College career services
Grooming grads for jobs
A unique golfing event is just one of many hands-on, real-world initiatives offered to prepare college students for their future careers.
Terry Poulton, Special to QMI Agency
College career services include job fairs, networking events, workshops and job boards.
“How you act on a golf course can be a character exposé that impresses a potential employer positively or negatively,” says Corey Long, manager of Seneca College’s Alumni and Annual Giving department.
He is explaining the thinking behind a novel addition to the array of career services that Seneca will begin offering next month.
It’s a golfing day, when up to 50 of the college’s second-year business majors and recent graduates will play nine holes at the Sleepy Hollow course in Stouffville, Ont., with a variety of business people.
Long says the pilot project was the brainchild of Seneca board member David Tsubouchi, a former Ontario cabinet minister and avid golfer, who will lead the event on October 13, 2011.
Along with coaching from a golf pro, adds Long, student participants will be given tips on “how to maintain a calm demeanour when playing, rather than reacting to a bad shot by helicoptering your club off a tree or turning the air blue — the kind of things that show how well you act under pressure, and how you handle adversity or negative feedback.”
Elaine Fenner, a manager in Seneca’s Career Services department, says the golfing event is just one of many hands-on, real-world initiatives offered to prepare students for their future careers.
“Last year, we held more than a dozen job fairs with over 200 different employers in attendance, many of which were industry-specific,” she explains.
“Leading up to them,” she adds, “we have workshops where we help students prepare by learning everything from polishing resumés to hand-shaking, introducing themselves, how to chat with employers on site and networking after the event.”
Additionally, says Fenner, the college runs “business etiquette workshops so students can learn proper behaviour during on-the-job lunches” and similar professional situations.
Seneca also maintains a robust online job board, called Career Link, on which employers post numerous employment opportunities ranging from part-time positions for current students to career postings for graduates. Visit www.senecacareerlink.com.
Recent Seneca student Jason Galea is full of praise for the college’s career services strategies.
“They set up an information session with TD Bank as the sole potential employer,” says the graduate of Seneca’s two-year general business program.
This was preceded by “workshops on how to handle ourselves during the mini-interviews that would take place at the session,” adds Galea. “It went great and I ended up being hired as an easy line specialist at TD right after I graduated this spring.”
Would Galea advise other students to take advantage of their respective college’s career services?
“Definitely,” he says. “Especially in this economy, I think that losing out on the kinds of opportunities that helped me hit the ground running would be silly.”
Targeted Job Fairs
Cattle-call-type job fairs, where bewildered college students wander aimlessly among many booths hosted by multiple businesses are becoming a thing of the past. Today, information sessions and similar events are often tailored to suit the career aspirations — and work force needs — of single employment sectors. Throughout the school year, Toronto's Seneca College, for example, connects students with specific potential employers at events including: Travel and Hospitality Career Expo; Nursing Job Fair; and Recreation & Leisure Services Networking.