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1ST & 2ND YEAR

HARDER. BETTER. FASTER. STRONGER.

GUIDE

MASTER FOUR NEW SKILLS TO MAKE SCHOOL A BREEZE

The sunny side of networking Renovate your résumé Busting the B.A. bias Stay ahead of the game

FALL 2012

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FASHION MANAGEMENT

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FINANCE

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HOSPITALITY & TOURISM MANAGEMENT

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HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

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INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

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MANAGEMENT STUDIES

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MARKETING

10 SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT

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Success has no limits

BMO Capital Markets offers a range of rewarding career possibilities to help you achieve your greatest ambitions. Talk to your school counselor about how to turn your potential into performance by working in the financial markets.

CAPITAL RAISING • MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS • RISK MANAGEMENT • RESEARCH • INSTITUTIONAL SALES & TRADING BMO Capital Markets is a trade name used by BMO Financial Group for the wholesale banking businesses of Bank of Montreal, BMO Harris Bank N.A. and Bank of Montreal Ireland p.l.c., and the institutional broker dealer businesses of BMO Capital Markets Corp., BMO Nesbitt Burns Trading Corp. S.A., BMO Nesbitt Burns Securities Limited and BMO Capital Markets GKST Inc. in the U.S., BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. in Canada, Europe and Asia, BMO Nesbitt Burns Ltée/Ltd. in Canada, BMO Capital Markets Limited in Europe, Asia and Australia, BMO Advisors Private Limited in India and Bank of Montreal (China) Co. Ltd. in China. ® Registered trademark of Bank of Montreal in the United States, Canada and elsewhere. ®† Registered trademark of Bank of Montreal in the United States and Canada.

HARDER. BETTER. FASTER. STRONGER. Everyone wants that edge. And we at Jobpostings Magazine want to help you get it. In school (and in your future career), there are a couple of basic skill sets we can all supercharge to make us super productive. The mini tutorials found in this issue will teach you everything you need to learn those skills that can help you reach your full potential.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS JOBPOSTINGS.CA 06 Renovate your résumé Is your résumé as polished as it could be? Quick, go check it now! Well, read this article first.

08 Cover letters and how to make them not suck If writing cover letters makes your palms sweat, check out this advice to turn a stale introduction into a clean, professional one.

10 ELEVEN steps to interview success Interviews are stressful enough without last-minute disasters. Follow this advice to look, act, and feel your best.

12 Busting the B.A. Bias Why your B.A. will take you to much more interesting places than McDonald’s.

22 Stay ahead of the game Why it’s not too early to explore your industry, and how some

Images: © iStock.com

small investments now can help you in the long-run.

24 Big Dreams NEED A HELPING HAND

In defence of career centres, and why you should already have awesome relationships with the fantastic people who work there.

26 Networks make the world go ‘round

Networking has a bad rep. But it’s a valuable skill that helps you and your contacts grow.

28 Takin’ care of business

The right part-time work can let you make money, excel in school, and start planning a career. Find out how.

30 Inside the industry

Informational interviews can hook you up with advice straight from the source. We explain how to set one up.

Thought Jobpostings was only a magazine? Think again. We’re a 24/7, job-hunting, career-launching, school-acing machine— both in print and online. Head over to jobpostings.ca to check out these web exclusives (and much, much more): FIVE RETAIL MYTHS FROM THE MOVIES Retail’s one of the fastest-growing industries in Canada. So why, then, do many consider it a dead-end job? We blame it on Hollywood. We tackle some of the biggest misconceptions about the retail industry—by going all Mythbusters on Clerks, Pretty Woman, Empire Records, American Beauty, and more.

CERTIFYING SATISFYING CAREERS Becoming a certified general accountant doesn’t mean you’ll be relegated to the 64th floor in a faceless corporate tower (though there isn’t anything wrong with that). It can also bring you closer to extracurricular passions—including a career in the high-flying fine arts world.

THE SALESMAN: ALEC BALDWIN VS. JIM HALPERT Any proper salesperson will tell you that their work is part labour, part art. Each salesperson, too, will have their own technique, their own styles, and their own strengths. So we deconstruct the sales technique of two pop-culture salesman: The Office’s Jim Halpert and Glengarry Glen Ross’s Blake. Who’s the better salesperson? You decide.

OCTOBER 2012 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA

Masthead publisher

Nathan Laurie nlaurie@jobpostings.ca

associate publisher Mark Laurie mlaurie@jobpostings.ca

establish justice Seattle University School of Law is committed to Images: © iStock.com

social justice.

WHO’SHIRING 02

BMO Capital Markets

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College Pro

Join our diverse student body and we’ll help you become a leader for a more just and humane world.

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Home Depot

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Nexen

Learn more about us at www.law.seattleu.edu.

IBC PwC

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Seattle University, School of Law

EDUCATION ACCOUNT MANAGER Shannon Tracey

interns Christina Wang, Daniele Alcinii, Rebecca Spence, Erika Jarvis, Alex Guibord, Autumn Ladouceur, Paul Schroeder

Centennial College

31

Automotive Business School of Canada

Published by Passion Inc. 25 Imperial Street, Suite 100 Toronto, ON M5P 1B9 jobpostings.ca 1-877-900-5627 ext. 221

GENERALADs 01

CGA Ontario

11 Insurance Institute of Canada OBC

Rogers Wireless

BRANDEDCONTENT 32

BMO Capital Markets: Ten reasons why young women should be interested in finance

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

Mishraz Ammad Bhounr mhounr@jobpostings.ca

Mary Vanderpas

29 University of Guelph- Humber Humber School of Social and Community Services

DEVELOPER

national account manager

21 American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine

31

web editor

Mark Teo mteo@jobpostings.ca

Amy McPherson, Emma Woolley, Alyssa Ouellette, Caroline George, Brandon Miller, Emma Jones, Naiose Hefferon, Ileana Brito

14 Ross University, School of Medicine

25

Anthony Capano acapano@jobpostings.ca

contributors

schoolINDEX Humber, The Business School (Undergrad)

David Tal dtal@jobpostings.ca @DavidTalWrites

Graphic Designer

Our Legal Writing Program is ranked No. 1, and our externship and clinical programs give you real world experience.

IFC

editor

Search for your next job at

Jobpostings Magazine is published eight times in the school year. Issue dates are September, October, November, January, February, March, April, and May. Copies of jobpostings are distributed to over 105 universities and colleges across Canada. Contents of this publication are protected by copyright and may not be reprinted in whole or part without permission of the publishers. “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” – Bernard M. Baruch

Avoid a Quarter-life Crisis Everyone needs an edge over their competition. As a College Pro franchise manager, you'll learn and use real leadership and business skills today that will help you to stand out when you graduate – and get you on the road to success sooner.

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Renovate your résumé

06

Renovate your résumé

There’s a better way to write résumés. Tear down your old CV and replace it with shiny, professional goodness By: Amy McPherson

A résumé is the ultimate marketing tool. It introduces your education, experience, and achievements to potential employers. You need a résumé (a good résumé) because it’s the first glimpse a potential employer will have of you. It’s also what employers use to see if you’re suitable for an interview. Whether you’ve never written a résumé before, or you’re revising one that you’ve used for years, here are some tips to help you along the way.

Which format should you use? Many of us are most familiar with a chronological résumé (the kind where you start with your current work experience and go back in time). While the chronological résumé may work fine for people with a long list of work experience in their chosen field, it may not work well for everyone. College students may prefer to use a functional résumé. This type of résumé allows for a variety of headings that relate specifically to varied experiences like work, projects, research, leadership, and more. Be sure to list the sections on your résumé in order of importance to your objective. Keep in mind that although many résumé templates exist, these templates may be a challenge to let you present your information the way you’d like to. You can easily create your own template by creating a two-column table in Word.

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

Sections to include You can add different sections based on the field or industry you’re applying to, but these are essential: Heading: Your name, address, phone number, email, and web address (but only if it’s a professional website with your résumé and project information—no spring break pictures!) Objective: Tell the reader why you’re sending them this résumé. Don’t talk about your life goals or use ambiguous phrases that suggest you’ll take any job. Education: List your degree(s), major, minors, institution, location (city and province), and your expected graduation date. If you have more than one degree, list your current degree first. This section can also include your GPA, a study abroad experience, and selected courses that relate very specifically to the job you’re seeking. Experience: I prefer the word “experience” to “employment” because some of our best experiences may not have been ones we were paid for! List your experiences in reverse chronological order starting with your current or most recent and work backward. If

you have a particular experience that you’d like to highlight and it’s not your most recent, create a separate heading such as “Related Experience” or even give it a specific name (for example, “Working Overseas”). Then you can have another section called “Additional Experience” for everything else. Skills: List computer, laboratory, language, and other skills that supports your objective. Honors /Activities: This could be a combined section or these headings could be listed separately. Highlight leadership roles. Choose these items carefully and list only college level honor or activities: with rare exceptions. One such exception would be having earned the Eagle Scout Award. Do not include references on your résumé or even the phrase “References Available Upon Request.” You will need to create a separate reference page which will include names and contact information for three or four professional references. Current or former employers and faculty members are good choices. If you have a LinkedIn profile (and you should), professional blog or website, be sure to provide hyperlinks. (Employers will be googling you anyway.) Good luck!

Amy F.McPherson is the associate directorVT Career Services

TXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTXTX

Successful projects start with

serious know-how. And a warm smile. Because working here is about more than helping customers choose the

right product. It’s about making a difference in our customers’ lives and their homes. We call it “unleashing your inner orange” and

it’s my ability to tap into my inner potential to

help them create a space worth calling home. The first thing I do when I greet a customer

is smile. It lets them know I’m there to help, and that I’m confident in my ability to make

a difference in their projects—no matter how large or small, I know that my customers

value my product knowledge and that drives me to go above and beyond to help them

complete their projects. Through extensive training, tuition reimbursement and more, The Home Depot gives me the support I need to build a promising future.

– Jordan, Home Depot Associate

A variety of part-time and seasonal opportunities are available for college and university students.

We are committed to diversity as an equal opportunity employer.

Apply online at homedepotjobs.ca/9595.

Cover letters

08

Cover letters

and how to make them not suck

Let’s be honest: Cover letters are the worst part of applying for a job (aside from the hours spent looking for one, of course). While writing a résumé is straightforward, writing a cover letter requires a little more personality and a lot more skill. Your cover letter has one minute—maybe two—to promote you to the “maybe” pile. That’s a lot of pressure. And since a cover letter is usually the first thing a potential employer reads from you, writing a bad one simply isn’t an option. Here’s how to increase your chances of success. By: Emma Woolley

Follow instructions. Seems like a no-brainer, but applicants frequently overlook information given by employers in job postings. Read the posting several times. Employers usually say what to write in your subject line, and if they want your cover letter in an email or attached as a file. If it’s an attachment, you’ll want to send it in the format requested by the employer (so no Word documents when they’ve asked for PDFs). If the employer hasn’t posted any information, it’s generally okay to write your cover letter in the body of the email and attach your résumé. Word documents are the most common file types. Applying to several jobs? Be extra careful. There’s nothing more embarrassing than accidentally sending the wrong cover letter.

Never address your email “Dear Sirs.” Write this and your email gets trashed. Your failure is two-fold: You haven’t researched the company you’re applying to, and you’ve assumed that the person you’re writing to is male. Even if you use the more innocuous “To Whom it May Concern,” your letter still says: “I’m not that interested in working for you.” Always address your letter (and email) to the name of the person receiving them. If you don’t know who that is, find out. Many businesses direct job applications to HR representatives via

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

generic email addresses, but it’s not impossible to learn who handles the screening or hiring process. Write or call the company, explain you’re applying for a job, and request the name of who’s in charge. If you’re not willing to do that, you probably don’t really want the position.

Don’t use your first-ever email address. We all thought we were clever with our adolescent pseudonyms, but most employers won’t hire a “punkfan978” or a “sweetbaby77xo.”

Your cover letter has one minute—maybe two—to promote you to the “maybe” pile These email addresses need to go down with your Livejournal account (if you were ever on it—I sure was) and never be seen again. Maybe your email address isn’t as lame as the examples I’ve included. But when you’re applying for a job, you’ve got to use your real name. A straightforward email address shows employers that you’re professional. If you’re really attached to that old email address, keep it. Just don’t use it when applying for jobs.

Be the right kind of confident. The key to a good cover letter is to walk the line between “humble” and “super-confident.” Instead of listing everything you’re awesome at, highlight a few of the skills, traits, and successes that relate to your desired position. Strengthen your language by avoiding the passive voice and preferring shorter words to longer ones. Think “use” instead of “utilize.” Overly complex or long letters tend to be dry and complicated. Employers won’t get past the first few lines.

Proofead. Proofred. Proofread. Every article ever about cover letters tells you to proofread. I’m doing it again because it’s so important. Even the best of us make mistakes, so proofreading is always necessary. Everything is so quick and easy on the Internet that it’s tempting to just click “send” and go. Don’t do it. Typos, misspelllings, poor grammar, and other egregious errors can get your application deleted after one glance. I know many employers who won’t continue reading after one typo. So check your cover letter again and again. And one more time after that. (As a test, see if you can find the typo in the above paragraph.) If your brain is dulled by hours of writing and job hunting, take a break. Save the email as a draft, leave your computer, and come back with fresh eyes. If you’re not skilled in spelling and grammar, have someone else read it for you. As long as you’re not applying on the application deadline!

Images: © iStock.com

WHY WORK FOR NEXEN? Because you value innovation and seek opportunity. Nexen is big enough to provide boundless career opportunities, and small enough so you get recognized for your work. We offer challenging careers and the chance to pioneer new technologies. Your contributions are rewarded with a highly competitive compensation package and a healthy work-life balance. We’ll help you along with career development and training that will open doors to your future.

www.nexeninc.com

On July 23, 2012, we announced the proposed acquisition of our company by CNOOC Limited. Our hiring plans have not changed. We continue to recruit talented, high-performing individuals, and CNOOC intends to retain employees and will inherit Nexen’s remuneration and benefits packages.

11 STEPS TO INTERVIEW SUCCESS

10

After months of applying for jobs, you finally got that call asking you to come in for an interview. Once you calm down and stop jumping for joy, panic sets in. What now? Interview prep begins the moment you put down the phone. Trust us—you want to be comfortable and confident when you meet your potential employer. Here’s a handy interview checklist to keep you organized before your interview. | By: Alyssa Ouellette

THE WEEK BEFORE

Research the company

Being able to talk intelligently about the company with your potential employer can only make you look better. Blair McMurchy, director of professional and continuing education, placement, and promotions at Humber College, compares attending an interview without researching it first to marrying someone without first getting to know them.

Come up with some Questions

At the end of an interview, you’ll usually be asked if you have any questions. Come prepared with two or three. Curiosity about the company will show you know your stuff. Also, ask them when you should hear back from them—should you wait days? Weeks? That way you’ll know when to follow up.

Go to bed early

If your interview is early in the morning, get your beauty sleep at a reasonable time. Jersey Shore can wait until after you get your job. You won’t feel too confident meeting your interviewer with bags under your eyes, and you won’t be able to field difficult questions if your head is still in dreamland.

If you follow these tips for your next interview, you should be good to go. “Preparation is key,” explains McMurchy. Going as prepared and knowledgeable as you can will boost your confidence. We know you can do it. Good luck!

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

Pick your wardrobe

Decide what to wear beforehand so you have time to clean and iron your outfit. Waking up on your interview day with a ketchup stain on your blazer will put a damper on your mood. “You can never overdress, but you can always under dress,” says McMurchy. His tip for men: Wear a jacket and tie. If you feel overdressed, simply remove the jacket!

Print extra copies of your résumé

Pack extra copies of your résumé with your portfolio. Your interviewer might forget to print out your résumé. You may even have multiple interviewers, so having extra copies on hand will make you look prepared.

Bring a pack of gum

That delicious everything bagel you had for breakfast may turn against you once your interviewer catches wind of it. Chew on a piece of gum before going in. Just make sure to spit it out before the interview!

Say “thank you”

Send your interviewer a thank-you note after your interview. It will help you look polite and will help them remember you.

THE NIGHT BEFORE

THE DAY OFF!

Get directions

Make sure you know where you’re going. Know your travel time and take traffic into consideration. You don’t want to miss your interview because you took a wrong turn. Use a GPS, Google Maps, or even do a dry run beforehand to know where you’re going.

Compile a portfolio

Collect samples of your work to show your skills to potential employers. Only use your best, professional pieces—no one cares about your high school essay on Hamlet. Sorry.

Bring a detergent stick

Crazy drivers are everywhere, especially during rush hour. This means coffees spills are inevitable. If you have a detergent stick on hand, you can get rid of stains and avoid looking like a slob.

Treat everyone with respect

“Treat everyone you meet in the office with respect, from the janitor to the boss,” says McMurchy. It would look pretty bad if you closed the door in someone’s face on your way in and that someone turned out to be the boss.

Choose a career that values who you are

What are you good at? What are your ambitions? What kind of career is going to contribute to the quality of your life? No matter what your answer, you may be surprised to learn that the insurance industry has a career path that could take you exactly where you want to go.

Insurance affects virtually everything we do in life and in business. And because insurance is all around us, the industry has a wide variety of careers to match your ambitions. One way to a great career in Canada’s property & casualty insurance industry is through post-secondary education. Insurance and Risk Management programs are offered at BCIT, University of Calgary, Mount Royal, Grant MacEwan, SIAST, Wilfrid Laurier University, Fanshawe, Conestoga, Mohawk and Seneca. Your interests and your experience may add up to a great job in insurance. Visit our Web site to find out more. www.career-connections.info

Busting the B.A. Bias

12

With well over 31 choices, it’s easy to see why a B.A. can mean “bachelor of anything.”

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

Busting the B.A. Bias

13

Busting the B.A. Bias Enough McDonald’s jokes. In reality, the opportunities for B.A. students are endless. How many times have you heard a parent or older relative ask, “So what will you do with your [insert bachelors of arts degree here]?” You may answer through clenched teeth, “None of your business.” You may become reflective and leave the question unanswered. Or you may boldly reply, “My options are endless.” Any way you slice it, the question has got you wondering if you made the right choice. By: Caroline George “I knew I wanted to be a police officer, so I focused on courses that would help me do that,” says Jason Hamilton, currently on the police force in Sudbury, Ontario. Hamilton majored in sociology and criminology at university. He says the foundation he received from his arts degree provided him with a wealth of knowledge and prepared him for different experiences, including a year-long stint teaching English in China. “Employers recognize the fact that the arts student has a foundation to build on,” says Gerry Goodine, a career counsellor at the University of Western Ontario. Besides having learned transferable skills, such as problem solving and research, arts graduates are self-reflective, and make this connection when seeking a potential career,” Goodine says. “The value of an arts degree is the ability to effectively learn and to be successful. It’s effective to communicate these skill sets. Arts studies widen your perspective instead of making you too analytical.”

Transferable skills Arts grads attribute their success to their adaptability and continued development of new skills, says Goodine, who often talks to employers looking for grads with bachelor’s degrees from English to political science. “They [employers] create opportunities,” he says, adding he’s seen many newly minted BAs volunteer to gain experience for the jobs they eventually sought and got. “Employers are really looking for life experience,” says Hamilton, who also volunteered before and after graduating. “Think outside the box,” is Goodine’s advice to graduating arts students. “I ask them what kinds of skills they’ve developed that are different from other degrees … it certainly empowers them.” Besides being adaptable and creative, arts students are resourceful, says Charles Kovacs, director of the Centre for Career Services at Ringling College of Art and Design. “Through the liberal arts and training they get here, they

Images: © iStock.com

have enormous flexibility to go, potentially, in any direction. Our students are working as visual designers and collaborators, not just in a studio setting but also worldwide.”

So what can you do with a B.A.? Grads say their arts degrees are highly prized by potential employers, says Kovacs, adding many have gone on to work in some of the world’s most prestigious companies, including Lucas Arts, CNN, DreamWorks, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). That’s because BAs don’t just learn to think creatively, they learn how to think. “We infuse students with soft skills, creative problem solving, knowledge mediation, synthesis of resources, and services to come up with a hypothesis to identify ways of varying their research. Students are trained to use their skills as a basis for other things. There you see the strength of the liberal arts: flexibility. Especially in economies that change so frequently.” “We help students to learn transferable skills, but also to use what they’ve learnt through all their years of studying,” says Snjezana Linkes, a career counsellor at the University of Western Ontario. Career centre staff guide graduating arts students through network events and career fairs created specifically for them. “Employers send their representatives and they find those skills that employers are looking for,” says Linkes. Choosing a major is like choosing which ice cream to get at Baskin Robbins. But with well over 31 choices, it’s easy to see why a BA can mean “bachelor of anything.” From careers in law and fashion to computer animation, arts grads are highly prized commodities. So don’t think those endless hours spent pouring over Nietzsche are going to waste. “Because of my degree, I’ve had access to higher quality jobs,” says Hamilton, who believes arts grads have infinite career options. So next time some nosy relative asks you what you expect to do with an arts degree over dinner, artfully reply, “Anything I want.”

OCTOBER 2012 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA

YOUR CALLING. CANADA’S NEED. According to the Fraser Institute, Canada is facing an imminent physician shortage, specifically in primary care. Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) is helping to meet this need by training physicians who are entering nearly every area of medicine, including the critical demand in pediatrics, internal medicine and family medicine. • RUSM provides clinical rotations at affiliated teaching hospitals in the US. • RUSM has proudly graduated more than 9,000 physicians who are practicing across the US and Canada. • Provincial loans are available to those who qualify.

FOR MORE DETAILS OR TO REGISTER FOR AN INFORMATION SEMINAR visit RossU.edu or scan this QR code.

rossu.edu For comprehensive consumer information visit www.RossU.edu/med-student-consumer-info © 2012 Global Education International. All rights reserved.

Focus harder. Memorize better. Read faster. Google stronger.

By: David Tal

We’ve all seen them: those classmates who seem to make essays and exams feel effortless, those co-workers who regularly complete projects both early and under budget. “Good for them,” we say aloud. But in the back of our minds, a part of us thinks, “How do they do that? What makes them better than me?” The answer? Nothing. Very few are born with superhuman abilities. But those few who we perceive as superhuman are just people who’ve made the extra effort to learn special skills that allow them to accomplish things more productively and efficiently than

Images: © iStock.com

those around them. Specifically, they learn skills that allow them to reach their full potential, a potential that exists in all of us. In the end, everyone wants that edge. And we plan to help you get it. In school (and in your future career), there are a couple of basic skill sets we can all supercharge to make us super productive. They include: memorization, reading, researching, multitasking, and focusing. The following mini tutorials will teach you everything you need to learn to make these basic skills your super skills. Enjoy!

OCTOBER 2012 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA

READ FASTER Ah, the ability to speed read. It’s a skill that offers a variety of benefits. In particular, Abby Marks Beale, founder of Rev It Up Reading, says, “(Speed reading) provides the reading confidence and competence to get through your academic reading workload. Through increased speed, students increase concentration, which in turn supports increased comprehension, and ultimately better and longer retention. Reading becomes less of a chore and takes less time.” Speed reading is also a skill that will support you after graduation. Elizabeth Allen, author and founder of Super Fast Guides, says, “In the workplace, people are bombarded with written information, such as emails, reports, memos, etc. The quicker people can read and digest the information, the quicker they can act on it, and perform their job effectively.” Overall, speed reading is a skill that students across the nation pay good money to learn, and here you’ll learn it within just a few minutes. Get ready!

the finger Your eyes jump left to right as you read through a sentence (a motion called saccades). This is natural, but as you increase your reading speed, this can cause reading missteps which force you to reread sections of text. To help control this eye movement, use your finger (or a pen) to trace under each line as you read. Try doing this while you read as fast as possible.

intense practice As you get better at using your peripheral vision to breeze through your sentences, continue to push yourself. This will heighten your perception of your future reading potential, and it will show you how much faster you can read with enough practice. In all, the more actively you practice the steps above, the quicker you’ll see the results in your reading speed.

 SMUG McGEE says “At college or university, the average student spends four to five hours a day reading and studying. Personally, I spend a fraction of the time and read twice the material.”

the small skip As you get used to reading faster with your finger to guide you, begin skipping the first and last few words of each sentence. Everyone has peripheral vision, and this ability works wonders while reading. So when you start a new sentence, skip to the third word and let your peripheral vision automatically read the first two words for you. Do the same at the end of the sentence, where you end on the third word from the last word. Start reading this way, faster and faster, until the process gets easier and easier.

snapshots Once you’re comfortable skipping three words in and out of a sentence, start stretching yourself and read four words in and out, then five. Advanced speed readers only need to take two snapshots of an average sentence to read it fully.

Images: © iStock.com

HARDER. BETTER. FASTER. STRONGER

17

GOOGLE  STRONGER

Learning how to research effectively is a vital skill you learn and use throughout your school and professional career. In our modern, tech-savvy world, however, much of our basic research takes place online. Sure, primary research is important—interviewing people, conducting surveys, experimenting in the lab or field, etc.—but it’s through your secondary research that you usually form the basis for your thesis, methodology and supporting context. And much of that secondary research is now done online thanks to the world’s ever growing penchant for transferring the sum of human knowledge to the web.

Unfortunately, with all this abundance of info out there, most students have no clue how to research it properly. Yes, we, the technologically literate generation, can barely enter a proper Google query. In fact, known project conducted by researchers at Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries found that only about a quarter of students studied were able to conduct “what a librarian might consider a reasonably well-executed search.” Well, that ends now. The following tips will have you doing online research like a pro. This means better information for your next project, better grades, and, after graduation, more positive attention from your boss. Let’s start!

How to search online

Where to research

In Google, there are things called operators: they are search terms that can help you get more specific and useful search results from your Google query. For example:

Researching online isn’t just about how to search for information, but knowing where to search for information. When it comes to finding quality secondary research, keep these key tips in mind:

You wanna find: An article from The Oatmeal that explains how to use an apostrophe, but not a comma, written between the year 2009 and 2011.

site: theoatmeal.com “how” ~ use “apostrophe” – comma 2009 ... 2011 Only searches the pages of that site

Searches for the exact word or phrase within the quotation, not each word separately

Excludes this term from the search

Shows all results from the selected time range

To become a Google power user, visit: googleguide.com/advanced_operators. You wanna find: A PDF report on globalization and its effect on communities.

ext: pdf intitle: globalization and its effect “on * communities” Google calls this “the wild card.” It fills in the blanks or replaces a missing or unknown word or words (in this case, the options can include: on local/indigenous/ minority communities) Searches only results of the file type you select, e.g. pdf, jpeg, etc.

Shows only results with that word in the article’s title (in this case: globalization)

Use Google Scholar: This service is a free, online, searchable database of academic and scholarly work—the stuff you can cite on your papers.

Your library Most libraries, especially those found in post-secondary institutions, don’t just carry books. Their online resources may offer access to a huge number of databases that contain academic and scholarly reports and journals (those that aren’t searchable online without a credit card), and free online subscriptions to newspapers and magazines.

Bibliographies You know those long lists of academic reports, journals, and books found at the end of most academic reports, journals, and books? It’s probably a good idea to start checking out those lists more carefully. They are an awesome source of information that will tell you where to find more relevant research sources for your project!

Wikipedia Counter to what your profs might say, this is a great source of information when you want to read up on the basics of almost any topic. That said, because the information on Wikipedia is produced through online crowd sourcing, you can’t trust the accuracy of everything you read there. So use Wikipedia to learn the basics about your subject, and where to find more accurate sources of information about it. And obviously, NEVER cite Wikipedia.

TEST YOUR

 SKILLS!

Put what you just learned to the test! Find out what Google’s first “company” dog’s name was and what year he became part of the family. Be the first to post the answer on our Facebook page and win a prize! Somebody beat you to the post? No worries, first 5 people to share the answer win a consolation prize!

OCTOBER 2012 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA

HARDER. BETTER. FASTER. STRONGER

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memorize better  Lifestyle habits to improve memory what

why

how

Food

Brain foods include complex carbohydrates, fibre, and lean protein.

Matcha (green tea), coffee, grass-fed beef, wild salmon, blueberries & acai berries, cacao beans, greek yogurt, quinoa, eggs

Activities

By keeping your mind engaged with new experiences, you train it to remain more open to and absorb new information

Listen to music, mental exercises (e.g. anagrams), puzzle games, learning new skills or hobbies, stimulate five senses. Also getting up off the couch once in a while can help improve your memory

Breaks

Your mind needs regular breaks in order to properly absorb new information.

Rest, exercise, walk breaks

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

Memory is a tricky thing. Science has yet to reveal how it fully works. And there are many factors that can affect it. In general, a memory is information that the brain can recall, and this ability has a variety of applications. “Memorization techniques can obviously help students recall information quickly and effectively for exams,” says Patrick C. Brown, founder of Occam Education, “but it also forces students to become more disciplined. Techniques, such as spaced repetition, require students to revisit material at increasingly longer intervals, and structure their academic/personal calendars accordingly.” Meanwhile, in your post-grad life, effective recall can really help your career. Chris Tobias, author and founder of SchoolSkills.net, explains, “Remembering the names, history, and life details of your co-workers and business associates will greatly help you succeed in your post-grad professional life. How many kids does your boss have? Where did your co-worker go for their last vacation? These facts will help you connect with people in conversation, build trust, and create great working relationships. Remembering business facts—such as how many units you need to sell this month—will help you handle the ‘hallway conversations’ with expertise and professionalism. This also builds trust and makes you a valuable member of the team, and to clients.”

Images: © iStock.com

HARDER. BETTER. FASTER. STRONGER

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you can try the “Method of Loci”

One of the little known but wildly effective memory techniques is the Method of Loci. Used all the way back in ancient Rome, this is a mnemonic device that’s based on building relationships between spatial memories and the items to be memorized. How does it work? Basically, scientific research has shown that you can improve memory by associating

something you need to remember with a place you’re familiar with. Because of the way your brain works (especially your hippocampus), associating something with a place, supercharges your ability to recall info. This is fairly easy when memorizing a single factoid. But this process is awesome when you’re trying to memorize a list of related facts and info.

need proof? try this exercise: Grab a deck of cards and pull out one random card for each room in your house or apartment (bathrooms and kitchens included).

In your mind, imagine yourself walking through your home, and placing each card inside an assigned room (preferably on a flat surface, e.g. a table, chair, bed, etc.) in the order you assigned to those cards. Repeat this step a couple of times, walking through your home in your mind, setting the cards as planned out in step two.

“Wait! hold on a second,” you say. “I don’t have enough rooms in my place to match the number of things I need to remember?” Well, if that’s the case, you can always “place your cards” in different parts of a single room (e.g. try placing one card on your desk, another on your dresser, one inside your closet, etc.). You can also try walking down your local street, and “placing your cards” in each of the different stores along said street.

mORE mEmORIzATION TOOLS Depending on your learning style (visual, verbal, kinaesthetic, or auditory), one of more of these strategies might help you: Focus: The better you are able to focu s on the info you want to memorize, th e more effective you’ll be at doing so . More about this later! Association: Attach images to ords to assist in recall by linking to familiar things. hunking: Break things down into their smallest elements to ake them easier to remember.

Images: © iStock.com

Practice & Repetition: Repetition encourages the brain to form stronger and faster neural pathways to the information you want to recall. Environment: Adjust your environment to allow you to learn more effectively, e.g. some people el arn better in silence, others work better with music blasting.

What skill would you most like to learn to do better in school?

Place the cards in any order you like, then assign each card to one room. Write down the order on a piece of paper.

Now open your eyes, shuffle the cards, then turn them over so you can’t see their faces. Walk through your home (in your mind), and see how many of the cards you can remember in the order you originally set out. Match your answers to the order you wrote down in step three. Chances are you’ll be surprised by how many cards you remember correctly (and in the right order)! And as always, the more you practice, the better you’ll become.

“I would like to have a zombieon-brains-like fixation on dry academic readings. My brain disagrees.”

Karl Gutowski

25-years-old, president of the National Finance Students Association at York University. Graduating in 2013 with a major in finance.

“Picking brilliant, dedicated people out of a crowd. Working with amazing people is the best thing you can do in school.”

Derek Bennewies 21-years-old, chair of CUTC – Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference at the University of Waterloo. Graduating in 2013 with a major in nanotech engineering.

“I’m open to improvement when it comes to speed reading. It’s important to be able to pick up and transfer information quickly. Efficiency is vital!”

Tien Nguyen 19-years-old, vice president communications for the Engineering Science Student Society at Simon Fraser University & second year systems engineering student.

OCTOBER 2012 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA

HARDER. BETTER. FASTER. STRONGER

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FOCUS  HARDER!

Okay, so we know we said we’d talk about multitasking right now, but we have a confession to make: multitasking actually doesn’t work. “The brain wasn’t designed to multitask,” says Margaret Moore, founder and CEO of WellCoaches.com, and co-author of Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life. “We can only focus our attention well on one thing at a time.” Sure, we can all breath and walk at the same time, but if you try to write a couple of work emails while in deep conversation with your significant other on the phone, your significant other may grow ever louder and more annoyed. That’s why instead of trying to multitask, we’ll give you tips and tricks on how to focus more effectively. To be clear, focusing is about prioritization and sticking to a single objective. The better you’re able to focus, the better (and faster) you’ll be able to complete projects, big and small. Unfortunately, focus has a pesky enemy: Procrastination. Luckily, we’ve come up with some tips to both combat procrastination, and improve your focus.

your fingers rip across your laptop keyboard.

Eliminate distractors We live in one of the most mentally stimulating periods of human history. With so much access to ... well, everything (thank you Internet), can people really be blamed for being distracted? No, but we can put in place measures to limit distractions. They can include: Block Facebook (and other addictive sites). If you need to hunker down and focus on a project, consider giving your social media passwords to a trusted friend or family member, and have them change the passwords to lock you out until after you score your A+. Block the internet. For some of us, social media is not the only thing online that sucks up our time. For everything else, consider installing a browser plugin called LeechBlock. This ultra customizable plugin allows you to set the amount of time you allow yourself to visit a specific list of sites. Once you pass the allotted time you’ve set, LeechBlock will automatically disable your access to that site. Control your environment. Sometimes our homes offer too many distractions. If this is the case, consider working outside at a library, coffee shop, or park. Push in your earplugs (or earphones if you like music while you work) and let

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

Take a vacation from your friends. For the outgoing types out there, your usual vice is people and connecting with them. But if you need to complete a project that’s worth 60 percent of your grade, politely ask your friends to not contact you until after you’re done.

Batching Batching is the process of compiling all your most repetitive and tedious tasks and doing them all in one go, thereby minimizing the set up cost and time involved, and avoiding constant interruptions to your focus. This is a technique used throughout industry, but can be used in your personal life. For example, instead of doing your laundry or dishes everyday, wait for them to pile up and do them all in one go (once or twice a week). Instead of spreading your research out over the course of a week, batch it down to a day or two to avoid having to re-familiarize yourself with the previous day’s research progress. Instead of checking and answering your emails every five minutes, aim to do it only three times per day. At work, instead of spreading your calls throughout the week, batch them all into one day to free the rest of your week for more pressing matters. The time-saving opportunities are endless. By finding those tasks in your life that can be batched, you replace a regular distraction with a single, focused period of time to accomplish the tasks.

80% 80/20 Vilfredo Pareto, a little-known economist who was recently popularized in Timothy Ferriss’ bestselling book, The 4-Hour Workweek, developed a theory called Pareto’s Law—today it’s commonly referred to at the 80/20 principle. Originally, this law demonstrated the predictable distribution of wealth in society—that 80 percent of the wealth and income was produced and possessed by 20 percent of the population. The trick is that this principle not only holds true in economics, but in every aspect of life. Take a look at your life and ask yourself, “Which 20 percent of sources are causing 80 percent of my workload or taking up 80 percent of my time?” Be thorough. It can be a toxic relationship with a friend/colleague/significant other; a hostile business client; a commute; a style of work; a membership (maybe you are a part of too many clubs or associations); an activity, etc. Find those sources that are eating up too much of your time and focus, figure out whether they are really essential to keep in your life, then focus on better managing, minimizing, or eliminating those sources from your life.

Artificial stress The essence of procrastination is putting things off until a “more convenient” time, or to the last minute before they’re due. Steve Levinson, a clinical psychologist

and co-author of the book, Following Through: A Revolutionary New Model for Finishing Whatever You Start, has some insight into this experience. “Procrastinators and non-procrastinators alike only do what they’ve decided they should when they actually feel like they must do it, he says “the only difference between procrastinators and non-procrastinators is that it takes procrastinators a lot longer to feel like they must do it. In other words, they wait until ‘the last minute.’ That’s why I believe that a key to overcoming procrastination is to learn how to deliberately make ‘the last minute’ come sooner.” To conquer procrastination, Levinson suggests creating artificial deadlines that force you to take action now, instead of an hour before the actual deadline. “Don’t wait for the last minute to come on its own because it will come too late. Deliberately put yourself in situations that create pressure and urgency sooner.”

Goal setting “Set realistic daily and weekly goals (not your activities) that specifically include the quantity, quality and the pace of the goal,” advises Dr. Kevin D. Gazzara, senior partner at Magna Leadership Solutions LLC. “(This way) you get positive and timely reinforcement of you accomplishments.” Too many people try to accomplish ten or twenty things in a single day, then (surprisingly) they get discouraged when they only complete a handful of the items on their list. Sounds familiar? It should. It’s called trying to multitask. Again, it doesn’t work! Instead, focus on accomplishing one or two big goals per day. You’ll be amazed at the difference this makes.

Stay ahead of the game

22

Stay ahead of the game often, students don’t start career-planning until a month before gradUATION. The most successful students have been planning since day one. By: Brandon Miller

One month before graduation, thousands of panicked university and college students will pile into career centres across Canada, scrambling for advice, seminars, and job leads. Unfortunately, they are about three years too late. The concept of career planning is—sadly—foreign territory to many undergraduates. For these students (I know because I was one), education takes place in the classroom and the library, with no attention paid to anything but coursework (and the occasional party). But while they are downing jell-o shots, others—the ones who know what they’re doing—are starting careers and getting ahead, leaving stragglers in the dust.

Everyone else is doing it “We’re seeing more and more first and secondyear students [come in for career help],” says Ann Soucy, director of student employment services at the University of New Brunswick. “Last year, 16 percent of people who used our services were in their first year.” Avoiding peer pressure normally indicates personal strength, but in this case you can afford to follow the crowd. Remember, when you apply for a job after graduation, you have to compete with your cohorts. And if you avoid career opportunities in your early years at university, you risk lagging behind your peers. When graduation rolls by and companies start recruiting, the guy with three summer internships in his field is going to look better than the girl whose only summer job was recuperating from university life.

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

So, what does “career” mean, anyway?

summer programs with young children?”

Starting your career in the first half of your studies is crucial, but that doesn’t mean that people expect a freshman student to get a full-time management job at a bank. On top of internships, part-time jobs, and summer employment, there are many other ways to gain experience and develop useful skills sets: from getting involved in extra-curricular organizations, to volunteering, to joining professional societies.

Peto encourages brainstorming about ways to develop transferable skills that can be highlighted on your résumé. A first-year engineering student isn’t going to find a summer gig as an engineer, she says, but he can certainly work construction.

“Students often have some career ideas. And sometimes they aren’t using the [existing] opportunities while they are in university to test those ideas or to develop skills,” says Lynda Peto, an employment advisor at the University of Manitoba. While it’s true that senior students are often given preference when it comes to scoring internships or part-time professional jobs, there is space for first and second-year students. Just don’t lose hope if jobs don’t land at your feet—it’s all about finding the right opportunities, meeting the right people, and thinking creatively. Many summer programs actually require you to be a returning student, so the odds sometimes favour you. In any case, there are always ways to connect career interests with employment opportunities if you’re creative enough. “There are some opportunities to be more strategic in what we are looking for,” says Peto. “If there was a student in education, for example, I’d encourage them to find summer jobs to test drive that idea. Could they focus on their career by working in

Volunteer experiences can also be valuable career development. Not only are volunteers exposed to network contacts, they can also get a feel for professional work settings and expand upon existing skills. It also doesn’t hurt that employers like to hire candidates that are well-rounded and passionate.

Take your career choice for a test drive “The first year, in particular, the student might be in a program because parents encouraged them,” says Soucy. “It might be best to do some career exploration and see if they are in the right program.” Soucy gives the example of a business student studying accounting. After a summer job in her later university years, she discovered she hated the field. By trying out your intended career early, you’ll ensure that it won’t be too late to refocus your studies and graduate on time. In addition to recognizing when a career choice or major is a bad fit, job opportunities let students get a sense of what’s out there. Three summers of work might turn out completely different results if done in separate sectors. A not-for-profit job is completely different from a corporate job, regardless of whether the roles are similar or even identical. And employment at a large international firm

is incredibly different from work at a small business or a start up. The more roles and settings a student can try out, the better.

Get your face out there Forget about the skills that you can develop. Forget the opportunities you can explore. If there’s one reason why students should start their career early, it’s this: networking. The more jobs you hold, the more people you meet. The more people you meet, the more contacts you can exploit once you start hunting for full-time jobs. Sometimes summer gigs, part-time jobs, or internships can even lead to full-time opportunities later. “We have had students who have worked summers for one employer and when they graduated, the employer hired them,” says Soucy. “It’s certainly an opportunity for the employer to try the student out, and the student to try the employer out.”

Set yourself up for success “When I work with a student to help them develop their résumé, the difference between someone with no real relevant work experience versus a coop student (or someone with internships) is huge,” says Peto. “Many don’t think about employment until the very end [of their time in university]. They almost let their careers happen to them instead of being in charge of their careers.” The bottom line? The more you do, the better off you will be. And since the clock is ticking, it pays to start early.

Images: © iStock.com

Want to jump-start your career, but can’t find part-time work in your field? Here are some other ways to increase your experience, gain employability, and sharpen your professional edge while you’re still in school. Increase your web presence. This is especially important if you want a job in something like media or communications, but anyone can enjoy the benefits of a good Google ranking. One of the easiest ways to boost your web presence is to start a professional blog, or even go all-out with a personal website. A personal blog won’t be enough: you need to show off your skills and knowledge in a relevant way. Want to be a game designer? Design a free online game. Want to be an engineer? Blog on the latest trends in your specialty. But remember, while setting up an internet identity is easy, making it grow takes time and effort. Brush up on your social media basics and break out your hashtags!

Get your name on something. Direct a play, design some tutorials for your fellow students or newcomers to your area of expertise, or even act as an expert source for someone writing an article about your field. Find a way to display your knowledge and your skills in a format that shows you know your stuff. Not only will this make you look good, it’ll help you amass experiences and documents you can show off in a portfolio.

Rise to the top in a club. Most universities have clubs for hopefuls in certain disciplines: pre-med, accountancy, engineering. Try giving time to a club to gain those coveted executive positions. In the club’s upper echelons, not only will you learn about your industry and make meaningful contacts, you’ll also probably pick up on soft skills like negotiation, and logistics skills like event planning. These positions look pretty darn good on a résumé, and some of them are even paid.

Join competitions. If you’re not interested in managing student clubs, maybe you can use your skills to compete with others. While there are many individual-level contests and competitions for students in arts, team-based competitions are especially vibrant in the sciences. There are university-level competitions for students in bio-engineering, robotics, and more. There are also open design competitions that range from the practical (design the perfect bathroom) to the whimsical (design a space elevator). Participation—or a win—in a competition like this is sure to be a notch in your professional belt.

OCTOBER 2012 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA

BIG DREAMS NEED A HELPING HAND

24

BIG DREAMS NEED A HELPING HAND

When you were asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, the possibilities were endless. Princess, astronaut, or cowboy: salary and abilities didn’t once enter the equation. But as you embark upon further education, finding your career path for the coming years becomes even more important. Sure, you’ve figured out the subject you want to study, but for many, the certainty stops there, and some navigational assistance is required. Cue the career counsellors and their helpful maps. By: Emma Jones

A career counsellor can help you explore your chosen industry and find the best fit for you. We all have distinct interests, skills, and personalities, but we sometimes need help identifying these attributes. This is where your school’s career centre can assist, by saving you from any future squarepeg-round-job dilemmas. Career counsellors work with all students, from undergraduates looking for direction, to postgraduates looking for a wage. That said, making use of the career centre earlier in your studies can help you identify your goals sooner, giving you more time to actually achieve them. Professors are not always your definitive source of information. While they may be able to explain Newton’s laws of motion or the implications of habeas corpus, they can’t tell you who’s offering work experience or help polish your résumé. Aside from pulling apart that essay you just slaved over, teachers are rarely able to act as personal advisors. So turning our attention to the role of the career counsellor, what can they do for you? To make successful career decisions, you need quality information, both about yourself and the industry you’d like to enter. Career workshops, offered by almost all career centres, can help provide this information. Workshops are often one or two hours in length, will answer any of your burning questions, help you connect with other like-minded students, and build lifelong skills. For more personal and tailored advice, you can also book one-on-one appointments with career coun-

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

sellors, with home-baked cookies being an optional gift for them. These individual meetings can provide a good opportunity to draft an undergraduate action plan for your coming years, which may include extra-curricular activities or, more important, work experience. Today, work experience really makes all the difference in the open job market, and career counselling can help you identify the right opportunities related to your specific career goals. Similarly, career centres can also help arrange job shadowing,

Making use of the career centre earlier in your studies can help you identify your goals sooner, giving you more time to spend on actually achieving them. which are shorter placements that can give you a sneak peek into the daily grind of your dream job. Your career counsellor will always steer you in the right direction, giving you advice on the best companies to target, their deadlines, and application tips. This means that, rather than spending your summers decaying in front of the TV, you can use the free time to fill your résumé and network. Another buzzword: networking. It may provoke images of suits, PowerPoints, and canapés, but career centres have now made networking with in-

dustry professionals a friendly and meaningful experience. Take York University’s TASTE program, the objective of which is to provide an opportunity for students to talk with alumni about their careerrelated interests over an informal lunch. Many career centres offer similar schemes, allowing your school’s successful alumni to pass on their beenthere-done-that experience. You can really think of your career centre as the connecting link between you and employers. Another big calendar event will be the career fair, where you can meet a variety of employers in an exhibition-like setting. It’s a fantastic opportunity to compare the offerings of your industry’s biggest players and make that all important first impression. If you’re one of the more introverted individuals who dread any kind of meeting or (gasp!) interview, then career counsellors can also assist in honing those people skills. To stop you stumbling over your words, practice-interviews with your counsellor can help with gaining confidence, so you no longer have to use the old trick of picturing the interviewer in their full naked glory. Ultimately, your relationship with your career centre should not be swept aside in the belief that you won’t need their help until the dawn of graduation. The potential rapport should be embraced and nurtured as soon as possible. And hey, unlike some relationships, they aren’t going to complain about you taking advantage of them just to boost your career.

Images: © iStock.com

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Networks make the world go ‘round

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Networks make the world go ‘round

By: Naiose Hefferon

Networking is not just for business folks. Learn how you can connect with others to further your career. “Networking is only for business majors.” “Schmoozing is schleazy.” “I can talk to people just fine.” If you agree with any of these statements, feel free to go back to hovering over the chips and dip with your “plus one.” Keep pretending to text your friends. Maintain your rapt attention on the cat, the book collection, the ficus plant. You don’t need to network, right? Networking is for 40-year-old sales guys with gelled hair who use words like “incentivize” and “impactful,” not undergrads. Networking is cheesy cocktail parties, multi-level marketing, and otherwise insincere pursuits—isn’t it? Although it’s got a pretty bad rep, we shouldn’t write off networking based on its associations. This is one instance where you’re warranted to hate the player (the one stuffing his business card down your throat) and not the game. True, “networking” is a highly charged word. To those who do it genuinely and effortlessly, it’s a way of life. But to the majority who struggle to make conversation with strangers, it’s a filthy, filthy term—an activity to be avoided. Negative portrayals have led us to believe that working a room is about harnessing your inner opportunist and manipulating people to achieve selfish goals. But let’s say you have a part-time job at a flower shop and your boss is looking to hire staff for a new location. If you just met someone at a party who’s studying botany, has a flare for design, and wants to work in a flower shop, would it be manipulative and opportunistic for you to mention that your boss is hiring? Of course not. Networking is the simple and rewarding act of making real connections, pushing the boundaries of your social circle, and exposing yourself to different influences, experiences, and opportunities. And real connections are made not by pitching your ideas and accomplishments or selling someone else on “you” or “the product.” No, real connections start by giving someone else a chance to share their thoughts, stories, and goals. Sounds counterintuitive, no? Consider a conversation where every statement begins with “I,” “me,” or “my.” These unfortunate interactions can’t help but be one-sided. Conversations like these often cause loss of interest and a sudden need to find a bathroom or a desire take up smoking. Then before you know it, you’re

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

back at the guacamole station, observing that ficus in the corner. On the other hand, a conversation where someone wants to know about you and hear what you have to say is often memorable, will almost always keep you interested, and is more likely to turn into a connection. These conversations are interesting for both parties, and these are the kinds of conversations you want to initiate, since they will be the ones that will expand your network of friends and acquaintances. Dale Carnegie, master connection-maker and bestselling author advises that, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Greg Armishaw, creative director at cirQlar Entertainment, agrees. “People are fascinating and, more often than not, they want to help you. Showing an interest and being an attentive listener in conversation will get you further than any business card ever will—you can just about hear them purr the minute someone takes an interest in [their] career choices, jeans, or hometown.”

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Hm, but isn’t that kind of manipulative? “I don’t think so,” says Armishaw. “Life is hard. Any given day we’re guaranteed to encounter transit mishaps, banking errors, road rage, incidental douchery, even death. It feels good to make other people feel good, to remind them of their strengths. And at its core, that’s all networking is: connecting with the good that’s in everyone.” And while you’re finding the good in everyone else, you might just be able to use networking to do some good of your own: another mistake people make is that networking is only about finding a job, or only about getting something for yourself. It’s not. When you form a network, you also become a focal point for others to get in contact. You can use your powers for good, connecting the right people to each other and letting everyone grow as a result.

Networks make the world go ‘round

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Understandably, you may still feel more comfortable leaving the networking to LinkedIn, so here are a few basic guidelines to get you started when you’re off-line. Introduce yourself - You’re not the only one at the party who doesn’t know everyone. You don’t even need above-average charisma to talk to people. “Hi” and a smile will go a long way towards breaking the ice and will let you direct the conversation. If you’re afraid at first, don’t worry. It gets easier and easier every time you do it. Ask questions - People love seeing that someone else is interested in them. Ask meaningful and relevant questions to take your conversation to places it may not have otherwise gone. Wouldn’t you rather talk about someone’s amazing trip to Japan instead of the hockey game? Maintain eye contact - The eyes are the window to the soul! And eyecontact (in Western cultures at least) shows that you’re sincere and active in the conversation. Your gaze will naturally move around in conversation, but keep bringing it back. That’s the key and it gets easier with practice. Avoid empty compliments and insincerity - If you can spot a faker a mile away, anyone you’re speaking with will too. Be real and be nice. Smile and be yourself - You’re not schmoozing. You’re trying to establish a genuine connection. You can’t do that if you’re not being the real you. And while you’re at it ... See a star - Look for something remarkable in every person you talk to. While you’re sharpening your networking skills, don’t trap yourself in events built just for networking. Formal networking events are rare. You might get one relevant one a year from your campus career centre, and even then you’ll be competing for attention against all of your colleagues. Instead, make the world your network. Opportunities are everywhere, because, well, people are everywhere. Always be willing to have a chat with someone, and always give them a way to contact you in the future.

If you’re just not feeling comfortable meeting a bunch of new people, try deepening your current network instead. Go to the people you already know and like, and learn new things about them. You might be surprised: hidden talents, secret aspirations, untold desires for the future. You can use all this information to help them realize their needs, and help out when they need your talents.

Networking was dubbed the most effective way to get hired.

of respondents said they got their job through networking Odds are slim that any of the connections you make in first and second year will immediately become long-term career opportunities. If that happened frequently, we wouldn’t need to write this article. More likely, five or ten years down the road you’ll run into an someone who remembers you fondly and gives you a lead or recommends you for a job or connects you to someone else. And you never know … that passing chuckle you shared with some random soul in the line waiting for coffee could prove to be not-so-random in the future. So be open to forging meaningful connections, no matter how fleeting. Every conversation is an opportunity. Every connection is an asset. Every contact is an investment. Because as automated as our world may attempt to become, people and the connections between them will never be obsolete.

OCTOBER 2012 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA

Takin’ care of business

28

Takin’ care of business Rocking your part-time job and your studies

So you don’t have a trust fund and you’re blowing through your summer savings at an alarming rate. You thought you’d put away enough cash from your summer job to get you through until April, but between pub nights, pizza, and prescriptions, it’s becoming clear that life is way more expensive than you thought. Party’s over: it’s time to get a part-time job.

‘Balance’ is the key term here: it’s a skill you’ll find yourself very happy to have developed while you were still in school.”

Your first stop should be your campus career centre. If you’re lucky, persistent, and engage with the people working there, you might find a work-study position on campus. These jobs are ideal for students and are often geared towards your area of study. Yep, that’s right: you just went from being broke to getting meaningful, on-the-job experience for your eventual career.

affect your marks. Living up to those numbers can be tricky, but the work might be worth it in the long run. Looking around at your classmates, you’ll probably notice that just over half of them work part-time while they study. Actually, it’s a little over half (about 60 percent) who balance a job in one hand, and their studies in the other. “Balance” is the key term here: it’s a skill you’ll find yourself very happy to have developed while you were still in school.

If you can’t find a job on campus, it’s time to cast your net into the malls and restaurants near your school or home. Working part-time and off-campus means you’ll You see, every job teaches you something, even the probably find yourself at the bottom of the emso-called “bad” ones. You learn how to deal with ployment totem pole, with a customer service job coworkers and customers, how to manage time of some description. But even in the worlds of reand money, and a few other basic skills. But where tail and food service, there’s tons of valuable expeyou’ll really bulk up is in your soft skills. And with rience. And if you’re strategic in where you apply, employers reporting a fundamental lack of soft you could even be gaining skills that can apply to skills in new grads who have spent their entire lives your long-term career plans. Studying music? Apin schools, this could be very good news for you: Statscan says that 96% of ply at a record store. Getting an English degree? the working student. employed students in A retail bookstore would be the obvious place to 2009-2010 had a part-time job. Think of it this way: you and Rosie down the resistart. If you’re into computers, try tech support. In this group, 50% worked dence hall are both applying for the same postYou get the picture. Even a little bit of relevance for restaurants or clothing grad dream position. Your prospective boss looks will go a long way. If you’re stuck, go see a counstories, with the remaining half at both your résumés. You both have the same sellor at your campus career centre—this kind of degree, and your marks are about even. The difstuff is literally their job. Be aware that they’ll sugspread out in other industries. ference is you have four years’ of work experience gest positions that are appropriate to your skills under your belt. This shows that you know (at the very least) how to and experience. You probably won’t get anything fancy, but no one show up on time for work, how to work in a team, how to manage your starts at the top. time wisely, and what it means to take responsibility for your finances. Now that the cash is flowing, it can be tempting to overspend. You Rosie doesn’t have that. You’re the one getting the job. can always take on an extra shift or two, right? Unfortunately, studAs a student, it’s supposed to be your full-time job to learn. But life in ies show that students who work more than 20 hours a week do less the real world doesn’t always go like it’s supposed to. Understanding that homework, don’t participate in extracurricular activities, and are more likely to drop out of school altogether. But as long as you work is part of being an adult. It’s exactly that kind of maturity that will set less than about 15-20 hours per week, your job isn’t likely to adversely you apart to future employers when you start applying for full-time jobs.

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JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

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Inside the industry

30

Inside the industry

Informational interviews give you the inside scoop from professionals in the field.

Deciding on a career path can be difficult. Figuring out which job you’re suited for without having worked in the position can be an even bigger challenge. Informational interviews are a great way to gain real insight into the career you’re considering. To learn how informational interviews can help you, Jobpostings spoke with Paul Merrigan, former academic career counsellor and special needs advisor for Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. By: Ileana Brito What is an informational interview? An informational interview is not about getting a job. It’s an interview you initiate with a professional in the field, with the goal of gathering information about a field or career. Informational interviews are great networking tools to help you build a circle of contacts in the sector you’re interested in.

What questions should I ask?

Who do I interview and how do I arrange it? Merrigan suggests taking stock of people you know. Are any of your family, friends, neighbours, or professors working in your field of interest? If you don’t know anyone in the field, Merrigan encourages you to start making connections. He recommends asking people you know if they know anyone in your chosen field. Alternatively, he suggests calling a company and asking for someone by position rather than name. When asking for the interview, state your objective. Try something like: “Hello, my name is (blank). I’m a (blank) major at (blank) school. I am interested in a career in (blank).Would you be willing to spend 15 to 20 minutes with me discussing your career?” Make sure you’re flexible about dates and times. Remember, if the person you’re interviewing does meet with you, he or she is doing it purely for your benefit—unless you offer to buy them lunch of course (not a bad incentive, by the way).

What is your educational background? What education and training is required to get a job in this field?

What skills—hard and soft—do you think are necessary to be successful in the position?

What personal qualities do you need to develop to be a good fit in this position?

What do you find most interesting or rewarding about the job?

What’s the most challenging aspect of the position?

Are there opportunities for advancement?

What’s the typical salary range in the field?

What’s the outlook for the field?

Is there anyone else I should talk to? (Make sure to get your interviewee’s permission to use their name as a referral when contacting the person they have suggested.)

JOBPOSTINGS.CA | OCTOBER 2012

How do you conclude the interview? “First and foremost, thank the person you have interviewed for taking the time to speak with you,” says Merrigan. “It’s also a good idea to ask them if you can contact them in the future should you have any further questions. Finally, make sure to send a formal ‘thank you’ note within one week of the interview.”

Don’t ask for a job!

How do you conduct the informational interview? •

Arrive properly dressed.

Bring paper and a pen.

If bringing a tape recorder, you must ask the interviewee if you can tape the interview.

Be respectful of their time (and be punctual).

What should I have prepared? First impressions are important. Merrigan says, “Know what information you’re looking

for and bring your questions with you. This shows you’re prepared and respectful of their time. Present yourself as someone who’s very interested in the field and is a possible future professional in that field.” Merrigan also stresses the importance of staying focused during the interview. While the atmosphere isn’t as formal as in a job interview, your tone and conversation must remain professional. So don’t let the conversation steer towards your pets, your family, or that party you were at last week.

Yes, it’s tempting to ask your interviewee to keep an eye out for employment for you— and it’s even more tempting when you’re ohso-perfect for his or her company. But resist the temptation: you’re just there for information, and asking for employment without warning can be seen as disrespectful, or even sneaky. If the interviewer somehow makes an offer on the other hand, maybe you can tactfully indicate that you’d appreciate any help they could offer.

Images: © iStock.com

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10 reasons why young women should be interested in finance If you thought a career in finance was stagnant cubicle work—and the stuff of clock-punching drones—think again. For instance, consider the world of capital markets: A fast-paced, youthful work environment driven by brains, charm, passion and yes, even adrenaline. What’s even better? It’s also a workplace that is welcoming to young women. So, we asked some of the experts at BMO Capital Markets, a team that offers everything from merger and acquisition advisory services to corporate lending, to explain why their jobs are so exciting—and why you should consider a career in the financial markets. By Mark Teo

1. Make money. Real money

Have you ever seen HBO’s Girls?—that show about the miseries of wandering between bad relationships, even worse internships, and the nastiest jobs ever? If you want to avoid that lifestyle—and don’t want to borrow tons of money from your parents— and are driven towards financial independence, pursuing finance can offer you an awesome, lucrative alternative. What does that mean? Whether you’re into a massive book collection or a massive shoe collection, your career can fund your passions. “I’m very practical and pragmatic—and my family’s not from the corporate world. I wasn’t focused on business initially,” offers Jenny Li, an Associate in BMO’s Loan Products group. “But then, in school, I had one prof tell us, ‘If you have student loans to pay, and you want more of a guarantee of a job when you get out of school, go into finance and accounting and you’ll learn practical skills.”

2. You’ll never be bored again

Because, contrary to popular belief, jobs in finance don’t entail being a desk jockey. In fact, it can be downright riveting (which is the reason that Harrison Ford stars in all those financial thriller movies). For example, on BMO’s trading floor, rather than yawning in cubicles, employees experience on-the-fly decision making, thrilling twists and turns and open-door collaboration with team members. “The trading floor is a very different place to work,” says Carleigh Publow, Associate with BMO’s Trading Products Rotational Program. “You see your work pay off right away. It’s also very challenging—which makes it very rewarding.”

3. You’ll be part of a high-performing team

If you’re an athlete, you get it. The things you love about team sports—the competitive spirit, the rush of adrenaline, the camaraderie with your teammates, and the desire to work towards a common goal—can be found in the finance world. “You have to work as a team,” adds Publow. “You’re sitting with over 300 people, and there are no walls. You work with everyone.” New employees are literally elbow to elbow with seasoned professionals; learning from them every day.

4. You’ll satiate your desire for information 8. You can be Yourself If your friends are constantly wrenching you away from Twitter, Facebook and your RSS feed—y’know, if you’re an information junkie—you’ll find plenty to like working in capital markets.

“The type of work you do will be different every day, because the markets are dynamic and ever-changing,” says Joanne Hing, BMO’s Director of Financial Products, Sales and Trading. “The days go by very quickly, and you love to come in each morning to find out what’s changed and what’s going on out there in the global markets. You get a thirst for information on what’s happening in this world.” And people in this business are among the first to know about it.

5. Are you an A-type? You’ll fit right in

If you’re known for your spontaneity, your chattiness and your ability to command an audience, then congrats! You’re an A-type. “Outspoken and strong people do well in capital markets, because you need to make decisions very quickly,” says Li. “You need to be confident, and deal with a lot of money as part of transaction deals. We’re competing against other banks while looking out for the interests of our clients.”

6. you're a Myth-buster? They need you too

“There are different roles in capital markets— and it’s a myth that everyone here has to be extroverted,” counters Hing. “I consider myself to be an introvert, even though I’m in sales. People think that being an A-type is necessary because it’s such a candid environment on the trading floor —people here are blunt - but I got used to it. There are so many different positions in capital markets, and it’s a matter of finding a position that fits your skill set.”

7. It’s not just for the guys Zahra Ladhani, BMO’s Vice President of Foreign Exchange, Sales and Trading, says women can bring a completely different dimension to their teams. “We have different strengths,” she adds. “We’re detail oriented and our multi-tasking skills are off the charts. We have a good group of women here, and we all hang out together—we’re a great team.”

SPONSORED BY BMO Capital markets | Images: © iStock.com

Do you think that everyone in finance is a clone? Not so. Companies that employ a greater variety of people are more profitable and in finance, money talks. “Diversity isn’t only about gender and ethnicity,” says Roslyn MacLean, BMO’s Program Manager of Mentoring and Diversity. “It encompasses every bit of ourselves that we bring to work each day. Lifestyle needs are becoming more integrated with the workplace, and our young employees are leading that charge.”

9. learn the tools to run your own business A few facts about our generation: According to a University of North Carolina study, 70 per cent of Millenials say we’re hoping to switch jobs. Most of us prioritize meaningful work over high salaries. 37 per cent of us don’t trust big business. 70 per cent of us, meanwhile, consider ourselves optimistic about our future. What does this mean? As a generation, we want to control our own destinies. And the first step to realizing your potential could be working in the financial world. “[When I was in school], I focused on investment management and the capital markets,” says Nhat Tien Can, a graduate of York University’s finance program. “I’ve always wanted to open a cafe myself, and the knowledge I’ve learned is a great tool. I’ve learned how to manage my own financial situation: How to invest, how to save tax, how to research the market and economy. It helps to know the timing of [when] to open a business.” BMO’s Emily Schmidt, a Managing Director in Financial Products agrees. The knowledge you can gain from a financial career can be rewarding—even outside your job. “Financial literacy is a huge pillar,” she adds. “It’s critical, both personally and professionally.”

10. You’re never alone

A career in a results-driven business like capital markets, can be daunting—especially for workers with limited experience. Some companies, however, provide plenty of support to their employees. Take the BMO Capital Markets Mentorship Program for example, which pairs up its young workers with experienced professionals, who offer support, guidance and advice—and the tools to succeed within their industry. “The mentorship program is sought after,” adds MacLean. “And participating in it means someone will be looking out for you.”

OCTOBER 2012 | JOBPOSTINGS.CA

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Career Planning Guide (2012) by jobpostings Magazine