Friday, December 12, 2014

Tis’ the Season of Exams

It’s that time of the year when every UTSC student goes into hibernation mode. Someone is keeping warm with a blanket and studying, while others are stocking up on caffeine and energy drinks.  There is no doubt that final exam season is stressful and we are all striving to do our best. It is important to work hard to achieve the grades you want, but it is also just as important to take care of yourself during this busy time. Read on for some tips on how to stay healthy and get through this exam season!

Stay Healthy


It is quite common for students to indulge in late night snacks to fulfill the unnecessary cravings that come along with stress. However, you need to have good health in order to be able to score well on your exams. Try to eat a balanced diet that provides you with all the nutrients you need to function throughout the day. Although caffeine and energy drinks may provide you with a temporary “energy boost,” in my experience, warm drinks like tea, help alleviate stress and calm the nerves down.


Take Breaks


Some students go into intense study mode for an extended period of time. This may not be a very good idea because you won’t be able to retain all the information and will get very tired and lethargic by the end of it. Studying productively is a skill that every undergraduate student must develop. It is very important to take breaks between lengthy periods of studying. Treat yourself to an episode of your favorite show, or go for a walk with a friend. Positive reinforcement can be a great way to make studying a healthy learning experience.

Stay Hydrated


Drink plenty of water while studying. Draining out your energy during studying can result in dehydration which may have negative effects on your health. Have a water bottle next to you at all times and take water with you to the exam. Water can help overcome nervousness and make you feel good on the inside.

Stay Warm


Remember to stay warm and bundle up when going outside in this extremely cold weather. The last thing you want for yourself is to catch a cold, while having to write your exams! 
I know it can be very stressful, but I have faith that all of you will pull through this tough time. Follow these tips and all the chaos will hopefully become easier to deal with.


 Good Luck Studying and Happy Holidays!

-Ayesha Haq






Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Resources on the CLN: Goinglobal


Want to find a job or internship in a different country? Goinglobal is a great place to start researching. Sign into the CLN, and Goinglobal can be accessed under the resources tab. You can create an account if you wish but it is not required.

There are two different databases that are extremely useful. The first one is the employer directory, which allows you to enter the location, keywords, salary expectations, and the number of employees when researching different companies. Goinglobal generates a list of companies based on your search criteria. However, if you prefer to search for jobs and internships directly, the second database can be utilized. It is under the jobs and internships tab, and you can enter the industry, job type, and academic degree requirements to search for opportunities that interest you.
What makes Goinglobal unique is its country and city guides. When thinking about working abroad, it’s important to know about the culture, cost of living, and the formatting of resume and cover letters (which is different for almost every country), just to name a few. Here is a list of the most important topics the country and city guides cover:

-       Job Search Resources: This section lists multiple online databases specific to the country you want to work in, government databases, staffing agencies, and even newspapers that have job postings. Of course, this is in addition to the database already on the Going Global website.
-       Non-Profits and Volunteer Organizations: The website gives you a brief description about non-profits, a list of non-profit and volunteer organizations with contact information, and how to get these jobs.
-       Industry and Employment Trends: A brief overview of the economy is stated, key industries are mentioned, and the employment outlook both short term and long term is available as well.
-       Top Companies: This is a list of the largest companies in the country, including their asset totals, number of employees, and contact information.
-       Financial Considerations: This section is your guide to the cost of living in the city you want to work in. It shows you where the city ranks on the most expensive cities in the world list, gives you typical prices of common goods such as milk, bread, and coffee ($5.67 USD in Hong Kong!) It also mentions the pricing of transportation and housing.
-       Work Permits and Visas: The process of obtaining different types of work permits and visas specific to your situation is described here. The site also gives you links to relevant embassies and even the forms you have to fill out to obtain your visa/work permit.
-       Resume/CV guidelines: These guidelines tell you everything you need to know – including the size of the paper you should print your cover letter on. This section also includes samples of resumes and cover letters.
-       Cultural Advice: This is an overview of daily life in this country, mentions common slang words, and office protocol. If you’re really interested in culture, I recommend looking at the section If you want to act like a local, which will describe customs that may seem unusual to people in Canada.

Until next time,

Angelin                   

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

7 Effective LinkedIn Strategies


Over the past decade, LinkedIn has become one of the most popular business networking tools online. Millions of people worldwide tune in to connect with professionals in a variety of fields, and to hopefully have a potential employer lay eyes on their profile. With so many well-qualified candidates out in the world of LinkedIn, it can be hard to know what to do to make your profile stand out. For those of you looking for a way to spruce up your profile, here are a few simple tips:

1. Choosing the right profile picture:

Your profile picture will most likely be the first thing a viewer looks at when they log on to your profile, so it's important to make sure that it is well chosen. Ideally, your profile picture should be a current headshot (above waist) of you, standing against a blank or neutral background. It should capture you dressed for the job you want –appropriate attire, and good posture. Try to keep your appearance simple; you will want to avoid distracting clothes, jewelry and make-up, as these will take away from the main attraction -- YOU! Don't forget to smile :)

2. Be honest:

An honest description will attract the employers that are the best fit for you. Getting a job interview on the foundation of a lie is not a good way to start an employer-employee interaction. Fabricating experiences is a big no-no

3. Summarize it:

The summary section near the top of your profile is where potential employers will go to get a quick overview of what you're all about before they decide if they should read on. Here, it will be important to include the position title and/or industry that you see yourself in, highlight the experiences and skills you've gained, and briefly talk about any other special attributes you possess that make you suitable for the industry you’re targeting. It is important to use simple, searchable key words in this section. Look at a few of the job postings you're interested in to figure out the significant words that they've used, and subtly incorporate these terms into your summary as well. This way when these words are searched, they will be connected back to you.

4. The little details:

It is important to share your experience in a detailed but concise manner. To make a good impression, it would be useful to add industry-related words. Be sure to fill in all of the sections that you can as well. Important sections that are often underrated include: volunteer experiences, projects, certifications, and languages.  Many people don't realize that all of these areas combined, add a level of well roundedness and personality to your profile.

5. Endorsements and recommendations: 

Use the "Skills & Expertise" section of your profile as a way to make use of potential endorsements. These endorsements give creditability to your word and will also provide potential employers with a general sense of your professional identity through a combination of your most endorsed skills.

Likewise, recommendations from people you have worked with also give your words credibility and meaning. Ask your co-workers to write up a short review for you when they have the time, or start by writing one for them and ask them to reciprocate.

6. Media:

Reading can be mentally exhausting after a long day, but pictures and videos capture our attention in a fun and easy way. Media can enhance your profile, making it more unique and more interesting. Sometimes seeing a picture or video of the experience you've had fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of an experience or position than a written description.

7. Connect:

Networking is what LinkedIn is all about, so make sure to connect with all the people you work with day-to-day, because this could very possibly lead to a useful ‘2nd degree’ connection down the line. Another great way to get connected is to join groups because this gives you access to a web of professionals and resources associated to your interests.

Be sure to stop by the AA&CC (AC213) for more information about our LinkedIn workshops, or to book a Career Counselling appointment for even more tips!



Until next time,
Rajani Sellathurai







Resources used in this post:

About.com, 9 Simple Tips to Make a Better LinkedIn Profile:
http://jobsearch.about.com/od/linkedin/ss/linkedin-profile-tips_4.htm#step-heading

Forbes, 22 LinkedIn Secrets LinkedIn Won't Tell you:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2014/03/04/22-linkedin-secrets-linkedin-wont-tell-you/

Huffington Post, 8 Secrets to Building a Stunning LinkedIn Profile:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/catherine-newhouse/8-secrets-to-building-linkedin_b_4710151.html

LinkedIn, Creating a Killer LinkedIn Profile:
http://blog.linkedin.com/2014/07/01/creating-a-killer-linkedin-profile-tips-from-link-humans/

Monday, December 1, 2014

Improve Concentration and Study Effectively

Shutterstock_157563116

How many times have you found yourself practicing good study habits, but fail to study effectively due to a lack of concentration?  To ace your finals, there is so much more to the process of studying than merely avoiding procrastination and preparing quality notes. Often times, students forget that quality studying begins with good concentration.  Below are a few tips on how you can improve your concentration this final exam season.

1) Snack on "Smart Foods": Studying can be very tiresome, and often times students feel that they deserve a treat after a productive study session.  When this moment arrives, AVOID JUNK FOOD! Although eating junk food can feel very satisfying in the moment, the human body digests these foods fairly quickly.  As a result, this will leave you feeling fatigued.  To have a more sustaining energy source, snack on more nutritious foods including fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt, vegetables and fruit.

2) Get Enough Sleep: Firstly, plan your time wisely and avoid procrastination to ensure that you never have to pull an all-nighter!  As students, we all know that the occasional sleepless night can leave you feeling fatigued.  Several nights without adequate sleep can cause your brain to fog, making it difficult to concentrate and make decisions.  Ensure that you get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night to wake up feeling refreshed and to allow for another day of productive studying.

3) Stay Active: Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day.  Exercise can involve a game of your favourite sport, or even going for a walk.  Physical activity not only improves concentration, but also helps students manage stress and lifts their mood.

4) Take Study Breaks: Take a short 10-minute break after every hour of effective studying; however ensure that you do not get carried away.  Taking breaks is an efficient method of studying because during that period of time, your brain is still able to process the information you were studying earlier.  Taking short breaks also allows you to refresh and maintain a school-life balance that will encourage you to continue good study habits throughout your entire time here at UTSC. 

I hope the above mentioned tips will help you tackle your finals this semester.  For some more tips on how to improve your concentration this finals season, check out the "Concentration & Memory" Tip Sheet on our website.

It's never too late to brush up on your study skills either. The Academic Advising & Career Centre also has a broad range of study skills services and resources.  For more information about these services, pay a visit to the "Study Skills Services" Tip Sheet as well!               

Feel free to visit www.cln.utoronto.ca to sign up for any events, or come by our office at AC213 to book an appointment.  

For more information about the Academic Advising & Career Centre, visit www.utsc.utoronto.ca/aacc

Good luck on your final exams!  Until next time,

Klarrissa Antony













Links to resources used in this blog:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/461051-how-does-junk-food-affect-the-way-you-concentrate/
http://www.adelaide.edu.au/counselling_centre/resources/brochures/studytips.html
http://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/health-and-support/exam-preparation-ten-study-tips
http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx