“One word, young man: plastics.”
This succinct piece of advice opens the famous 1967 movie The Graduate. While much has changed since then, the traditional question of any university graduate is still the same: “What now?”
Recent University of Toronto grads can seek answers at the U of T Career Centre, although the counsellors typically present many more options than just “plastics.”
“The Career Centre basically does two things,” says director Yvonne Rodney. “It helps students discover what they want to do with their lives, and it helps prepare them for employment.”
Besides offering basic career assistance, such as skills evaluation, resumé clinics (career counsellors help more than 5,000 students hone their resumés each year) and workshops on successful interview techniques, the centre, established in 1948, helps students and recent graduates figure out what options are open to them with their degree.
“Students sometimes have that sick feeling in their gut that says, ‘Oh, gosh, what am I going to do when I graduate?’” says Rodney. So counsellors help students evaluate not only what they’re qualified for, but what they’re passionate about. The centre also offers personality and interest assessment, skills evaluation, workshops on networking and job hunting, and opportunities for job shadowing. It has the largest career resource library in Canada.
Services are free for students – supported by their student fees – but they must register with the centre. U of T graduates can use the services for two years after graduating, during which time they have access to full-time job listings targeted to alumni. (Part-time and seasonal postings are geared to students.)
“Career counsellors help students and recent grads explore what their interests are, because that’s where you get to the seed of their passion,” says Rodney. “What makes you want to get up in the morning? Because you’re going to be spending at least eight hours a day at this career, you’d better be sure that you like what you’re doing.” The Career Centre’s Web site is www.careers.utoronto.ca.