5 career tips for the clueless student – Interview with successful BCIT Grad Kemp Edmonds

Kemp Edmonds, Sales Engineer and overall awesome guy who works at Hootsuite (@HootKemp), graced us BCIT students with his presence and delivered an insightful presentation full of tips for clueless students.

It was great to hear from a fellow BCIT graduate who achieved professional success so soon after his graduation. But more importantly, he told us how he did it. His insider tips were so useful that I decided to interview him myself to get some concrete, actionable tips all students can use to get that dream job after graduation (or at least get closer to it).

1. Use the ‘student’ status to network and get to know professionals

Being a student in the eyes of a working professional means that you have the “I’m just here to learn” protection, and are not another job-hungry post-grad. It is paramount to recognize that this is a power that all students possess and need to fully leverage. Email people who work in positions you want to get to someday, and ask them for career advice. Actually apply their advice and mine them for more information. Follow up with them and show how you are actually applying their advice, and they will remember you the next time an opening comes up!

2. Learn about what you want from life, and get work experience in that field

 

 

One of the most common career challenges people face is not knowing what they want from life. Take the time to experiment and get to know your strengths, weaknesses, and what makes you happy. If you can get paid to use your strengths and do something that makes you happy, do it!

3. Teach yourself when school doesn’t cut it

Self-learning should be an ongoing process, and you should expect that school will not teach you everything you need to know. Absolutely great ways I personally teach myself outside of school are through Ted Talks and the Khan Academy for business topics. Forbes.com is another great resource. But a tangible example of self-learning is to just start up a blog and try stuff out with it! You can easily put ‘Familiar with WordPress/Blogger’ on your resume, and hey, that’s an in-demand skill.

4. Say ‘yes’ to opportunities that come up through friends. Eg. “Hey I’m going to this thing … want to come with?”

You will not only have the best adventures if you say yes to this question, but you will get to know a lot of different people and heck, maybe even learn a skill or two. Best of all, saying yes to spontaneous questions like this show that you are an open-minded person who fits into lots of different scenarios, and people might be more willing to ask you to do things/refer you to other people 🙂

5. Create content and get it published.

Start a blog, tweet, write for the local newspaper, and get your name published! Or even better, do some preliminary project work for some companies you really want to work at, and contact them with the work you did – maybe land yourself an internship with your initiative! It’s already tough to stand out from your colleagues with the exact same education as you. Creating content differentiates you from the crowd, and shows that you are an engaged individual who is curious about what’s happening around you.

Some food for thought: There are few who would say formalized post-secondary education is a bad idea, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to think about why we do what we do every once in a while. I encourage you to watch this video and redefine education 🙂

Why I Hate School But Love Education || Spoken Word (Youtube)

Good luck!

Shiv 🙂

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Paris for Students – Where to eat (for cheap)

Cheap eats in Paris

A typical meal out at a nice French restaurant will cost around 15€. This is pretty steep. But if you really want that typical French restaurant experience..

1. I recommend eating lunch out and staying in for dinner – lunch menus are generally cheaper than dinner. Plus it is usually less crowded!

2. Eating in the restaurant will cost more than getting things to go, too – unlike in North America, Parisian restaurants charge a premium for people to eat in, even in places like MacDonald’s. I think it makes sense, since there is limited space in the city but this is a good-to-know fact so you don’t get mad when you see the price difference.

FYI

Vous allez…(Are you going to)
Manger sur place – Eat here?
Prendre à porter – Take it to go?

3. My friend took me to the Vietnamese district around Place d’Italie (Metro stop: Place d’Italie, Line 5,6 and 7), on Avenue d’Ivry, which you get to after walking down Avenue de Choisy and passing the Parc de Choisy. If you are looking for an amazing pho place, I highly recommend Le Lotus on Avenue d’Ivry. A bowl of pho will be around 8€. And in case you were looking for some hard-to-find ingredients there are also a lot of Asian grocery stores in the the area.

Yummy beef noodle soup!

4. I’ve heard 13e arrondissement is China Town, but I never got around to exploring the neighbourhood. It’s the area around Place d’Italie, but it seemed more like a mini-Vietnam than a Chinatown.

Bonus Tangent!

French people don’t seem to know the difference between types of Asian people yet, so you see a lot of ‘Asian’ restaurants which are, upon closer inspection, not Chinese but Vietnamese. I’m not complaining because I love Vietnamese food, but after growing up in Vancouver, a very Asian influenced city, I know and appreciate the difference between Asian foods and don’t like to see them grouped together: Sushi ≠ Korean BBQ ≠ Pho ≠ Pad Thai ≠ Chow Mein, and should therefore NOT be generalized.

6. And if you’re starving near the Louvre, get some ramen at the mini-mini Japanese district on Rue Sainte-Anne (Metro stop: Pyramides, Line 7 and 14). I went to Sapporo Ramen, and it wasn’t too bad but it definitely wasn’t as good as anything I could get in Vancouver. Not bad for around 9€ though.

There’s usually a line going around the corner, but it goes fast!

7. If Asian food’s not your thing, shawarma/donair and crepe places are almost everywhere.

Oh crepe nutella, how I miss you so.

8. And finally, if you want French baked goods on the go, the popular bakery franchises that sell baguette sandwiches are Paul, Brioche d’Oree, and Pomme de Pain and they are always decently priced – around 4€ for a baguette sandwich. If you wanna be spectacularly French, eat that baguette while on the Metro gawking at gorgeous Parisians – t’es trop cool.

Went to this one at Charles de Gaulle everytime I got back from a weekend trip. Good sandwiches. Good times.

 

Bonus tangent: A little known fact: All European students can get into most museums in France for free! It worked with a one year international HEC Paris student card, anyway 🙂 You’ll read all over the internet that all the museums are free on the first Sunday of every month, but they will also be VERY crowded – and with a student discount, museums are usually between 5-15 euros. So skip the crowds and enjoy them properly!

Happy eating!

Shiv 🙂

Chronicles of a jobless student III

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A lot has happened since my last post. So much that I believe A NUMBERED SEQUENCE is in order:

(by chronological order)

1. I quit working at the Mom and Pop breakfast diner for the primary reason that the second impression of my boss did not match the first impression, and I could no longer work under someone who treats employees that badly. I am so glad I quit.

2. I picked up a 2nd part time job as a dishwasher at this popular piano bar in a nearby town. I’ve dishwashed in high school before. The work itself sucks – imagine scrubbing difficult pots and pans for 5-9 hours in a row in an industrial sink, up to your elbows in sludge – but the people are actually really nice, very patient with newcomers, and really funny. They could not be more different from the upstanding (yet strict and insulting) religious bosses at my old place – as soon as I entered the kitchen on my first day, I heard someone scream at someone else (jokingly) to suck on a nasty appendage, and they play the metal rock music radio station (which plays a lot of songs I like, and a lot of songs I am beginning to like!). I also get free fancy food 🙂 So it’s about as good as dish washing gets.

3. I picked up another part time job as a waitress at a Vietnamese classy restaurant in my town. And to get this job, I had to apply to it twice (I gave them my resume in early May, and then 2 weeks later I see that they posted a ‘Help Wanted’ ad on craigslist. So I bear down on them with another resume. And within a couple of days, I get an interview with the manager who is refreshingly honest and business professional, who explained she didn’t give me a call at first because I am not Vietnamese (darn), and being Vietnamese would make it easier for her to train me. I said I am willing to learn, I have some experience in Vietnamese cuisine (my best friend is Vietnamese, and it pays off!), and she in turn said that I seem smart, willing to learn and pretty (apparently this is another requirement for waitresses) so she is willing to give me a chance. I will be starting next week 🙂 And I’ve pretty much memorized the menu. Much easier to memorize than the breakfast place’s menu, because I think I’m more interested in Vietnamese cuisine 🙂 eheh

4. I got a call for an interview at a retail store you have probably heard of: Old Navy. I submitted my resume during a general online blast, and let me tell ya, the online blast of probably 100+ resumes did NOTHING but get me one phone call from Old Navy. My interview with the manager went really well, and he told me he would definitely recommend me onto the next stage of the hiring process: the interview with his manager. Great, right? That was about…6 days ago, and I plan on being pushy and giving them a call tomorrow to see what’s up. It’s a seasonal position selling clothes and being a cashier…and somehow, I think retail is much less stressful than restaurant jobs just because people who are shopping usually aren’t hungry, cranky, drunk and/or pressed for time.

5. I am getting a super small salary from my ‘unpaid’ internship because my internship supervisor likes what I am doing with the Twitter accounts! YES! I knew signing up on Twitter in February would pay off. I freaking love that site to bits. (Follow me @ShivaniMukerji SHAMELESS PROMOTION FTW or my professional yet awesome Twitter @studygoabroad you know you are curious.) And the internship is seriously paying off in about a million ways completely unrelated to money: it keeps me sane while I work blue collar jobs, it keeps me inspired to stick with my career path, I have gained great new contacts and insight into the industry of my dreams, tourism, and the work itself is directly beneficial to me! I look up sites, blogs, articles, flickr accounts, vlogs and anything else that would inspire students to STUDY AND GO ABROAD. As a result, I have many many many links to my inspiration and possible career paths I can take after I graduate.

6. I got rejected from the one ‘real’ job that I had gone through the interview process for. I applied to the general database of youth resumes for the Canadian Government, and got shortlisted for a position as a Youth Services Officer. After being shortlisted, I had to confirm I was still interested, give a written assessment, submit 2 references, be cleared by security, and undergo a conference call interview. All that effort down the drain. Ah well. I suppose blue collar jobs are now my next best option.

So there you have it. It turned out that what my stepmother said about jobs came true; no offers, and then all of a sudden you get multiple offers. I sincerely hope I get the Old Navy job so I can quit the other two, although they do have their good points. Mostly, I’ll be sad to say goodbye to the free food.

Oh! And I was pleasantly surprised to hear from my dad that my prospects of being hired after I graduate is low. I mean, I already knew that because they tell us this all the time at UBC, but hearing it from his mouth was a relief because it seemed like he didn’t believe the job market was as tough as it is until he saw a CBC report on it. Now, it’s OFFICIAL that it is ridiculously difficult to get hired after you graduate! HURRAH!

My plan on beating the market is to entirely escape it, take my own advice and go work abroad. I’ll teach English, be an Au Pair, or work in hostels as long as I can get opportunities to travel. Plus, any international experience will be relevant to my long term career plan.

On that note, I leave you with the latest thing I am excited about: VANCOUVER FOOD TOUR IS HIRING FOOD TOUR GUIDES. Could you imagine how ecstatic I would be if I were PAID TO LEAD GROUPS OF HUNGRY PEOPLE TO THE BEST SPOTS TO EAT IN VANCOUVER? YEAH.

I am also excited about this song. It plays all the time in the back kitchen of the restaurant I dish wash at, and I freaking love it. It is so damn gritty, has a great wailing vocalist, and reminds me of a grungy, bad-ass astronaut.

I’m now signing off! I hope my jobless chronicles inspire my fellow INTELLIGENT, HARD WORKING and QUALIFIED post-secondary students with a limited number of opportunities. The biggest lessons I’ve learnt are to keep applying, don’t be afraid to drop a job for a better one, keep searching for better opportunities, and above all, be as flexible as an acrobatic rubber band. Jack of all trades, baby!

Oyasumi!

Shiv 🙂

Top 5 ways I procrastinate. Short answer: I blog.

1. Write new blog posts

It really is my new way of procrastinating! And perhaps that leads you to thinking….

WHY DO YOU BLOG ANYWAY, SHIV?

I started blogging because I’ve been told successful marketers market themselves through as many channels as possible: people/networking, social media platforms, and…I don’t know, wearing a sandwich board declaring “I’M FOR HIRE! I’M EAGER, EVEN IF I’M NOT QUALIFIED! I’M NOT STUPID! HIRE MEEEEE”

Oh! It strikes me another way to advertise yourself is by dressing well. I don’t do that. I suppose that’s the next step. But the sandwich board seems much more direct 🙂

But yes. I started blogging because someone sort of told me to. But the more I post, the more I like it! I have a lot of stupid things that float through my head that make me and my friends laugh, so why not make a log of them? I asked my roommate what stops her from blogging, and she said she doesn’t think anyone will read it. I don’t think anyone will read mine either, but I do it anyway. There are other benefits of blogging that don’t include garnering a following. For example, I get to practice writing freestyle!

And by blogging, I’ve also started reading other people’s blogs, which has sort of led me to the discovery of fun, exciting career paths I would love to follow.

BONUS TANGENT!

Careers I would LOVE that I have discovered through blogging:

1. FOOD TOUR LEADER – Lead tourists around a city, take them into restaurants, order best dishes at restaurant, walk out, and repeat. Discovered while surfing: website: http://vancouverfoodtour.com/

2. FOOD BLOGGER – Blog about food adventures. I’m going to do this anyway, but it would be great if I could make it my life and maybe even get paid for it like Mijune of http://followmefoodie.com

3. PROFESSIONAL BACKPACKER – I idolize people who get paid for travel writing, like the authors of Lonely Planet, or the guy(s?) who maintain the successful travel blog http://artofbackpacking.com/ . I especially find the honest post about how he left the comfy corporate job to start travelling. It seems like a dilemma I would face, but maybe if I anticipate it, I can avoid it?

But I digress. To continue my list of things I do to procrastinate:

2. Open fridge. Close fridge. Open fridge again. Repeat until something catches my eye.

3. Groom – paint nails, take super long showers, give myself facials.

4. Hop around twitter

Stupid twitter. I follow so many interesting people who post interesting links, I could do this for hours. The strangest place I ended up on a twitter-hop was the Skittles candy website (http://www.skittles.com/) – it is SO TRIPPY but it’s a really unique blog. I admire it’s layout, and it’s courage of being so weird.

BONUS TANGENT 2

Does anyone else notice that ‘weird’ is in? Lady Gaga is weird, Rihanna is trying to be weird, a lot of commercials targeting youth are weird (Eg. Muchmusic’s ad for “Pretty Little Liars,” the Virgin Mobile ads, Jack in the Box commercials, the Skittles commercials). Weird is in, apparently.

5. Read manga/Watch anime

I took to this habit last year, in my 2nd year of undergrad. Reacting to the trauma of exams, one of my best friends started watching Sailor Moon on youtube. I started doing this, but then they switched the voice actor of Sailor Moon in some season. After the switch, I couldn’t stand watching the episodes in English, so I started watching the original Japanese – and MY MIND WAS BLOWN. The voice actors were so much more expressive, the dialogue was deeper, the plots were darker and more complex, and I began picking up some Japanese words.

So I thought there must be something to this Japanese cartoon thing. And my love of anime began 🙂 I watched Zero no Tsukaima on the recommendation of my roommate, who dabbles in anime. It’s light, girly, and doesn’t make you think too hard.Then I discovered the guys in my dormitory loved the anime Bleach, and from there I got addicted. Bleach is my love, and if you want to get into an anime, I would completely recommend it. It’s sort of dark, has a complex plot with interesting and believable characters, and a lot of intense fight scenes.

Ending note – PROCRASTINATION IS BAD!

And I completely see that this post is completely contradictory to my ‘Trick yourself into studying post.” But I’m human, I study as hard as I can, and then I procrastinate the rest of the time.

And am I the only one who things that EVERYTHING becomes 10000x more fun when you are supposed to be studying? Food tastes better, hanging with your friends is more fun, and working out is more satisfying. It makes procrastinating that much more tempting. Curse you, procrastination!

Good luck fighting against procrastination!

-Shiv 🙂

5 ‘Unconventional’ study tips that trick you into studying

Exams suck your soul. It’s a fact of life. And studying gets even harder when your subjects are boring, and summer is right around the corner – proof being the GORGEOUS weather outside.

But keep slugging through it! Freedom tastes even sweeter after trying your best at exams.

Here are some tips I actually use to ‘trick’ myself into studying.

1) Keep your homework open on your desk before you go to bed.

This way, it will be the first thing you see when you wake up, and it’s pretty hard to ignore. As an extremely lazy person when it comes to studying, laying out your notes and textbooks ahead of time also rid the obstacle of ‘setting up’ for a long study session, which may deter you from studying. Even if you don’t jump right into your pre-prepared layout, you’ll feel guilty just looking at it….and will be too lazy to put it away. Yes, I can be that lazy.

2) Treat yourself to tea at the beginning and end of study sessions.

It serves as a reward before diving the books, and calms you down, which helps you concentrate. In fact, studies show that drinking black tea relieve stress (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5405686.stm) and other studies prove that green tea does the same, and is healthy for you to boot (http://www.ehow.com/how_4747605_whether-green-tea-relieves-stress.html). By marking the end of the of a study session with tea as well, you can really take your time enjoying the flavours – it will be some of the best tea you ever have.

3) When in doubt, haul your butt to the silent library.

Seeing people around you studying really motivates me into working, so they don’t see how much of a slacker I am. But be warned, this can be a double-edged sword: if you choose the wrong library, you could be distracted by other people’s conversations, the books in the library, or your own friends passing by. That’s why when I am being particularly lazy, I don’t take the chance and go to the strict, silent sections of the libraries.

4) Take brain breaks – but don’t spend them looking at a screen.

When I’m not under pressure, I can study for a max of 50 minutes. So every 50 minutes, I take a brain break – usually to stare out the window, let my mind wander, and play a good song (if it’s really good, then you have to dance. Obvs.) It’s especially important that you don’t spend your brain break looking at a screen, because you’ll most likely start off innocently checking your email and end up on Facebook for hours. Whenever I spend my brain breaks away from screens though, they never last a very long time, and they are still refreshing. I also heard on the radio (100.5 the Peak) that moving for 1 minute every hour improves your overall fitness.

5) Play sad, classical songs.

In my Consumer Behaviour class, we learned that people concentrate better when they listen to sad music rather than happy music. I actually did this before learning this fact in class because I don’t enjoy studying, so sad music seems like an appropriate way to express my feelings. I also remember from a high school Physics class that Classical music is the only genre of music that makes people produce the ‘productive’ brainwaves that help you concentrate. From this class, I also learned that it is not recommended that students study while watching TV since that makes them produce the ‘sleep-time’ brainwaves, and every other genre besides classical makes people produce the ‘action’ brainwaves that make you want to dance, go out with friends, and basically do anything but concentrate. So if your study playlist makes you want to get up and dance, it might be time for a change.

Happy Studying!

– Shiv 🙂

BONUS TANGENT! Shiv’s study song recommendations.

Check them out if you want some sad, classical songs.

  • Groove Armada – Edge Hill
  • Vivaldi – Winter
  • Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata
  • Nothing Can be Explained (instrumental) – Bleach Soundtrack
  • Joe Hisaishi – Princess Mononoke Symphonic Suite
  • Joe Hisaishi – Hana Bi. I really love this song! And Joe Hisaishi is great classical music, it’s a good place to start if you don’t like Classical music (like me). The composer, Joe Hisaishi, does soundtracks for animated movies, so his songs are shorter and are more interesting than most classical. Check him out!


Shiv debuts on the blogging platform!

My soundtrack as I type my first EVAR blog post is….

And there’s a good reason why I’m listening to French pop music: I am going to study abroad at the dreamy HEC Paris in September! While I am away having a fabulous, face-melting, world-changing and overall AMAZING time in France, I wanted to log my adventures in well…an online log.

ET VOILA LE DEBUT DE MON BLOG! LE RAISON-D’ETRE DE MON BLOG!

And for those who do not understand French…there are 4 English crossover words in there, I’m sure you’ll figure it out. 😛

Questions answered in the upcoming posts include………….

1) What’s up with the weird blog name, iBark iBite?

2) Who the heck are you anyway, Shiv?

And more importantly..

3) Why should I read your blog?

So please be patient as I figure all this shizz out, I plan to answer all those questions very soon. But for now, I will take my leave.

Until next time!

Shiv 🙂