18 Dear First Year Me: What I Wish They Taught Me in University About How to Survive the Job Search, University and the Workplace

PRESENTATION OVERVIEW FROM CONFERENCE PROGRAM

Michael Tacorda, University of Toronto

What advice would you give if you had a chance to go back in time and talk to yourself the day before the first day of university? How about the day of your first interview? Or your first day of work? As career educators, the tradition has been to focus on teaching how to get the job as opposed to what to do on the job let alone how to survive this thing called university. But what if we challenged that antiquated notion and took a “misdirection” or a “pump fake” learning approach? Is it possible to teach students what they need to succeed in their job search while inherently building their abilities to succeed in university and in the workplace? How does implementing growth mindset and resiliency training enhance the student experience and affect their success in our programs? What impact does teaching students about behavior modification and associative memories have on their performance and engagement levels? Will using improved teach and build stronger interview skills, attention to detail and how to thrive in a dynamic workplace? This is a story of what happens when you teach the traditional job search tools through a holistic lens to student development focusing on cultivating a growth mindset, character, habits, and resilience as you tackle the challenge of scaling up operations while keeping in mind that it is always someone’s “first day.”

KEY WORDS

  • Holistic
  • Growth mindset
  • Habits
  • Resilience
  • Neuroscience
  • Motivation
  • Evidence-based

 

LINK TO PRESENTATION

Click here to view presentation.

 

BIO

Michael Tacorda, University of Toronto
I got into this field by volunteering for the career centre during my 3rd year in university. This led to a 6 week contract after graduation which led to a one year contract at OISE as a Student Advisor. Eight months into that role, I earned a full time role at the Academic Advising and Career Centre at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. In time by applying my Bachelor of Arts Degree (in English no less) I earned my CHRP designation and and project management certification. Applying the lessons I learned through 6 years of working as an Employment Coach and Employment Development Coordinator, I presented at my first CACEE National Conference in 2014 and my first international conference at the 2014 NAGCAS Conference in Australia on Millennial based marketing and engagement strategies. After taking almost a year off living and travelling along the east coast of Australia and New Zealand, I came back to U of T to join the Arts & Science Co-¬-op team as a Coordinator of Student Development almost two years ago with a focus on how we can transition from the traditional student development model by applying contemporary and holistic approaches on how to better prepare our students.

 

SUMMARY

Overview

Is it possible to teach students what they need to succeed in their job search while inherently building their abilities to succeed in university and in the workplace? How does implementing growth mindset and resiliency training enhance the student experience and affect their success in our programs? What impact does teaching students about behaviour modification and associative memory have on their performance and engagement levels? Will using Improv teach and build stronger interview skills, attention to detail and how to thrive in a dynamic workplace? This is a story of what happens when you teach traditional job search tools through a holistic lens to student development focusing on cultivating a growth mindset, character, habits, and resilience. 

Key Findings

As Career Educators the tradition has been to focus on how to get the job as opposed to what to do on the job let alone how to survive this thing called university. Our student development model at the University of Toronto Scarborough Arts & Science Co-op office challenges the antiquated notion of just focusing on the tools (i.e. resume/cover letter writing, job search skills) and really emphasizes teaching students how to develop a holistic approach to navigate the challenges that comes with university life and life after university.

We do this by explaining the neuroscience behind why some students experience challenges at this stage in their development and we leverage habit formation, associative memory and resiliency training through 24 hour challenges, weekly reflections and assignments to help our students develop performance strategies.  We found that students were more engaged as this integrated holistic approach gave them some insight as to why they were or were not performing at the level that they wanted while giving them a new set of tools that they could use well beyond the job search period.

 

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