Friday, July 23, 2010

Advice from a consultant for new grads looking for a job

My brother and all his friends just graduated, so I'm getting a lot of questions from them about looking for a job. I'm feeling a bit of pressure to give the right advice. I sent them to my personal website's career page, I gave them some tips... but it never seems to be enough for them. Maybe they're too lazy to read so much or maybe I'm just getting rusty because I graduated a year ago. I've had my own experiences with looking for a job. It took me about 5 months to find one and boy was I busy running around to coffees, career fairs, networking events, conferences, etc.

So I recently asked a professional organization I have had good experiences with, ITO 2.0, to write to me any advice they had for new grads. Below is what Karen Blair, one of the consultants, wrote. Hopefully you will find it useful. Good luck in your job search and feel free to comment on this post!

- Go to the college/university they graduated from because most of them have a career services department to help students/alumni with their job search.

- Colleges/universities have job fairs though you may have to be a student or alumni to attend; check if the participating employers are listed on the website because it means that these companies are willing to hire people with minimal experience. The client could then approach the company directly at a later date and/or keep an eye on their website for job postings.

- Many large companies have a dedicated recruiter on their HR team who is responsible for "university relations" which means they develop relationships with the colleges/universities, participate in various events like job fairs, information sessions, etc. I did this for Dell. The schools also have events throughout the years that employers participate in, e.g. industry panel on resume/interview preparation & job search strategies (I participated on one at Carleton in January). Employers that participate in these events are interested in hiring new grads. I tell clients to research and/or call the companies they are interested in and ask if they hire new grads or if they have a recruiter who does "university relations" on behalf of the company. They may not be able to speak with the recruiter however they will at least know that the organization hires people with minimal experience and can send in their resume.

- Research the top employers in Canada/Ontario/Ottawa or wherever the client wants to find work. The information about the employer may say if they hire new grads or minimum level of experience required, e.g.

- Below are some other links I provide: internships for new grads job website for new grads OCRI's TalentBridge program

GirlGeek Dinners Ottawa - May 2010: OpenAgile with Ellen Grove

This is a guest post written by CU-WISE Officer Laura Mutu.

I heard about the Girl Geek Dinners during the school year from a few ladies involved with the WISE Carleton group. I found the meetings pretty neat, so I decided to attend someday.

Having just finished my 3rd year of Communications Engineering, I have been busy keeping up withschool work and such. Thus, I found myself at work in May receiving yet another Girl Geek Dinner notification. And yet again, I went to check my calendar full of hope. And yay!!

I could actually attend the next meeting on OpenAgile by Elen Grove. That sounded pretty good especially since I had heard a few things about Agile, and this seemed like a great opportunity to put the bits and pieces together.

I marked the date and noticing the the student offer was still on, I applied right away. Having received my confirmation, I remained enthusiastic while waiting impatiently for the day of the event to arrive.

Fortunately, on one hand, time had gone away pretty fast until the day of the event came. Unfortunately on the other hand, none of the CU-WISE girls could show up.

Arriving at the Johnny Farina place downtown, I found an open and welcoming group which made me more enthusiastic. Then, I picked a seating spot at random, finally ending up next to a lady I have met previously through my extra-curricular activities. It was nice to see a known face, and even nicer to meet new ones, I found all participants to be really great and I appreciated all the different topics touched upon in the conversations, which varied from nutrition to sports.

And... the speaker’s time! I found the presentation engaging through all the activities we had going, and the speaker interactive as she was guiding us thorough the agile technique.
More details on the Agile technique itself discussed during the meeting:

After the presentation, there were quite a few prizes given out. So, if the presenters or the sheer bonding experience don’t motivate you to come to one of the meetings, the prizes sure should!

In the end, we spent some more time networking and eating some good food, before heading out. Just to make my day complete, ‘my’ bus had a stop right in front of the restaurant.

I greatly enjoyed my time and recommend you to attend one of the meetings or join a lady attending :).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Building Self Confidence II - Tips from CRA-W Grad Cohort 2010

Further to my previous post about the 2010 CRA-W Grad Cohort, here is a summary of an excellent session on building self confidence led by Prof. Mary Jane Irwin.

Prof. Irwin states that self confidence can be learned and built on. She offers 10 tips on how to do this:

1) Admit the problem
- Take stock
- Realise that noone is perfect
- Have faith in yourself

2) Find support
- Find someone "safe"
This preferably should be some person who you can talk to freely and who will not judge you in the future based on some momentary lapses of confidence
- Surround yourself with nurturing friends
If these friends are outside the tech. area, then it's even better. This allows you to maintain the right perspective on your problems.
- Be sure to be there to support others

3) Establish reachable goals
- Make a list of things that will get you moving
- Identify the first small step needed to accomplish each item and have a plan for making that first step

4) RECOGNISE your successes

5) Take a break
- Exercise regularly, have a nice meal, go shopping, pamper yourself - make time to refresh yourself and reflect

6) Beware of the "triple low"
- Be prepared to recognise the times when you're faced with a triple whammy i.e. challenges coming from multiple areas of life. Don't let yourself get too down.

7) Fake it till you make it
Fake self confidence by:
- Speaking slowly and clearly
- Standing tall, making eye contact
- Accepting greetings and compliments gracefully
By performing confident actions, you will feel more positive and confident internally.

8) Be extra prepared
- Study hard
- Prepare slides for that important meeting
Go above and beyond the requirements of the task - preparation will help your confidence.

9) Take a risk a day
Don't be afraid to push yourself. Pushing your boundaries will make you better prepared for and more receptive to the surprises thrown your way.

10) Stick to your principles
- Live the Golden Rule
- Live your passion
- Pay it forward

Remember to beware the Imposter Syndrome, where you convince yourself that you do not deserve something.

For some self-assessment tools on building confidence, you can visit

I would love to hear feedback on which of these strategies you have used and how, as well as any other tips that have worked for you.