Saturday marked the passing of another successful Backpack to Briefcase conference here at SFU. We had a dynamic and diverse line-up of speakers, an incredibly engaged audience of SFU students and alumni, and a lot of fun!
Did you miss this year’s ultimate one-day career conference? Not a problem! I was live-tweeting the event this year, and am happy to bring you my most tweet-worthy impressions, from all speakers. Enjoy!
conference getting underway. First speaker is Penny Freno from @SFU_Career - how to deal with uncertainty?
Brenda Badgero – networking just talking to people, with the subtext of how they may be able to help and you them.
“moving forward when nothing is certain and everything is possible” you CAN find work with an arts degree – Penny Freno
“I took a job that was 3 weeks long” to start in a new career direction. – Penny Freno
career myth #1 – you are your major
fact: most careers do not specify majors. Employers more concerned skills and experience, plus fact you have degree.
career myth #2: you need a plan. 70% of graduates’ careers significantly influenced by unplanned events
Need a strategy, not a plan. Taking action most important.
myth #3: there is one perfect career for you
career myth #4: your first job sets the stage for your career
careery myth #5: you should choose an occupation that’s in demand.
career myth #6 – an undergraduate degree won’t get you a job.
waiting for a perfect job to materialize doesn’t work. Take action to craft the perfect job for you
Next speakers: John Grant and Candy Ho. 10 Commandments for work search success.
work search cmdmnt #10: check thyself. Discover your strengths.
work search cmdmnt #9: know thyself. What can you contribute to employer? Not other way around.
attitude is key. Often more important than qualifications. Can’t change attitude, but can teach skills
work search cmdmnt #8: expand thy knowledge. Learn from others’ experience. Do INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS
work search cmdmnt #7: explore thy opportunities. It’s about the experience, not necessarily the $
work search cmdmnt #6: acquire thy experience. Be flexible – volunteer, job shadow, join associations/organizations.
John Grant: “if you say there are no prof associations in your career path, you have not looked hard enough”
worksearch cmdmnt #5: practice thy skills. Polish your resume/cl, do mock interviews, but don’t memorize answers.
work search cmdmnt #4: leverage thy tools. Use your network to get message out – SOCIAL MEDIA a big help.
Lots of questions from the audience about social media
work search cmdmnt #3: gather thy promoters. Everyone is a potential ambassador
work search cmdmnt #2: extend thyself. You get out what you put in. Dedicated work search feels like a FT job
work search cmdmnt #1: mobilize thyself. Take action! That’s it for John and Candy
btw, John is from @SFUalumni association, Candy from SFU Student Life.
next presenter: Carey McBeth – Networking Essentials for Today’s Business Professional.
Carey gave lots of handshake demonstrations such as the one above.
Carey McBeth: “people will look down to your shoes.” Make sure they’re polished, business people!
Carey McBeth: “number 1 networking killer is bad breath”
ask yourself: will this company want me representing them? re: appearance
effective intros: use “hello” instead of “hi” and first AND last name.
@linkedin is getting a lot of love today! I see a lot of students going home to start accounts tonight.
small talk: news, sports, weather, tv, fashion, animals, industry, international. Avoid politics/religion!
“gender does not exist in the business arena” – Carey McBeth
the key to any relationship building is never to make the other person feel uncomfortable
be ready for #networking - carry business cards at all times, even to grocery store.
creative (and humourous) networking tip: get a dog! Nature’s greatest networkers – Carey McBeth
“people see you differently as a volunteer” – Carey McBeth on volunteering as a networking opportunity
#networking - never interrupt a conversation between 2 people. 3 or more is ok. Also, “cheese = instant bad breath”
avg length of time a hand written thank you card stays on a desk = 7-10 days. Email = read, delete.
that’s it for Carey. Great, interactive presentation. Time for lunch!
btw, Carey’s twitter account (brand new!) is @careymcbeth
Natashia Cox is the next speaker, topic is @ecocanada and environmental careers.
did you know? 15% of educational backgrounds in environmental sector are social sciences
73% of employers in environmental sector want you to excel in written communicaiton. 59% project management/planning
@ecocanada gives 5 students/year $1000 awards for environmental research. Employers “snatch” award winners up.
@ecocanada also offers a MA and MSc in Environmental Practice, through Royal Roads University. Neat!
really intense music to go with a video about environmental mapping.
#Shazam. Turns out it’s Coulfleurs by M83.
showing the @ecocanada website to explore careers. I’ve used it personally before, and must say it’s a good resource.
common theme today in all sessions: connections are important!
Murray Baker is now presenting. Topic: from cash drain, to cash gain!
once you graduate, credit companies are going to come after you for your money – Murray Baker
“failing to plan is planning to fail” re: finances
get off the junk – swear off junk mail, shop in secret, decline ballots, boycott phone book and other directories
hold off on major credit purchases in first year of your job, i.e. new car – Murray Baker
step 1 – pay off credit card debt. Consolidation loans half the interest of credit cards
but, do NOT pay govt student loans with consolidation loans, as govt loans have interest relief
why start investing in rrsp? Can use to take loans out of, for education, etc. well before retirement.
discussing TFSAs and RRSPs. Advantages to both – taxed at different times.
Murray actually recommends having both a TFSA and RRSP
when young, can afford more “volatile” investments as money not needed for a long time.
claim all possible student deductions on taxes. i.e. govt loan interest, work relocation expenses, donations
low debt vs high debt can mean a difference of $ millions come retirement time
Murray Baker is done. That concludes the conference! Great group of students this year – very engaged
btw, Murray has a book: The Debt-Free Graduate
Want more career-related information via Twitter? Follow SFU Career Services at @SFU_Career.