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My Take on Interviews and How to Kill Them

I am going to start by saying that interviews are horrible. I believe that they are a terrible way to judge someone’s character and ability to work well. It is understandable that no one would hire a stranger without having met them first, but interviews have become mortifying interrogations that are as stressful as exams. They require tremendous skill and so much practice. That being said, becoming good at interviews is in everyone’s reach as long as time and effort are invested. I have been both lucky and unlucky to have been called into quite a few interviews in the last 4 months, since graduation, and here are a few tips that I would like to share about the process.

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3 Steps to Striving Through Uncertain Times – Living your Questions

The feeling of uncertainty is hard to describe, but we have all felt it. It can be the doubt that inhibits action, the lack of conviction in a particular choice, or the ambiguity surrounding the future. We will all go through phases when everything familiar seems to change – starting a new career, moving to a new city, losing a loved one, starting a new relationship. For some people, graduating from university is one of those times, specifically graduating without any specific plans.

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How to Negotiate a Job Offer – Workshop Overview

Life is full of negotiations and compromises. However, when we think about negotiating a job offer, the stereotypes of greedy, bossy and uncommitted people quickly surface. Many people fear that negotiating a job offer will lead to tension in the workplace, or even cause them to lose an offer*. Consequently, many people shy away from negotiating and from asking for a better work experience for themselves. To help us navigate the complexities of negotiating a job offer, McGill’s Career Planning Services (CaPS) hosted a workshop called “Negotiating Your Academic Job Offer” on March 30th, presented by Dr. Niem Huynh, as part of the Academic Career Week. Here, I summarize the main strategies for negotiating a job offer.

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Grades Matter, but Experience Matters More

Why does it seem that being successful at school means employers will be lining up at our doors to hire us when we graduate? It’s not true! If we have no job experience, we are at the bottom of the hiring pool behind candidates who have already been part of the work force for several years. Retrospectively, if I had worked hard at finding unpaid or even paid experience in my field, instead of just focusing on excelling in the classroom during my studies, I feel as if I would have been better equipped for the job search now. (more…)

“So Good They Can’t Ignore You”

 

Source: Google Ngram

When we look at people who are satisfied with their career, we will often see that they are passionate and love what they do. Successful people may be passionate, but does solely following your passion lead to success? As a young, inexperienced, and slightly restless university graduate who can no longer hide within the structures of student life, this question has been yearning for an answer. (more…)

Let’s Talk: Don’t Suffer the Agony of Job Searching Alone

I have spent the last two months attending counseling on resumes, cover letters and interviews; applying for jobs online, and meeting with employers. I have heard sayings such as “when you don’t have a job, it is your full-time job to search for one,” and “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I figured, it can’t be that difficult, you just put in the time and, like school, you apply where you want, they realize your merit and bam! you’ve got a dream job that you’re passionate about and pays really well… How naïve of me. I have agonised over cover letters and resumes, with each application requiring 5 hours of grueling preparation. I have been faced with rejection time after time, and all of it has had a mental toll on me. Coming out of McGill, I have hardly had to prove my merits because they were there clearly posted on my transcript. I had rarely been rejected for research or VP positions that I had wanted. Now, I am stewing in self-doubt, doubting my credentials and my ability to work, and I am unsure of what kind of work I want to do. In order to snap out of it, I have found that the greatest way to get my spirits up is to relate to others. Here are 3 groups of people that are helping me piece out this time in my life.

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An Alternative

It’s a Saturday afternoon, your hair is curled and pinned back, you smell like garden of rosebushes. You feel good. You’re waiting for your friend to catch a bite to eat at a cute, boho cafe right around the corner from your snug studio on the 4th floor where your sister is probably playing the guitar and plastering nail decals on her toes. Nothing is going wrong, you’re in a happy place. You see your friend parking her car near the curb. Wait, you don’t have a car. She walks in wearing a fitted pencil skirt and grey top, you could almost smell the Downy and iron steam. You don’t have an ironing board, it didn’t fit in the closet so you threw it away. Sitting opposite in our booth, we exchange a few words and she then continues to talk about her recent project abroad and the many experiences and perspectives she came across. You stayed home, helped your sister with her music. We all do it or have done it at some point in our lives… (more…)

Towards Better Communication: Nonviolent Communication

Communication is at the core of all relationships, including work relationships. Most people quit their jobs because of the work environment, not due to the job itself. A recent study by Accenture reports the top reasons for quitting a job in America are disliking one’s boss (31%), a lack of empowerment (31%), internal politics (35%), and lack of recognition (43%).

This phenomenon reflects our collective need for better emotional intelligence and communication skills. One tool that has been useful for me is nonviolence communication (NVC). The “nonviolent” in NVC refers to communicating in a way that does not result in harm. In other words, it means communicating without the use of guilt, humiliation, shame, coercion, threats, and moral judgments, among other things. NVC follows a process of (1) observation, (2) feelings**, (3) needs, and (4) requests. (more…)

How to Get Out of a Rut

Getting out of a rut

For me, having a vision and purpose are the basis for motivation. But when I entered university, I did not know what I was doing or what I was looking for. Quite honestly, attending university was a rite of passage and not a conscientious decision. On top of that, the huge U0 classes, the sense of isolation, and the need to be something made me feel quite lost.

It took me almost two years to get to a better place. Here are some thoughts and resources that were helpful to me when I felt stuck in a spot. Give them a quick read!

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The Magic of a Regular Extracurricular

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When I was on the Varsity Badminton Team, it was difficult to recruiting new talent because students believed that it is a huge time commitment. Personally, I felt being on the team did not take my time away, but rather it saved my time. Unfortunately, I only joined in my third year due to injuries. But my first semester on the team, I achieved my best GPA. And despite no longer playing for the team, currently I continue to train in a private badminton club. Here are the three main reasons why I believe having a regular extracurricular activity makes me more efficient and effective with my time:

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