Tag Archives: student

Why I will (hopefully) have a successful career

I am inspired this week by a man known as Larry Smith. Smith works primarily as an economics professor at the University of Waterloo. On Monday, he told a room of 100 hundred other students, including myself, why you will fail to have a great career. He then told us how to fix it.

I mean really, have you ever seen a gravestone say “Here lies a terrible parent, an untrustworthy friend, and an unfaithful spouse?”

The main point of his presentation was to follow your passion, or else you will die as wasted potential. He urged us to do something that will make our life worth living, and not just about making a living. One thing I really enjoyed about Smith’s talk was how down-to-earth he was. His presentation was essentially an expansion of the TED talk he had presented for TEDxUW, which I felt was too short to do him justice. He was very much aware of the common issues students—and people in general—have when they want to pursue a job based on passion: the risk , the loss of resolve, and the hardships of actually making a living off that passion.

by nogiba

the Risk

For students such as I who are in the middle/late stage of their first university degree, it can be a frightening thing to think about what will happen to our future. Like many in post-secondary institutions, I chose my program not for passion but for the guarantee of a safe living (well even then, I can’t say it’s a guarantee since I haven’t actually graduated yet, heh). During the Q&A portion of the talk, a student raised his concern over the dissociation between his passion and his current program of study. Smith responded with two major points: sacrifices must be made, unconventional connections always exist. Even if you already have a well-paying job or have already graduated, if you are feeling dissatisfied with your career and you have a passion so strong you want to quit your job to fulfill it, you will find a way. It will be at that point that your creativity, resourcefulness, and determination will be your best friends. How will you know if your passion is strong enough?

Oh, you’ll know. And if you don’t know, it means you’ve never felt it. Once it hits you, you’ll know you have your passion.

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Job Hunting Advice for the First Time Student

If you’re new to the working world with no experience, no references, and are driven by the sole purpose of getting any job that comes your way, job hunting is gonna be tough. I haven’t updated my blog for the past few weeks because I’ve been busily working on my resume, writing cover letters, and applying for jobs. The whole process took a lot longer and was more difficult than I had anticipated (and is ongoing, since I still haven’t been hired) [Update, I’ve been hired] . So, here are some things I’ve learned from the past few weeks that I thought I’d share for any first-student-job-hunters. Here are three things you’ll  need to have to get a job:

1.Resume Write a good resume. It will take time, and it will take a lot of mental effort to conger up with the right magic words that will sell you to an employer. Don’t fret. There are many valuable resources online to aid you. One great resources for general resume, cover letter, and job interview tips is ResumeBear.com. This blog has all sorts of advice and words of wisdom that will be very helpful to anyone looking for employment, be they experienced or not. Don’t forget to get your resume critiqued. Ask a family member or someone you know who holds a managerial position to review your resume. You can also ask a teacher or counselor. If you’re in a post-secondary institution that offers co-op, ask a few friends you know that are in a co-op program to take a look at your resume.  Every post-secondary institution has some sort of student career centre, where the staff specialize in helping students build job-hunting skills. Look up your school’s career centre and sign up for a workshop on how to build resumes. A good resume will bring you that much closer to getting a job. No typo’s. (those silly little mistakes that are more from you forgetting to put a space between words or hitting “s” instead of “a” on your keyboard)

2.Cover Letter  (optional, depending on circumstance) A cover letter is a summary you give employers of why you of all people should get the job. Cover letters are where you will stand out, and are often the first thing an employer  at when they’re sifting through piles of resumes. How to write a cover letter depends on your job. All in all, a cover letter should give reasons why you feel you’re best suited for the job, with some reasons/examples to back you up. Don’t go repeating your resume. Depending on the nature of your application, say if you’re applying for a job your aunt is hooking up with, or if you apply to a job at a career fair, you may not have the opportunity or need to write a cover letter. The key is to say what your resume cannot. Here’s some resume cover letter tips you can follow to help you.

3.Interview Skills So once you manage to bull earn your way to an interview, you’re going to have to answer questions and prove to your potential boss that you are worth their time and money. My best advice would be to go on YouTube.com and search “interview tips.” There are all sorts of good videos there. Here’s one I particularly liked that describes how to answer the “Tell me about yourself” interview question, which can be pretty overwhelming if you’re not prepared. Practice, practice, practice, and when you think you’ve had enough, practice. I don’t mean in front of your mirror; no, you need to practice your answers to your family, your roommates, your friends and your teachers. This isn’t to say they’ll know any better than you about what your interviewer is looking for, but repeated practice will give you  confidence. That, my lovely reader, is the an important key to passing an interview.

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