Meet the Alumni

I’ve been really busy this semester.

This is the second semester for me as a digital media marketing student, which means, in my program, I need to find a co-op or internship opportunity for my third semester. After I graduate, I’ll look for formal job opportunities. I had no prior experience in marketing or working in Canada before that. It is all very new, strange, and difficult for me. During the first semester I just thought of myself as a student — just studying and completing my assignments and exams. But at the end of the first semester, I realized that this was not enough. I needed to understand the work experience in Canada, I needed to understand what competencies I should have, and I needed to understand how to find job opportunities.

I made a lot of effort — looking for job postings on many websites, making appointments for counseling services, revising my resume and cover letter over and over again. In addition, I am very fortunate to have professors who give us students a lot of help in our job search. They sometimes post job openings on their own social media, they are constantly advising us during the course, and they invite some companies to give us lectures.

Two weeks ago, two alumni of our program were invited to give lectures to the class. I had been looking forward to their arrival for a long time — I was eager to learn about their experiences, as they had studied the same courses as me and had prepared a lot for the job search. Their experiences will help me a lot to understand what I need to do and how to do it.

The two alumni are Danielle Humilde and Stephanie Lee. They both graduated from Digital Media Marketing and now have satisfying jobs. Sometimes I can feel the similarities with my experience from their narratives, which is a good reminder for my future planning. They were very friendly and shared a lot of their experiences and ideas with us, and gave us a lot of advice. After listening to their lectures, I want to share with you here what helped me the most, and I hope you will be inspired after reading this blog as well.

Learn

Danielle says she has learned very useful courses in the digital media marketing program that have helped her in her marketing efforts. I feel the same way. None of my previous educational backgrounds was related to marketing, so learning about marketing systematically in the course was the most important channel for me. I also went through several interviews this semester, during which I could feel that the knowledge and skills I had learned were very practical. So I take each of my courses very seriously, and I couldn’t agree more with Danielle’s statement. However, school is not the only way to learn. Danielle mentioned her experience of becoming a UX designer, she learned UX on her own by searching for courses online and later excelled at her job. That was a great inspiration to me too — the internet can offer anything! I also want to learn UX design, and the Internet is perfectly suited to meet this need.

What I admire about Dannielle’s idea is that — she doesn’t exactly distinguish between study and work; she doesn’t see study and work as two completely different stages. She told us that there is a lot to be learned at work as well. Work is also an important way to learn — we can learn knowledge and concepts in courses, but only in the workplace can we appreciate how to use them. Never stop learning!

Try

Not sure if this industry is for you? Try it. Not sure if you’ll be interested in the job? Try it. Not sure which direction you will go in the future? Try the possible opportunities that are available. Danielle and Stephanie both told us that it’s important to be willing to try. They have also made many choices throughout their careers. They have both approached opportunities with a very positive attitude and tried them out as much as possible. I know a lot of people who have very clear goals — they know what they like and what they want to do, and they can turn a blind eye to the rest of it and go after their very clear goals. But there are also many people (like me) who don’t have a very detailed plan and aren’t sure which industry they will definitely go into. Why not try them all? All attempts are not necessarily successful, but they are definitely gaining experience for your future self.

Network

Almost everyone is stressing the importance of networking — because it is really important! I’ve heard many people tell their networking stories, and while each story is different, the one thing I can learn is — don’t be apprehensive, go for it. Sometimes when I check LinkedIn, I am tempted to send a message to some of the company’s marketing managers, or even to someone higher up. Most of the time I give up — because I think they probably won’t pay attention to a student. But I realize now that this was wrong! I should have had the courage to take every opportunity to reach out to everyone I wanted to reach out to. While networking is a great way to find a job, don’t be too purposeful — just talk and relax.

Search

Job information, skill requirements …… As I said earlier, the internet can offer us anything! Search for any possible information with a positive attitude and be active in contacting others — join groups for example, many job information may be posted in them. But if you don’t want to search for these groups, you will definitely miss a lot of good opportunities.

These are the four parts that impressed me the most. I will also apply them to my job search afterward. First, take every class seriously and complete every assignment — who says class projects can’t go on your resume and portfolio? Second, there is an opportunity to try, even if it may fail, may leave the industry, but I must have learned a lot in it. Third, never stop networking. who knows if the person I talk to at Starbucks will give me a job? (I did see someone get a job that way on Twitter!) Fourth, I need to have a strong ability to search and acquire information.

How should I view my failures?

Danielle’s experience has shown me that I should not be afraid of failure. I shouldn’t run away from something because of failure, because I can learn from even the experience of failure. I have experienced several failed interviews. And of course, there have been many times I’ve failed on my resume — I feel bad about those things, but now I realize I should stop doing that. I should reflect — what have I learned from this experience? This is something that benefits me more than complaining and being sad.

During the course, these two guest speakers also answered many of our questions. One of the questions that impressed me was how to make yourself stand out. This is a big concern for me because I desperately need to know how to get HR to find out faster that I am a good contender for the job. Dannielle replied that it is important to clearly demonstrate your strengths and differences — both in your resume and in the interview. The employer needs to know as soon as possible if you are a good fit for the position, so you need to show that you are a good match for the position. This should be an easy thing for students of marketing to understand — imagine yourself as a brand and then go about promoting that brand.

Finding a job is a very important task for me this semester. I am very grateful to the two guest speakers for telling their own experiences and sharing a lot of useful information. Also, I would like to thank Professor Wendy Greenwood for inviting them to our course.

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