Tag Archives: SFU

SFU’s Backpack to Briefcase Conference

One amazing situation/question passed on by our audience at SFU’s Backpack to Briefcase Conference last Saturday: In this competitive labour market, where everyone is so driven, so talented, so educated, and so willing to show s/he has the skills and passion to do the job, how do we, as candidates, distinguish ourselves, how do we find that unique side we all supposedly have?SFU-B2B

Theodore Roosevelt’s words, “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there” stand strong when I think about this. We would all benefit from each others’ thoughts on this topic, so I consider the front open to answers and comments. As far as I’m concerned, there are not two people alike, not even after a so called “superficial” 5 minutes conversation. We’re usually not doing a good enough job at getting to know ourselves, and that doesn’t stop at youth or digital gen, but applies to all of us, thus we need help from others (anyone who can be completely honest will do) and we need to access/use available personality tests, such as MBTI, Personality Dimensions etc., to run a comprehensive research on ourselves. We need to start with understanding ourselves, this comes first. When we have a chance to talk to prospective employers at an event, they will see certain traits in us right away (surveys say it’s a game of seconds). We need to be able to help them see the rest of our abilities and soft skills, and we need to be able to convey that in a certain way, we need to become good at displaying it. Not that we should fake it, but do you recall any memories of imagining yourself at this event or party, walking elegant, talking with confidence, smiling, and all that in only a few seconds of keeping your eyes closed? Yeah, that kind of day dreaming.

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Then reality kicks in, and at the same event we have just imagined ourselves shining, we stumble in things, or people, or just mumble what was supposed to be a glorious speech. When we look back, we think “gosh, I should’ve said that!” Something’s missing, eh? Yes, you’ve got it, it’s called practice. A gold medal doesn’t come without hard work and lots of perspiration, so imagine the job you dream of is your gold medal. Fight for it. Think about your story. Have it ready. Say it with confidence. One of the students told me he kept a job along to pay for his own studies and I could see the sparkle in his eyes, he was proud of what he has achieved. I liked that. So use your story, make it beautiful, tell your friends about it, become a natural at taking about it. A short and compelling story, told from your heart. That is what will differentiate you from others. People remember stories, and while not all of us can be a good story teller – here’s the good news – most of us have improved by working at it. Once you became good at it – you may add this to your soft skills set.
Good luck!

Battle with Life

Here is something that never ceases to amaze me: the power we find in others’ eagerness to get things done. No matter what. I know many people who are so beautiful just because they never give up. They have a plan to follow. They have another test to pass. They have another step to take. It’s a constant battle we fight with life. Sometimes we think it’s a game, a game where we try to win, only that participation is not optional. I believe it was Shakespeare who said it, wasn’t it? Life is a battlefield, therefore you need to fight to earn the privilege of living it.Magdalena 5 I had the opportunity to speak at SFU this past Saturday. To a large group of new Canadians, and some of them not so new anymore. Their questions, their willingness, their keenness stayed with me for hours. I felt energized and empowered by these people’s humble desire to regain their lost professional identity. Even if the ability to help is little, it felt good to be there to listen, to try to understand, and to leave the venue thinking of possible new solutions. Of what could be implemented. Of how can we become a better home for them. Of how could we use this tremendous array of skills they bring to their new home. Possibilities. They will never fit in a box.

Even if there is much that has been done, there also is so much room for improvement.