Are you doing all the right things to network effectively?

Once seen as a questionable activity, networking is now an essential activity for anyone seriously interested in developing their career. The key is to do it effectively. Let’s take a look at distinctive steps in the networking process.

Know what you want. Before reaching out to others identify your long and short term objectives. Without clear objectives you’ll be wasting yours and others valuable time. Networking intentions should be synchronized with your goals. When this is clear you’ll know who to …

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Why Teamwork is Important


When done right, teamwork motivates and aligns efforts toward a common goal. Teamwork provides the organization with a diversity of thought, creativity, perspectives, opportunities, and problem-solving approaches. Individuals can brainstorm collectively, which in turn increases their success to problem solve and arrive at solutions more efficiently and effectively. Sharing differing opinions and experiences strengthens accountability and can help make effective decisions faster, then when done alone.

Team effort increases output by having quick feedback and multiple sets of skills come into …

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Communication: Asking Questions

Who knew there was an art to asking questions? Asking the right questions can either open or shut down conversations. The art of questioning lies in knowing which questions you ask when.

There are 5 different types of questions:

Open Questions – Engage others by asking them to share thoughts and perspectives. Open questions facilitate deeper understanding.  “What do you think about the company setting up a coffee shop for all staff members?”

Closed /Questions – Are specific and solicit a yes or …

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Conquering Nerves

Conquering Nerves

Heart beating, hands shaking, forehead sweating? Does this sound like you before you have to make a big presentation or attend an interview? These physical symptoms are triggered by the nervous system which pumps increased levels of adrenaline into the blood just before speaking.

So how can you make sure you don’t let your nerves get the best of you?

Use body language to appear more confident – make a conscious effort to smile. Relax your arms. Remember to look …

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Celebrate Your Career!

Celebrate Your Career! Canada Career Month

November is Canada Career Month, and we’re celebrating it here at McMaster! 

This month will see a number of offerings to celebrate your strengths and move your career forward.  On the social media front, these include new blog posts here at, and weekly career-related tweets from @McMasterOD.  We have launched a series of Career Development Sessions entitled How to Master the Interview, which sold out in record time.  Finally, we’ll have a number of TedTalks that are relevant to …

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Have you tried the “coach approach” lately?

The technique can be used with direct reports, colleagues, partners and clients, particularly if a specific goal or outcome needs to be achieved. Essentially the “coach approach” is a communication style that can be used by leaders at all levels of the organization.

The conversation focuses on developing and maximizing the abilities and talents of others to achieve the best possible outcomes in organizational work.

Leaders who use a “coach approach” ask open-ended questions, actively listen, facilitate solution based thinking, and provide …

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Communicating Across Multi-Generations

For the first time in history, there are members of 5 distinct generations working side-by-side in McMaster University’s workforce. This poses unique workplace challenges that we can no longer avoid. Here are some startling facts discovered by global researchers:

52% of employees say they are least likely to get along with someone from another generation.
Generational differences can lead to disengagement in the workplace, which in turn can lead to poor communication, poor productivity, leadership miscues and more.
Never before have we had …

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Maternity Leave and Your Career

How to manage it successfully

Taking a leave from your career whether it be for maternity, parental or adoption leave, following the birth or adoption of a child, can be difficult to transition in and out of for employees. CERIC, the Canadian Education and Research Institute of Counselling, funded a project on how to effectively navigate these career transitions. The tips and recommendations that this report offers is of great value to both employees and employers who are affected by these …

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The Top 10 Skills Needed in the Year 2020

Happy New Year! It’s a great time of year for reflection and planning when it comes to your career. Think about aligning your plan with the workforce trends. While it may be difficult to predict exactly what the future will bring we can definitely be assured that change will be constant and to navigate the future we will need to rely on effective people skills and functional strengths.

As reported in the Future of Jobs – World Economic Forum, the top 10 …

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Bringing Your Career Into Focus Beyond Canada Career Month

This is the week that has career advisors in tears – it’s the end of Canada Career Month!  Just because we’ll be using up tissues doesn’t mean you have to, though.  Now is a great time to plan your next step, and make sure that Canada Career Month has an impact on your career.

Thinking about your career can be overwhelming, of course.  Careers are made up of so many components: the environment you’re in, the relationships you have, the tasks …

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Acing Interviews as an Internal

You’re in your interview outfit, you have extra copies of your resume and a list of your references.  And maybe, just maybe, you’re hoping that your reputation at McMaster will give you an edge in your interview.

There’s good news and bad news: the good news is that the hard work you’ve done will, indeed, benefit you during the recruitment process for your next job.  It will give you success stories that you can share in your resume, cover letter and …

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Covering Your Bases in Cover Letters

There’s great debate online as to whether recruiters read cover letters.  The debate is a good reminder of why it’s difficult to find one way of applying for jobs that will suit everyone: selection committees are made up of individuals, each with their own preferences.  So, some people will read the cover letter first.  Others will read it – as long as the resume interests them.  Others might read the cover letters for shortlisted candidates only.  Some might not read …

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Resumes Are Still Key

It doesn’t sound very provocative to say that you should have a clean, easy-to-read, relevant resume.  Authors in search of clicks are happy to announce the “death of the resume,” but don’t rush out to replace your resume with an online portfolio and a Prezi just yet.  For now, a traditional resume is still a key tool in your work search toolkit.

Part of the appeal of the traditional resume is that it lets selection committees compare applicants fairly easily.  For …

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Celebrate Your Career! Canada Career Month

November is Canada Career Month, and we’re celebrating here at McMaster!

This month will see a number of offerings to celebrate your strengths and move your career forward.  On the social media front, these include weekly blog posts here at, and daily career-related tweets from @McMasterOD.  We’ll launch a series of brief, self-serve webinars on managing your career at McMaster.  Finally, we’ll have a resume drop-in on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm in MUSC Marketplace.  …

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Looking at Balance

Problems of work/life balance can be very real.  That’s one of the reasons why we work with people individually, to figure out career paths that fit with your life.  It’s one of the reasons the University has invested in a truly wide-ranging Employee and Family Assistance Program.

Work/life balance issues can also be self-imposed.  One of the downsides of our awareness of the importance of balance is that it can lead us to scrutinize parts of our life that simply aren’t …

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Our #1 Underused Resource for Work-Life Balance

Last month, we looked at work-life balance in terms of rewards and challenges at work.  This month, we’ll look at some of the ways you can make the “life” part of work-life balance easier to manage.

One challenge with advice about work-life balance is that it often assumes life outside of work is “normal.”  That is, it assumes that you and your loved ones have reasonably good health and that there are no draws on your time that can’t be reassessed …

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Man Balancing on Chair

Balancing Work

Image courtesy of Pixnio

Ever met anyone who doesn’t want work-life balance?  Ever met anyone who says they have it?

Work-life balance is complex.  If it weren’t, we’d all have mastered it already.  There are several ways of approaching it, though, and we’ll look at some of those in upcoming blog posts.

This month’s post will focus on looking at balance within the tasks you do at work.  Part of the reason for focusing exclusively on the “work” part …

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Image of a door being opened

How Do I Get In?

That might be a question you’ve asked yourself about a role you’d like.  Or maybe you’ve heard it from friends and family members who want to work at McMaster.  In either case, you might wish that you had some insider information about the hiring process.

Well, now you do.  In this post, you’ll find three common myths and their corresponding realities.

Myth: I’ve applied to too many jobs, so they’ll never hire me now.

Reality: Hiring at McMaster is decentralized.  So, if you’ve …

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window cleaning in protective rubber gloves

Spring Clean Your Career

Image courtesy of Pixnio

Whether you’ve been thinking about your career because of Inspiring From Within or because of life in general, now is a great time to start spring cleaning your career.

What differentiates spring cleaning from regular tidying is the depth and comprehensiveness of your efforts.  This is the time for taking stock of what you have.  In terms of your career, this could start with taking stock of what gives you the most meaning …

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Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

Steven Hawking