This year’s Career week took place from March 2nd to March 6th. Throughout these dates, the school was full of activities that provide students with the skills and the contacts for entering the job field they want to be in. I decided to sign up for three workshops. The first one was called “Resumes and Cover letters” with Krista Lambie, who is the accessibility, equity, and career services coordinator (and also a village advisor) at Quest. The second workshop was called “Effective Interviewing” with I-Chant, who is a social sciences tutor specialized in psychology. My final workshop was “Etiquette for networking” with Melanie Koenderman, who is the dean of students.
I must say I’m glad I signed up for all of those workshops and I even wished I had signed up for more (even though it’s hard to have time for everything). I learned a lot and will definitely be more confident when applying for jobs and going to interviews. Before coming to Quest, I had never worked or applied to a job ( I know, weird right?) It’s okay, I’m glad I am here to learn. Given that I had cero experience, I didn’t really have a resume ( or at least a decent one). I had no idea that there were specific templates and styles for our resume that improve the way they are read, looked at and evaluated. Krista, who was in charge of the workshop, did an amazing job explaining how and why the resumes and cover letters are structured in a certain way, which I found interesting because I now know the logic behind it. An example of structuring is classifying your activities with headers such as “ Volunteering”, “Work Experiences” etc. Seems logic, but it’s very easy to leave small details out that at the end do make a difference on how the possible employer perceives you.
Effective interviewing with I-Chang was extremely interesting; I learned about actions that I used to think were “no no’s” in interviewing, such as asking for some time to think about the question that I had just been asked (as long as you do everything confidently it can work out for your own interest and even make you look better). We practiced in pairs things like asking hard questions such as “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “Tell me about a time you resolved conflict.” Even though I was not nervous because it wasn’t a real interview, I still stumbled a little when talking. I- Chang explained how practice is necessary and how you eventually get better if you practice with your friends (there is a lot of work to do before the interview actually takes place).
The last workshop I attended was etiquette for networking with Melanie, this workshop took place on a local restaurant called Spice Root which specializes in Thai cuisine (very delicious). Everyone attending had to dress semi-formal, so as you can imagine we were all looking pretty fancy. Once the workshop started, we learned the basics of etiquette such as holding our glasses with our left hand, so that our right hand is free to shake. We also tried to master the correct way to give and receive business cards. Finally, Melanie gave us ideas for conversation starters in case you find yourself alone in a conference and networking is your main goal.
The final event I attended was a summer job fair in the cafeteria, where local Squamish companies were talking about opportunities in the summer. However, summer jobs were not the only possibility, students could also discuss the chance of doing experiential learning with the companies. Experiential learning is one of the requirements of the Quest program, here is an article about a student’s experiential learning in Africa.
I hope events like these continue to happen at Quest, the small size of the university opens up so many opportunities for the individual student.