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 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 for engage 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.

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.

Failure is the lesson? Try this Growth Mindset quiz

My Growth Mindset quiz results on April 18, 2022: I have some work to do. Screengrab from IDRlabs.com

Do you have a growth mindset? Or do you fear challenge and change?

They are questions I ask students in my COMM8400 Business Communications classes each semester at Conestoga College​. As I ask them to take an online quiz, I also log also answer the 20 questions myself.

I encourage you to take the quiz, too. Learn something about your readiness to face life’s challenges. Here’s the link: https://www.idrlabs.com/growth-mindset-fixed-mindset/test.php

My quiz result today: I have a growth mindset with some fixed ideas.

I have some work to do in my personal growth, apparently.

I notice variations in my quiz results, semester to semester. When things are going well, when I’m feeling successful, I remember having a higher growth-mindset score. When life is messier, I’m stressed and struggling, I remember I have a higher fixed-mindset score. I can’t help but note the relationship.

Personal growth

The big takeaway for me after teaching a lesson on Growth Mindset is always “skills and intelligence are malleable,” as Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck says.

Dweck’s research always reminds me of the power of smart goal setting, flexible thinking and embracing imperfection. It’s time for me to read her Growth Mindset book again.

Encouraging students to develop a growth mindset for personal and career success reminds me to walk the walk myself. It’s always better for a teacher to model the effective strategies that build my personal and business communication skills.

I have control of my life when I decide to take control of my life.

I have the ability to change and learn — and learn and change.

Challenges are a good thing because they’re hard and build my problem-solving mental muscle.

Embracing failure is a powerful way for my best learning opportunities to take root and grow.

What’s your plan to build a Growth Mindset?

To get you started, here are 20 guidelines from PositivePshychology.com to read on your journey.

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.


Speech writing: Audience first, then tell your story

Man speaking in front of a seated audience
Man speaking in front of a seated audience in a lecture hall.

If you want to be a better public speaker, start by listening.

Effective speech writing is all about knowing who you are talking to, and giving them what they want – or need – to hear.

It’s a hard lesson for me to learn – especially when there’s a police officer in plain clothes staring you down.

One day, somewhere back in mid-2002, I was asked to speak at a lunchtime Rotary club meeting about journalism and the news business.  Easy enough, I thought.  At that point, I just received my 20-year pin serving the trenches at the Cambridge Reporter newspaper. I was the newly appointed editor and feeling pretty good about myself.

Great stories are good, but

With all those years a reporter, photographer and editor, I knew I had great stories.

I cobbled together a speech about how I approached the news business, how I made a living asking questions. How I found stories.  How I shaped those stories for my audience.  And, of course, What was the weirdest thing I ever wrote about?

(It was a guy who brought a potato into the newsroom one day, looking for a story.  The spud looked exactly like former U.S. President Richard Nixon’s face and head.  Seriously.  Photo and story for the front page, please).

Anyway, my speech went well enough. I told few more stories while neglecting to delve deeply into why one story gets published and another doesn’t. 

I had my speech all written down – and kept reading from it behind the podium.  No point-form notes to I could keep my eyes on the audience. I droned on for 10 minutes. I didn’t vary down my tempo and use inflection to emphasize important points.   

I didn’t think through who was in the audience. Who might put their hand up in the question and answer session?

Be prepared

I broke a basic rule of journalism: be prepared.

Rotarians? What could go wrong? All I had to do was call the organizer and ask who the club members are.  Or more accurately, remind me who was likely to be in the audience.  I knew most of them from writing stories about what they’ve done in town over the years.

Local business leaders who have learned how to ask good questions, because their livelihood depends on good information.  The crowd gathered in the Galt Country Club meeting room was also salted with other community leaders, people who also knew how to ask good questions. After all, nobody builds credibility for their personal brand by talking all the time.

None of that was in my mind as set myself up as the target in the question-and-answer session.  I started to recognize the faces as they asked me about stories I had covered, softball questions about why the media does what it does and why I like my job.  (Answer:  I love asking questions).

Then she stood up and greeted me politely.  I wished I remembered she was a one-time homicide investigator and was now commander of the local police detachment. Super friendly.  With a detective’s mindset.  I didn’t see it coming.

“I’ve heard there’s a Code of Ethics for Journalists – so why didn’t you talk about that in your speech.  What do you say to people who don’t think journalists have any ethics?”

Busted.

Answer obvious questions

I wasn’t ready for an obvious question.  I stammered and wobbled at the podium, before making a half-hearted explanation. It was ugly.

I wasn’t ready with a story to tell a personal story around the never-ending public discourse of ethics in journalism. Something everyone seems to have an opinion on.  Something that’s been simmering for centuries, long before people started accusing the media of creating “Fake News.”

I learned.  Always remember: audience first is the smart way to approach speech writing.

Listen to what they say — and imagine what they are likely to ask.

Adapted from a speech presented at Cambridge Toastmasters Dec. 13, 2018.


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.

Like to teach? You will learn more than you expected

Conestoga College teaching jobs fair
Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, plans online teaching job fairs May 15 and May 19, 2021.

If you’ve ever thought about teaching what you know, Conestoga College is looking for you.

For the last two years, I’ve delivered Citizen Journalism and business Client Communications classes at the Doon campus in Kitchener, Ontario. The part-time teaching opportunities give me a chance to share the communication skills learned my a 30-odd year career in newspaper and online journalism. That experience was the foundation to building my business storytelling skills and media relations experience. 

It was a coming home for me when I returned to campus in 2019.  I graduated from Conestoga in 1986 with a Journalism-Print Diploma (honours). The next year, I started my journalism-communications career at the now-closed Cambridge Reporter newspaper. Back then, I never thought I’d be a teacher. But 30 years later, but I responded to a last-minute request to teach a class at Conestoga. And I haven’t looked back.

Part-time teaching jobs

Conestoga is looking for more part-time faculty.  I encourage you to think about sharing your career skills with students in programs ranging from business to social services and animation to bricklaying. 

Register for an online Part-time Faculty Information Session & Recruitment Event on Saturday, May 15, 2021, and again on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Both sessions run 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Online registration

Register for the job fair using this online form

If you can’t attend the sessions, you may also leave your contact information to receive an application form for potential teaching opportunities, the form says. 

In my experience, if you’re serious about wanting to teach, Conestoga is ready to help you succeed while helping your students succeed.

Without exception, over the last two years, everyone I’ve worked with at Conestoga has welcomed and encouraged me to learn and grow. I started teaching without any formal teaching training on my resume.  Conestoga offers training, workshops and discounted tuition for continuing education courses to build your teaching toolkit.  

I’ve found that the more I teach, the more I learn. The skills I learn and practice while teaching helps me build my career as a project-based business communications consultant, after leaving The Record newspaper in 2016.

In truth, I wonder some days if I’m learning more than I am teaching my students. 

Teaching makes me better as a communications consultant and business storyteller. After all, my day job employs the same fundamental skills I use in class – and vice versa.