Career Advice From our instructors and grads

We're dedicated to helping professionals at all career stages reach their goals. We asked our instructors and graduates, who work in fields from career development, to communications, to business analysis, to share their best career tips with us. 

  • 5 steps to becoming a consultant

    Thanks to digital technologies, DIY careers are seeing a big a boost. If you work in communications or marketing, being a freelance contractor can be a rewarding, well-paying job. Advantages include a flexible schedule and working on a variety of projects. Here are five tips to kick-start a consultancy business.
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  • Informational interviews: why and how?

    Real resources are always human, so interviewing an industry professional is most likely the best way to learn about a specific role or an organizational culture. You gain information otherwise unavailable while growing your professional network.
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  • Taking stock of your career

    We are valued for the results we can create. But given the competitive nature of today’s workplace, it’s also important to be able to talk about our achievements. That means we need to take stock of and document our accomplishments, however small they may appear to us.
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  • Two steps to networking success

    Networking has long been recognized as the most successful job search tool in today’s labour market. But for many immigrants, including myself, moving to Canada means starting all over again and building a social and professional network from scratch.
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  • Brand journalism: PR's latest tactic

    In the pre-social media era, corporate storytelling was mostly limited to boring and dry “About Us” sections on company websites, or lengthy and technical white papers.
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  • What are your work values?

    Work values are the beliefs and ideas that are important to us and guide our actions when we’re on the job. Despite the importance of work values, few people today consider them when choosing a career or entertaining a job offer. Studies show that up to 80 per cent of workers are in jobs they find unappealing because the position doesn’t meet their values.
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  • Four ways LinkedIn can boost your job search

    LinkedIn has in excess of 347 million members in over 200 countries and territories. That’s a big chunk of the working world. And that number includes more than 39 million students and recent college graduates, who have become LinkedIn’s fastest-growing population. Many of them, perhaps like you, are on the job hunt.
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  • A career path isn't always straight

    Can failing at one job lead you to a new career? It wouldn’t be too far from the truth in my case. I found my career path by failing at my first job—what had been my “selected” career path. But then again, I didn’t really “choose” my first career path either. Let me explain.
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  • How to network on social media

    You’ve just met a potential mentor, client or future boss at a networking event, and the next thing you know, they’re following you on Instagram. Or, perhaps they haven’t followed you back on Twitter, and you’re wondering if it’s okay to be Facebook Friends instead. But one wrong move could remove you from a list of potential candidates.
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  • Do performance reviews work?

    No matter what industry you work in, you’ll most likely undergo a performance review at one time or another. I worked in a corporate setting for many years where performance reviews were commonplace. Reviews were usually done annually, but I don't remember any of my colleagues finding the reviews particularly helpful to their work performance.
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  • How do I host a productive meeting?

    Everyone has attended a meeting that they felt was a waste of their time. In the coffee room, you have overheard colleagues grumbling about how they could be using their time more effectively than sitting at yet another meeting.
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  • Should you join a professional association?

    Professional associations can provide several benefits to anyone wanting to further their career. I am a working journalist and have joined the Canadian Association of Journalists. I found being a member of this association very helpful.
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  • Unpaid internships: To do or not to do?

    There’s lots of dialogue online (and offline) about unpaid PR internships.
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  • Conflict in the workplace: 4 key tips

    A disagreement with a colleague over an issue at work—big or small—can screech your day to a halt. Just the mere thought of conflict can send stress hormones coursing through your body! Part of the reason is that many of us grew up with the message that conflict is unnatural—and to be avoided at all costs.
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  • The visual strength of your résumé

    There are many common weaknesses on resumes today. Aside from the typical spelling mistakes, most resumes lack visual strength along with relevant self marketing.
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  • How to answer weakness questions in an interview

    Good job advertisements help people break down the necessary qualifications for the job. They can include the years of experience, skills, suitable personal characteristics and education necessary to fulfill the requirements of the position.
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  • Why attend conferences?

    Typically, I attend two conferences a year, one in Canada and the other in the United States. By doing so, I send a signal that I am involved in a profession rather than just doing a job.
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  • What's the best way to deal with workplace conflict?

    There will always be different personalities at any job. Because I work on a contract basis, I am always collaborating with new people. I have had many opportunities to see the impact others can bring to assignments.
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  • What it takes to lead

    I had just started a company with a partner and we’d hired our first employees. We were young; to us, being employers was uncharted territory—almost a lark.
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  • Are unpaid internships worth it?

    Have you ever considered an unpaid internship? It can be tempting. To work at a reputable company and gain valuable experience can be enticing even if it means no pay for a few months.
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  • Should you join a professional association?

    Yes, you should join a professional association, because belonging to one is a sign that you are engaged in a profession.
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  • Freelance writing tips: How to find the right person to pitch

    One critical lesson I learned through trial and lots of error is the importance of pitching to the right person. Often, the difference between a pitch being accepted or rejected (or not read at all) comes down to identifying the best person to send it to.
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  • How to thrive in your first management position

    A friend had just been promoted to his first management position and amid his delight at being selected, he saw this as his chance to fix the many problems that bedevilled the department.
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  • Don't burn that career bridge

    This commonly used expression hails from army days when in war, one adversary crosses a river and burns the bridge behind them to prevent further enemy attack. There is a natural consequence to this tactic: Your team is now trapped on the other side with no route of return.
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  • Five tips for writing emails that colleagues will read

    As a freelance journalist, I’m constantly writing to editors at newspapers and magazines to propose ideas for articles. These editors are swamped with hundreds, if not thousands, of emails a day. Cutting through the noise—and making sure my message gets heard—depends on having an email strategy.
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  • Leadership vs. management: How to be a leader

    The difference between management and leadership is often described in the reverse order: Leadership is making sure the right things get done, and management is making sure those things get done right.
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  • How to prepare for your job interview

    Before you even consider looking for work, make sure your CV matches your online profile.
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  • Informational interview intelligence

    An informational interview is a quick meeting with somebody doing the job you may one day want. You can ask questions, seek career advice and really just learn about their career path. My last informational interview turned into a job interview.
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  • How to kick-start your career climb

    I’m an impatient person. I often feel like this puts me at a disadvantage, like the times where I get especially prone to road rage in rush hour. I can, however, credit my impatience to the accelerated career path that eventually allowed me to start my own business.
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  • How do you succeed as an urban designer?

    We asked some of our urban design instructors about the most important skills for their craft. Frank Ducote shared his thoughts here, in part three of a three-part series.
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  • Should I go back to school?

    We all know that not all experience comes from formalized education. But we also know that formal education provides a number of great ways to refresh what I call your curiosity budget—the satisfying of questions you didn’t know you wanted to ask.
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  • How I became a self-employed career consultant

    When I graduated from a Career Development Practitioner program in 2005, I'd never have predicted I would eventually venture out on my own and launch a private career counselling business.
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  • Is your online brand hurting your job search?

    In today’s digital age, whether you want it or not, you are your own brand. Your prospective employers will be searching for you online and finding everything they can about you before establishing that first contact. So why not make the best possible first impression?
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  • Why attend conferences?

    Who has time to attend conferences? Aren’t most of us so busy at work that we truly can’t afford a day (or more) off—even if it is for professional development?
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  • What do successful urban designers need?

    The effective urban designers I know possess a selfless attitude and generosity of spirit. The urban design achievement is never about them. In fact, quite the opposite.
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  • How to quit your job the right way

    Leaving a job is never easy, but there are some simple steps you can take to make the transition easier. Here are my top tips for quitting your job and maintaining a good relationship with your employer.
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  • Career advice I wish I'd heard at 30: Not every career has a ladder

    If I could relay one piece of advice to my younger professional self, it would be this: Not every career has a ladder. In fact, some of the best ones don’t.
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  • How do I find my career path?

    How did getting a master’s degree in criminology and working in a locked residential youth psychiatric centre at 25 eventually lead to my career?
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  • What skills are essential for a successful career in urban design?

    Urban design is the art and science of making communities for people. It is the process by which communities—cities, towns and neighbourhoods—are planned, designed and built. A successful career in urban design requires mastery of three major roles.
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  • How I found my career path

    We asked some of our instructors how they found their way to their unique careers. Tariq Hussain, who teaches in our journalism program, shares his story.
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  • How to keep your résumé out of the trash bin

    Ten or 20 years ago, it was common for a person to mail a résumé to an employer or even drop by the office and hand it to the company's receptionist. Things have changed.
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  • The best way to learn PR is to do PR

    The best way to learn public relations skills is to do PR. But how does one get a job with limited experience? They volunteer.
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  • Ready for a promotion? Your step-by-step guide to getting what you want

    It can be one of the trickier areas to navigate in the workplace: negotiating a promotion with your boss. You’ve worked hard to establish yourself in your current role, and you’ll need to be strategic if you want to convince your boss you’re ready.
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  • The career advice I'm glad I got at 30

    Before I had finished my first year of university, my career “selection” had changed no fewer than three times. I was exposed to courses that I’d never even thought of and concepts that I didn’t even know existed.
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  • LinkedIn: Up your professional game

    Despite stats, articles and personal testimonials that prove that LinkedIn works, you’d be amazed at how many professionals (at all levels) still aren’t sure why they need to create and regularly maintain their LinkedIn profile. They’re missing out!
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  • How to host a productive meeting

    I specialize in stakeholder engagement—which involves a lot of meetings. As we all know, not all meetings are a good use of time. Over the years, I've learned that one of the keys to hosting a productive meeting is knowing what your job is as host.
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  • 6 tips for writing digital content people will actually read

    Have you ever sent an email, written a blog post, submitted a job application or filed a report, only to get the sense that, once posted or sent, it disappears into the ether, never to be read or acknowledged?
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  • The art of the thank-you note: Put your stamp on it

    You got the interview. You answered all the questions to the best of your ability. You did really well. But what you choose to do next can help you land the job, the mentor or the opportunity.
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  • Can social media help with your job search?

    Social media is a dynamic and powerful tool for anyone looking for a job. These tips should help you get going on your job search.
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