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 🙂

Paris for Students – Where to windowshop like a champ

Paris is by no means a cheap city, but that doesn’t mean that students on a budget should miss out on the best the city has to offer.

Best places to window shop

1. Le Marais (Metro stop: Saint Paul, Line 1)

It’s classified as the Jewish/Gay/Hipster part of Paris, but I didn’t really see how it was Jewish or Gay. It just seemed exceedingly cool. Lots of vintage shops selling real fur coats for 1000s of euros, as well as super cute trinket stores, designer jewelery, and unique restaurants. All at almost affordable prices (if you are patient enough to hunt for hours).

2. Saint Germain des Pres (Metro stop: Saint Germain des Pres, Line 4)

This is one of the most expensive places to be in Paris. You’ll find designer stores mixed with some cool boutiques, and it’s about a 10 minute walk from Napoleon’s tomb (very worth seeing, god that guy was an egomaniac) and the Invalides.

3. 1er arrondissement – Around le Teatre du Palais Royal (Metro stop: Palais Royal/Musee du Louvre, Line 1 & 7)

The best lesson my French teacher ever taught was how to walk around le Teatre du Palais Royal (The Theatre of the Royal Palace). You get out from the metro at Rue de Richelieu and walk up it, away from Rue de Rivoli and towards the Jardin du Palais Royal. The garden is lined with the most expensive stores I may have seen in my life, but the window displays are breathtaking. A promenade around the garden, and if you exit from the top (near Rue de la Feuillade), you will find very cool restaurants completely out of price range, mixed with charming toy stores, bookshops and beautiful jewelry & craft stores.

Happy windowshopping!

Shiv 🙂

Day 40: How to be a French student

It’s been 2 months since I’ve been on exchange at HEC Paris, and needless to say, French students are very different from Canadian students. So, without further ado:

Here’s how YOU TOO can be French – in the classroom!

  1. Don’t show up to class on time – there is always a 5-10 minute grace period of people arriving to class on time, and the professor’s need that extra time too to prepare for class. They don’t mind if you’re late, since they may be late too.
  2. Take an extra long coffee break – Sure, it’s supposed to only be 5 minutes long, but no one returns to the classroom for at least 10-15 minutes. You need time to drink a coffee and chat with your friends so your brain can keep working for another 1.5 hours.
  3. Don’t be surprised if participation is worth 30% of your mark, but your professor barely leaves space for you to get a word in. Participation is just another word for attendance. And on that note…
  4. Always always go to class, and do your homework. There isn’t even that much to do compared to the workload at Canadian universities, so you may as well take the time to do it.
  5. If you do address the professor, do so formally. French professors are happy to talk to students, but don’t expect them to meet you outside of class. If you have any questions about courses, email them or talk to them after class.
  6. Do not eat, sleep or even slouch during class. You need to take notes once in a while, understand the main concepts and do well on the assignments and exams and in order to do that, you need to be awake and at least look like you are listening.
  7. Don’t clap after presentations. No one claps in the classroom in France! When your peers give a presentation, the professor will thank them at them at the end and they go to their seat. And no one claps for the professor on the last day of classes, either.
  8. And finally, dress up for class. You are in France after all!

A small disclaimer: I have only seen one French university and spoken to French students about how students handle themselves in the classroom, so this list doesn’t necessarily hold true at every single French university. I didn’t think there would be so many differences between Canadian and French schools, but the culture and the structure are very different and fascinating. Gotta love culture shock!

Amusedly yours,

Shiv 🙂