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ULTIMATE

CAREER GUIDE By Robert Hines and Simon Beck In partnership with the Schulich School of Business Career Development Centre

KEY STRATEGIES TO GUIDE YOU TO SUCCESS


Based on the expertise and market knowledge of the Career Development Centre at the Schulich School of Business, the Ultimate Career Guide is an essential tool for helping corporate job seekers navigate their way through the often-intimidating application process.


ULTIMATE

CAREER GUIDE KEY STRATEGIES TO GUIDE YOU TO SUCCESS

By Robert Hines and Simon Beck In partnership with the Schulich School of Business Career Development Centre


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction by Robert Hines

4

Acknowledgments

8

Chapter 1 First Steps: Gathering Tools

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So Exactly How Tough is the Career-Search Business?

13

Your Career. Your Journey.

15

Complex Job Market

17

Find Your Own Approach

18

The Art of Showing Up

19

Exercise: SWOT Yourself

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Alumnus Voice

22

CDC Online Resources

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Chapter 2 Next Steps: Getting to Know Yourself Fundamental First Step

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CareerLeaderâ„¢: Self-Assessment

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Exercise: Your Top Five Values

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Exercise: Your Top Five Skills

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Do Your Research: Will You Fit In?

35

Do Your Research: Thinking Ahead

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Exercise: The Shortlist

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Ten Things Recruiters Want

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Recruiter Voice

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Chapter 3 Marketing Yourself: Resumes and Cover Letters

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Laying the Groundwork

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Thinking Like a Hiring Manager

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Model Resume

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STAR Formula

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Exercise: Build Your Own Accomplishment Statements

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Standing Out, Tastefully

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Cover Letters

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Model Cover Letter

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Resume Checklist

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Extracurriculars Matter

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Chapter 4 Marketing Yourself: Networking

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Who’s in Your Network

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Introvert or Extrovert?

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Are You an Extrovert or Introvert?

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Exercise: Making an Entrance

66

Business Attire and Smart Casual Dress

69

Into Battle

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Body Language Shapes Who You Are

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Coffee Chats

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Projecting Executive Presence

76

Recruiter Voice

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Chapter 5 Marketing Yourself: LinkedIn

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The Right Profile

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Sample of a Good LinkedIn Headline

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Connecting and Networking

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Social Media Behaviour Risks and Benefits

90

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

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Chapter 6 The Art of the Interview Shaping Your Story

94 97

Watch for Curveballs

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And Don’t Forget

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Exercise: Crafting Your Stories

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Interview Questions: 10 to Watch

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Case Interviews

106

Alumna Voice

108

Chapter 7 The Entrepreneurial Spirit

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Characteristics of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

112

Final Thoughts

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Introduction by Robert Hines

The World Needs Your Talent

More than ever, the business world needs leaders. It’s not surprising that VUCA, a frequently used management term, is borrowed from a military acronym describing the post-Cold War geopolitical situation: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Today’s business world truly does comprise all four facets, and making strategic decisions in it often demands the boldness of a battle-hardened general. Just look at how compressed and accelerated modern-day business cycles have become, for instance. It took the great photography pioneer Kodak 124 years to go from birth to obsolescence in 2012; video rental chain Blockbuster only 25 years to go out of business; while Myspace, once the giant of social networks, was born in 2003, valued at $12 billion in 2008, and sold for only $35 million three years later. (It was sold again in 2016 and still operates as a modest music-oriented site.) Meanwhile, major market crashes still dominate our collective memory – 1929, 1987, and 2008 to name the best-known – but the truth is, regular disruptive events are now written into today’s financial world, whether it be Syria, Crimea, the oil price plunge, or Brexit. Add to this the consistent disruption of legacy businesses by the likes of Uber, Airbnb and PayPal, and the business world faced by graduating students may be as testing as it has ever been. It’s tough out there, and you need to be bright, resilient and agile to succeed.


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Out of today’s key elements of business – technology, capital, and people – I believe that people are, and will remain, paramount. Whether you’re manufacturing jeans in Korea, practising law, or working in professional services, people are what make the difference; and as Schulich students ready to transition into management, you are ready to take your place as the best equipped of those people. Baby boomers, who have ruled the roost for several decades, are now on their way out of the workforce, and the demand for good talent is likely to outstrip supply for years to come. Although recruitment suffered a major downturn after the 2008 crash, the future is looking much brighter for those with leadership skills. There are many who can come in to a company and ride the wave, but those who can move the needle are rarer, and recruiters are eager to find them. And as Schulich students, you are in the privileged position of being on their radar; most of Canada’s top corporations, and many smaller ones, come to our campus to choose the best and brightest. And the vast majority of our students find jobs within 90 days of graduation. That said, ahead lies a long and sometimes bumpy journey on the road to the job you want. It’s a journey that will require you to know yourself and your goals, spend hours researching the industries and companies that interest you, and then spend more time practising essential skills such as networking and interviewing. To help you navigate the path, we have prepared this career guide, and we believe you will find it an indispensable road map.


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Introduction by Robert Hines

“Control your own destiny, or someone else will,” said the former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, and it’s the right advice to follow as you forge your career. Now is the time to have a plan, set goals and be prepared. The most common trait I have seen in CEOs with whom I’ve worked is that they are always very knowledgeable about the details of their business: They always know their costs down to a fraction of a penny, they know their market share and competitors, and they know the people they work with. You need to follow their example and display the same kind of meticulous planning by laying out your career goals and strategy based on intensive research. Make sure you really understand the terrain of the market. For example, some students might say to us that they are interested in a career in banking, but in fact there is no one career called banking; there are probably 12 different careers at a traditional bank. In addition, retailers have banks (such as PC Financial), and industrial corporations like GE and Siemens have very sophisticated corporate finance departments. Another role in finance that has exploded is that of risk management; it’s a skill set that is compensated just as well as traditional investment banking, but many students are not aware of this. It’s also vital that you research all you can about the corporate culture of the firms on your list. From my time spent in executive search, I know that one of the most common reasons for failure is a misfit with corporate culture. It’s imperative that you have an alignment of values between yourself and your employer. Even between two leading companies in the same industry, workplace culture may be poles apart. It’s up to you to find out by talking to the people who work there or do business with them. One of Schulich’s great resources is its network of 30,000 alums – so learn from their experience.


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I also urge you to participate in every campus activity available that will boost your career profile, especially the many student clubs and associations. When I was a student, such clubs were largely designed for socializing. Times have changed, of course, and these groups are now serious extracurricular experiences that potential employers expect to see on your resume. Above all, spend time with the expert team of industry advisors at Schulich’s Career Development Centre (CDC). These are highly experienced people who have been there and done that in their field; they are also certified coaches and ready to help you sharpen your job-search skills. Go to their workshops and attend the information sessions relevant to your chosen industries. And start early; the students I have seen struggle the most to get hired are the ones who don’t participate and have procrastinated until the last minute. Finally, be positive. Recruiters have an understandable bias toward optimists, and your future success and rise to leadership positions will demand positivity and passion. And there is every reason to be positive: The business world may be unpredictable, but it is also full of opportunities. Let us at the CDC help you seize them.

Robert Hines, JD Executive Director, Career Development Centre Schulich School of Business


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Acknowledgments

Special Thanks

This guide would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the professionals working at the Career Development Centre (CDC): Amir Khan

Michelle Steiner

Bonnie Wong

Michelle Trieu

Diana Caradonna

Minoo Bhutani

Kathrin Bohr

Paul Irwin

Khushbu Chokshi

Phanindra Deonandan

Lyla Korhani

Rose Lucibello

Mark Freedman

Sybil Massey

Michael Nadal

Victoria Cabral

Special thanks to Schulich School of Business Dean Dezsรถ J. Horvรกth for his leadership and support of the Career Development Centre. Robert Hines, JD Executive Director, Career Development Centre Schulich School of Business


CHAPTER ONE

FIRST STEPS: GATHERING TOOLS In this Chapter So Exactly How Tough is the Career-Search Business? Your Career. Your Journey. Complex Job Market Find Your Own Approach The Art of Showing Up Exercise: SWOT Yourself Alumnus Voice CDC Online Resources

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Chapter One

First Steps: Gathering Tools

In August 2015, Abhishek Nand found himself in Toronto, somewhat adrift. Just a month after arriving from India – and suffering from a serious case of culture shock – he was suddenly thrust into one of the world’s most competitive and pressurized employment markets. Nand had finished his first year of MBA study at the Schulich School of Business satellite campus in Hyderabad and had just arrived at Schulich’s Toronto home to take the second year. Like the rest of the 35 students from India who had also been on the Hyderabad program, he arrived facing the pressure not only of the demanding second-year courses, but also of looking for a job after graduation that would allow him to pay the rent and stay in Canada. As the frenzy of on-campus recruitment starts in the fall, he was immediately plunged into the world of recruiter information sessions, networking events, resume-polishing and job applications. “It was overwhelming,” says Nand, adding that he was stunned by the change in culture and struggled to understand the etiquette of Canadian networking. Even how to phrase e-mails to alumni or industry contacts to set up introductory chats was an uphill battle. “Someone who had just graduated from high school in Canada would have known more about networking than me,” he recalls.


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ABHISHEK NAND (MBA ’15) Marketing Manager, Digital, BMO Financial Group

Not that Nand was a complete beginner. He had already worked for more than six years in the marketing and advertising industry in India before embarking on his MBA. He had interned with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) India and also launched both the Vespa and Papa John’s brands there. But as he explains, networking to land business positions was almost unheard of back home. Recruiters would typically pick candidates with an MBA or similar degree straight off campus, often without even an interview. What mattered was the educational background on paper. Inevitably, Nand fired off around 10 applications that fall without success. He got a single interview with J&J based on his internship with the company in India. But no job offer. After a few days of panicking, he decided to learn the art of networking, resume writing, and interviewing – Schulich-style. “I never stopped asking questions,” he says. “I just needed the confidence to get out there and get a job.”


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Chapter One

He found a “confidante and mentor” in Lyla Korhani, Associate Director of Industry Advising at Schulich’s Career Development Centre (CDC). She would give him advice on networking, suggest contacts, help with his resume, conduct mock interviews and be a constant source of encouragement. Nand found the confidence to reach out to contacts for in-person chats, and by the time of graduation in April 2016 he had grown his network to more than a hundred people. It was one of these who put him back in contact with the HR department at J&J. Soon, he started work at the company as Assistant Manager of Digital Marketing – the very same position he had been turned down for six months previously. Today, he is established in the Canadian executive workforce as a marketing manager with the Bank of Montreal’s Global Asset Management division. Abhishek Nand’s story is a vivid microcosm of the careers market in Canada, and specifically as it pertains to students at Schulich and other business schools in Canada. First, it’s a tough world out there, whether you were born here or in another culture; second, even if pressing the flesh comes naturally to you, there’s still a lot to learn about how to go about landing your dream job; third, you don’t need to go it alone when the CDC is there to coach you through the process; and finally, don’t expect the CDC (or anyone else) to find the jobs for you – only you can create the right conditions for success. Now, as an alumnus, Nand tells students who reach out to him: “You should never stop learning. You have to take the initiative.”


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So Exactly How Tough is the Career-Search Business? Well, let’s start by thinking about a profession that has become something of a symbol of the new economy: the barista. There’s nothing wrong with being a barista – indeed, that fine person who perfectly concocts your morning macchiato is something of a miracle worker to the caffeine-craving customer – but in these uncertain economic times, the barista has become the symbol of graduate “underemployment,” or working at a job well below the level a graduate would expect, given their degree. In the early months of 2017, according to Statistics Canada, 12.4 percent of Canadians under the age of 25 were unemployed – twice the average for the general population – and more than a quarter of them were estimated by the Canadian Labour Congress to be underemployed. Such numbers are unsettling. But the good news is that, as a Schulich undergraduate or post-grad student, your chances of full employment in a job appropriate to your skills are high; the fact that you have been accepted to study in such a prestigious business school already marks you out as someone on the right track to take your rightful place in the workforce. Add to this the fact that you are holding this guidebook in your hands, and you have really boosted your chances of landing the job of your dreams. (You’ll need to read faithfully all the way to the end, though. Just sayin’.)


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Chapter One

The primary purpose of the Ultimate Career Guide is to help you navigate your way through the often-intimidating job application process; we will explain processes, give counsel, list resources, help you strategize, and launch a barrage of dos and don’ts in your direction. In other words, all the hows. But as you take it all in, it’s important not to lose sight of the why: why are there so many steps to learn, so many skills to practise, so many hands to shake, when it comes to landing a job? We’ll say it again: Job searching is not for the faint of heart. For every position advertised through the CDC, there are potentially hundreds of applicants. The odds are even more daunting when it comes to jobs outside the on-campus recruitment process. Having good grades, hard skills and plenty of ambition will only see you part of the way; to land the job that is right for you, you absolutely need to develop the know-how, the soft skills and the tenacity to get yourself noticed by employers. Fortunately, the CDC and its experienced team of advisors are here to help. You will be reminded throughout this book how to make use of their wealth of knowledge; from advising you on where to target your search, connecting you with alumni or recruiters, helping you practise your interview technique, to honing your resume writing or simply giving you the occasional confidence boost. The advisors are a precious resource that, as Abhishek Nand learned, you will want to take advantage of. The CDC’s CareerQuest online portal is the other key pillar of your career journey. You’ll find more details of all the available web tools at the end of this chapter, but it’s essential that you make CareerQuest your best friend. You’ll need it to find advertised jobs and internships, book your place at employer information sessions and other networking events, research industries and companies, and find priceless resources for refining your job-seeker skills.


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Your Career. Your Journey. Before you embark on the path toward the promised land – your dream job – let’s stop for a minute and think about a plan. You need a strategy to guide you along the path. Strategy, you ask? Yes, and we’ve got lots of ’em. Let’s start with this simple diagram, which divides the journey into five steps.

Capture Your Story • Vision • Values, interests, and motivators

Research Opportunities • Research industries and functions

Refine Plan • Cross-check interests versus options

Market Yourself • Communicate your story

Deploy Strategy • Target and act


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Chapter One

Following these stages will empower you to bring your full game to the job-search process. First, you need to capture your story – do a lot of thinking about who you are, what skills you offer, and most importantly, what really matters to you in your future employment. The second step is to do extensive research on the sectors you want to work in, the companies on your wish list, and the future employment market in your chosen field. Think about CareerQuest, corporate websites, industry reports, and professional organizations, and follow up your online research by attending relevant CDC information sessions. We’ll be diving deep into this in the next chapter. The third step will see you refining your plan, while expanding your marketable skills by participating in on-campus clubs and associations, volunteering, and yes, even playing team sports. (You’ll see later on why this is important, especially for students who have not yet had much work experience). Fourth, you’ll be ready to start marketing yourself by networking, making and nurturing industry contacts, polishing your resume and cover letters, and leveraging social media tools such as LinkedIn. Finally, armed with big servings of self-awareness, knowledge, and the confidence to tell your story, you’ll be ready to take the fifth step – targeting your ideal companies, opening a relationship with them, applying for jobs or internships, and acing your interviews (for which, once you’ve read Chapter Six, you will be supremely well-prepared).


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Complex Job Market

Advertised jobs

Hidden job market

Bear in mind, however, that not all the jobs in the marketplace are available through the on-campus recruitment (OCR) process. As the iceberg suggests, a lot of jobs are, as it were, beneath the surface: in other words, positions at the hundreds of employers who do not recruit on university campuses. These companies could be multinationals, small-to-medium local firms or young start-ups, and there’s a chance that the work environment they offer might be a better fit for you than the traditional on-campus recruiters. It’s a common mistake for students to concentrate most of their energy on the OCR jobs. Imagine you’re approaching the entrance to an arena for a playoff hockey game; do you really want to dash toward the closest entrance that most other fans are trying to crush through, or enter through one of the others that are farther away, but offer a smoother, more controlled experience?


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Be aware that entry to these non-OCR firms might not come through advertised jobs or internships; this is even more reason to form a good strategy, articulate your personal story, and work relentlessly to market yourself through in-person and online networking. You’ll need to use all the tools and resources available for the on-campus process, while being doubly proactive in seeking out and going after the hidden gems lurking beneath the surface.

Find Your Own Approach Before we start putting together the building blocks of your career plan, let’s just take a moment to reflect on one thing: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach that works for every student. Every one of you has a different family background, different strengths and weaknesses, a different personality, different values, and – although it might not seem obvious – different career goals. Out of 100 of your colleagues who might all be united in wanting a job at, say, a top consulting firm, it’s a sure bet that none of them shares exactly the same idea of what his or her perfect consulting job entails. But one theme you will hear echoed throughout this book – one that does apply to each and every one of you – is that in all your interactions with prospective employers, you should always be authentic, be yourself. Bonnie Wong, a CDC industry advisor, has this sage advice: “Sometimes our students are looking for a checklist. Like: ‘What do I need to do? I’ve mastered resumes, I’ve mastered networking, I’ve mastered this,’ etc. A lot of times, they’re looking at it like it’s a science, and they haven’t realized as well that there’s an art to it.”


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THE ART OF SHOWING UP When you’re on the job hunt, everything you do has to demonstrate that you have what we like to call “executive presence” – and the first rule is showing up at industry and networking events for which you have registered. Attendance at events is a key factor in helping many employers decide if you have what it takes, and recruiters often perceive a student’s failure to attend as a sign of disinterest. Since you will usually register to attend most on-campus recruiting events on the CareerQuest site, the CDC and recruiters – and believe us, they are paying attention – will know who the no-shows are. Being late is also a bad move. Candidates have been screened out for these very reasons in the past. Be professional and courteous. If you do have to miss an event for which you had registered, make sure to cancel on the CareerQuest page at least three business days in advance.


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Chapter One

EXERCISE: SWOT YOURSELF You are no doubt familiar with the SWOT analysis technique companies use to assess current market conditions and decide whether, for instance, to expand into new product areas or new locations. Taking inventory of the “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats” is a smart business move – but did you know it can work equally effectively when planning out your career path? Indeed, it should be a key component of “capturing your story” – the first step on the “career journey” chart we saw earlier. Why? Because taking the time to reflect about yourself, your limitations and your competitive advantages is a great starting point to developing your game plan. SWOT-analyzing yourself can help you understand your gaps and how to fill them. Take a few minutes to examine the SWOT chart and then start to write down what you see as your Positives (i.e., your personal strengths and the market opportunities) and the Negatives (your weaknesses and the external threats). Use the standard questions in the chart as prompts to help you come up with several factors in each of the four corners.

KEY TAKEAWAYS Knowing yourself and what stage you are in your career journey is key to reaching your career aspirations Complete your business career self-assessment at careerleader.com Do a SWOT analysis on yourself to understand your competitive advantage


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First Steps: Gathering Tools

Let’s Talk SWOT

Strengths • What professional competencies/ skills do I have?

Weakness • What am I not good at? • What can I improve?

• What do I do well? • What are my personal flaws? • What is my level of education? • What is my greatest professional achievement?

• What tasks do I usually avoid doing? • What are the roots of my failure?

• What personal competencies/ skills do I possess?

Opportunities • What trends do I see in my professional area?

Threats • What obstacles do I face? • Who/what may get in my way?

• Can I obtain a designation? • Am I marketable? • How can I get noticed? • Can I work somewhere different? • Who can support me in achieving my goals?


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ALUMNUS VOICE JOHN MATHEWS (MBA ’16) Senior Consultant, Customer Strategy, EY

“ Don’t jump into the river and just go with the tide; don’t go following the stampede. The majority of people will be applying for any job because they are desperate to get a job, but it’s not necessarily the job for them. For example, when people see a financial services job posting or similar, they say, ‘I’m going to go for it because 500 other students are applying for the same job’; but it can be a waste of their time and energy, and it can be draining; the application process experience may not be pleasant, and even if they get in, it may not be something they are excited about. The bottom line is, try to figure out what your dream role or dream job is, and then figure out which two or three ‘dream’ companies offer that dream job and look at their job descriptions. Then select the right courses, internships, extracurriculars, etc., that would qualify you for the job descriptions’ requirements. I think a lot of people know what they want to do, but they don’t really have a plan.”


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CDC ONLINE RESOURCES CAREERQUEST schulichcareerboard.ca CareerQuest is the CDC’s official events and job posting hub. You will find listed (and be able register for) all the CDC workshops and events such as company information sessions and networking mixers. It’s here where you can apply to job postings, summer internships, and other recruitment programs.


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Chapter One

CDC ONLINE RESOURCES CAREERQUEST schulichcareerboard.ca CAREERLEADER™ > CareerQuest > Resources CareerLeader™ is an online self-assessment tool that provides students with expert analysis of their interests, values, and skills, recommends career paths, and describes a user’s strengths and weaknesses. CareerLeader™ is an integral part of the course program at Schulich. INTERVIEW STREAM > CareerQuest > Resources This is a virtual interviewing tool aimed at recruiters and candidates; it allows companies to connect with candidates through every stage of the hiring process, deploying tools such as live or recorded video interviews. Schulich students can use it to prepare for interviews by recording and playing back mock interview sessions. VAULT > CareerQuest > Resources Vault is a careers information resource covering more than 5,000 companies in 120 industries, providing reviews, rankings, profiles, and industry insights. BEYOND B-SCHOOL > CareerQuest > Resources Beyond B-School is an online community whose mission statement to MBA candidates is to “maximize your MBA investment.” It offers access to experts, seminars, and videos that provide MBAs with insights for landing top executive jobs, planning a career change, etc. GOINGLOBAL > CareerQuest > Resources This resource offers insights on the latest worldwide employment trends and industry outlooks, as well as searchable database of information on working and living conditions in cities worldwide.


CHAPTER TWO

NEXT STEPS: GETTING TO KNOW YOURSELF In this Chapter Fundamental First Step CareerLeaderâ„¢: Self-Assessment Exercise: Your Top Five Values Exercise: Your Top Five Skills

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Do Your Research: Will You Fit In?

Do Your Research: Thinking Ahead Exercise: The Shortlist Ten Things Recruiters Want Recruiter Voice


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Chapter Two

Next Steps: Getting to Know Yourself

If you’ve ever seen Wall Street or The Wolf of Wall Street, you’ll know how sexy Hollywood can make the world of finance look: Alpha males lording over flashing computer screens, pushing a few keys, and making a killing before breakfast; an electric world where “lunch is for wimps,” and where the real movers make millions in bonuses and blow it on Maseratis and champagne-soaked nightclub parties. (It’s surprisingly easy to overlook the dubious dealings and criminal activity taking place in both movies.) Think also of films which take a more critical view of the excesses of the financial industry: The Big Short, for example, which took aim at the mistakes that led to the global economic meltdown of 2008. Despite its message, it still manages to stir the blood, portraying the financial industry as an exciting, dynamic place to be. Most of us, of course, know the real Wall Street (or Bay Street, for that matter) is not nearly as glamorous. However, financial services is still seen as the sexiest industry by a large number of graduates who, armed with an MBA or other appropriate degree, hustle for jobs in banks and other institutions. And not without reason: They promise excellent starting pay, attract people who are smart and ambitious, offer a challenging but rewarding work environment, and the prospect of a highly paid, high-status career. Canadian banks and many other Bay Street firms are without doubt a fine and respected place to work.


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However, not every job seeker dazzled by the appeal of highstakes finance is necessarily cut out for it. Schulich CDC Executive Director Robert Hines says a common question from students is to ask how they can get into investment banking. “I say, ‘Well, how physically fit are you? How does an 11- or 12-hour day sound? How do you feel about missing your kid’s birthday, working over Christmas, or spending half the year on an airplane’? If you’re honest with yourself and say ‘Yes,’ then without a doubt that’s the right place for you.” He adds: “But then the second or third question I get is, ‘What about work-life balance?’ Well, it doesn’t exist.” Hines’s anecdote is not designed to dissuade any student from seeking work in that industry. Financial institutions are making changes to the employee experience. His point is this: Don’t apply for a job simply because the company sounds cool or the sector has a reputation for being glamorous. Doing your due diligence is one of the first tasks on the career journey.

Fundamental First Step For CDC industry advisor Mike Nadal, the red flags go up when a student “right off the bat states that they’re interested in the sexiest or highest-paying job. That says to me either they’ve done their homework and know what it takes, or they’ve done no homework and just arrived at the best-paying job.” Clearly, those who’ve done no homework need to stop, take several breaths, and go back to the beginning. They’ve missed the most fundamental and important first step on the career path for every job seeker: Getting to know exactly who you are.


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Chapter Two

In the careers space, knowing yourself is primarily about knowing what you’re good at. But that’s not the whole picture. People get good, and stay good, at the things they want to be good at – that is, the things they find interesting. You are likely to be the best fit in a job where you can use the skills that come most naturally to you. If this all seems a bit abstract, take a piece of paper, and make two columns, one headed “What am I good at?” and the other “What do I like to do?” Take 10 minutes and write down some answers to both questions. Congratulations: You’ve started on the journey to self-knowledge.

WHAT AM I GOOD AT?

WHAT DO I LIKE TO DO?


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Nadal says an ideal job is one where you regularly get a “runner’s high” from knowing you are performing well using skills you love most. “Are you somebody who likes to spend time one-on-one mentoring, or somebody who likes to be at the front of a room presenting. Do you get your energy from that?” he says. “Or are you somebody who really enjoys being in the thick of things in a deal when it’s high pressure and long hours, and not only can you handle that, but thrive on it?”

This may sound obvious, but the fact is, few of us take the time to stand back and reflect on our motivations and values. For example, you might be attracted by a career in sales. But think first about how you tend to operate at school, with family, or in previous jobs. Are you someone who loves phone conversations and face-to-face contact? Or do you tend to do all your communication by text or e-mail, avoiding phone calls? If you’re the latter, sales may not be right for you. Refamiliarize yourself with the “Your Career, Your Journey” chart from the previous chapter. We are now getting into the first step, that of “capturing your story.” To do that, let’s first start to think about who you are, what you love doing, and what you’re good at.


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Chapter Two

CAREERLEADERâ„¢ careerleader.com


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Next Steps: Getting to Know Yourself

CareerLeader™: Self-Assessment

Interests

Key Skills

Motivators

Career Match The rule of thumb is: People get good, and stay good, at the things they want to be good at (i.e., the things that are inherently interesting to them). And, it is the skills that they enjoy using that are going to make them successful and happy.

This chart, from the online CareerLeader™ tool you can access on CareerQuest, is a great place to start. It can help you zero in on the right kinds of jobs by listing the things that you are good at, that interest you, and that motivate you. (In the careers context, motivators could be factors such as pay, work-life balance, working with people, social purpose, etc.) Don’t just list these factors off the top of your head – think hard about past situations from school, clubs, jobs, volunteering, sports, etc., in which you have used your skills or demonstrated interests and motivations. At the intersection of these three factors is where you will find the right career choices.


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Chapter Two

We highly recommend CareerLeader™ as the place to start capturing your story. It deploys a variety of psychometric questions to analyze your responses and direct you toward the best fit in terms of industry and types of role. It can also describe what kinds of organizational culture will be key to your success and happiness, and identify any potential weaknesses in your profile that could impede your progress. Another way of getting to know yourself is to identify your most important values. What are values? The Oxford English Dictionary defines them as “principles or standards of behaviour.” Values are the personal principles – things and actions that we like or approve of – that drive our decisions. Many people often equate them with moral (or religious) standards, and while those may dictate many of your decisions in life, there’s a wider array of values that also go into deciding what you want from the workplace. Knowing your values when drawing up your career plan may help you make better choices from the outset.

EXERCISE: YOUR TOP FIVE VALUES Think for a while and choose your top five values from this chart. Write them down. You might want to pick more than five, but you’ll gain most clarity and insight from sticking to five. Think about how you have demonstrated these values in previous work/school/personal situations, and how you think they are likely to fit into a workplace context. This exercise is a good way of taking time to stop and reflect about what drives you. A successful career quest depends on you gaining full awareness of who you are and what kind of work will align best with your values.


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Next Steps: Getting to Know Yourself

What are your top 5? (How do they affect your decisions?) Adventure

Autonomy

Beauty

Calmness

Challenge

Change

Commitment

Creativity

Decisiveness

Determination

Discipline

Diversity

Efficiency

Excellence

Equality

Fun

Generosity

Goodness

Gratitude

Hard Work

Humour

Integrity

Knowledge

Leadership

Loyalty

Power

Prestige

Quality

Recognition

Respect

Simplicity

Teamwork

Trust

Variety

Wisdom

MY TOP FIVE VALUES

Now that you’ve identified your motivators and values, the other key component of knowing yourself is knowing what you’re good at: that is, your skills. At this stage, we’re not talking about the specific technical skills you will take into the workplace, such as using HTML, deploying spreadsheets or speaking Russian. What we want to concentrate on here are your competencies and behaviourial assets.


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Chapter Two

EXERCISE: YOUR TOP FIVE SKILLS Look at the chart and select the top five skills you think best apply to you. Now write down some examples of how you have applied each of those skills in real-life situations – in the workplace, in school, or in your personal life. Keep your answers handy, as you will want to incorporate practical examples of past successes when you start building your resume.

Analytical

Creativity

Teaching/ Mentoring

Leadership

Communication

Problem-solving

Data Management

Public Speaking

Interpersonal

Persuasion

Team-building

Mobile Resources

Project Management

Negotiation

Organize/ Synthesize Data

Attention to Detail

Sales

Computer/IT

Planning/ Organizing

Research

Strategic Thinking

Technical

Prioritization

Other?

MY TOP FIVE SKILLS


Next Steps: Getting to Know Yourself

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Do Your Research: Will You Fit In? Fitting in with a company’s culture and vision is one of the most reliable indicators of whether you will succeed in a specific sector or position. It’s no surprise, then, that a candidate’s likelihood of fitting in is one the first things recruiters look for. A 2016 survey of Canadian companies and employees conducted by specialist recruitment firm Hays Canada found that a bad fit with the workplace was the most common reason for workers quitting or being let go from their job. Meanwhile, employers in the survey said that employees who didn’t gel with their colleagues or the company culture had a negative impact on morale and productivity – and that 56 percent of such hires ended up losing their job.

According to Hays Canada, fitting in is largely a product of four employee factors: Work ethic Social behaviour Office conformity Connecting with the team’s working style

“The majority of Canada’s working population believes fit is important, but when we investigated further, we learned that few actually know what that means,” said Rowan O’Grady, Hays Canada’s President, on the survey’s release. “No one intends to be unhappy, but one in two Canadians spend their working lives that way because they disregard fit. We can no longer afford to have such a relaxed stance on the value of strong connections between people and where they choose to work.”


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Clearly, fit can’t be an afterthought in the career process – it has to be front of mind from the starting gun. So how can you know if you will fit in? We’ve covered the first step – knowing yourself – by identifying your skills, values, interests, and motivators and by taking the CareerLeader™ tests. The second step involves researching the industries and the companies you are interested in, looking for alignment between their culture and your values. Let’s take a look at that. For Schulich MBA alumna Ana Radunovic, constant reading and research about every facet of the sectors she was interested in was a pillar of her career plan. “You have to be involved, be on top of what’s happening in the industry,” says Radunovic, a brand manager with Johnson & Johnson. Aggressive research not only helps you assess the right fit, but it is also a tool in preparing for those crucial networking sessions and interviews (more on those in later chapters). She advises this: “Subscribe [to trade publications]. If you’re an aspiring marketer, say, you should 100 percent be reading Canadian Grocer, Strategy magazine, or Advertising Age, and you should know what all those key trends are at the snap of your finger; and with that you can lean on so many insights.”

Follow her advice: Start by devouring trade publications and related media, and kick it up a notch with these other important research resources: Websites of companies, industry associations, and industry bloggers Your professors and CDC advisors Vault and other industry resources on CareerQuest LinkedIn industry groups and the posts of key influencers on LI and Twitter Your network of colleagues and Schulich alumni


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In order to assess an industry or company’s alignment with your own values, you will always be on the lookout for clues about that company’s culture. One thing to bear in mind: Even in, say, a fairly conservative, suit-and-tie industry such as consulting, no two companies will be exactly alike. If you want to know what it’s like to work for KPMG compared to Deloitte or EY, their mission statements and other corporate materials will only give you part of the story; the horse’s mouth (and we mean that in the nicest possible way) is usually the best place to look, and that means speaking to or reading pieces by people who work there. As noted above, don’t overlook your own professors or advisors, as many of them will have worked for or know a lot about the companies you’re researching. Even within a single company, different departments may have noticeably different cultures. We know this from experience; in every newspaper office we’ve worked in, the editorial department has always been like night to the advertising department’s day. The journalists are often insular, serious, a trifle world-weary, not natural team players, and (because of the traditional line between “church and state”) happy to spend their entire career without having to communicate with a colleague in ad sales; in contrast, the sales reps (being sales reps!) are convivial, collaborative, and more aligned to the company’s overall culture. (Incidentally, this didn’t matter much in the pre-Internet days, when newspapers made buckets of cash; but in the past decade, alignment and collaboration between the newsrooms and advertising departments of every media company have become integral to survival.)


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Take, also, a large technology firm; in between the R&D, operations, sales, marketing, HR and finance departments there exists a variety of workplace environments. And even within that firm’s R&D department, there are likely be subcultures that depend very much on the fields they cover and the personalities of the managers leading the teams. Contrast, too, that large tech firm with a much smaller tech firm or even a start-up: It’s obvious that in a smaller workplace, what is expected of you, from dress code to skill sets to work hours, is going to be different from a multinational in the same industry.

Do Your Research: Thinking Ahead Now you’re getting acquainted with your career-oriented self, it’s important to reflect on another key part of the equation: key economic trends and how they dictate which industries and types of jobs are likely to thrive – or at least survive. Since the late 18th century, the industrial revolution and the computerage technological revolutions have disrupted many industries and changed life for billions of people worldwide. But the pace of change in the 21st century, driven by the digital revolution, has accelerated dramatically. Think back to the year 2000 and name some things that have since disappeared, or almost so. (Some of you who are doing your bachelor’s degree may not recall many of these things in the first place, but we promise, they really were actual things.) Here’s a few: Film cameras. Record stores. Landline phones. Newspaper classified ads. Video rental stores. Chequebooks. BlackBerrys (which enjoyed the rare distinction of hitting the market and becoming obsolete this century). Licensed taxis (we jest, but many a true word is spoken in jest).


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39

Meanwhile, that other great disruptor, automation, has eliminated millions of manufacturing jobs in the developed economies, and, with the rapid growth of artificial intelligence, threatens to kill many more. And it’s no longer just blue-collar work which is under threat: The Japanese insurance company Fukuoka Mutual Life recently announced plans to lay off more than 30 employees and instead use an AI-based system to calculate and process medical claims of its policyholders. In financial services, robo-adviser firms such as the Canadian success story Wealthsimple risk making investment managers obsolete. And remember those Maserati-driving Wall Street whiz kids at the top of this chapter? Industry experts have suggested their jobs could be replaced by machine-learning software in the not-too-distant future. Of course, for every threat, an opportunity is likely to appear. There are many areas of expertise where demand is only growing, such as data analysis, risk management, UX design, digital marketing, cybersecurity – and yes, AI design and operations. Many jobs, driven by sudden market changes, can appear to crop up almost overnight. Mike Nadal, CDC industry advisor, tells of his surprise at seeing for the first time in 2008 a job position advertised for a Stress-Testing Asset Manager; it was a brand new role born out of the ashes of the financial meltdown, when the U.S. government introduced the concept of “stress-testing” banks against future failure. The point is, it’s never been more crucial to do a deep dive into the trends related to the industries and companies that interest you. Use the same research resources, online and human, as we listed above. Before we move on to the techniques of marketing yourself, found in the next chapter, you need to refine your career plan by putting down on paper a target list of companies that interest you.


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EXERCISE: THE SHORTLIST Using all the research and self-awareness techniques discussed in this chapter, draw up a shortlist of companies and types of roles you want to focus on.

Ask yourself these questions about every company you add to the list: Will I fit in with the corporate culture? Will it give me the opportunity to practise my core skills and do tasks that interest me? How much competition will there be for its advertised jobs/ internships? Is the position I seek realistic, given my skills and experience? Will I be located in a city or country of my liking? Will its size help or hinder my opportunities for advancement? Who do I know or admire who has worked there? Does it align with my personal values (e.g., social purpose, diversity)? Is the position I seek likely to be around in the next five to 10 years?

And remember, don’t focus only on the big on-campus recruiters. Your perfect job may exist in one of the 90 percent of opportunities available outside.


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TEN THINGS RECRUITERS WANT While every company has its own culture and may differ in the qualities it seeks in job candidates, there are positive factors that are universal. Based on the input of CDC advisors, recruiters, and alumni, here’s a shortlist of desired qualities that will get you noticed:

1. A “good fit” with the company 2. Someone who will reflect well on the company when dealing with its clients 3. A good communicator 4. Demonstrates transferable skills 5. Confident but not arrogant 6. Dresses and presents him/herself professionally 7. A team player 8. Shows initiative and problem-solving skills 9. A good listener 10. Has “done homework” /is well-prepared


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RECRUITER VOICE NANCY MOULDAY Director, University Relations, TD Bank Group

Moulday supports the campus recruiting process that hires around 1,200 people a year into its internships and full-time programs in Canada. “ We are looking for individuals who are well-rounded. What I try to instil when I’m speaking to students is that employers are looking for those transferable skills, and at how students relay those experiences as they showcase themselves in interviews or networking situations. When I say ‘well-rounded,’ we’re looking for students who are not only doing well academically, but are also getting involved in activities on campus or in the community; so they’re learning leadership, the ability to work well in a team, and conflict resolution. And they can get that through their projects at school, through supporting and volunteering, taking part in campus clubs, sports teams, all of that. Not only are extracurricular activities crucial, but individuals also have to be able to understand how those activities translate into the skills we’re looking for.”


CHAPTER THREE

MARKETING YOURSELF: RESUMES AND COVER LETTERS In this Chapter Laying the Groundwork Thinking Like a Hiring Manager Model Resume STAR Formula

3

Exercise: Build Your Own Accomplishment Statements Standing Out, Tastefully Cover Letters Model Cover Letter Resume Checklist Extracurriculars Matter


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Marketing Yourself: Resumes and Cover Letters

6.25 seconds. That, according to a wellpublicized study, is the average time recruiters spend looking at each applicant’s resume. Let’s repeat that. 6.25 seconds. The survey, which was conducted by a job search site in 2012, used eye-tracking technology to study the behaviour of 30 recruiters over several weeks. It also found that they spend 80 percent of their time looking at only six things on a resume: name, current company/title, previous company/title, the start and end dates of both, and education. (On the bright side, at least they care about where you went to school, so your tuition fees were well spent.) Please keep reading. We don’t want you to get the idea that resumes are a waste of time, or that all that matters are those six facets. Quite the opposite. Even if that 6.25-second figure seems too short to be believed, what it does demonstrate is that, if you want to get from the rejection pile into the “further consideration” pile, you have to craft that resume with as much care as Michelangelo painting the roof of Sistine Chapel. And in a much quicker time frame.


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Let’s suppose that, in the case of recruiters looking at the resume of a student such as yourself, the actual average time is a bit more forgiving, say 15 seconds. Maybe the recruiter is feeling less pressured on a given day, and she gives you a generous 25 seconds. In any case, your resume (and, as we shall see, cover letter) is a crucial weapon in getting you past the recruiter’s initial gaze and on to the hiring manager and an interview. It has to be a perfectly crafted sales pitch, marketing the product – that is, you – with precision and impact. In his influential book The Start-Up of You, LinkedIn Co-founder and Chairman Reid Hoffman argued for people who are building their career to think of themselves as a start-up company, which they need to build, keep adapting through innovation, and relentlessly market. This approach is a good one to bear in mind as you enter the stage of marketing yourself through your resume and networking. “Before dreaming about the future or making plans, you need to articulate what you already have going for you – as entrepreneurs do,” Hoffman writes. In other words, if you think of yourself as a start-up firm, your resume is the business plan you need your clients to buy into. Who are those clients? Number one, they are the campus recruiters who head their company’s annual hiring process for internships and full-time jobs across Canada. (And as we’ve stressed previously, it’s also the HR teams at off-campus recruiting companies that you may apply to.) They are the first line of defence, and the first people whose desk your resume will cross. And they have a lot of resumes to sort through. One on-campus recruiter, TD Bank Group, says it receives around 15,000 applications for the 1,200 positions it seeks to fill from Canadian campuses each year. Even if its recruiters are taking more than the apocryphal 6.25 seconds, whatever brief time they do take will be spent scanning your resume for keywords, indicating that you have relevant experience and skill sets.


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The second tier of clients you are aiming to impress is the hiring managers or other decision-makers who get to see your resume if it has cleared the first hurdle. They will be looking more deeply to see what kinds of projects you have run and how your actions have translated into positive results. They will also be the key figures to impress in an interview and will ultimately decide if you are the right person for the job. The third type of client is the third-party recruiter, such as a staffing agency that may be leading the search for a specialized position. Those are your clients. Let’s get down to wowing them.

Laying the Groundwork Before you start typing out your new resume – or revamping your old one – we’ll need you to back away from the keyboard for a moment. First, you need to lay the groundwork. Think back to the previous chapter, where we discussed getting to know yourself and researching the kind of companies that fit your interests and skills. Take another look at the CareerLeader™ chart (see page 31) that shows three inputs – your interests, key skills, and motivators – and the sweet spot in the centre where you should target your search. From there, you should have been able to identify two to three career areas for your job search. If you’re struggling with this, it’s a good time to book an appointment with a CDC industry advisor. Once you have your shortlist of ideal companies for each career area, the next step is to build your resume around it. Or rather, resumes. While you will create one core template that details all the biographical constants – address, education, past employment positions, extracurricular activities, etc. – get comfortable with the idea of changing the wording and descriptions of your experiences depending on the career area.


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Let’s say, for example, that you have worked for a few years in IT and have embarked on an MBA to enable a career shift. You’re mainly focused on pursuing opportunities in marketing, but want to keep your options open and may also apply for consulting jobs: You will clearly be looking at two sets of resumes aimed at two different types of hiring manager. Unless you wish to spend every minute of your non-study time pulling resume all-nighters, you probably don’t need to tailor your resume to each specific company within a career area. As we’ll see later, the role of differentiating your pitch from firm to firm can be assigned to your cover letter.

Thinking Like a Hiring Manager You are now ready to return to the keyboard and start marketing yourself. Sit down, and let’s nail this thing. Uh-oh. You’ve got writer’s block? You’ve listed all the past jobs and experience, but can’t think what to say about them? Let’s try this: Start by putting yourself into the mind of the recruiter or hiring manager; they are your client and the one(s) you have to overwhelm with your brilliance. The first step is to learn how to speak their language. One good way to attune yourself to that is by reading job descriptions from the same company for similar positions or ideally for the very job you wish to apply for. If the job description emphasizes requirements such as technical expertise, team management, or financial forecasting, you’ll be able to follow those cues in how you frame your resume. Note however, that a resume should not be a rehashing of what the job description is asking for; wording it that way will fail to showcase what makes you different or creative, and will send your application straight into the reject pile. Rather, a resume should highlight the accomplishments and results that demonstrate that you can do what is asked for in the job description (and do it well).


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Model Resume

Sara Smith

A

ssmith14@schulich.yorku.ca / (416)-555-5555 (cell) / https://ca.linkedin.com/in/sarasmith

EDUCATION

Master of Business Administration Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, ON ND • GMAT: 710/ 92 percentile • Specializations: Finance and Marketing • Awarded Entrance Scholarship ($10,000) for Academic Excellence Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Political Science, University of Toronto, ON

B

Expected Graduation May‘16

May’10

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

C

D

Senior Associate, Client Relations, Alternative Investments, CitiGroup, Toronto, ON Sept’12 - Aug’14 • Managed client relations of 4 of the top 10 Citi hedge fund and private equity clients with portfolio in excess of $20 billion AUM • Supervised a team of four associates and developed procedures and tools that increased efficiencies by 30%- 60% and awarded 5 Star Recognition for innovation • Collaborated with tax, risk and compliance to remodel entire operations for a top 5 client and successfully achieved 50% increase in profits Commercial Account Officer, Bank of Montreal, Toronto, ON Jun’10 - Aug’12 • Analyzed financial statements to make informed decisions regarding clients’ creditworthiness; succeeded in reducing non-payment rate by 50% • Increased corporate product sales by 50% in first 6 months, surpassing objectives and resulting in Exceptional Employee honours 2 years in a row Marketing Intern May’09 - Aug’09 Procter & Gamble Canada, Toronto, ON • Analyzed 3 product lines’ marketing strategies, researched latest trends, and compiled report recommending and detailing new campaigns that were targeted to result in a 2% increased market share LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE (Includes: school involvement, volunteer & extra-curricular activities) Business Consultant, York Consulting Group, (p/t), Toronto, ON Sept’14 - Present • Manage team of 6 MBA students analyzing marketing, production and financial plans of a CAD $50M International computer components supplier Coach, Toronto Recreational League-Jr. Level Basketball, Toronto, ON Jun’09- Present • Assembled team practice drills to enhance ball handling skills and guided members on the rules and regulations of the sport resulting in great team cohesiveness st • Achieved 1 place standing for the past three years in league of over 20 teams ADDITIONAL (Includes: languages, clubs, case competitions, professional associations/affiliations, interests) • Member, Case Competition Team- MBA Games: Analyzed Marketing case in a team of four to develop nd creative ideas and solutions competing against 20 schools; placed 2 overall • Backpacked through Europe, Israel and Egypt to research and chronicle historic

A Full Name & Contact Information

C Experience •

Be consistent with dates and formatting

Use powerful action verbs and STAR method for accomplishment statements

Include email address and LinkedIn profile URL

B Education •

School and graduation date

D Extracurricular & Leadership •

Leadership and other skills can be demonstrated through various career and civic affiliations as well as through previous employment

Ensure that your affiliations elevate you to “overachiever” status and are relevant to the reader

• Major /minor /concentration •

GPA (only if A range)

• Awards


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“Think ‘What does it take to be successful in this position?’,” says CDC industry advisor Bonnie Wong. “The starting point is understanding your past and adding the “MBA-ness” to it, so that you can translate it into the transferable skills companies are looking for.” The “MBA-ness” – and this applies equally to bachelor’s or master’s students – essentially means speaking in the language of business, using terminology that the companies speak. This needs to be done without getting bogged down in overly technical language to describe your skills (yes, we’re looking at you, techies and engineers); but it does mean being fluent in the kinds of words and phrases that showcase your business skills. Take a look at Sara Smith’s resume. It’s concise and straightforward, but has a certain energy, a dynamism in how she describes her past experience and projects. It’s confident without sounding boastful; that’s because she’s colouring her descriptions with action verbs and using “accomplishment statements” to link those actions with positive results. It’s helping her showcase how she has, in business terms, added value. Action verbs? For instance, every time you worked on a team, you collaborated; when you were in charge of a team project, you managed, oversaw, or led it. A thesaurus is a good place to find alternative ways to express effective action; the CDC can also supply you with a cribsheet of action verbs. Note how Sara goes further on her resume than simply listing her jobs and activities; even in her role as basketball coach, she explains actions she took to achieve an identifiable result – the team playing with more cohesiveness and winning their league. That’s making good use of accomplishment statements.


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STAR Formula You can use the STAR formula to remind you of the four elements that go into an effective accomplishment statement: S – THE SITUATION Describe the situation in which you were placed. What challenges /problems did you face? T – THE TASK What were you assigned to do? A – THE ACTION How did you do it? What was your response to the problem or issue? What skills did you use? R – THE RESULT What were the demonstrable results (quantifiable or qualitative) you obtained? What impact was achieved?

This chart shows how, by adding the right action verbs and using the four STAR elements, you can mould a bland statement into something with impact.

Action Verb

What You Did

Measurable Result

Trained

New employees

Trained

New employees

Resulting in increased customer satisfaction

Trained

More than 15 employees over a 12-month period

Resulting in increased customer satisfaction

Increased

Customer satisfaction

By more than 25% by effectively training 15+ new employees over 1 year


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EXERCISE: BUILD YOUR OWN ACCOMPLISHMENT STATEMENTS Use the chart below to create accomplishment statements for situations you have tackled in previous work or extracurricular activities.

Action Verb

What You Did

Measurable Result

Additional questions to ask yourself to assist your thought process: • Under what circumstances or conditions did you do the work? • Was there a tight deadline? • Did you have to do it under stress or with no supervision? • Did you have to take on an additional project while still maintaining your current workload? • What did you do, and what skills did you use, to take care of the situation? • What was the end result? • Increased revenue/sales, better customer satisfaction, projects completed successfully (on schedule/under budget), increased efficiency?


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Standing Out, Tastefully Out of the 500-plus resumes a recruiter might receive for a position, it’s fair to say that there will be little to distinguish them visually. Indeed, recruiters themselves often complain that “all resumes look the same.” A study by New College of the Humanities in the United Kingdom found most employers find it impossible to tell resumes apart – and that 73 percent of British job seekers used only two fonts: either Times New Roman or Arial. Now, those are certainly two good-looking fonts, but it does seem that using a different font can’t hurt; if anything, that nice recruiter will thank you for giving her eyes some relief. There are scores of professional-looking serif and sans serif fonts in Word (and Apple’s Pages) to choose from (but no Comic Sans, thank you). And both programs offer attractive formatted resume templates to choose from. As for design frills, what can you do to stand out? It depends very much on the kind of company the resume is aimed at. Even the “conservative” professions, such as finance, accounting, and consulting, aren’t so dull as to rule out an applicant using some subtle colour (such as greys or dark blues) in the headings, or breaking out some sections with gently tinted boxes. For some marketing jobs or tech start-ups, it would probably help to push the boat out a little further on the design. But if you aren’t a natural designer, get help doing it – overly fussy designs are only off-putting, and they risk confusing the reader and diluting your message.


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Not only are most candidates using the same fonts and basic formats, but you can also bet they are using very similar business-speak and action words to you. Therefore, don’t omit anything from your resume that marks you out as different (in a good way.) Non-business skills, such as playing a classical instrument, being in a theatre troupe, participating in team sports, or climbing mountains, are a plus – they might catch the recruiter’s eye and, as a bonus, are likely to prove a good topic of discussion in the interview phase. No matter how much work experience you have, extracurricular activities are a vital component of your resume. (See the sidebar “Extracurriculars Matter.”) We’ll save the obvious for last: Don’t make stuff up. If you were assistant treasurer of the campus 3-D printing club, don’t say you were president. If there was a year’s gap between jobs or school where you were unemployed or maybe recovering from illness, don’t fudge the dates to hide it. Even if you feel you underperformed in a previous job, it’s not a good idea to leave it off your resume. Business history is peppered with instances of high-flying bosses who lost their job or were otherwise shamed because of being outed for lies on their resume. After a shareholder looked into the background of Yahoo’s newly appointed CEO Scott Thompson in 2012, he found Thompson had a degree in accounting, but not also a degree in computer science, as he had stated on his resume. Thompson was soon gone. Sometimes, past resume fibs can come back to haunt you years later: One famous case involved a Dean of Admissions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was fired in 2007 after it was discovered – after nearly three decades – that the two degrees she had put on her resume were fabricated. In these days of digital ultra-connectedness, it’s even harder to get away with resume naughtiness. As CDC advisor Wong puts it: “If you write anything on your resume, you’d better be able to back it up.”


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Cover Letters A common perception is that “no one reads cover letters.” That’s odd reasoning; if no one reads them, why would virtually every advertised position ask for one? While it’s true that the first-stage recruiter might be guided primarily by what’s on your resume, your cover letter will get read during the hiring process. What a cover letter should not be is a potted summary of your resume. That would be a wasted opportunity. Its primary purpose is to speak specifically to the job opportunity in question and to deliver a brief but sparkling pitch on why you’re the right person for the job. Naturally, since you should always refer specifically to the company and the role, you will need to create a fresh version for each posting.

In brief, a cover letter should: Address the job opportunity and elaborate on your relevant experience Prove that you understand the role and how you would excel in it Contain a sales pitch of what you can bring to the table Encourage the recruiter to want to know more Be a tool to set you apart and get you an interview


Marketing Yourself: Resumes and Cover Letters

Model Cover Letter Contact Information/ Header Full Address of the Company & Hiring Manager Date of Letter Job Title Opening

Let me introduce myself.

Experience Personal Skills Motivation

benefit from hiring me and

Closing

Signature

This is how YOU can what I can offer.

I look forward to hearing from you/request for action.

55


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Jane Doe’s cover letter demonstrates the three essential components of a model cover letter: 1. OPENING INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH This is where you grab the recruiter’s attention, show you have done your research about the company and the position, and say why you are a good fit. If you have met a recruiter or another company official before (either at an on-campus event or an informal chat) and they would remember you, make sure you mention them. 2. MAIN PARAGRAPH Take three of your skills that match what the job requires and very concisely give one good example of how you demonstrated each of them in a previous role. Use action words, as you would in a resume. 3. CLOSING PARAGRAPH Re-emphasize your skills and fit within the organization and show your passion and enthusiasm. Thank the company for considering you, and say you would welcome the opportunity to discuss the position further. Keep practising, and remember to reshape your cover letter for each opportunity, personalizing it as much as possible each time.


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RESUME CHECKLIST DO: Use action words. Don’t just “help” when you can “collaborate.” Use accomplishment statements. Showcase the positive results of your actions. Study job descriptions. They will give you the cues to help you know which skills to emphasize on your resume and cover letter. Get feedback. Show your draft resume to CDC advisors and colleagues for their input. Get some name recognition. If you’ve managed to make an impression with the recruiting team in advance of the application – for example at an on-campus event – they are likely to give your resume more attention when it emerges from the pile.

DON’T: Make spelling or grammatical mistakes. Why hand recruiters even the slightest excuse to ball up your resume and toss a three-pointer into the trash can? Include your photo. There was a trend toward this, but ignore it. Recruiters aren’t even allowed to take note of your gender, looks, or race. Overcomplicate the design. Subtle colour or format modifications are OK, as long as they aren’t a distraction. Lie, fudge, or exaggerate. You’ll get found out sooner or later. Use over-technical terms. Speak the language of the recruiter.


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EXTRACURRICULARS MATTER Whether you’re a bachelor’s student in your second or third year or a new MBA, you need to start thinking extracurricular activities immediately. You have a four-month window between September and the new year before hiring season starts for internships. Extracurricular activities are especially vital for undergraduates, as they have little relevant work experience to show on the resume; but even for MBAs, who usually come armed with a strong employment history, extracurriculars matter – recruiters will be looking for clubs and projects you’ve taken on since joining Schulich. More specifically, you should be looking for leadership/ executive roles in campus organizations and leveraging them on your resume. This is particularly true of international MBA students because it provides them with important experience in the dynamics of collaborating and leading in a new culture. And don’t forget to mention sports. Recruiters are often interested in people who have shown leadership on the field in team sports. “We always tell first-year MBAs to look for executive positions on clubs or get involved in industry associations,” says CDC advisor Bonnie Wong. “It’s a way to showcase their leadership skills, develop their expertise, and make industry connections.”


CHAPTER FOUR

MARKETING YOURSELF: NETWORKING In this Chapter Who’s in Your Network Introvert or Extrovert? Are You an Extrovert or Introvert? Exercise: Making an Entrance Business Attire and Smart Casual Dress Into Battle

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Body Language Shapes Who You Are Coffee Chats

Projecting Executive Presence Recruiter Voice


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Marketing Yourself: Networking

It’s amazing what you can learn about people just from watching them. Phanindra Deonandan, Schulich CDC Associate Director, is talking about the many types of behaviour exhibited by students at on-campus networking sessions, and how one particular example makes her cringe. She describes one scenario where students are dining with employers at an industry event: “I’ve observed where students are sitting at a round table. One student has asked a question, and it has been answered. Another student is now asking their question, and the first student will proceed to go like this [she feigns leaning back in the chair and looking around distractedly] because he’s bored and doesn’t have the decency and professionalism to actually lean in, listen, and maybe comment on what the next student has said.” Note that Deonandan isn’t the only one taking notice of this kind of behaviour. “The recruiters are watching, and they are picturing you in their own environment. ‘Can I see this person in front of my own clients? How are they going to deal with a meeting with my team? Are they going to embarrass me?’” Then there’s the character that one Schulich MBA alum calls “The Hogger.” The alumnus, who now does recruiting in his role with a major Canadian bank, explains: “There’s always a hogger who hogs all the time and all the questions, and you can automatically see that maybe this person is too aggressive and doesn’t understand the context of what the session is about – it’s to give everybody a chance; you’ve had your one or two questions, and there are other people waiting. That happens a lot, and it’s an easy way [for recruiters] to weed people out.”


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While most business students work as hard as possible to achieve the grades that will hopefully make employers sit up and take notice, there are clearly more than a handful who don’t put nearly as much work into their social skills. But that’s a dangerous mistake: Getting an “F” for networking could be the fatal flaw that undermines all your good academic work. You’ll remember Abhishek Nand from the opening chapter. He admitted that as a new arrival from India, he was like a fish out of water when it came to understanding the way North Americans network to land jobs. But with the help of the CDC, he worked hard to learn the etiquette and secured himself a large enough network to lead to a job offer. Understandably, it’s a common challenge for overseas students, and Deonandan notes that more than 90 percent of the attendees at the CDC networking workshops are MBA candidates from mostly India and China. What that indicates, however, is that Canadian-born students don’t seem to think they need any tutoring when it comes to networking. Given the common types of unsociable behaviour mentioned earlier, that sounds like a bad case of hubris. The ability to network successfully clearly demands as much EQ as IQ. It’s never too early to start working on it – in fact, you should have started yesterday. As the title of Harvey Mackay’s bestselling business-networking book Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty makes plain, the time to start building your contacts is before you need anything from them.


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Who’s in Your Network? Parents’ employers & coworkers Your employers & coworkers

People where you volunteer

Personal & family friends

Friends’ friends

Internet/ websites

Church & club members

You

Coaches & teammates Family Neighbours

Schulich alumni

Friends’ family

Professional organizations Casual acquaintances

Instructors & classmates People doing work that looks interesting People with whom you do business

Before we start laying out a networking strategy, it’s useful to check out the chart above. While much of this and the next chapter deal with on-campus networking and the art of reaching out to employers and their immediate circles, don’t forget to nurture contacts who are closer to home. Your family, friends, school colleagues, sports team members, past and present teachers, and professors – they are just a few of the contacts who make up a legitimate part of your personal network. They may not be able to help you directly – nor should you expect favours from anyone – but they could be a useful source of ideas for extending your network. An e-mail or social media message is more likely to get a response when accompanied by a referral from a trusted mutual intermediary, rather then when it’s sent out cold.


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Introvert or Extrovert? The initial step on the career path – knowing yourself – doesn’t just apply to choosing the right kinds of employer and writing the right kind of resume; it’s also crucial to successful networking. “It’s about being self-aware – knowing what your weaknesses are and how to deal with them,” says Deonandan. A fundamental building block of networking is knowing what kinds of personality traits you exhibit, as per those myriad personality tests designed to help you succeed in business. But even in the absence of formal testing, it’s valuable to know whether you fit the profile of an introvert or an extrovert. Take a look at the chart in this chapter. It’s a misleading generalization to say that all introverts are shy and that all extroverts are the life of the party. That said, one common trait of introverts is that they prefer to recharge their batteries by being alone with their thoughts, while extroverts get their energy from being and talking with people. Introverts usually like to think before they speak, while extroverts often get their mental stimulation from the act of talking. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of personalities. Clearly, an extroverted person is likely to feel more confident at an event where they have to approach recruiters, or in reaching out to strangers for help on, say, LinkedIn. On the other hand, their self-confidence, if unchecked, may lead to the type of pushiness that is a warning flag to recruiters. And while introverts may find it more challenging to take on the crowds and get face time with employers at on-campus events, the light they hide under a bushel can be pretty impressive. Introverts often ask deeper and more insightful questions, says Deonandan. In contrast, if they’re not careful, “extroverts sometimes don’t read social cues. They don’t ask enough questions, and their questions can be superficial. They won’t make an impact that way.” Note that asking good questions and being mindful to listen to the responses is a vital tool not only at social events, but also in interviews.


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ARE YOU AN EXTROVERT OR INTROVERT? EXTROVERT TRAITS

• Outer directed • Talk to think • Get energy from being with others • Enjoy lots of stimuli • Need diversions • Focused on people and socializing • Prefer group discussion • Value public sharing

INTROVERT TRAITS

• Inner directed • Think to talk • Get energy from their “alone time” • Prefer less stimuli • Need concentration • Focused on thoughts and ideas • Prefer one-on-one-discussion • Value privacy


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Before you join the fray at a networking event, it’s imperative to take time to draw up a plan of attack (yes, even you, Mr. Smooth-Talking Budding Investment Banker.) Here’s a quick hit list: Business cards Researching the coming event Brushing up on current affairs and topics Drawing up your introductory words/elevator pitch Thinking about dress code

BUSINESS CARDS Business cards are obviously a must – the most basic weapon in the networking game. You will have your standard-issue Schulich card, but you might also want to think about your own personalized version. An elegant, sophisticated business card will set you apart and often serves as a conversation-starter. (Note, however, that some recruiters use left and right pockets to separate the students who made a positive impression and those who irritated them. You want your spiffy card to end up in the right one.) RESEARCH Fill your brain with every thing you need to know about the company or companies who are holding the event, not to mention the personal bios of their representatives in attendance (if you know in advance). Asking articulate questions that show you know your stuff is probably the number one behaviour that will get your card into the correct pocket. And don’t just take it from us: See what Deloitte Campus Recruitment Advisor, Caitie Harries has to say in the box “Recruiter Voice” in this chapter.


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CURRENT AFFAIRS Recruiters probably won’t be asking you who you think will win the coming Luxembourg election, but keeping up with what’s in the news helps you make engaging conversation and is also a terrific aid in breaking the ice in these pressurized situations. And it doesn’t always have to be business- or politics-oriented. Sports and entertainment, when used appropriately, can often be good ice-breaking topics. (“How about those Leafs,” etc., etc.) If the company holding the event has been in the news for negative reasons, it’s your job to know; it might not come up in the conversation, but at least make sure you’re not caught unawares. Remember, knowledge is power. YOUR OPENING PITCH At this early stage, recruiters are not looking for aggressive self-promotion; save that for the interview. But it’s a good idea to have formulated a short introductory statement about yourself (a kind of elevator pitch) you can draw from when people ask you what you do. You don’t want to sound overrehearsed, but having thought about it in advance will help you articulate what it is you do and what motivates you.

EXERCISE: MAKING AN ENTRANCE Write down a few questions that you are likely to be asked. These should include:

What do you do?


Marketing Yourself: Networking

How do you do it?

Why do you like doing it?

What interests you about our company/this industry?

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Write down your brief answers to each of these: no more than two sentences for each. Think about being passionate and enthusiastic. Practise saying them out loud. After you’ve drawn up a few sentences that will work as your personal elevator pitch, you should practise them with friends, colleagues, CDC advisors, and by using the Interview Stream video tool.


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DRESS CODE Let’s acknowledge that social norms about what constitutes acceptable professional attire are constantly changing – and we have no intention of falling down any politically correct manholes on this subject. That said, certain employers, especially in conservative industries, such as banking, insurance, and consulting, place a lot of importance on candidates dressing professionally (read: business formal). For most large employers that visit the campus, it’s best to err on the side of caution, which for men means suit-and-tie, and for women, a conservative outfit that may include a jacket. For certain industries (such as consumer goods marketing), open-neck shirts may be appropriate for men, as long as your suit or jacket is smart. When is smart casual appropriate? Again, it depends. For some start-ups, tech firms, or advertising agencies, smart casual might actually be a better bet than formal if they place greater worth on creativity and imagination than on traditional business norms. Smart jeans might even be an option, as long as your jacket and shirt (or top) are professional looking. But whether business-formal or smart casual, take our advice and never, ever, wear sneakers to an event or interview. No one ever got hurt wearing stylish leather shoes or boots. If you’re ever unsure about what to wear to an event, CDC industry advisor Mike Nadal has this advice: “I always tell people to dress at one level above what your expectation is, because that way, if you’re wrong, you’re covered. You can always just take off the tie or remove the jacket, or roll up your sleeves. You can always become more casual, but you can’t go the other way.” Just a final thing to note: Occasionally, a company may visit a campus wearing corporate T-shirts or some other casual attire. In such cases, they may invite students to dress down, too. Always check ahead for such instructions. You wouldn’t rule yourself out of a job if you turned up in full business regalia, but you’d certainly feel a bit awkward.


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Business Attire and Smart Casual Dress Business Professionallooking suit and tie Leather shoes Professional dress, skirt, or pants, usually with jacket

Smart Casual Smart jeans acceptable, but pair with tie and jacket or vest Leather shoes (never sneakers) Fashionable is fine, unprofessional is not

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Into Battle You’ve drawn up your battle plan for the networking challenge. But before you enter the breach, take the advice of Schulich MBA alumna Ana Radunovic. Before she attended any industry events, she slipped into a couple that didn’t concern her directly, so she could get the lay of the land. “Be a fly on the wall and observe how others ask questions and interact,” she says, “and then develop your own style. Networking is very challenging and it’s difficult to script. It’s a skill you have to nurture and build.” Radunovic probably learned a lot from her observation point. Just as recruiters will be watching how you behave in the crowd, it can’t hurt for you to observe how your peers behave. Since the majority of our communication is non-verbal, watching others’ body language is an education. And because we rarely have the chance to notice our own body language in a live situation, it’s important to think hard about it in advance, so good practices eventually become habit. Even the subtlest body-language no-nos – such as that guy leaning back and looking bored at the dinner table – can harm your chances in the job hunt. And you certainly don’t want to exhibit any of these body-language fails:

Body Language No-nos

Contracted Head Down or Bowed Shoulders Rolled


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Body Language Shapes Who You Are Any person who carries himself or herself like this at an event is asking to be overlooked. Checking your phone should obviously be avoided, because when you’re screen-watching you’re not engaged in the situation or making yourself available to talk. Other problems on display here: hunched shoulders and slumping (suggesting a lack of confidence) and crossed arms, which signals defensiveness and a lack of openness. So don’t be that person. Even if you are on the introverted side, enter the room with confidence, always smile (be conscious of your facial expression even when you’re not engaged in conversation) and greet people with a firm handshake. Don’t overpower with a vice-like grip, but use your handshake as the first signal of your positivity and confidence. We know you don’t want to hear this, but leave your homies behind at the door. Yes, you might be a little nervous, and it’s always nice to have friends in tow. But the event is all business – making contacts with as many recruiters or industry people as you can – and going around in groups will distract you from the task ahead and make it harder to start up conversations with others. In a networking event, finding an opportunity to approach someone who is already in conversation can be tough. For introverted types, it’s probably one of the hardest tasks of all. There’s no secret formula, but it does help to look for the right cues. Recruiters will almost never be standing there alone, so check what’s happening in the group. If a recruiter is locked in conversation with one other person, don’t butt in; wait at a respectful distance until you see either of them move their head and look around the room, which is a signal that it’s OK to enter their sphere.


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If the recruiter is holding court with three or four others, look for what seems like a pause before you move in. And if you find a colleague who is also alone and wants to talk to the same person, grab them and make your entree by introducing them to the recruiter, then yourself. Once you’ve got a target’s attention and have shaken their hand, be sure to maintain an arm’s-length distance – nobody likes close talkers – and maintain steady eye contact throughout your talk. Once you’ve given your introductory spiel, ask open-ended questions designed to keep the conversation flowing. Remember, don’t be a hogger, and if you are in a group of several people, give them equal time and respectfully listen to their questions and to the responses. Now, forgive us for repeating ourselves, but we can’t emphasize this enough: You will make a good impression by asking a couple of intelligent questions that show that you have done your research and that you are authentically interested in the employer; you will make a bad impression (at this stage) by monopolizing a recruiter’s time and doing the hard sell on yourself. “Don’t be too aggressive in any way, shape, or form. You’re there to learn, to listen, and to ask intelligent questions befitting a BBA or an MBA student,” says Deonandan. It doesn’t hurt to show your human side, either. After an hour of fielding very similar questions from a long parade of students, recruiters can get bored. That’s where diverting the conversation to something else that’s topical, or related to that person, can be a pleasant diversion that gets you noticed. (“I saw your post on LinkedIn about running the Toronto marathon. What was it like? Have you run many?”) Knowing how to leave a conversation can be as awkward as starting one, but frankly, the recruiters are as keen to talk to others as you are, and they won’t be offended if you say something like, “It’s been great chatting with you. I know you’re very busy, so I’m going to circulate and meet some of the other attendees.”


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It’s perfectly acceptable to finish by asking for their business card and requesting permission to follow up if you need more information. Or perhaps, if the conversation went well, you might have talked about a topic of mutual interest and offered the recruiter to send them a link about it. However, do not become a stalker. Recruiters get irritated by seeing hundreds of e-mails or LinkedIn invites on their desktop in the days following an event – and if you made an impression, they will remember you, anyway. You’ll find more on LinkedIn etiquette in the next chapter.

Coffee Chats The coffee chat is another important weapon in your networking arsenal. It doesn’t have to involve caffeine, but it’s an umbrella term to describe having an informal meeting with someone connected to your favoured career path in order to gain useful intelligence for the application process. Another term often used to describe the process is “informational interview.” Who are the people you want to be approaching for coffee chats? It depends on your existing circles and your intended career, but the short answer is, anyone on the networking chart shown earlier. The value of these short meetings is twofold: first, to get inside knowledge that will help you determine the employers that fit you best and that will prepare you for your interviews; and second, to widen your contacts circle in ways that may eventually lead to opportunities. The most commonly sought-after coffee chats are with people who work in the industry, or actual company, that you are targeting; very often, it may be a Schulich alumnus.


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Here are some golden rules of coffee chatting: 1. Try to get a referral before connecting with the person. There’s more on this in the next chapter, but it’s always best to find someone to refer you to the target first. Not only does it make it much more likely that you will get a reply – and even then, be prepared for occasions on which you don’t – but it means the person will be more inclined to give you face time. 2. Always do research on the person in advance and, whether by LinkedIn or e-mail, show authentic interest in them in your introductory note. (“I see that you transitioned from engineering to doing your MBA before joining your company as a product manager, and I’m following a similar path. I would love to get your insights on this …”) 3. Make the meetings a genuine two-way conversation. Although it’s understood that you are contacting someone because you are looking for a job, the people you are approaching are busy and need an incentive to help you; there’s nothing more irritating than getting a blind LinkedIn connect request from a student who clearly just wants to pump you for information. “It’s important to realize that it’s an opportunity not to sell yourself, but to ask about the other person,” says Schulich MBA alumnus John Mathews. “Fundamentally, it’s, ‘I’m here to learn about your story, your journey.’” That involves not just asking questions, but also offering to give something back, even if it’s just referring them to an article or book you found interesting. Mathews advises looking at coffee chats as a “human-tohuman relationship” – like staring a professional friendship.


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4. Act as professionally as you would in a formal interview. Although coffee chats are casual affairs, and the person in question may not be able to offer you a job, remember to leave them with a good impression. That involves following item number three, as well as projecting an image of credibility and likeability. Bad news travels quickly, and if you leave the person with a negative view of you, it could harm your prospects on a much wider scale than the company they happen to work for. 5. Be respectful of their time. Suggest a short phone conversation instead of an in-person chat if the subject appears busy. Be aware that the subject (especially if he or she is a Schulich alumnus) may be getting similar requests from others. Above all, don’t bother them more than is necessary, and make every contact meaningful. 6. Follow up the coffee chat with an e-mail or message, thanking them for their time.

So these, then, are the basics of networking. Follow these guidelines and you should breeze through the on-campus networking season. You can find more advice on the Vault and Beyond B-School hubs on CareerQuest. And don’t hesitate to ask your CDC advisors for some time to practise these routines. Whether you’re a newcomer to Canada or a Canuck by birth, we are all human and prone to making errors in social situations. But your professional future depends on being as prepared as you can be.


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PROJECTING EXECUTIVE PRESENCE Impressing potential employers not only requires good grades, transferable skills and relevant experience, but also a whole host of soft skills that demonstrate that you can be trusted to show leadership qualities and to represent your future employer impeccably in your dealings with clients and colleagues. Schulich’s CDC team calls this whole package “projecting executive presence.” It describes executive presence as displaying “confidence, poise, polish and humility, reflective of an emerging leader.”

COMMUNICATION

CARE

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS

CONFIDENCE

CREDIBILITY


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HERE’S THE CDC’S FORMULA OF THE FIVE Cs THAT ENCAPSULATE WHAT IT TAKES

COMMUNICATION Has strong written and verbal communication skills and speaks with humility, confidence, clarity and impact; listens well and gives full attention to others. CONFIDENCE Projects strength and decisiveness, has an approachable demeanour, and makes others feel comfortable in his/her presence; is polished in networking and public speaking contexts. CREDIBILITY Behaves appropriately in all situations and understands the rules of business etiquette; is always aware that his/her actions will reflect on the image of the school or employer; acts with integrity and ensures that his/her word can be trusted. CONSCIENTIOUSNESS Has strong emotional intelligence, responds appropriately to others’ emotions, and shows empathy and compassion; is always seeking advice from peers and superiors with the goal of self-improvement. CARE Pays close attention to the image he/she projects by being well-groomed and by dressing with style, professionalism and impact, always in a manner that is appropriate to the industry or client base; maintains professional body language, including proper eye contact, handshake and facial expressions.


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RECRUITER VOICE CAITIE HARRIES Campus Recruitment Advisor, Deloitte

“ For an MBA, our expectation is that they will have already done their research and will have had experience in the area that they are interested in that they can speak to. We expect they know a good deal about Deloitte, even before we have the information sessions. Asking pointed and articulate questions that show they’ve done their research is something we would look for in a promising candidate. What’s attractive in a candidate is someone who is polished, especially in the networking sessions, can carry on a conversation, asks the right kind of questions [relevant to the company and the industry], can move about the room, can engage with a number of different people, and is an attentive listener. A question that often comes up [when considering candidates] is: ‘Is this person ready to be client-facing?’ There are a number of skills that go into that: being articulate; being professional and obviously having the knowledge and expertise; and making sure they would fit in with the culture of the group they’re joining and the culture of Deloitte as a whole … which is very much self-driven.”


CHAPTER FIVE

MARKETING YOURSELF: LINKEDIN In this Chapter The Right Profile Sample of a Good LinkedIn Headline Connecting and Networking Social Media Behaviour Risks and Benefits To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

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Marketing Yourself: LinkedIn

It’s hard to imagine the world without social media, even if it’s only been around in its modern form for approximately 15 years. Facebook, Twitter, and more recently Instagram and Snapchat have condensed the planet, enabling every corner of it to be in instantaneous contact, whether it’s sharing personal stories, photos, jokes, or memes – not to mention real (and sometimes fake) news. And for many people in the workplace, it’s just as hard to imagine what life was like before LinkedIn. To illustrate this, CDC industry advisor Amir Khan tells the story of a Schulich student who undertook an MBA to enable a rather challenging career switch – from the science laboratory to the world of marketing. Even though most of her LinkedIn contacts were not in marketing, she tirelessly worked with them to get introductions to their contacts who were, and by engaging these new online acquaintances in coffee chats and similar conversations, gained much good advice and got on to the radar of people in the packaged food industry. The result, even without previous marketing experience, was an internship in a marketing department. Even with LinkedIn, it was an uphill battle; and it’s not hard to imagine how much longer it would have taken – and how many more obstacles the student would have faced – without it. Not for nothing does Khan refer to LinkedIn as “a high-level business card.”


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Khan, who teaches workshops on social media deployment to Schulich students, has a goal of getting as many as possible to utilize LinkedIn to its full potential. “A lot of people are on it, but they don’t understand the rationale behind it,” he says. “LinkedIn, like your resume, is great marketing tool.” There’s good reason to harness the power of LinkedIn in your quest for the perfect job. Some 60 percent of employers use social networking sites to do background research on candidates, according to a 2016 survey by the CareerBuilder job-hunting site – up from 52 percent only the year before. Although there’s validity to the perception that some employers scan the web and social media looking for signs of negative behaviour, that is far from the only reason. Sixty percent of the hiring managers who do use social media to research candidates said they were looking for information that would support hiring someone, according to the survey. Of these managers, up to 44 percent said they had discovered details on social media that actually led to them hiring. Among the top factors, they cited these:

Candidate’s background information supported job qualifications Candidate’s site conveyed a professional image Candidate’s personality came across as a good fit with company culture Candidate was well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests Candidate had great communication skills


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It’s clear that social media, and in particular LinkedIn, need to be taken seriously as a tool to further your career prospects. If you can mould your LinkedIn profile to match those five key factors, you’re ahead of the game. In this chapter, we’re going to talk about the two principal skills you need to hone: first, creating the perfect LinkedIn profile, and second, how to build your network and use it to enhance your job search.

The Right Profile Before you get started on building your profile or optimizing your existing one, it’s worth visualizing how LinkedIn relates to your resume. One thing it is certainly not is a duplicate or summary of your resume. While it will contain similar biographical and career-related information, LinkedIn is a different animal; it plays more of an anchor role and allows for a broader representation of you and your talents. As we’ve seen, you should be tailoring your resume to different industries; but the only time you need to be tinkering with your LinkedIn profile is when you’ve changed jobs or education or have new experiences to add. That said, the insights you’ve learned from previous chapters, where we asked you to get to know yourself and the skills you bring to the table, are very much the same insights you will be using to shape your LinkedIn presence. You’ll be wanting to showcase factors such as your skills and values, your strengths, your career goals, what differentiates you from the competition, and what value you can add to a potential employer. Here are the main components of your perfect profile: PHOTO This should be a no-brainer. Make it a professional, smiling, headshot, and in keeping with the types of LinkedIn photos of other people in the industry and companies on your target list. No bathroom selfies, no “happy hour” snaps. Although it seems simple, a poor or low-quality shot (even if you’re smiling and dressed up like a bank CEO) will create a poor first impression.


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Profile Photo

Headline

Summary

Experience & Education

Endorsements

Recommendations

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Don’t just retrieve an old photo of you off your phone and crop it down to a headshot. It’s worth getting a friend to take some good headshots, or even hire a professional photographer. HEADLINE This one sentence encapsulates you and your brand. Don’t just state what you do, such as “MBA candidate.” Include wording that suggests you are passionate about and good at what you do, such as “MBA candidate looking to bring energy and new ideas to supply chain management.” That said, be very careful of clichés and hyperbole: You’re not yet at the stage of your career when you can claim to be a guru, a growth hacker, an innovator, or – perhaps the most egregious descriptor of all – a visionary.

Sample of a Good LinkedIn Headline


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SUMMARY This is where you tell the world who you are, what you’ve done, and where you want to go in your career. It should be concise, articulate and engaging, and – above all – composed with your target audience (the industry managers who you want to notice you) in mind. Write it in the first person, and try to infuse it with a little more personality than you can put on a resume. Display your professionalism, skills, and relevant experience, but be natural and authentic. Again, check out the summaries of people you admire or will be looking to impress in the industry to see how they do it. Ask a friend or CDC advisor to go over your summary for feedback. EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION You can draw these entries largely from your resume, but don’t repeat yourself word for word. Use similar accomplishment statements, but allow yourself to be more expansive and always be sure to concentrate on relaying your transferable skills. Try to incorporate keywords that match with the skills relevant to industries you’re interested in. If there are web links or attachable files that illustrate a project you worked on (such as a case study or a product-launch video), think about adding them. And you might want to add volunteering, cultural, sports, or other extracurricular activities you didn’t include on your resume. You have all the space you want, so use it. RECOMMENDATIONS Elicit three to four recommendations from past employers, colleagues, clients, or professors; some of them might ask for a reciprocal recommendation, but try to avoid too many of these as they carry less impact. ENDORSEMENTS These will come organically from people you have worked alongside. Don’t ask for them. Whenever you’ve impressed someone, they will inevitably send an endorsement your way. Reciprocation is fine in this case: Endorsing others for certain skills will boost your chances of getting them in return.


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Connecting and Networking

LinkedIn is a superb tool for career networking, but it takes care and attention to utilize it productively. One thing to note is that, unlike on Twitter or similar social networks, your worth is not measured by the amount of followers you have. There is little value in harvesting connections like you’d collect baseball cards: Quality is far more important than quantity. CDC advisor Khan says every connection you make on LinkedIn should be tactical: “It’s important to know what value you see in your LinkedIn connections.” What are our connections for? Fundamentally, we tend to make contact with people who we hope can give us some advice, help us find a job now or in the future, or who knows someone who will. Like many social conventions, it’s fine to acknowledge it – but there’s also no need to say it out loud. When you attend a party and begin chatting to someone whom you can picture as a future romantic partner, you’re probably going to keep that thought to yourself (for a while, anyway). Instead, you move toward that goal by engaging them in topics of mutual interest and establishing things in common.


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While LinkedIn networking isn’t exactly dating, the etiquette isn’t entirely dissimilar. Successful connections depend on being able to establish in the other person’s mind that a connection would be of mutual benefit, and that you are not simply asking to connect because you want something. For that reason, you should use LinkedIn to cold-connect as sparingly as possible – and if you must (perhaps you don’t have any other contact information for that person), always write an accompanying note with the connection request. On that note, mention where you got the person’s name (perhaps they’re a Schulich alumnus in an industry of interest), cite something about their profile that interests you, and say briefly why you would like to connect. If that person is merely someone whose posts you want to follow for their thought leadership, say that, too. If the contact might know your name (perhaps through a referral or mutual contact), write a note, nonetheless. Remind them of your connection, say if you’ve met them before at past events, and explain the reason for your approach. Remember that by contacting someone through LinkedIn, you are effectively asking them to accept you into their own network. Casual or flippant requests therefore run the risk of irritating them, so make your pitch meaningful. (As mentioned previously, it’s rarely a good idea to ask to connect with recruiters you met at campus events. Put yourself in their position, and imagine the other 250 students who might have done the same thing.) Becoming a paid subscriber is worth considering, as it allows you to send InMail messages to people who are not in your network.


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Khan calls LinkedIn “your personal advisory board,” and that’s a great way to approach it as you build your network. Don’t concentrate too intensely on the end product – a job – and instead build up your network on the basis of mutual interest, using your contacts for advice and industry intelligence, and as people to whom you can display your own value. Eventually, entrees to further contacts who can help your career will flow organically. LinkedIn groups are another valuable networking tool. Join industry groups that match your career goals and talk to members on a regular basis; think of each group as a mininetwork within your greater network. Not only do these groups help you source other individuals who are worth connecting with, but the internal posts and discussions are also a useful source of insights on industry trends. (Indeed, LinkedIn is a wonderful research tool. Apart from the industry groups, there are hundreds of thought leaders and influencers across every imaginable business and social sector. Subscribe to their feeds and take advantage of their decades of knowledge.) As you build your network, remember that it’s important to stay visible on the site; that means sharing articles, posting your thoughts on industry issues and commenting on others’ posts. If you have a spare nanosecond of time in between your studies and your career-search duties, you could even write and post your own articles. All of these activities will showcase your knowledge, build a rapport with your contacts and make it likelier that people that matter will notice you.


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Be aware though that it’s all-too-easy to cross the line between professional commentary and personal opinions that could reflect badly on you. Avoid negative sentiments; if you want to take issue with someone’s post, do it in a professional voice and keep any criticism constructive. Never say anything that could be deemed offensive and – most importantly – never bad-mouth a former employer or colleague. We have all had experiences at school or work that we would rather forget and move on from; airing grievances in public, even mildly, cannot help you in your future career and, more likely, will hurt you. Before you post anything, think about who might see it; there is no hiring manager on the planet that wants to employ someone who displays that kind of negativity. While we’re on the subject, let’s refer back to that CareerBuilder survey. The results showed that recruiters watch social media such as LinkedIn and that a good profile can showcase the skills and values that get you noticed. It would therefore be remiss of us not to remind you of what online behaviour will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons. In conclusion, make LinkedIn an integral part of your daily routine. It’s a very powerful tool for marketing yourself and energizing your job search. Use it intelligently and it could even uncover career paths you didn’t realize were open to you. In a culture where who you know is as important as what you know, it’s a virtual Rolodex just waiting to be explored.


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SOCIAL MEDIA BEHAVIOUR RISKS AND BENEFITS The following charts illustrate the kinds of BEHAVIOUR RISKS and BENEFITS that employers cited as factors in ruling out candidates for the job or extending an offer.

BEHAVIOUR RISKS Almost half of hiring managers who screen candidates on social media said they saw something that led to someone NOT getting the gig. The most common reasons:

46%

43%

Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photos/information

Evidence of candidate drinking or using drugs

33% Candidate made discriminatory comments

HATE

31%

29%

Candidate bad-mouthed colleague or previous employer

@$#!

Source: CareerBuilder

Candidate had poor communication skills


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BEHAVIOUR BENEFITS Not all employers use social media to screen out candidates; some 32 percent of hiring managers said some discoveries have led to them extending an offer. Common reasons:

44%

Candidate conveyed a professional image

44%

Background information supported candidate’s professional qualifications

43%

Candidate’s personality was a good fit with the company

40%

Candidate was well-rounded with wide range of interests

36%

Candidate displayed great communication skills

Source: CareerBuilder

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TO TWEET OR NOT TO TWEET? Some companies may scan social media beyond LinkedIn when assessing your employability, so including other networks in your game plan is a delicate path to tread. Assuming an employer has already checked out your LinkedIn profile, it’s rare that anything on, say, your Facebook page will swing a decision in your favour; if anything, it may be quite the opposite. For that reason alone, follow these tips to keep your social media footprint working for you.

TWITTER Many of you will already have been using Twitter for some time; stay with it, as it is a fantastic research tool. If you haven’t been using it to enhance your career search, start doing so right away. Follow thought leaders, industry associations and publications that will keep you up to date with trends in the sectors you want to work in, and use a hashtag search whenever you want to research a timely topic that is trending. However, if your account is largely full of personal musings, party photos and “hey dude” shout-outs, many of which are probably not compatible with a professional profile, you should consider two options: deleting any previous tweets that don’t fit a business-first profile, or creating a separate account purely for your careers search. Either way, you will be able to share your Twitter name and reach out to recruiters and other relevant people safe in the knowledge that your 2 a.m. retweet of an unsavoury meme six months ago won’t harm your chances.


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FACEBOOK Although employers and brands deploy Facebook to market themselves, we find it hard to recommend you doing the same. For most individuals, Facebook is a personal tool that mainly serves to keep in touch with friends and family, and it is a wonderful tool for that purpose. But given that there’s a reasonable chance prospective employers will do a web search on you – especially if you have reached the shortlist – your Facebook profile is one of the first results they will see. And like many of us, if there are the occasional NSFW phrases, political comments, or just regular “drinking buddies” photos on there, you should ensure that your profile can only be viewed by friends. There is no upside to inviting your professional network into your Facebook world; use LinkedIn and Twitter for business networking, and keep your personal life private. One exception: If you have a side business or some other business or philanthropic project you’re proud of, create a Facebook page for that part of your life and use it as a great marketing tool for your brand.

INSTAGRAM Not generally a useful business-networking tool. But if you have a creative skill or were involved in a worthwhile project, open an account dedicated to that one thing and use the platform’s visual appeal to show it off in all its glory. Perhaps you have talent in art or photography, or went abroad on a philanthropic/humanitarian project. Showcase it here; a creative or community-minded side to your skill set will help differentiate you during the hiring process.


CHAPTER SIX

THE ART OF THE INTERVIEW In this Chapter Shaping Your Story Watch for Curveballs And Don’t Forget Exercise: Crafting Your Stories Interview Questions: 10 to Watch Case Interviews Alumna Voice

6


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“ I’m a firm believer,’’ says Schulich MBA alumna Ana Radunovic, “that there should be absolutely nothing that comes up in an interview that catches you completely off-guard.” And there you have it. If you can nail down that formula for tackling job interviews, you’ll be well on your way to career nirvana. Radunovic’s comment is not only a sage piece of advice, but it also sums up exactly what brings us out in a cold sweat about interviews: the fear of not being in control, the terror of being exposed by one well-crafted interview question as a clueless amateur who doesn’t have what it takes. Only the most confident candidates can claim to enjoy the interview process. It’s a nerve-wracking test of wits that can give even the most veteran career people a queasy stomach before they head into the interview room. But by being as prepared as possible – including diligent rehearsal of techniques for telling your story – you can learn not just to cope, but to excel. Everything you’ve been asked to learn in this book so far has been leading you to this point. You’ve done the research and thought hard about your values and motivators in order to choose your preferred sectors, companies and roles; you’ve found out enough about yourself to be able to define your story; you’ve told that story eloquently but succinctly on your resume(s); you’ve learned how to network in person and online; and the result of all this hard work is that you have landed some interviews. Now it’s make or break time – it’s your opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition.


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These sessions with recruiters or hiring managers are generally referred to as behavioural interviews; in other words, it’s where you have to prove to the hiring company that the behaviour you’ve exhibited in your past experiences, projects and jobs makes you a suitable candidate to perform exceptionally well in the position on offer. And whether you’re at the stage where the interviews are for internships, graduate leadership programs, or regular positions, the secrets of success are the same. Diana Caradonna, a CDC industry advisor who teaches workshops on interviewing, says most of the students she sees are works in progress when it comes to being interviewready, no matter how high their GPA or strong their resume. “It’s about gaining confidence and learning to articulate their thoughts, because if they can’t feel comfortable with it, how are they going to sell it to somebody else? I always tell students, ‘How are they going to buy what you’re selling? You’re selling you.’” Caradonna, who has been on the other side of the desk as an interviewer, mentions some basic building blocks for bolstering your interview “sales” technique. Fundamentally, she says, you will need to enter the interview room knowing how to “be memorable.” To achieve that, you have above all to be meticulously prepared and to have several “stories” ready to tell about your past experiences. For Caradonna and Radunovic, being fully prepared is the most important task of all. Circling back to the quote that begins this chapter, Radunovic defines preparation as the readiness to tackle each and every question that comes your way; that is how she learned to enter each interview feeling confident. She says she used CDC advisors early and often along the way, especially in doing mock interviews and in gaining advisors’ insights on the interviewing style that her targeted companies tended to use.


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Caradonna says students need to adopt a framework to help them form and rehearse the stories they will be sharing at interviews. One she recommends is the STAR exercise we encountered in Chapter Three for drawing up accomplishment statements for your resume. Use it to frame your answers to all kinds of questions, including ones that will probe you for what you see as your weaknesses.

Shaping Your Story Let’s dive a bit deeper into what you can expect from interviews by recalling the list from Chapter Two: “TEN THINGS RECRUITERS WANT.” Hopefully, you used it to influence your resume and networking style, and it’s a good framework to deploy now. Since an interview is essentially your stage to persuade employers that you have what they want, let’s go through it point by point.

A “good fit” with the company Fit is a somewhat intangible quality; it means very different things to different firms. Do your homework on the company’s culture, from its online presence and its job descriptions, and (especially) from people who work there. And in the actual interview, Caradonna urges you to “know your audience.” If the interviewer is somewhat stiff and formal, take his/her cue and make sure your own language is formal and professional, suppressing any natural tendencies you might have toward informality. In contrast, if the interviewer is light-hearted and laid-back, mirror that style (within reason), because acting like an uptight stiff will probably make you look like a square peg in the company’s round hole.


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Someone who will reflect well on the company when dealing with its clients Above all, this means coming across as confident, credible and authentic, knowing your stuff, being able to think on your feet, speaking articulately, and demonstrating the right attitude to be client-facing. By the way, credibility includes being honest if you don’t know something; don’t fudge or waffle your way out of a question – admit you don’t know and tell the interviewer what you intend to do to learn more about the subject. A good communicator Caradonna says this is the toughest skill to learn for many students. You must be able to clearly state your skills, articulate what you bring to the table, and explain efficiently how you will solve problems you face. Tone is important: speak clearly but not stridently, and remember the body language – consistent eye contact and an upright, non-defensive posture. And be an active interviewee: Try to make the interview more of a conversation in order to establish a connection. Demonstrates transferable skills Use those accomplishment statements to frame your stories in advance and practise them until they are concise and eloquent. Don’t forget that skills shown in extracurricular activities are just as relevant to employers as your workplace stories. Be ready to use any good example you’ve got. Confident but not arrogant The first step to confidence is total preparedness: knowing everything about the company and anticipating what questions you will be asked. Achieving this will help bring even the shyest candidates out of their shell. But don’t leave your EQ at the door. There’s a thin line between being confident (which every company wants) and arrogant (which none of them want). The best way to eradicate any sign of arrogance is to practise in front of friends and CDC advisors; they will spot it if even if you can’t.


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Dresses and presents him/herself professionally It isn’t rocket science. Revisit our dress code advice in Chapter Four and dress appropriately for the type of company. A team player Every employer will demand this, and almost every candidate has the phrase somewhere in his or her resume. But you will also have to demonstrate you mean it in the interview. The language you use to describe your past experiences is key: Don’t overuse the first person; use “we” liberally when talking about past success; don’t blame others if asked why something went wrong; use examples that demonstrate you have the EQ to be collaborative. “More than 90 percent of companies need their people to work in a team. You have to show you have empathy, can listen, and can work with others and play nice,” says Caradonna. Shows initiative and problem-solving skills This is best demonstrated by the stories you share, and you’ll be building on the ones you have in your resume. But be ready to show those skills, live, in the interview; if the interviewer shoots you a difficult question from left field, you need to be able to showcase your initiative right there by thinking on your feet. If the employer is likely to be conducting case interviews (see sidebar), the pressure will be even stronger. A final note: If you leave an interview having been stumped by a tricky question, remember and learn from it. A good listener This is part of the story of being a good communicator and working on teams. As we saw in the networking discussion, recruiters will be looking for signs that you can listen and not just talk. The same goes for interviews. Listening carefully to the interviewer(s) will help you answer their points in an appropriate and relevant manner; it’s tempting to start thinking about your answer even before they’ve finished speaking, but try to focus on them at all times; and never interrupt or speak over an interviewer, no matter how nervous you may be.


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Has “done homework”/ is well-prepared Preparedness will give you the confidence to perform at your best. But just as crucially, your deep knowledge of the business (including researching the people conducting the interview) will demonstrate that you’re a high performer and serious about the opportunity. As Schulich MBA alumnus and EY manager John Mathews says: “You have to demonstrate to them that you can hit the ground running.”

Watch for Curveballs We’ve emphasized being prepared as the number one factor to help you face interviews with confidence. But can you always be prepared for everything? Clearly not – and because it’s in an interviewer’s interest to see how you react to something outside your comfort zone, it’s always wise to be mentally prepared for an oddball question. Online career resource Glassdoor lists many, but as a taster here are two that were asked in 2016 by Canadian companies:

“ If you had only 24 hours left on planet Earth, how would you spend it?” “ If you could sit next to one person on a transcontinental flight, who would it be?”


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That’s just the tip of the iceberg of weirdness. And while we wouldn’t expect mainstream firms such as IBM to ask you which Game of Thrones character you are – a real question that has been asked elsewhere – it’s best to be ready for such curveballs. Bear in mind that the actual answer to the question is not as important as your ability to articulate your reasons and explain your choice in the same manner you would in a business setting. So even if your answer to the transcontinental flight question is Vin Diesel, it’s the quality of your reasoning that counts (and you’d better have some good reasons). While you won’t know in advance what oddball questions an interview might bring, you need to prepare for the possibility that they will be asked – because being in a relaxed and confident frame of mind will help you tackle whatever is thrown your way.

And Don’t Forget … START THE PROCESS EARLY Work on everything we’ve outlined early in the recruiting season. Don’t wait until you actually hear about an interview; many firms will only give two or three days’ notice, and that isn’t nearly enough time to prepare. BE PUNCTUAL Being late is probably the second worst interview sin (the first being turning up in a Metallica T-shirt and cargo shorts). Even if the subway shut down or there was a traffic snarl-up, interviewers won’t want to hear excuses. Always factor possible problems into your commute time and arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early, so you have time to de-stress and present yourself as calm and collected.


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HAVE A GOOD ATTITUDE Just because a firm is formal and conservative doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be enthusiastic and friendly. Be warm and courteous the moment you walk in the building, and that includes how you greet people such as receptionists and assistants. They may well be asked for their impression of you by the hiring manager. ANY QUESTIONS? If, at the end of the interview, the manager asks if you have any questions, it won’t look good if you can’t think of any. Have a couple prepared, such as inquiries about company culture. But don’t ask about salary, benefits, or vacation time. It is usually only appropriate to discuss them after your final interview, when the employer is (hopefully) offering you the role. SAY THANK YOU Send a thank-you e-mail to the interviewer(s) the day after, saying you enjoyed the conversation, briefly reiterating why you believe you are a good fit, and that you hope to have a further opportunity to discuss the position.


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EXERCISE: CRAFTING YOUR STORIES Write down five to 10 key questions you think you will be asked in the interview (look at the sidebar list for some ideas). Choose not only standard questions, but also one or two that are very specific to the company (and the industry) you will be interviewing with.

SKILLS (Review the job description, and think of all the skills they are looking for.)

WORK (Provide examples that are work related when you demonstrate that skill.)


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For each question, write down a synopsis of the thoughts you want to get across in your answer. Remember the kinds of qualities the employer is always seeking, such as transferable skills, problem solving, good communication, ability to be a team player, etc. You can use the interview practice template on the previous page to remind yourself which skills you can highlight. Practise your answers in front of the mirror and then again using the video-playback tool on Interview Stream. Be concise and articulate. Remember to keep an eye on your body language. Think about potential follow-ups you might be asked, too. SCHOOL /LEADERSHIP (Include examples involving school/leadership activities when you demonstrate that skill.)

EXTRACURRICULAR /VOLUNTEER (Think of extracurricular or volunteer examples when you demonstrate that skill.)


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INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: 10 TO WATCH These are standard, cross-industry questions you need to prepare for in advance. You might not get asked them all, and you will certainly get asked many others that are more position-specific. But being ready to tackle these will give you an excellent grounding in telling your story effectively.

1. Tell us about yourself. 2. Why do you want this job/to work for us? 3. Where do you see yourself in five years? 4. Tell us about a time you think you failed at something, and why. 5. What is your biggest weakness? 6. Tell us about a project that you’re particularly proud of, and why. 7. What separates you from the other candidates? 8. How do you react to criticism? 9. What would you think about sometimes having to work 12-hour days under high pressure? 10. When you’ve had problems with a difficult member on your team, how have you dealt with it?


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CASE INTERVIEWS

Case interviews have long been a staple of the management consulting sector, but they are becoming more frequent in industries such as consumer packaged goods, technology and retail. Having some exposure to the case interview method is worthwhile, even if you don’t anticipate having to do one; it can help develop the kind of problem-solving abilities that will come in useful in any job – and any interview. As business students, you are intimately familiar with the case study method of learning how to make leadership decisions. The case interview is based on the same concept, with the interviewer setting you a case study-style problem that you have to solve in a certain amount of time.

“It’s trying to bring the job into the interview; they are trying to replicate what you would actually do when working there,” says CDC industry advisor Mark Freedman. “For consulting, what they do is: ‘I’m interviewing you, so I’m the client, and you’re the consultant. Let’s see how you work through a problem that we’re having.’”


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The kinds of cases presented to candidates reflect the wide range of hard decisions encountered in management: whether to launch a new product, open in a new market, lower or raise product prices, improve operational efficiency, tackle an organizational behaviour issue, or consider a merger, to cite a few. In such an interview, you are likely to be given the basic situation, asked to provide a solution, and in some cases will be expected to tease all the relevant information out of the interviewer by repeated questioning. While a real-life consultant could have weeks to assemble the facts and deliver a solution, you might only have half an hour; a clear head, an ability to calculate quickly, and a structured approach to information-gathering are essential – as are the communication skills to explain your thought process to the “client.” There are case interviews that take other formats; some firms send candidates the problem in advance and ask them to create a presentation to go through in person, and some ask for written solutions. Other case interviews put candidates together on a team and ask them to sort it out together – during which the dynamic of members on the team may be closely watched. Either way, the reason more companies are turning to case interviews is because it’s the closest thing they have to actually seeing you perform on the job. “You can fudge things on your resume, but you can’t do that in a case interview,” Freedman says. As you read up on companies during the application process, it’s important to find out if they have a history of doing case interviews. You can use several online resources and check with your CDC advisors, who will know each company’s recent history. Above all, ask a current or recent employee for the inside story. And if you see a case interview in your near future, there is only one piece of advice: practise, practise, practise. Partner up with a colleague and take turns at playing interviewer and candidate across a wide range of case examples.


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ALUMNA VOICE ANA RADUNOVIC (MBA '15) Brand Manager, Johnson & Johnson

Schulich MBA Radunovic interned at PepsiCo and Colgate in the early stages of her career. “ Internships are critical; getting a good reputable brand on your resume early on in your career is what really sets you up. It’s important for students to be super-proactive in their second and third years to try to secure a summer [position]. It gives you the opportunity to test and see if it’s the right fit. For me, I was a hundred percent sure that I wanted to be a marketer, so I did internships and then through my time in marketing I [realized], ‘Hey, sales and strategy are such cooler spaces within an organization. I’d actually much rather go the leadership development track, where I can get a wide breadth and depth of experience, than really focusing on marketing early on in my career.’ So [an internship] is a really great opportunity for students to get that exposure and then make a more sound decision as to what they actually want to do after they graduate.”


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CHAPTER SEVEN

THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT In this Chapter Characteristics of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs Final Thoughts

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Chris Carder tells a story that should make every job seeker sit up and take notice. The veteran entrepreneur and co-founder of Kinetic Commerce, a designer of innovative e-commerce solutions for leading global retailers, was contacted by a person in his network for advice about a dream job he was seeking. Carder’s contact was down to the final four for a job in business development and wanted to know what he could do to swing the decision his way. It wouldn’t be easy. It was Friday, and the selection was likely to be made after the weekend. Instead of a traditional lastminute ploy like sending one more passionate “hire me” note to the hiring team, Carder suggested what he admits was a “crazy idea”: use the weekend to make a sale on behalf of the company the candidate had yet to be hired by. Mining their LinkedIn contacts, the pair managed to find people who might be potential customers for the products the hiring company made. By the end of the weekend, the candidate had got a commitment from a prospective buyer to meet with the hiring company’s president later that week. “Who do you think got the job on Monday morning?” Carder says.


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Carder, who is also Schulich’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, is more accustomed to getting late-night texts from the budding young entrepreneurs he mentors rather than people seeking advice on landing a traditional job. But he tells the anecdote to emphasize the point that an entrepreneurial spirit is a huge asset, whether you choose to work for yourself or someone else. While not every MBA or BBA would feel comfortable taking the same extreme approach as that weekend sales drive, there’s no doubt that showing energy and an innovative approach to the job hunt is something employers will take notice of. “A lot of companies look for entrepreneurial spirit, even large corporations, and it ties back to ownership – that you’re owning whatever it is: your project, your position, the team, the product you’re making. They want that entrepreneurial spirit – it relates to ownership in that you will do whatever it takes to make it successful,” says Robert Hines, Schulich CDC Executive Director. If you’re an MBA candidate who has taken on a substantial amount of debt to fund your program, you might not be looking to set up your own company any time soon; you’re likely have your sights set on a management position at a major employer. But since you’ve read this far, keep going and add another weapon to your arsenal. Learning from the behaviour of entrepreneurs could give you that extra je ne sais quoi to get ahead of the pack in the race for the best jobs. BBA students make up the majority of Carder’s acolytes in his Schulich work. Among the services he offers to the undergraduates who have created, or want to create, their own start-up are mentoring and access to his extensive network of accelerators, coaches and investors. He hosts a monthly Entrepreneur-in-Residence night where you can talk to him


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in person or via Skype for all kinds of help and advice on your germinating idea; he also offers up his team at Kinetic Commerce to give feedback to young entrepreneurs on improving their pitch presentations to investors or accelerators; and twice a year Carder and Schulich, together with KPMG, host a Start-up Night Competition at which students pitch their business plan and compete for prizes that include funding, pro-bono services and mentoring. If you feel that itch to bypass the corporate route and try your luck at being your own boss, these and other resources will be key starting points. First, of course, you’ll need to have a good business idea and do a lot of due diligence into whether market conditions are right for potential success. And do you possess the key ingredients of entrepreneurial brilliance?

Characteristics of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs Carder launched his first business, an e-mail marketing firm called ThinData, in the nineties after graduating in journalism from Ryerson University. He has worked with and coached countless entrepreneurs and says the most successful of them exhibit three important characteristics: 1. RELENTLESSNESS The best entrepreneurs have a never-say-die attitude to walking through every door and working every possible connection to get the help, funding and attention necessary to succeed. Carder says: “They’re going to find the solution, going to find their way to the clients, to the investors, to the people who they want to hire, and getting the attention of that key blogger they want to write about them, and being extremely creative in the way they go about doing it. There’s that sense of ‘I will not let anything in the world stop me from getting to who or what I need to get to.’”


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Carder himself is a walking embodiment of relentlessness. When looking for clients in the very early days of ThinData, he and his colleagues would volunteer at charity events where wealthy Torontonians were likely to show up, so they could grab face time with them. At one gala for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, they volunteered to walk the VIPs from their cars down the red carpet to their tables. Carder’s team made their pitch to the late impresario Ed Mirvish right there and then, and by the next week had Mirvish as their first customer. 2. THEY ARE “ALWAYS ON” “Even more so than highly driven career people, these people are always on,” says Carder, adding that they cannot sit still and have to “keep moving, keep moving, keep moving.” He says they are constantly communicating with the people in their circles, looking for advice and leads to get their business off the ground. When you think that some of these people are Schulich students who already have their studies to keep up with, you get an idea of the level of commitment these entrepreneurs show. 3. THEY ARE GOOD AT LISTENING “They are very passionate about being able to communicate their vision, and they have clarity and commitment and belief in that vision that’s unshakeable – but at the same time, they listen to alternative perspectives and viewpoints about how to get to where they’re going – and they move faster because of it,” Carder says. “When people are coachable and open and able to look at different perspectives, they wind up getting a better range of possibilities as to how they make their decisions, and they also build stronger relationships with the people who are their mentors, coaches and investors.”


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The start-up scene in Canada is fuelled by networks of entrepreneurs, coaches, investors and incubator communities who are ready and willing to help each other out with resources, advice and referrals. Excellent communication skills are just as essential for entrepreneurs as they are for regular job seekers. “The more you can wrangle people to believe in what you’re building, the more chance you have of success,� Carder says. So who are these Schulich students turned entrepreneurs? And what kinds of businesses are they setting up? The common assumption would be that everyone wants to launch a mobile app, but nothing could be further from the truth. Some of the recent start-ups Carder has worked with on campus include a maker of robotics and drones; an innovative realestate photography service; a new breed of fitness studio; an import-export firm; an online platform helping fashion brands resource services such as manufacturing; and even a purveyor of tea products. Some entrepreneurs, like Carder himself, enjoy the thrill of building a new venture so much that they become serial entrepreneurs. A good example is York University graduate (and Schulich alumnus) Andrew Oh, who won first place in a Schulich Start-up competition in 2014 with his pitch for an online company making and selling gloves for Ultimate Frisbee players. That company, Mint Ultimate, has become a success, but Oh has not stopped there. Based on his difficulties finding manufacturers for the Mint products, he has launched a new company, Bambify, to help other businesses source good suppliers. Oh is now a mentor to younger entrepreneurs and was a speaker at a recent Start-up Night competition.


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For driven entrepreneurs like these, Carder says it is never about the money. In fact, he sees it as a warning sign if start-up wannabes ask him early on how much they might make or how long it will take before the money comes in. What motivates the true entrepreneur is the achievement of building his or her own project, rather than being successful for the profit of someone else’s company. “They are focused on the competition, and the game. It’s a different level of challenge than just going to work for a corporation … and that’s what they’re drawn to,” says Carder. “They are obsessed with changing something in the market, improving something, or changing the way people do things; or some of them have a social benefit they’re looking to bring from the product or service they’re creating.”

Final Thoughts You’ve been reading this guide (and thank you for sticking with us) because you’re a Schulich student setting out on the path to career success. And even if self-employment is not your goal, thinking like an entrepreneur as Carder describes will improve your game. As we’ve warned, today’s employment scene, even for well-qualified graduates, is not for the faint of heart. Competition is fierce, and you need to channel every ounce of entrepreneurial spirit to build and sell your brand. Above and beyond your daily studies, you will need to devote many, many hours to this journey, following the processes we’ve outlined: self-evaluation to discover your skills and motivations; diligent research on the industries and companies on your wish list; doing the exercises to help you perfect your resume and networking skills; utilizing LinkedIn and other social media to best effect; and tirelessly practising your interview techniques.


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Chapter Seven

The on-campus recruiting system and the invaluable coaching of the CDC team are there to give you the best framework to succeed, but in the end, it’s in your hands. Don’t think for a moment that a great GMAT score and a high GPA are enough to smooth your path to the jobs you want; each of the job-seeker skills we’ve outlined will give you an extra edge as you seek to differentiate yourself and get on those hiring managers’ radar screens. Even if, like Abhishek Nand from the opening chapter, your job search starts with disappointment, be as relentless as the most determined entrepreneur, honing your career skills and doubling your efforts until you succeed. We’ll leave the last words of wisdom to Chris Carder: “Now, more than ever, you need innovative and breakthrough ways to separate yourself from the competition, either as an entrepreneur or as an emerging young professional.” And more than ever, that means constructing your career plan consciously, brick by brick, from the ground up. We’ve attempted to hand you the bricks you need to do the job. Now the rest is up to you.


Copyright © Career Development Centre, 2017 Ultimate Career Guide® Career Development Centre Schulich School of Business, York University Richard E. Waugh Suite, N202 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario Canada M3J 1P3 (416) 736-5080 schulich.yorku.ca Students: career@schulich.yorku.ca Employers: recruit@schulich.yorku.ca All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any process – electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise – without the prior written permission of the copyright owners. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the authors’ rights is appreciated. Design: bhandariplater.com Printed in Canada


Based on the expertise and market knowledge of the Career Development Centre at the Schulich School of Business, the Ultimate Career Guide is an essential tool for helping corporate job seekers navigate their way through the often-intimidating application process. Among the skills you’ll learn are researching the market, communicating your story, writing resumes, networking, deploying social media, and sailing through interviews ­– all following the advice of insiders who know how it’s done.

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