5 things I wish I knew in University

I spoke at Simon Fraser University's 'Career in Communications' night, and this is the advice I gave third year Communications students about getting hired! 

1) Network early. And network often.

· A boss once told me, “Your dream job will never be on Craigslist.” And if your dream job is on Craigslist, you’re going to have to outshine hundreds of people to get hired.

· Find companies you would want to work for and message your future boss. When a job posting comes up, you’ve already set yourself apart. 


· Say yes to every local networking event (Vancity Business Babes, Ace Class, Rising Tide and YYC Girl Gang are a few of my faves) and opportunity to collab. Follow and engage with Instagram accounts and grow your community. 

· A communications coordinator who I once hired met me at a Christmas party, asked for my card, and the next day she wrote me a letter (and sent her resume) saying she wanted to work for free as an intern. Her drive set her apart, and we hired her. 

· If I were to hire someone today, first I would think about the candidates I know and I would ask around if anyone could recommend anyone. 

 · Networking tip: when you meet people, really listen to them and their stories first. Real networking is about growing connections - maybe one day you’ll be able to help or refer each other, maybe not, but that’s not the only reason to network. 

2) Don’t be afraid to start small

· Do not underestimate the power of starting small in an organization if there is growth and potential in the company. The amount you’ll learn in a company you’re passionate about will be so much more than a dull job with a higher title/pay.

· Take on clients for free if you have to. Build a case study and add it to your website. Ask your clients for testimonials, and share that testimonial as much as you can. 


3) Your social media matters.

· Your next future boss will search your social media profiles and Google you.

· If you don’t know how to market yourself, why would you know how to market a company?

· Stand out from your peers. Have a blog, a link, an online portfolio – be multitalented. It’s not enough anymore to just know how to write and pass classes. Companies want to hire graduates who understand photography, web design, Adobe software. Always keep learning and I promise you'll stand out. 

4) Work for a company with a reputable name and gain experience in that company

· I don’t know – or have the time to know – what ‘JAS Communications’ is and why you were the marketing manger there. Is it your sister's firm with 2 staff? 

· I once saw my boss looking over a HUGE stack of resumes. I asked him how the heck he was going to decide who to interview? He said, “I scan for company names and places I recognize. I don’t have time to look into what these smaller companies are.” Slightly harsh, but I see why he did that. 

Side tip: make your resume stand out. Use a Canva layout if you don’t have Adobe skills, but don’t just use a word doc template. Recruiters get hundreds of resumes, give them a reason to give yours a chance. 


5) Know how to act in an office.

· It’s a lot about fitting in as well. It’s the airplane test – if you can't stand to be beside someone on an airplane, you have to spend more than 8 hours a day with them 5 days a week. You spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your family. If you have the opportunity to pick cool people, it makes work so much easier. 

· I would way rather hire someone I could get along with and enjoy working with than someone who is just technically skilled and a drag to be around. So, when you go into the interview, try to be yourself and show a bit of your personality. 


Anything else you wish you could tell yourself in university?! Leave a comment!