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UofGH Cool Classes: The Science of Career Success

Why is this course interesting?

Many students pursue post-secondary education hoping to find a great career after graduation. But knowing the right path to take – and navigating the transition from university to the workplace – can be challenging in this changing world. In his Electives class “The Science of Career Success,” instructor Jonathan Hood helps students get to know themselves, their strengths, and build a vision for the future.

This course, which is open to all UofGH students, blends various career theories with practical skills, to help students develop a blueprint for career success. “I think a critical component of university is preparing students for life after university, and being the innovative school that UofGH is, they recognize that,” says Hood. “So in this course, we blend the theories in careers – theories of identity, and different aspects of life, and how to combine that with practical skills of finding and applying for your career – marketing, networking, putting yourself out there, CV building, or even if you take a different path of post-graduate education or entrepreneurship – all those practical things to help you get where you want to go.”

The course also helps students with the transition from post-secondary education to the workplace. “There’s got to be a bridge from university to the workforce, because it’s a totally different environment,” says Hood. “This class is applicable immediately because it helps you navigate through your post-secondary education, as well as into the future in helping you achieve your career goals.”

What will you learn?

Students go on a journey of self-discovery, and begin by exploring who they are, their motivations, and strengths using identity theory and other motivational theories.

 “By doing this exploration, students can understand their strengths and see where they are. Now they’re able to see with more of a clear mind what they’re good at, and where they want to go and how their strengths apply to getting them there,” says Hood. “So we go on a journey from understanding who we are a little bit deeper – the identity piece – and then create a vision that extends beyond post-secondary education, and align our resources and networks and our education and our skills together to reach our goals.”

Each class begins with a quick social exercise, which encourages students to engage with each other and build their presentation and social skills. Group discussions and guest speakers are also highlights of students’ learning. “Students told me they wanted to hear from professionals in different fields – so far, I’ve brought in a personal trainer, an entrepreneur, and (through Skype) a movie producer, and also have a corrections officer and an accountant coming in.”

The class culminates with a website portfolio assignment, where students include their resumes, experience, their vision board, and the different activities they do in class pertaining to strengths. “We’re taking everything and we’re putting it there on the website portfolio, so they can see it and appreciate it because a lot of people don’t appreciate themselves, they don’t see themselves in that light,” says Hood. “Once you can see yourself in a kind of abstract way, it’s easier to apply yourself to different situations – including those that are career- or school-oriented, or even in relationships. We really apply what we’re learning to life – everything we do is pretty applicable, it’s a knowledge-to-practice class.”

Students will also research and create a job description, which will get them thinking about the future and what jobs will be needed. “Over many years, there have been shifts in the type of work people want to do and how they want to work, especially with the increase of technology,” says Hood. “In this assignment you’re going to create a job, and if you research the market and understand the industries that are arising you can create your own job so when you leave here you are a top candidate. If you understand the skills that are needed in this market you will have a job because the demand will be high but the supply will be limited. You need to be thinking about the future and where the market is going, so you can stay ahead of the game.”

What will you take away?

The Science of Career Success course gives students valuable skills that they can use now and in the future. Hood says students will increase their emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and critical thinking skills, and hone in on their strengths and goals.

“You’re going to build your self-identity, your understanding of yourself, and build your self-confidence in many different areas,” says Hood. “You’re going to be challenged to reflect, and that’s a practice that is a lost art nowadays. And you’re going to leave with an increased and improved critical thinking skills.”