How do you prepare for launching a career? We talked to six alumni – from newbie graduates to established professionals – about how to find work, grow your network, and prep for interviews.
Gain experience through apprenticeships
When Vera Sudakova (BA’20 – English Language & Literature) graduated in May 2020, all her plans crumbled. “I had plans to move to Montreal post-graduation and look for a job, and I had no idea if that could still be possible. It felt like the future I had been preparing for just fell apart.”
Stuck at home during the pandemic, Vera did what we all did: watched Netflix. On Dragons Den, she discovered an app that connects businesses with apprentices willing to work for free and immediately signed up to start gaining experience. “Over the summer, I wrote blogs and audited Google ads for a breast cancer charity, helped a Spanish language school in the U.S. launch a new online course, and wrote articles about real estate for a finance firm.” At the end of her apprenticeships, Vera was offered two positions. “That’s how I got hired as a Content Manager at Chelle Service Capital Inc.”
“It’s quite an unusual way to find your first job, but then again, we were in a very unusual year.”
“By connecting the skills I learned in my studies to my work experience, I was able to demonstrate that I have both the practical knowledge needed for my role and the transferable skills every Arts student has that make us great employees.”
Focus on what you can control
Judith emphasizes focusing on what you can control and doing something you can get passionate about. She shares that the easiest way to feel like we’re “involved in something more meaningful” than ourselves is by volunteering.
“Keep it all in perspective, but find somebody that can coach and support you, and hold you accountable.”
Grow your network with virtual coffees
Ultimately, Alycia made a connection through her past Arts Co-op supervisor to her current role as communications coordinator at UBC.
“Be confident in your talents and capabilities and ask for help when you need it.”
Recognize the value of having a mentor
Showcase your emotional intelligence
For interviews, Luigi says it’s important to showcase your emotional intelligence: where you’ve shown leadership, what you’re interested in, and how well you can carry a conversation. “People want to work with not only people they can get along with, but with solution-oriented individuals,” Luigi says.
“A big part of growing your network is simply about having an open mind with a desire to meet new people, learn their interests, and get involved in unique experiences.”
Slow down and find your comfort zone in interviews
Sherilyn still has room for improvement. “I tend to rush and speak faster when I am nervous.” Recognizing this opportunity for growth, she’s going to try to pace herself and speak slowly, knowing: “It’s okay to give yourself a few seconds to collect your thoughts then begin talking.”