Emilia H's Peer Connect Blogs

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Practicing Self-Care Throughout the Job Search Process

Monday, March, 5th 2018 – Emilia H

Self-care is a word that we have been hearing a lot lately – but what exactly does it mean and what does it have to do with the job search process? Self-care is identifying what you need on a regular basis and taking active steps to engage in behaviours that will help to manage stress, enhance well-being, and help us be more kind to ourselves and others. So, what does this have to do with the job-search process? Well, seeking out new opportunities such as a new job or pursuing further education can be incredibly stressful. It can be difficult to not base our sense of self-worth on whether or not we are offered a job or a position in graduate school, however it is important for us as students to remember that we need to be kind to ourselves throughout our struggles as we move into new stages of our lives and develop professionally.

There is no one-size-fits all approach to self-care, as different things work for different people, but here are some strategies specific to job-searching that may help you practice self-care.

1. Get organized

This may seem simple if you are normally an organized person, but searching for a job and attending interviews can be an overwhelming processed for even the most organized of students. Taking the time to write a to-do list, setting deadlines, or allocating half an hour each day to research upcoming opportunities or putting together an application package can work wonders for you if you feel overwhelmed. Having an idea of what needs to be done and by when could provide you with a sense of clarity and control, which can decrease levels of stress.

2. Ask for help

Reach out to people who know your field and ask for their insight on what they have done to find success in their own job searches. With this information you can set goals and develop strategies to succeed. Reaching out to supervisors, faculty members, friends, family members, peer helpers or career counselors can provide you with feedback, resources, information and reassurance. This will help you feel that you are right on track in addition to providing you with new ideas on what you can do to feel more confident in yourself.

3. Don’t press pause on taking care of your physical and mental health just to get job applications done

I cannot stress this enough. Throughout university I have seen countless people who have given up sleep to study, skipped the gym or ordered take out if it meant they could squeeze in an extra couple of hours of studying. By no means is this a bad thing once in a while, however when it becomes a habit things start to deteriorate. These behaviours also tend to manifest when people are stressed out with job or graduate school applications. My advice to you would be to make time for things that will keep you physically and mentally healthy. As mentioned earlier, self-care is an active process. For some this may mean scheduling in 30 minutes of exercise or planning to cook a healthy meal. It may mean aiming to get a full 8 hours of sleep each night or reading a book that is not a textbook before bed. Distraction from the stresses of applying to jobs for 30 to 60 minutes a day can be an effective way to recharge yourself to come back stronger than before.

4. Don’t let rejection define you, if you fail, keep trying

This is something that I have recently had personal experience with as I waited to hear back about a job where I thought that I had ruined my chances in the interview, and I’m sure many of my peers have experienced something similar. I spent weeks beating myself up over the interview. Although I was offered the job three weeks later, I have come to realize that we need to be more kind to ourselves throughout this process rather than letting ourselves become filled with doubt and psyching ourselves out moving forward. With the state of the current job market, we are all likely to experience rejection as new grads so we need to prepare ourselves for this. My mom recently gave me some invaluable motherly advice as I told her about this experience and I thought I would pass the message along: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Keep your options open by applying to many jobs, making connections and keeping the momentum flowing. Don’t let your sense of worth be defined by an employer who is likely to see over 100 resumes at any given time and view yours for only 30 seconds, rather define yourself by the work you put into the process and all of the amazing qualities that you have to offer.

Self-care in an ongoing process and it will likely be filled with trial and error to find what works best for you. My challenge to you is to be kinder to yourself throughout the job search process, find ways to regulate stress and to seek out new opportunities and resources that will help you maintain your physical and mental well-being while developing professionally.

Best of luck!


I was Accepted into the Psychology Co-op Program – Now What?

Monday, January 29 – Emilia H

If there has been one question that I have received more than any other over the past five years that as a Psychology Co-op student, it has been “You’re in Psych Co-op? I didn’t know that existed, what kinds of opportunities are there?” At first I didn’t exactly know how to answer this, but after years of job searches, work terms and connecting with other Psychology Co-op students, I am confident to say that I can provide a well-formed response that will hopefully help those who were new to the Psychology Co-op program.

So, if you are in the Psychology Co-op program (or any other related field), this blog post is for you!

1. Business, business, business

If you have been on Recruit Guelph, you will have noticed that many of the jobs are targeted towards Commerce students. Now that is not to say that you cannot apply for them – you just have to market yourself by targeting your application to meet the needs of the industry. I know of many Psychology students who have locked down a job in business, beating out plenty of Commerce students and thoroughly enjoying it! Often jobs in human resources or marketing are great complements to psychology course work. Plus, if you are really interested in the work, the University of Guelph has an outstanding Industrial/Organizational Psychology research group that could help you further develop your interests and knowledge in this area upon returning to classes.

2. Education

A popular career path for many Psychology co-op students is to work in the field of education. Recruit Guelph has many opportunities for students to work in experiential education, for example Outdoor Education with Toronto District School Board or English as a Second Language through the English Language Program on campus. There are also opportunities to work in special education through group homes or community agencies. This line of work would be a great complement to course work for those with a Family and Child Studies minor.

3. Research Assistant

If you are more interested in the research side of psychology, there are many opportunities both through the University if you can identify a supervisor and other organizations (i.e. Holland Bloorview or the Hospital or Sick Kids in Toronto). You may need to do a search outside of Recruit Guelph for these positions. A Co-op placement in research could be your introduction to being a part of the research process and maybe even conducting some of your own research. It may even lead to a supervisor for future course work, research or thesis projects and an academic reference if you are applying for graduate studies.

4. Working with diverse, vulnerable and/or marginalized populations

Many Psychology Co-op students end up working with children, youth or adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities. There are opportunities to work in group homes or day programs for children and youth diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning Disabilities, ADHD/ADD and a range of others. Often, there are postings to work with adults who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia or individuals with acquired brain injuries. Many Psychology students have also found placements working in respite work. Although these placements can be both socially and emotionally challenging, they are equally, if not more, rewarding and fulfilling!

Of course these are just a few of the many opportunities for those in the Psychology Co-op program. You are always welcome to find your own placement and have it signed off through your Co-op coordinator. Whatever you do, I hope that it is challenging, rewarding and paves the path to your passion in life. Just remember that you have four months to make the most out of your experience, best of luck!

- Emilia

Navigating Grad School Applications

Monday, September 25th, 2017 - Emilia H.

Whether or not you are in your final year here at the University of Guelph or you are in second or third year and just looking ahead, planning for the future can be an extremely stressful and overwhelming experience. I can certainly relate to those of you who are trying to figure out what the next step is going to be; although I cannot speak to all experiences I would like to share a little bit about what I know about apply to grad schools.

1. Do Your Research and Determine What YOU Want

Make a mental list (or an actual one) of things that you are looking for when taking your next step. First off, ask yourself whether or not grad school is right for you. Are you prepared to do another +2 years of school? Will it lead to a career that you feel that you would be happy in? Research career paths that people often take with a Masters Degree or a Post-Graduate Certificate in your field (The LinkedIn ‘search’ tool is great for this). Research the field and see what universities or colleges are accredited in your field, then determine what the program must have for you and what the program would ideally have.

2. Connect With Professors Who Have Similar Research Interests As You

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to build connections with professors and faculty on campus. These people have been through what we are about to go through and have potentially worked in the field prior to teaching. They can provide insight and advice that will help you to determine if entering a particular field is right for you. Furthermore, most grad schools will typically require 1-2 academic references. By developing a relationship with a professor that you have taken a class with and done particularly well in, you are setting yourself up to receive an excellent letter of recommendation.

3. Start Applications Early

If you plan on applying for September entry, applications will typically be due between November and end of January. Now at this point in our undergrad we all know that November and December can be hectic with midterms, final projects and exams. By starting the application process early on, you will be able to put an adequate amount of effort into your applications and hopefully better your chances of getting in, which will give you more options. Be sure to prioritize applications based on amount of work that they will be and due dates.

4. Attend Information Session and Workshops

The university offers a wide range of workshops and information sessions that help graduating students get one step closer to achieving their goals. These information sessions range from advising students on the steps of getting into grad school, to seeking out financial aid and writing services for grad schools applications. Do your research on events going on around campus to determine what will help you best. Co-operative Education and Career Services as well as the Graduate Studies website will provide you with information and support that you can use to guide you through the application process. One of the big events coming up is the Graduate Studies Preview Day in the University Center on Saturday, September 14th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Even if you are not planning on staying in Guelph after you graduate this is a great opportunity to learn more about what grad school is like. See the links below for more details:




5. Visit Co-op and Career Services

Career Advisors don’t just provide information on job searches, they can also provide you with a wealth of knowledge on grad school options, career paths with certain degrees or certificates, and how to make your application stand out. Again, check the Recruit Guelph website for drop-in hours (you don’t need to make an appointment, just come with questions and an open-mind). Career Advisors can also provide you with insight as to where other people who have graduated from your program have headed after finishing their undergrad.

I hope that these tips will help you find success in the application process. Just remember that you are not in this alone, there are so many resources to help you out and people that are rooting for you. Best of luck!

- Emilia

On and Off Campus Events for Students on a Job Search

Monday, January 23 – Emilia H.

Winter semester can be a busy time for many undergraduate students, co-op and non co-op students alike. In addition to the regular course load that students have in the fall, students often face the challenge of locking down summer employment, seeking a full time job or securing employment for their co-op work term. Regardless of your goals, it is important to be aware of the many on and off campus resources that will be offered this semester that may help you land the job that you have been looking for.

1. Life After Graduation Fair – January 31st, 2017 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm in Peter Clark Hall

The College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS) student alliance is collaborating with Co-op and Career Services and CSAHS Alumni and Dean Office in hosting this event. This is an excellent opportunity for senior level students who are preparing for graduation to network, get a free professional headshot or have an on the spot resume critique done by a Co-op and Career Services Peer Helper. The event is open to students in all programs and disciplines. Although registration is not mandatory, by doing so it enters you for the chance to win a Univeristy of Guelph Rugby Sweater. See the link below for more details:


2. Partnerships for Employment Job Fair (P4E) – February 1st, 2017

P4E is one of the largest career and job fair in the country that markets to current and graduating students. It is held twice a year at RIM Park in partnership with University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier and Conestoga College. The awesome thing about P4E is that it attracts both employers and students from a diverse range of sectors, making it one of the most unique job fairs in the country. There is no cost to attend as long as you have your current University of Guelph student card. For more information check out the link below:


Be sure to stop by Co-op and Career Services during operating hours or the University Center Courtyard on January 30th between 10 am and 3 pm for a resume critique and to pick up a P4E Job Fair book to help you prepare.

3. Recruit Guelph Job Fair – March 1st, 2017

Employers will be visiting the University Center to provide students with an opportunity to learn about summer, co-op, part-time, full-time and contract positions that are posted on Recruit Guelph. This networking event will allow students from all years and programs the chance to meet with potential employers. You can bring your resume, cover letter and anything else that will help you stand out amongst the crowd. Check out the link below for more information:


4. Co-op and Career Services Events – on going

Check out the Recruit Guelph website for on going, on campus events and workshops. These workshops and events are open to students in all years and programs free of charge. These workshops are great for professional development and could focus on anything from resume development to the skills that you will need to work a job fair. There is also a wide range of program specific workshops and events such as career nights for specific programs or learning about the possibilities of a specific profession. Log-in to your Recruit Guelph account to register!

To help you prepare for these events, visit Co-op and Career Services for a resume and cover letter critique as well as a mock interview. The key to success in a job search is accessing as many services as possible to ensure that you are putting your best self forward.

I hope these events help you land the position that you are aiming for!




6 Tips for Writing Cover Letters

Monday January, 16th – Emilia H

Cover letters often take quite a bit of time and effort to perfect. Cover letters can be difficult to write, however having a strong cover letter goes a long way for potential employers. Following these 6 tips can help get you started on your cover letter and guide the writing process.

1. Be Sure to Include all of the Formatting Essentials

Like resumes, it is important to be consistent in your formatting. You will need to include your contact information such as your name, address, phone number and your @mail.uoguelph.ca email address, just as it is presented on your resume. The contact information of the employer including their name, their position and their organization must also be included. The date and page number are other important formatting necessities.

2. Make Connections Between Your Experiences and the Job Description

Each cover letter should be tailored to the job that you are applying for rather than submitting the same cover letter for every job. This is why is important to make connections between your skills and experience and the ones that the employer is looking for. By taking the time to understand what the employer is seeking out, you will be able to target your application by pointing out what skills you possess, where you developed these skills, and how these skills would be of use in this position.

3. Introductions are Important

The first paragraph is the section of your cover letter that you are to introduce yourself and explain why you are applying for the job. It is also important to mention in the first paragraph where or how you found out about the job. Emphasize your keen interest for applying right off the bat!

4. Be Brief, Yet Specific in Your Middle Paragraph(s)

This is an area that many people struggle with when writing cover letters. The point of the cover letter is to help you land an interview by highlighting skills that are relevant to the position. By landing an interview, you can elaborate on skills you have touched upon in your cover letter. That being said it is important to focus on only one or two experiences that would effectively highlight your skills. CECS recommends that a cover letter should be either three or four paragraphs with the middle paragraph or paragraphs being as specific as possible while focusing in on one experience per paragraph. These middle paragraph(s) are where you explain why you would be a good fit for the job.

5. Conclude by Emphasizing Your Interest in Further Discussion

It is important to take the time to thank the employer for considering your application. Conclude your cover letter by thanking them and letting them know how you can be reached best, whether it is by phone or email. This is also a good time to mention any other relevant points that the employer may be looking for.

 6. Proofread!

Always, always, always proofread application documents before submitting them to potential employers. Ask a your friends, classmates, roommates or family member to check over your work for spelling or grammar errors. If you are unsure of how something sounds or you would like to find ways to improve upon your cover letter, visit a Co-op and Career Services Peer Helper for tips and guidelines on how to make your cover letter as strong as possible. Writing Services is also a great service for checking over work before submitting it.

Hopefully these strategies help you lock down an interview

- Emilia

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6 Tips To Getting Started On Your Co-op Work Term Report

Monday November 3rd 2016 - Emilia H

Co-op work term reports can be a bit overwhelming for co-op students, especially if it is the first work term report that you are writing, but not to worry! Following these 6 steps will help you get on the right track.

1. Start Early! 

It can be a little bit hectic learning a new job, especially if your work term is only four months. However, it is important to give yourself enough time to write your work term report, as this can be a rather time consuming project that you are required to compete as part of your work term. Some programs also require that you submit a proposal near the middle of your work term, so at the very least it is important to check out your program requirements early on.

2. Get Organized

Before you start writing it is a good idea to get familiar with the expectations and the marking scheme for the report. Every program is different and sometimes the requirements change depending on which work term you are completing. It is good practice to double check all requirements prior to getting started.

This is also a good time to decide what type of report you will be writing. Knowing what the format is, what the required components are and the length of the report will help guide your research and planning process.

Check out this link for the work term report requirements by discipline:


3. Talk To Your Employer

Once you are familiar with your work term report requirements, you should speak with your employer or supervisor to see if they have any valuable information to share. If they have had co-op students in the past they may have examples of past reports or be able to tell you what previous co-op students have written about. Because the co-op work term report is intended to be a value-added piece, the employer may have something specific that they would like you to write about. The two of you should agree on a topic that would be of benefit to the both of you.

4. Do Your Research

After brainstorming potential topics, both independently and with your supervisor, it is important to do your research to see if there is enough information on your potential topic. You can access academic articles through Google Scholar and the library website. Your employer may also have resources available for you to use. For co-op work term reports it is important to ensure that your sources are current.

5. Get In Contact With Your Faculty Advisor

As mentioned in the first point, you may be required to submit a proposal to your faculty advisor early on. Even if you are not required to submit a proposal you may still be required to notify your Faculty Advisor of your topic. Regardless, Faculty Advisors are a great resource for co-op students writing the work term report as they have a lot of relevant knowledge that may help you narrow down your topic or provide you with advise that will guide your research. Faculty Advisors are often available by phone, email or in their office hours.

Don’t know your Faculty Advisor? Check out the following link to find out:


6. Set Dates & Goals For Yourself

Once you have a general idea of what you would like to write about, make a plan for your research and writing so that you are not leaving things until the last minute. Working on your report a little bit each week will take away the greater stress of rushing to finish it at the end. Set a due date for yourself prior to the end of the work term so that you have enough time to edit and revise your report. You may also want someone else to look it over, possibly even writing services in the library. Ensure that you also leave enough time before the due date for your employer to review your report and provide feedback.

- Emilia H

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On and Off Campus Events for Students on a Job Search