Now's the time to start prepping
Gift ideas to keep you out of the red this holiday season
Well, I just made a list of the people I intend to buy gifts for over the holidays. It’s a long list. That could very well mean it’s going to be an expensive couple of months, but I have a few money-saving holiday ideas that will persuade my wallet to come out of hiding.
Student Life Series: When it comes to exams it's okay to...
Over the past year or so, I’ve written many blogs about study tips for rocking your exams. I’ve interviewed colleagues and student friends and even recalled my own academic successes and failures. It’s been great. But today as final exam season approaches, I want to approach the topic a bit differently.
Top 5 Tips for Choosing a School
I’m not going to lie. When I was 17, one of the main factors in choosing a school was the quality of the swag that high school recruiting representatives gave away. I remember my friend Danielle and I comparing all the trinkets, highlighters and gift bags from the various colleges and universities. We both agreed that one was the clear winner.
Financial literacy: negotiating your salary!
November is Financial Literacy Month, so I couldn’t have picked a better time to talk about numbers, particularly as it relates to your bottom line.
Finding balance: work, school and everything else
Do you ever feel as though you’re on a constant search for balance? I do. I seek balance in so many facets of my life: balancing work with my social life, sleep with late-night outings, or managing multiple projects at work. I even struggle to find balance in what would appear to be the simplest of yoga poses.
Interview with Skills Canada medalist Mikhaila Currie
This past June, the annual Skills Canada Competition was held in Vancouver, bringing together contenders from all across Canada. Among the competitors was Mikhaila Currie, who brought home the bronze medal for welding.
Interview: World Skills gold medalist, Michael Scheideman!
In celebration of National Skilled Trades and Technology Week (November 4-10, 2013), I have something very special for you.
Student Life Series: It's never too late to improve your grade!
Midterms are over! Now all that’s left to do is wait for the results. Sometimes we find ourselves doing very well, but sometimes we can be blindsided by a grade that isn’t so great.
Turning your passion into a career!
If you’re unsure about where you want to take your career, or what you want to study, people will often suggest that you “follow your passion.” If you’re one of the lucky ones who are already well-acquainted with their passion and are chasing it this very moment, I applaud you. It’s not easy.
A new and improved CanLearn
Regardless of where you are in your post-secondary career – before, after or anywhere in between – there is a place where you will find answers to all your financial questions about your education: CanLearn.ca.
Chatting about midterms
It’s hard to believe midterm season is already sneaking up on us. I always preferred final exams to midterms because at least at the end of your final exams, you get a long break. Midterms are just another day. Depending on your school you might have a fall reading week after midterms, but that wasn’t the case at my school, and I may or may not still be a little bitter about it.
Student Life Series: Living on a tight budget
I wouldn’t call myself a chef, or even a cook for that matter. Instead, I like to say that I’m really good at following recipes. I don’t really have the best instincts when it comes to herbs and spices. Sometimes, I put way too many chili flakes in my sauces, which often has my roommate coughing up a lung and fanning his face.
See you in Montreal or Toronto!
Earlier this month, I mentioned in my “What is S.T.E.M?” Blog that members of my team (including yours truly) will be at the Student Life Expo in Toronto and the National Education Fair in Montreal.
What is S.T.E.M?
I have some exciting news for you all! Next month, members of my team (including yours truly) will be at the Student Life Expo in Toronto and the National Education Fair in Montreal.
Tips for landing a part-time job
If you have the time and if your academic schedule allows for it, a part-time job can be a welcome addition to your life. You get to meet new people and earn extra cash, and a part-time job can provide you with a much-needed mental break from studying and feeling like a slave to your homework.
Services for youth on Facebook
For many of you, today is the first day back to school! Happy First Day! I always loved the first day back to school—meeting new people; reuniting with old friends; and looking forward to new experiences, a new routine and the satisfaction of knowing you’re one step closer to graduation.
Your back-to-school toolkit
I won’t be heading back to school this September, but the three students who work with me will be. I wondered to myself, “Are they prepared?” So I decided to ask them about their back‑to‑school routines and what they like to buy or do prior to cracking open the books again.
There’s never a better time to start looking at funding options than before the school year starts. In fact, I would say, the earlier you do, the better! Scholarships and bursaries are two funding options I’m going to discuss.
What I wish I had known about student loans
This is a topic that comes up frequently in my social circle. Student loans are a reality for many young Canadians who wish to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree. Let’s have an honest discussion about what they mean and things to keep in mind.
Why I love having a mentor
Do you ever feel a little lost in terms of the direction of your career, or are you still trying to “figure it all out?” At our age, it’s very common, and you shouldn’t worry that you don’t have all the answers. However, I do have an idea that might be helpful to you. It’s called mentorship.
Manage your digital reputation for successful job hunting
Connecting with friends on social media and applying for jobs can seem like two mutually exclusive tasks on your daily to-do list. However, with the right planning and strategy, the two can blend and work together in your favour.
Making the transition from school to work
I’ve officially been out of school for a year, and let me tell you, it took some getting used to.
Using LinkedIn to find a job
We’ve talked about networking, hidden job markets and how to write a great résumé, but did you know you can also use social media to find jobs? There are several different kinds to choose from, but today I would like to talk about LinkedIn, drawing from my own experience.
Don't vacation - staycation! Enjoy Canada!
You know when people ask you “What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten?” And sometimes you find yourself stumped? You’ve eaten so much in your life it’s hard to narrow it down. Well, friends, I’ve figured it out.
Happy Canada Day!
Happy 146th Birthday Canada! You don’t look a day over 145!
Celebrating Canada with National Aboriginal Day!
This Friday kicks off a series of truly awesome Canadian celebrations and to start things off, this week we will celebrate National Aboriginal Day on June 21st followed by Saint-Jean Baptiste Day (June 24th), Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27th), and wrapping it up with Canada Day on July 1st.
There's no recipe for life after graduation
June is the time of year when post-secondary students are making that short walk across the stage. You should be so proud of yourself for accomplishing your goals. I was in your shoes around this time, one year ago. I also remember asking myself after the ceremony, “all right, I’ve graduated – now what?”
I am a graduate of both college and university. Both are incredibly different learning environments, but they do have one major thing in common: they’re nothing like high school.
4 ways to enjoy the summer!
Winter has been particularly long in Canada this year and spring here has started off on a pretty rough note. With summer peeking around the corner, I thought to myself, “What will I do this summer?” And then I thought, “I should blog about it” - share my ideas in the hope that it’ll inspire you!
Fighting the urge to splurge
My debit and credit cards are both my best friends and my worst enemies. Incidentally, I think that’s called a “frenemy” in popular culture. We are young Canadians, and the pressure to save our money competes ferociously with our desire to have fun, go shopping and play hard after we’ve worked so hard. Am I right? But ... where’s the balance? Well, I’ll tell you.
Interview Question Round-Up # 1
This month on our Facebook page, we asked you a couple of simulated interview questions and received some great responses. I decided to reflect on some of your answers, plus give some pointers for those of you who may not have known what to say.
FSWEP worked for me. It can for you too!
It’s time for some full disclosure: who am I and how did I get here?
What Budget 2013 can mean for you!
The Government of Canada’s 2013 Budget was released on March 21st and, as the youth.gc.ca blogger, I decided I owed it to my readers to pick out some of the highlights that are relevant to young Canadians planning their careers, learning new skills and finding jobs. So here goes:
Staying on your references' good side
Most, if not all, jobs you ever apply to will require references. Your references could be your golden ticket to a job. That being said, it’s important to take into consideration who your references are and, more importantly, remember your reference etiquette.
How to make job fairs work for you
You might find yourself asking the question “What is a job fair?” at some point in time during your job hunt. It’s a fair question. To understand the concept of a job fair, look at it as a form of speed dating. Several well-dressed employers are waiting at their booths for the right candidate to whisk them away into marital…err... employment bliss.
Job hunting on the go!
While getting ready for work today, I checked my personal email and found a ton of junk mail. What’s worse is that it’ sall junk mail I subscribed to during various moments of weakness while shopping. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone sent something useful like job postings to our inbox instead of body cream promotions?
The crème de la crème of networking opportunities
Want to take your job search to the next level? Well, I’m going to let you in on a little insider secret. When I say “insider,” I mean that in the sense that I’ve done this before and it’s worked out wonderfully for me. It can work for you!
Just how 'entry-level' are entry-level jobs?
Does this look familiar?
Making the most of your summer!
While you may have been stressing over midterms or projects in February or planning a getaway for winter break, many community employers were submitting applications for the 2013 Canada Summer Jobs campaign.
Students and their taxes
When I wrote that title, I thought to myself, “Really? I’m actually going to talk about taxes?” This may not seem like the most interesting topic to read about, but rest assured that if you are a student, you will want to read this post.
What to expect from a career in the trades
A few weeks back I wrote about why you should consider a career in the trades. We even put together a video on the topic. I would like to use this blog post to restate many of the benefits of pursuing a career in the trades, but also to clear up some very common misconceptions about working in the trades and what you can expect, as well as help you prepare for an interview.
Résumé screening: Rob's guide to beating the system
No calls yet? Could you have sworn that your last job application felt like “the one”? Sometimes when you’re on the hunt for a job, every job posting can feel like it could very well be the one you’ve been waiting for. If your phone isn’t ringing, it could be that your application never made it past the gatekeeper.
Interview question: What are your weaknesses?
One of our readers commented on a post and discussed a tough question that they were asked in an interview. What a great topic for a blog post, I thought!
10 ways to be proud of your résumé
If you’re in the midst of a job hunt, you might find that the very thought of writing your résumé sends you recoiling into darkness. Going to the dentist or watching paint dry sometimes seem to be more desirable options than re-writing your résumé for the umpteenth time. I’ve been there. I get it.
Starting a new job: 4 ways to keep the slate clean
A new job is both exhilarating and scary. It’s a chance to start over—a clean slate with a brand new group of people. And who doesn’t need a clean slate once in a while?
Don't doubt yourself!
I heard this term in university once called “imposter syndrome.” It basically refers to our own professional self-doubt. We begin to attribute our success or accomplishments to luck and happenstance, rather than to our skills and abilities.
The 4 myths of career planning
As I’ve mentioned before, I love to set goals and plan. Planning my career has been something I’ve been consciously doing since the seventh grade, back when I had “famous actor” ambitions. In hindsight, I had fallen victim to a very linear way of thinking about my career plan—thinking it was all going to mystically fall into place. To help you avoid similar disappointments, I’ve listed my top 4 missteps.
A lesson in interview etiquette
Did you get the interview? Awesome – that’s great news.
A Career in Retail
My friend Johnson works in retail management.
An Exciting Farewell
I’m a student and a young worker. Most of my friends are either students or young workers, or both. I know what it’s like looking for a job, and I know how hard that can be for a young person.
New Year, New Goals
Whenever a new year approaches, I like to do a lot of self-reflection about what I accomplished in the last year. For me, I graduated University, landed a full-time job, and started volunteering at an organization that is close to my heart. I also joined the gym and have started reading leisurely. I see my friends more often and I’m eating a lot healthier than I was when I was in school.
My Co-op Interviews
Being a co-op student is stressful. The personal learning experiences work placements are well worth the struggle, but those long-term goals seem far away when trying to manage everything in your life plus multiple job interviews, all at once.
Learning is ongoing
My roommate, Richard, and I graduated from university this past year. While I quietly vowed to take a long break from academia, Richard realized that in order to achieve his goals, he should continue finding ways to fine-tune his skills and make himself more marketable. He enrolled in a part-time graphic design course at a local college hoping that it will help him land a job in the publishing industry.
How spreadsheets changed my Life
During my first year of high school, I took an introductory computer course. I think it was called “Computers for Business” or something of the sorts. I thought it would be simple; I obviously already knew how to use computers. But as it turned out, that class gave me some incredibly useful knowledge.
A little help from my friends
I’ve had a couple of jobs in my life and I’m sure I could rhyme off a lot of things that I think you should do to be successful in a job interview, but I decided to do something different for this post.
When you’re writing your résumé, it might be challenging to promote yourself and your skills.
Seasonal employment: holiday edition
As you may know, “seasonal employment” is temporary employment that helps satisfy a short-term need for extra labour or employees. Seasonal positions often occur at busy times for certain industries, like harvest season for fruit orchards or the winter sports season for ski hills.
Sometimes it pays to know
I never have cash on me. I always pay with a card. I even pay the $1.76 for my morning coffee with the shop’s rewards card.
Why privacy matters
A couple of blog posts back, Corrin told you all about the importance of taking the time to Google Yourself in order to manage your online presence, but I want to take it one step further and talk about protecting your privacy online.
Why you should consider choosing a trade (and why I didn't)
In high school, I remember trying to switch out of a Grade 12 advanced law class. I was willing to take anything else, really, but it turned out the only other option was auto shop. I stayed in the law class.
Search engine smarts for academic research
How do you find information online? If you’re looking for something in particular, typically you would type key words into a search engine and see what comes up. However, when in school, you’ll often be asked to do online research to support your academic writing. This can be tricky, especially if you haven’t searched online for academic sources before.
If I were to make a guess, I would say that I use Google six to eight times every day—on days that I have access to a computer, anyway. Search engines have changed the way we access information, connecting people with facts all over the world, and delivering what we need almost instantaneously.
Break into the hidden job market
So you’ve scanned online job boards, combed through the newspaper want ads, and maybe even written a few dozen versions of your résumé and cover letter. It’s a good start, but it’s just the beginning of your job hunt.
When I was in school and writing essays, nothing stressed me out more than making sure I was citing my information properly. I’d insert source references whenever I felt I was using someone else’s words, ideas, photos, or concepts. It always made for a very long bibliography but, in my opinion, it was worth the extra work.
Rob says: “Sometimes you know what to expect, and other times you don’t. I’ve written mid-terms that were exclusively essays, multiple choice, or short/long answer. To avoid being surprised when you sit down to write the exam, talk to your professor or teaching assistants days before the exam to find out what you can expect.”
Shopping for a School
If you’ve just started your final year of high school, you’ll probably be spending most of this year deciding which school to choose for your post-secondary education. To help you out, I thought I’d explain how I made my decision. Hopefully, it will make the idea of post-secondary education a little less overwhelming!
Do you have the skills for the job you want?
Did you know that 4 out of every 10 Canadians do not have the essential skills they need to fully participate in today’s workforce?
When you first start post-secondary school, you may find yourself inundated with information on how to maintain "balance" in your new academic life.
Careers: Planning Ahead
We all know the reason for continuing your education after high school is to learn more. The end goal of all this learning is to make you skilled and knowledgeable in a certain subject area, so you can work, and continue to learn, in that specific field.
The time void
I graduated from university with a sense of relief, determined to start my career and make things happen. However, after working for a couple of months, I started to feel as if I had too much disposable time on my hands.
New clothes, gadgets, and toys - oh my!
One day, I went to a store and saw this amazing light grey sports coat on sale (40% off). I thought to myself: “$75 for a jacket this nice? How can I not buy it?” It may surprise you, but it’s still hanging in my closet months later, wrinkled from being crammed up against the rest of the stuff in my closet I never wear. I didn’t really need it.
For many students, summer is all about full-time work. It’s the season for working hard, having fun, and saving money for the school year. As September approaches, many students decide to look for a part-time job. If you’re one of those students thinking about working part-time during school, here are some tips to help you plan for your job hunt.
Keeping track of student loans
If you’re in your last year of high school, you may be thinking about going to college or university. It’s a solid choice, but you’ll need to do some planning to make sure you’re well prepared—especially when it comes to money.
Moving on and moving out
Moving out of your parents’ home for the first time is an important milestone in your life, and renting a place of your own is really exciting. It can seem intimidating, but do not fear! I have some advice to help guide you through the process.
Goodbye and good luck
The time has come for me to bid farewell as blogger for youth.gc.ca. An amazing job opportunity came up within my field that I just couldn’t turn down, so this will be my final blog post. Along with announcing my departure, I’ll also take this opportunity to introduce Rob and Corrin, some great bloggers with fresh insight on what it’s really like being a student and entering the work force. Be sure to check out Corrin’s first post on bursaries and scholarships and Rob’s on budgeting your pay cheque. I’m leaving the blog in some very capable hands, and I can’t wait to read what they have to share next.
Every dollar counts
It’s not easy to keep track of how much money you spend. Buying a morning coffee or a bagel may seem like a small routine purchase—but day after day, expenses like that can really add up. A great way to keep track of your money is to make a budget and then stick to it.
Paying for school, without student loans
The cost of post-secondary education is no secret—it’s expensive. For those of you heading off to university or college in the fall, finding a way to pay for it all may be a hot topic around your house. Besides working hard at your summer job or getting a student loan, there are other options available that may help you out.
Volunteering your way to your goals
The following information is out of date.
Interviews come in many forms
If I landed an interview, my initial assumption would be to prepare for a one-on-one interview at the employer’s office. However, the reality is that many employers are straying from the norm and conducting interviews in some unconventional ways. Here are just a few that you should be aware of...
Your cover letter could be your golden ticket in
One of the most important yet also most tedious parts of any job application is the cover letter. It’s so tempting to have a template that lets you switch up the name of the employer, change the date, and then send it off, but you have to resist. All employers are different, but for many the cover letter is more important than the résumé. It gives the reader more detail about the experiences and skills you listed on your résumé and at the same time a glimpse of your writing style and written communication skills.
Your network is bigger than you think
Don’t limit your job hunt to job boards and newspaper listings, because the vast majority of new job openings go unadvertised. To avoid the time and money spent on posting an advertisement and going through a pile of résumés, many employers rely on their networks to find qualified workers fast.
Uh-oh, I lost my SIN...
Falling victim to identity theft can happen to anyone. March is international Fraud Awareness Month, so I’d like to share a few tips on what to do if you think your Social Insurance Number (SIN) is at risk. I’ve already provided some insight on how to protect your SIN and whom you should and shouldn’t provide your number to, but here’s a to-do list if you’re worried that someone may be using your SIN for criminal activity.
Keep the learning going!
If you are graduating from a post-secondary program this year, you may be thinking of continuing your studies in a graduate program, a certification, or even a new discipline. Application deadlines for many programs are approaching fast, so if you’re thinking of going back to school, you should get the ball rolling with some of these useful tools: Working in Canada’s Career Exploration and CanLearn’s Program Search.
New tools are on the way
I’ve got some news to share with everyone! Over the next couple of months, new features including social media tools such as Twitter and YouTube will be added to youth.gc.ca!
Now's the time to start prepping
It’s a new year and those of you in post-secondary programs are getting back into the routine of the winter semester. You may not want to, but now is a good time to start thinking about and preparing for what you are going to do after exams in April. Believe me, from past experience, waiting until the end of semester to find a job is not the best idea. The reality is that many companies have already started looking for new talent.
Is a career in the skilled trades for you?
We have so many career options to choose from these days, but some professions in high demand, such as skilled trades, are often overlooked.
Protecting Your SIN is Your Responsibility
A few months ago, I shared how I was asked for my Social Insurance Number (SIN) when filling out a rental application. Well, this week is International Fraud Awareness Week, which gives me an opportunity to highlight once again why protecting yourself against identity theft is so important.
One of the World's Top Cabinetmakers!
Jonathan Sinke from Jordan Station, Ontario, didn’t know what was in store for him when he attended the Skills Canada - Ontario competition in Kitchener, Ontario. He eventually came out on top and won a gold medal at the Skills Canada national competition. Recently, he took home a bronze medal at the 41st WorldSkills competition in London, England.
On the Cutting Edge
This Saskatchewanian apprentice has experienced what many hairstylists only dream of. Last week, Kaylyn competed on the international stage at the WorldSkills competition in London, England.
Good luck Team Canada!
In light of two big events this month, I’ve decided to dedicate October to the trades!
The Tough Questions
I’ve already given you some tips on how to prepare for tough interviews, but there is a group of questions that can be particularly difficult to answer when you’re put on the spot. There are a slew of questions that employers just aren’t allowed to ask, unless relevant to the job, since the answers could be used to discriminate against you or other applicants.
Have you heard of FSWEP?
Have you been wondering how to land an awesome job or internship with the Government of Canada?
Don't give up your SIN for a T-shirt
Hunting for an apartment can be stressful. After looking at countless places and finally finding one that suits your needs, you may feel the need to rush through that rental application, but hold your horses! As a new resident of the nation’s capital, I recently went through the process of looking for a new place to live. The last application I filled out had a blank spot for something I didn’t even think anyone could ask for—the landlord was looking for my Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Does your profile picture send the right message?
Sure, you might not care that your best friend’s brother’s roommate can see your Facebook profile, but what about the president of that company who is looking to hire you for that really cool summer internship? Do you care if he sees it? Well, you should!
Is your wallet ready?
There’s a lot more to learn about post-secondary education than what’s in your textbook or what your professor shares in a lecture. For example, you can check out this really cool guide to moving out.
I'm a graduate... now what?
So you decided to get a post-secondary education. You’ve put in a lot of hard work, probably had a few sleepless nights and perhaps wrote some really long papers you thought you’d never get through. All of this pays off when graduation day finally rolls around… but then what? Some of you may be currently experiencing or starting to think about this situation.
Lending a Helping Hand: Résumés and Interviews
by Aaron Bell
When it comes to helping others, we tend to conjure up images of helping elderly ladies cross the street or helping a little boy get his kite out of a tree. The elderly and children are groups we often think about when it comes to helping others, but everyone needs a helping hand, even youth who are young, able, ambitious, and feel invincible.
by Lynne Matthews
Hi there! My name is Lynne and I’m a Youth Services Officer in Victoria. Although I was born and raised in the nation’s capital, all I wanted to do after I graduated from high school was get as far away as possible. You might be wondering, “Why? I hear Ottawa is a sweet place to live.” Yes, it’s a great place to grow up in with endless opportunities, but when you’ve lived somewhere for a long time ― and I’m sure many share my sentiments ― all you want to do is leave everything behind to start with a clean slate and define yourself in a completely new environment.
Apple Meet Abacus: Old Techniques for New Jobs
by Aaron Bell
We live in a high tech world: cars can parallel park themselves, coffee machines brew automatically, and you can even see your dog playing in the yard on Google Maps. With all of this fascinating technology at our fingertips, we often get the idea that all of life’s problems can be solved with a click or a download. However, some basic challenges remain best solved by tried-and-true methods; landing a summer job is one of them.
When I grow up...
What do you want to be when you grow up? When I was younger, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to be. At one point, I wanted to be either a whale trainer or a professional sprinter, but it wasn’t long before I realized there aren’t many whales to train in Canada and that I wasn’t going to hold my title of “fastest kid at recess” for very long.
Are you getting your fair share?
We’ve all heard the “When I was your age…” stories from our folks. Stories about having to hand write letters or playing music on Compact Discs, or “CDs” for short.
So you’ve decided it’s time to find a job, but don’t know where to start?
The Infamous Cover Letter
Employers can receive many applications for one job opening. With so many applicants, the one thing that can set you apart from the rest is preparing the perfect cover letter.
Practice Made Perfect!
So after my last post, I started thinking about a particular girl last summer whose story might calm your nerves and give you an extra boost of confidence!
Why Should I Hire You?
Probably one of the more nerve-racking steps in your job application process is going to be the infamous interview. Many shudder at the mere thought of the word, but don’t be one of them! There are plenty of ways to prepare for an interview, and believe me, if you show up to the interview with your homework done, the employer will notice! The interviewer has probably taken time out of their busy schedule to read your resume and to get to know who you are, so why not do the same in return! Check out their website, talk to people you may know that work or have worked there, just do whatever you can to get to know your potential employer. Once you’ve done your homework, try and relate what you have to offer to some of their key attributes.
Welcome to VOICE!
You’ve stumbled upon a new blog ― written by youth for youth. A space where real life experiences will be shared to help you find the tools you need to get out there, find a job and gain insight into the world of work and post-secondary education. This is a space where we can actually relate to one another and take-away more than just information.
First Things First!
For many of you, this summer may be your first venture into the working world. The end of the school year is fast approaching, so it’s time to start putting a resume and cover letter together, researching some possible interview questions, and ultimately looking for employers that are hiring. Don’t get overwhelmed though, it’s not as much work as you think. All you need is to be prepared!