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Career Planning Myths and Realities

Know the Truth About Career Development


There are a lot of myths out there about career planning and about what career centres do. Here we debunk those myths so you know the truth about career development and what we do for Ryerson students and alumni.

 

Myth: The Ryerson Career Centre is a placement service for students.

Reality: We are not a placement service. Our mission is to empower all students to learn the skills they need to find jobs for themselves throughout their whole career. We want them to reach their potential as highly-skilled professionals.  We do this by:

  1. Empowering students to carve out their careers from before they arrive on campus through to their professional life. For example, our services are free for up to five years after students graduate.
  2. Providing expertise on the diverse career paths and industry trends related to each program of study. For example, our Career Education Specialists each work with a specific Faculty and focus their efforts on understanding its students’ specific career needs.
  3. Engaging students to recognize and integrate their co-curricular experiences into their career planning. For example, we collaborate with the student unions, clubs, and societies on events that meet their members’ career needs.
  4. Fully using our community partnerships to create opportunities for students and industry professionals to meet and benefit from one another. For example, each year we bring dozens of employers onto campus to meet with students face-to-face.
  5. Providing partnerships, support, and access to students who identify as a member of a traditionally marginalized group. For example, we run workshops with International Student Support to explain Canadian employment etiquette.
  6. Delivering our programs and services in ways that are accessible across campus and 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
Myth: We can only help students with resumes, cover letters, and job postings.

Reality: We help students with all aspects of their career development and job search. This includes but is not limited to:

  • resume checks

  • skills workshops tailored to each program of study

  • networking events

  • career fairs

  • free online profile photos

  • one-to-one advising with a Faculty-specific Career Education Specialist

Myth: We are only relevant for students in their final year of study.

Reality: First year students may not be thinking of a career quite yet, but they will and should be looking for a summer or part-time job and/or an internship to gain experience before their second year starts.

This is also a time when they should start thinking about their future career path.  We strongly recommend that students begin their career exploration early and make full use of our resources. 

Myth: A university degree with high grades is all it takes to land a good job.

Reality: Employers look at more than grades and a university education when making hiring decisions.  According to a 2015 survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the top five most valued skills in new hires are:

  1. critical thinking and problem solving

  2. teamwork

  3. professionalism and work ethic

  4. oral and written communications

  5. information technology application

These transferable skills and career-related experiences can be gained through part-time and summer jobs, volunteering, internships, co-op jobs, and co-curricular involvement.  

In the 2013 Campus Recruitment Report from the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE), it was shown that 90% of total graduate job offers made were to former interns, co-op students, and summer work term students.

Myth: Majoring in an “impractical” field will severely limit future career options.

Reality:  While some degrees/majors appear to have have a more direct career path, most majors – particularly those in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science – allow students to develop a broad range of skills that can transfer to many different types of careers.

We know that the ability to effectively communicate and to analyse information are among the top five most valued skills in new hires (NACE, 2015). Workopolis research confirms that Canadians with liberal arts degrees most often appeal to employers who need candidates with these skills, quickly moving them into leadership positions in their organizations (“Education Nation”, 2015).

Skills learned through a combination of degree, work experience, and co-curricular involvement attract employers’ attention.

When choosing a major, we recommend that the student’s interest and abilities in the field carry the most weight in the decision-making process. Students who are enthusiastic and eager to attend their classes, work on assignments, and study for exams are more likely to do well and to communicate their interest, excitement, and abilities to potential employers and/or graduate school admissions committees.

 

 

We want to acknowledge McGill University’s Career Planning Service as the inspiration for these Myths vs. Realities.