“Reach out to more students and offer interview prep skills, resume reviews and other essential skills needed to obtain a job.”
—Lisa Bui, Student, University of Calgary
The degree that I am currently studying to obtain, International Relations at the University of Calgary, is a very vague designation. People either scratch their heads at my program or assume we will all funnel into jobs at the United Nations.
Since my degree is limitless, I don’t have a clear direction of what career I truly want to pursue, though I favour the non-profit or the public sector.
Rejection always hurts. I used to send out 10 emails on a job hunting day, attached with uniquely addressed resumes and cover letters, and if I was lucky, I would receive two emails stating they had already selected someone else for the job. If I happened to be unlucky, I received not a single reply. These were entry level positions that would hire high school students and post-secondary students.
I realized I was knocking on all the wrong doors and, more importantly, realized it was who I knew that could aid my job search.
I had been an active volunteer for the Canadian Red Cross for many and I was selected to attend a Government of Alberta non-profit sector conference, Vitalize. At that conference, I received information about an internship program that was exclusively with non-profits.
Then I successfully obtained an internship at TELUS Sparks as an Education Module Developer, where I used the experience to develop skills for a possible career in project management.
I recently started my third year at the University of Calgary. I will be juggling my studies while volunteering for the Canadian Red Cross as President of the University of Calgary Red Cross Club.
My advice for employers, educators and career centres
Definitely reach out to more students and offer interview prep skills, resume reviews and other essential skills needed to obtain a job. Career centers should partner with more internship or co-op programs that can accept a large population of students and have opportunities that appeal to more areas of study.
My advice for students
Advancing your career will largely depend on who you know. Networking skills are invaluable; rather than trying to be interesting, be interested in your co-workers, employers and organization. Also, find out your strengths and apply for jobs that match your skills with their assignments. Companies hire people for what they can do – not for what they can’t. Lastly, just having a degree won’t cut it in the real world. Gain experience by volunteering or a meaningful internship and you can jump into mid-level positions rather than entry-level positions.
This Student Voice belongs to:
University of Calgary