who are planning their future careers, as it may serve as an indication that they need to have alternative pathways in mind. ~
Understanding and evaluating the culture of an organization can be difficult for job applicants. But finding a workplace with a decent work culture is worth the extra effort. Why? Because every worker deserves an employer who can provide job security, equitable income opportunities, and a culture that can help them achieve their full potential. This article outlines tips for job seekers to ensure they are able to find decent work.
~ I found this article to be a good resource as it’s purely in the interest of job seekers. It provides helpful tips to keep in mind for those on the job hunt, to ensure they’re being treated with the fairness and equity they deserve. ~
With virtual interviews becoming the norm these days, there are adjustments that need to be made in the interview strategies and etiquette we utilize. This article lays out all the things you need to be mindful of when you’re in such a situation and the strategies that will help you succeed.
~ I liked this article because it does a good job of simplifying how interviewees should conduct themselves in virtual interviews. It’s easy to understand and provides simple, practical tips that are easy to apply to yourself. ~
Re-defining the skills for success formula: what job hunters demonstrate, what new hires anticipate, and what hiring managers expect
As a student looking to make the transition into the workforce, it is often daunting to think about whether you’re skilled and qualified enough to outdo your competition, especially in a time where it seems the playing field has been somewhat leveled. This article discusses the skills you’ll need to succeed, as outlined both by fellow students and hiring managers.
~ I thought this was an interesting article because it’s quite straightforward. The information is particularly impactful because you know it came directly from students who are new hires, as well as the managers in charge of hiring them. ~
Working remotely from home requires some serious self-discipline. It may be difficult to prevent yourself from procrastinating, while also making sure you don’t overwork yourself. This article provides strategies you can implement in your life that will help you find that healthy balance between work and life in order to optimize your performance.
~ This article touches on a relevant issue that people seem to be having these days in terms of managing stress. It provides tangible strategies that are rooted in science, that will guide students in finding the right amount of pressure they need to put on themselves. ~
With most people having no choice but to shift the completion of their work and school responsibilities to remote, online means, there has been added anxiety when it comes to balancing our days. At first, getting to stay home might have seemed like the ideal situation, but now, there seems to be a widespread struggle in terms of time management. This article provides strategies on how you can better structure your days to optimize both productivity and leisure.
~ Time management has been one of the most obvious things that students have been struggling with, and I found this article to be incredibly helpful in providing legitimate strategies that can help set clearer boundaries and prevent feeling overworked and overwhelmed. ~
The Labour Market Information Council analyzed data regarding employment loss and recovery during the months of February and July 2020, comparing immigrants and Canadian-born workers. Their major findings include the fact that although immigrants, in general, saw the largest drops in employment, female immigrant workers, in particular, suffered the worst job losses, and have also had the slowest recovery rate.
~ I found this article to be relevant because many UTM students are either immigrants themselves or come from immigrant families, and it provides a good snapshot of how that specific population has been impacted by COVID. It’s quite clear and concise and the stats are easy to understand. ~
The interview process is just one of many key aspects of the workforce that has shifted to virtual means to accommodate for physical distancing guidelines. As a result, there may be an added layer of pressure when it comes to presenting one’s physical background through video. This article provides tips and tricks on how to tailor your background for the job you want.
~ I found this article to be very interesting because it provides a thought-provoking presentation of the pros and cons of video interviews and gives really good advice on how students can use their circumstances to their benefit. ~
Although it may feel as if our physical and social exploration has been stunted as a result of having to stay home, that doesn’t mean our professional exploration needs to suffer the same fate. This article suggests a few digital resources that may be available to individuals who are looking to continue their professional development despite the current restrictions on attending in-person events.
~ This seems like a particularly relevant article for students who may feel stuck, and as if there’s nothing they can do to work their way towards their desired career. The article is a good way to get students thinking of how they can take initiative over their professional lives despite the current circumstances. ~