“What are you planning to do after high school?” This is a question every high school student gets asked at some point.
It’s a question we start having students think about as early Grade 9 – and for good reason. As a university prep school, we do all we can to help each student discover the careers and post-secondary options that might interest them. Through firsthand experiences, guest speakers, one-on-one work with our University Counsellors and more, students devote a lot of time to uncovering possible career paths.
A big part of that comes from our annual Career Day. At Career Day, students get the opportunity to hear from professionals working in a wide variety of jobs. They learn about what it’s like to work in different fields and, more specifically, in different careers within these fields.
While the most obvious benefit of Career Day is learning more about a career you might be interested in, there are a lot of hidden benefits to Career Day at SMUS!
SMUS staff recognize the importance of our Career Day, so we asked a number of people around campus what they saw as the hidden benefits of Career Day:
Discover a Unique Career
“When I plan for Career Day, I try to make sure that we get a smattering of speakers from all kinds of different areas. After some of the big fields like Medicine, Business, Law and Engineering, I try to find careers that perhaps students don’t know about. This year we’re scheduled to have the CEO of Fatso Peanut Butter, a chimney sweep, a documentary filmmaker and two mayors. I really encourage you to walk on the wild side and go and see somebody who does something radically different to hear what that career is all about.” – Mr. Jake Humphries, Career Day Coordinator
Cross a Career Off Your List
“Career Day exposes you to a variety of possibilities within a field that you may not have encountered before, and it gives you a sense of what it looks like to work in that job. You hear from people who can tell you about the career and it definitely gives you the chance to eliminate career options or paths you thought you might have liked. After listening to how people spend their time, you may discover you’re still interested in that field but don’t want that particular career.” – Ms. Alison McCallum, Head of University Counselling
Network with Amazing Speakers
“Take advantage of opportunities to network with the speakers. They’re there to speak with you about what they do and offer you some advice. Networking is very much a skill and one that requires practice, and it takes time to get comfortable doing it. My advice to students who are involved in the networking session is to find commonality to open up a conversation and put you both at ease: ‘Your session this afternoon was great. I really like your tie.’ Come prepared with a few open-ended questions that will get them talking about themselves and their careers, and listen attentively to what they have to say.” – Ms. Linda Vanderdonck, SMUS Admissions Associate (and Networker Extraordinaire)
Gain Practical Job Interview Skills
“Career Day is a great chance to practice the skills that will help you at job interviews or for university admissions interviews. It’s about acting professional – looking people in the eye, shaking their hand, being respectful – and being able to rehearse soft skills like talking confidently about yourself or knowing how to ask thoughtful questions. I really encourage you to use Career Day to elevate your game and hold yourself to high professional standards in every interaction you have.” – Mr. Jim Kingstone, University Counsellor
SMUS’s Career Day 2019 is scheduled for next Tuesday (January 15). We want to thank all of the parents, alumni, SMUS community members and friends who generously donate their time to come speak with students at Career Day.