2 job fairs for my international students at Conestoga College, February 2024

Help Wanted sign in window

I often hear about the desire for part-time work from the International students I teach at Conestoga College, in downtown Kitchener.

Here’s what I shared with my Technical Communication classes this week, as I do whenever I hear of job leads:

Thursday, February 1, 2024 – Multi-Employer Hiring Event hosted by Lutherwood, at Cambridge City Hall, 50 Dickson Street, Cambridge, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mostly full-time positions on offer, but some part-time opportunities are promised. Organizers suggest arriving with resumes in hand.

February 7, 2024 – P4E Career and Job Fair is an online event, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a collaborative effort among the University of Guelph, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College.  Employers generally offer full-time, co-op, and summer roles.

And I’ve heard of another on-campus job fair at Conestoga’s main campus:

March 13, 2024 – 2024 Conestoga Job Fair, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the recreation centre at the Doon Campus. It’s also focused on full-time, co-op, and summer seasonal positions for students and alumni. 

The Conestoga Talent Hub at the Downtown Kitchener Campus is a resource for students in their job search and career planning.

And I always encourage students to use employment guidance from Student Support Services at the college.

I can’t find jobs for students, but I’m always ready to pass along suggestions and point them toward whatever good news I hear about.

Where to search for jobs in Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario

When are you finished your career search? Photo by Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

I always wonder what path students take after leaving my Business Communications classes at Conestoga College in Kitchener.

Most are international students pursuing the dream of studying, living and working in Canada. In class, I shared tips to help them manage their culture shock. I tell them I an ready to help them after arriving in a place with cold weather, funny food and people who talk funny — like me.

They shared recipes, movie recommendations and gritty enthusiasm that inspires me. I learn more than I teach, as I continue my own a second career as a communications teacher.  

Sometimes, later on, I hear from them after they connect with me on my LinkedIn profile. I like the birthday greetings! I more usuallly receive messages looking for jobs or tips to polish their LinkedIn profile. They remembered how I repeated “put your LinkedIn profile to work for you” in class!

Now is the time to put all the persuasion skills we talked about in class to work. It’s time to tell relatable stories that leads to a job interview. It’s time to engage in storytelling with a personal purpose.

Use career support services

After graduation, my essential employment advice is the same as I offered in class. Use every support service and assistance available to you from Conestoga. You paid for it in your tuition.

I urge students to book a career support session at this link: https://mycareer.conestogac.on.ca/students-alumni/studentLogin.htm

If you’re not a Conestoga graduate and looking for a job, I urge you to investigate alumni support services at the school you attended. Or, contact Conestoga to access their government-supported free career services: https://www.conestogac.on.ca/career-centre

I also share job postings in my social media feeds and job search links for the Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo area.

The Ontario Employment Standards Act spells out the rules and regulations for employers and employees in the Province of Ontario.

Waterloo Region, Wellington and Dufferin counties

Government of Canada online Job Bank

https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/home

Lutherwood community support services

https://www.lutherwood.ca/employment/job-board

Facebook job boards

Cambridge, Ontario Jobs (Lutherwood)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/160444858234267

Opportunity jobs Kitchener-Waterloo

https://www.facebook.com/groups/160444858234267

Jobs Available in Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1065977336782657

Kitchener-Waterloo Jobs (Lutherwood)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/627211920948240

Jobs in Kitchener Waterloo Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/458359828081233

What other job supports do you recommend in Cambridge, Kitchener or Waterloo? Please share information in the comments below.

Student job search tips for Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo in Ontario, Canada

Jobs searching is not easy.

Updated November 15, 2023

I always wonder what path students take after leaving the Business Communications classes I teach at Conestoga College in Kitchener.

They are international students pursuing a dream of living and working in Canada. I share tips to help them manage their culture shock after arriving in a place with cold weather, strange foods and people who talk funny — like me.

They share cooking recipes, movie recommendations, and a career enthusiasm that inspires me. I learn more than I teach.

Most of my classes are online, which puts our communications skills to the test.

Sometimes, I hear from them after they connect with me on my LinkedIn profile. I like the birthday greetings! I often get messages looking for jobs or tips to polish their LinkedIn profile. They remembered how I repeated “Put your LinkedIn profile to work for you” in class!

After graduation, my essential employment advice is the same as I offered in class: use every support service and assistance Conestoga College offers. Students paid for the services in their tuition. I was consistently impressed with career counselors’ advice when I invited them to host in-class workshops, so I urge students to book a career support session at this link.

And if you’re looking for career advice and you’re not a Conestoga graduate, I urge you to investigate alumni support services at the school you attended. Or, contact Conestoga to access their government-funded, free career services offered to the general public.

Ontario employment rules

The Ontario Employment Standards Act spells out the rules and regulations for employers and employees in the Province of Ontario, related to hiring, workplace environment and dismissal.

I also share job postings in my social media feeds and job search links for the Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo area.

Communitech in Waterloo Region

Technology and high-tech companies work together in Waterloo Region to grow the local tech economy, through the Communitech association.

There’s also a job listings portal under the “Resources” Tab on the Communitech home page. 

While the job listings are from around the world, there is a “search by location” option.

Government of Canada online Job Bank

https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/home

Lutherwood community support services

https://www.lutherwood.ca/employment/job-board

Facebook job boards

Cambridge, Ontario Jobs (Lutherwood)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/160444858234267

Opportunity jobs Kitchener-Waterloo

https://www.facebook.com/groups/160444858234267

Jobs Available in Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1065977336782657

Kitchener-Waterloo Jobs (Lutherwood)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/627211920948240

Jobs in Kitchener Waterloo Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/458359828081233

Technology jobs board from Communitech – local and worldwide

https://www1.communitech.ca/jobs

Do you have any job search tips to share? Please share in the comments below.

Hand-written thank you cards remain powerful connection tools in my digital world

A hand-written thank you note in this card grabbed my attention.

When was the last time you received a handwritten note in your mailbox?

And, no, I’m not talking about all those “personal” advertising flyers in faux handwriting asking to buy my house. Some of them look like they are written by primary school students. Others have tiny, perfectly printed characters that reminded me of notes left behind by a serial killer in movies.

I’m talking about a genuine, handwritten thank you card. Or a personal note.

Yes, I’m talking about analog communication in a digital world.

It happened to me last month. I donated money to a local charity, and they replied with a handwritten note thanking me. Wow!

It made me feel fantastic on a day when more than 100 new emails stuffed my inbox — most of which I probably won’t read. 

I read every word of this thank you, written in flowing script writing that took me back to a time before the internet, when letters, notes and cards were commonplace in my life. 

Handwritten cards

Back to the farmhouse where I grew up, to when my mother with write and mail send letters to her mother in London – Ontario.  When she sat at the kitchen table night after night in the first week of December, sending out Christmas cards with thought notes included inside.

Back to a time of writing essays in pencil on foolscap paper in primary school.  

Back to when I started writing my class notes in a fountain pen in high school, because I enjoyed the experience.

Back to the late 1980s, when I worked at the Cambridge Reporter newspaper. I vividly remember when readers — occasionally — dropped a thank you note in the mail about a story they liked. Or offered me a story idea on paper.  I don’t think I saved any of them when the paper closed in 2003, as I was waded deeper in to my bottomless email inbox. 

Thank you cards are powerful

The fact I was so taken — indeed, pleasantly startled — by a thank you card in the mail last month would be no surprise to researchers in this 2018 study: “Undervaluing Gratitude: Expressers Misunderstand the Consequences of Showing Appreciation,” published in the journal Psychological Science.

The study found that people expressing gratitude underestimated how pleased people would be with a handwritten note. And they overestimated the potential awkwardness that someone might feel receiving a heartfelt thank-you note.

The exchange of a handwritten thank you note also brought emotional benefits to both the sender and recipient.  

And it’s more than just saying thank you to a neighbours for watering your garden while you are away on holiday.

I found business coaches promoting the power of hand written thankyou cards on the business website Forbes.com.  They’re highlighted as glue to build personal networks for career success.

It’s a good idea to write a thank you note to an interviewer, even if you didn’t get the job.

Handwritten cards are also used to support mental patients during recovery after hospitalization, Psychology Today notes.  Caring Cards are written by groups of patients who meet to create one-of-a-kind cards. They’re given to peers struggling with mental health concerns, offering extra, personal support.

The simple act helps both card creators and recipients, reduce the risk of suicide, because researchers believe it builds a sense of purpose and social connections.  At the very least, the cards are enjoyable to create, send and receive.

Thank like you speak

But what to say? Hallmark, the greeting card company, of course, offers advice at hallmark.com.  Basically, saying thank you is easy if make it easy.  Be yourself.

“Writing tip: If writing a thank-you takes you back to high school and turns your writing awkwardly stiff or formal, then relax and try to write like you speak. If you’re a person who would say, “Thanks so much for watching our dog!” then say, “Thanks so much for watching our dog!” Just exactly like that.”

And here’s another tip sheet: The Seven Steps to a Great Thank-You Note, from Michigan State University Extension Service.

I last sent a thank-you card sometime last summer. I think. Or maybe it was the summer before?

That’s a foolish practice to continue, if I want to nurture my personal and business networks.  And to gain the positive personal. emotional benefits of purposeful gratitude.

Now, it’s time for me to start practicing my penmanship. Buy a box of quality cards at my favourite writing tools store, Phidon Pens in Cambridge. And remember to pick up stamps at the post office.

Join me in a challenge I’ve set for myself: write and mail one thank you note every month for the rest of 2022.

Or, perhaps, make that a note once a week.

This post is adapted from a speech presented March 13, 2022 at Cambridge Toastmasters.

Put social media storytelling to work to help your job search

Social media job search tips

I believe social media best thing that ever happened to your job search – and perhaps the worst thing that ever happened to your job search.

Anymore, finding a new job isn’t about how many cover letters and many resumes you email to as many job postings you can find while searching at online employment sites.

Today, it’s probably never been more important to build relationships with people online – and in-person – to find the job you’re looking for.

And it’s about ensuring your social media activity doesn’t scare away potential employers. Or get you fired from a job because of what you posted online. Cybervetting by employers is now the norm.

As a communications coach and former online journalist, I cringe when I see and hear some of the things people post online.  Things that wouldn’t make me want to hire that person – and perhaps prompt me to fire that person.

Please join me on May 31, 2021, for a free webinar where we can talk about social media and your job search in a free webinar hosted by IdeaExchange.org.  That’s what we used to call Public Library in Cambridge, Ontario.

We’ll talk about how to tell your story and present your personal brand online. How to build it.  How to protect it. 

We’ll talk about ways of using social media to tell the story about you as the ideal employee to your ideal employer.

And we’ll talk about how to use social media tools like TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to find jobs that were never advertised — and how to connect with people who can help you find a job.

Please join me for the free webinar starting at 10:30 a.m. so we can share our ideas and talk about telling your story to help you find the job you want.


Please use the form below to contact Kevin Swayze, so he can put his business storytelling experience to work helping you find, shape and share your message with impact.

Contact Kevin by email or contact him by mobile phone: 226-924-4237.