This time last year, I was contemplating what my future in the sports industry would look like. I had just wrapped up my first year as the Silhouette’s sports reporter and though I gained a ton of valuable skills and experiences, I was really unsure if I wanted to continue as a sports writer.
Though despite my doubts, I saw the doors that opened for me through this job and I decided to give it another shot in my final year.
I took on this role because I knew that if I wanted to find a job in the sports industry, everything that I did outside the classroom would matter the most. Being a multimedia and communications student at McMaster has taught me a lot of the skills I need, but the practical aspects of the sports industry one can get at programs at Ryerson University or Brock University are not offered here.
So along with writing for The Silhouette I took on four major sports-related extracurriculars. From running women’s football on campus, to helping the men’s basketball team figure out their social media presence, I tried to get as much experience as I could.
This, along with my previous internship experience, allowed me to figure out what exactly I had a passion for. I knew that I could write, I had two articles every week for the last two years to prove it, but I also knew that it was not something I was passionate enough about.
Running women’s football gave me a chance to work out my organizational and operational skills. A major part of the sports industry is game operations. Although it is a bit different to what I am used to as a comms and media student, I have always had an interest in planning and carrying out projects.
This role had me overseeing over 150 students, both student-coaches and players, and organizing tournaments; it was no easy task. In my frustration I quickly came to realize although I once had an interest in sports operation, it was not something I envisioned myself doing long-term.
It was not until I was working with the McMaster men’s basketball team creating creative content that I discovered what I was truly passionate about. It combined the media skills I learned in class, my personal interests and my sports media knowledge.
Giving a team who struggled on the court an online presence that did not just reflect their losses was a fun challenge. We immediately saw the positive feedback in an increase in followers and activity.
Now that I figured out my passion, it all began to seem so simple. Apply to social media positions for different sport teams in organizations? I can do that no problem. Although it was not enough.
Part of looking for a job, especially in the sports industry, is through networking. This is something I have always struggled with, so it was something I challenged myself to do this year. I first met with Camille Wallace, digital media specialist for Team Canada, who reminded me how my job as sports reporter already helps me to build these networks.
As I had started the year before, I continued to interview alumni who work in the sports industry and found a mentor in Vanessa Matyas, Marketing and Media Manager at NFL Canada.
NFL Canada’s Marketing & Media Manager Vanessa Matyas on her journey from McMaster to her dream job, and how hard work and perseverance led her there. https://t.co/TiBu0xd8kq pic.twitter.com/Ln8gt6wVRd
— The Silhouette (@theSilhouette) March 11, 2019
Through her advice and help, I have been able to fix up the resume I used to see no flaws in, and even land myself my first dream job interview. Unfortunately for me, due to still being in school, I was unable to move forward in the interview process.
But with positive interview feedback under my belt, I am now ready to take on the job search by storm. I know it will not be easy, but I have been, and I am ready to work hard and use what I learned while at Mac in and out the classroom.
When I look back at the beginning of my journey four years ago, I never would have thought that I would be here today. Although I do not have it all completely figured out, leaving Mac with a sense of what my purpose is something I am grateful for.
As senior year comes to an end, I am extremely grateful that despite my doubts, I gave writing with the Sil another chance. Even though there were many times I felt like I was in over my head, I could not have imagined my senior year any other way.
By: Jenna Tziatis, Marketing Assistant, McMaster University Continuing Education
In today’s tough job market a degree alone may not be enough to get you the job or promotion that you’re looking for. Employer expectations are higher and are expecting more than the knowledge that comes with a degree. They are also scrutinizing candidates based on their enhanced skill-sets and experience to ensure they are hiring someone who will fit and integrate into their business and culture with the least disruption.
Savvy students are realizing this trend and responding by upskilling themselves to ensure that they stand out in the employment crowd and that their resume rises to the top of the pile. If you’re thinking about getting ahead, McMaster Continuing Education offers a variety of learning options from diplomas and certificates to micro learning options. Whether your focus is in the field of business, health or professional development, there are many to choose from:
To make it easier for Mac students, McMaster Continuing Education offers a faster route to get you ahead with Degree + Diploma. This opportunity allows you to earn a diploma or certificate while you work toward your degree. You can use your elective credits in your current program of study toward a diploma or certificate with Continuing Education, allowing you to gain your qualifications faster. This opportunity is gaining popularity among Mac students and can be easily set up by contacting your Academic Advisor.
If you’re not ready to jump straight into getting a diploma or certificate you can always try one of McMaster Continuing Education professional development courses or attend our upcoming free Business Entrepreneur Series micro learning session that is running in spring. It’s a great way to gain valuable and recognized skills in a condensed learning format. To attend this series you can sign up at mcmastercce.ca/events/free-business-entrepreneurship-series
Regardless of what you decide, by recognizing the demands of today’s job market and being proactive to acquire the skills that businesses are looking for will make you more visible and appealing to employers. Continuing Education will give you that competitive edge to get ahead and land that job you’re looking for.
To learn more about these valuable learning options visit www.mcmastercce.ca
By: Tanya Kett & Jillian Perkins Marsh
Some say that when they last attended a job fair employers told them to apply online, so they felt it was pointless to attend. If you have similar sentiments, I urge you to keep reading.
Employers may tell you to apply online (it does save paper!), but the real reason they are there is to get a sense of the person behind the resume that is submitted online — YOU.
Who are you? What do you have to offer? Why are you unique? Are you personable? Do you seem genuinely interested? What do you know about them? Answers to these questions can only be conveyed in an application to a certain extent. Make a real connection so that when your application does come across their desk, your name gets noticed.
How can you differentiate your application from other ones in the application pile?
Do your research. Explore the event website for the list of employers confirmed to attend and do some research on them before the event.
Tailor your elevator pitch. Make eye contact and shake their hand. Be bold, assertive, and with some confidence, introduce yourself. Tell them what you do or want to do, what you have to offer and why you are interested in them. Customize your pitch based on your research.
Ask useful questions. Based on your research, prepare some thoughtful questions to generate conversation after your introductions.
Be an active listener. Really listen to what they have to say; it is easy to start thinking ahead to what you will say next, but concentrate on being in the moment. After the conversation is over, jot down any suggestions they had for applicants before you forget.
Be ready to dig deeper. If you encounter an organization of interest that is not hiring in the area you are interested in, don’t despair. Remember that organizations recruit for many diverse roles and hiring timelines are often not predictable.
Invite to connect on LinkedIn. Visit your new contact’s profile and send your request from there, so you have an option to ‘Add a Note.’ Reference something from your conversation when you invite them to connect and thank them for their time in speaking with you at the event.
After you attend the event and employ the tactics above, you are ready to submit that online application. Don’t forget to mention the contact you spoke with at the Career Fair or Company Recruitment Event. Incorporate their suggestions and offer something you learned from them in your cover letter as part of why you are interested in applying.
Now imagine you did none of the above, just attended, had a few conversations and just applied online. Which application would you be most interested in?
Use what you’ve learned in this article at our SCENE networking night on March 21. This event is open to McMaster alumni and students in their final year. Register here: alumni.mcmaster.ca under Event Listings.
Read the full article on our Medium page.
By: Jillian Perkins-Marsh, alumni career counsellor
For folks who are trying to figure out what an occupation is really like before taking the leap or for those trying to build their connections to help with their job search efforts, informational interviews can be extremely helpful. Really, what is better than one-on-one time with someone who can offer you career advice at minimum, and at the end of the spectrum, if all goes well, someone who may offer to pass along your resume to the right people and tell you about unadvertised jobs?
Informational interviews can be a highly effective way to build connections. If the meetings are done right, they can be an amazing way to make a positive first impression with a professional in your field of interest.
Be sure to be genuine in your interest in connecting and to follow up – and avoid the pitfall of ‘transactional networking’. The idea that networking is about focusing on the number of interactions, rather than the quality of the relationships. This is absolutely not what effective networking should involve. Life gets busy. But that is no excuse for not staying in touch and responding to others in a timely way…especially when you initiated the connection.
Try and think from the other person’s perspective. After you reach out to the person you were referred to in a timely manner, remember to circle back to your original contact to update them about your conversation and thank them again. Completing the networking circle will maintain relationships and not leave them wondering if you ever followed up with their suggestion.
These are the kind of recommendations that can help you turn a good strategy for building and using your network into a good and successful strategy for building and using your network, and that can make all the difference.
If you are looking to build your network and don’t know where to start, visit Firsthand, our online networking and mentorship platform. On Firsthand you will find McMaster alumni ready to have career conversations with you and give you advice on how to land a job in the industry of your dreams.
Watch for upcoming employer – student networking event on March 14 – part of Career Month!
Silhouette Opinions Contributor
You are walking through the University Hall arch homecoming evening as you hear a muffled “EFRT” and all of a sudden –OUCH.
You’ve been hit.
Bewildered, you look around, catching a glimpse of a girl repositioning her footing on her bicycle and riding off. You later learn she was a participant of McMaster Students Union’s Emergency First Response Team orientation weekend, a competitive selection process where only the very best make the team.
Waiting for an X-ray the next day, you grapple with the thought of a potential emergency first aid responder running you over and failing to respond to your need for emergency first aid.
It’s no secret that a medical school application must be impressive to stand out from a sea of hopefuls. A myriad of volunteer commitments, leadership positions, awards and research experiences are staples in competitive CVs. These are wonderful opportunities for personal growth beyond the classroom and for potential improvements in our community. But how many of these experiences are truly meaningful and compassion-driven?
The slogan “this will look great on a resume” is a marketing strategy that has become ubiquitous when trying to recruit students into clubs and organizations. Many of us, in our attempts to amp our resume, end up making tedious and half-hearted attempts at dozens of activities.
Dabbling here and there, however, to satisfy a quota for an application does not leave a lasting impact on us. Nor on our community. Worse, being so single-mindedly fixated on the achievement can harm those around us in the process.
None of this, however, is apparent from the eloquently worded statement on a resume.
Medicine and compassion are inextricable. Yet, in our frenzy of resume development, we sometimes let the greater purpose slip away; the goal of one day becoming a professional capable of helping and caring for people. How many of our accomplishments are undertaken to develop ourselves and enrich our community? And how much of it is done to sway the hand of an administrator seated behind a stack of applications in a few years?
We should be wary of getting so swept up on our journeys to medical school that we become callous to our surroundings. After all, the greatest of doctors are passionate, dedicated and compassionate. Building our preconceived notions of a great application with the absence of these qualities can veer us away from being great physicians later.
From one medical school hopeful to another: on your road to doctorhood, watch out for pedestrians.
Writing a resumé effectively is an important skill, and especially in a time where graduate jobs are scarce, everyone is looking for what to do to make their resumé stand out.
First of all, it’s not an arts and crafts project. Usually, employers are not looking for strange bells and whistles on a resumé. What they are looking for is a clean, crisp to-the-point resumé that highlights what you can bring to their company. Using glitter borders and smiley face bullets are not going to give you the edge that you think it will.
Secondly, be sure to edit your resumé. There are horror stories of people submitting resumés without deleting someone else’s editing including comments such as “I don’t think you want to include this” or people misspelling the word proofreading under skills and abilities. Editing your resumé shows, through action, a strong attention to detail and at a professional level, this is not optional.
Many employers would instantly discount a resumé with spelling or grammatical errors, or even formatting errors, especially if there are many qualified applicants for the same position.
Next, if you don’t already have one, create a professional sounding email address. Nobody wants to hire firstname.lastname@example.org. A safe bet is to use your McMaster/MUGSI email address.
Make sure you keep the information relevant. People often make the mistake of padding their resumés with extras in the Achievements section but listing Prom Queen of 2009 is not necessary. Neither is “can hold my breath underwater for 2 minutes” when applying for a bank teller job.
Be focused on the job you are applying for and tailor your resumé as such. Make sure the resumé is an appropriate length. It can’t be half a page, but it is unlikely your job and volunteer experience warrants a resumé that is longer than 2 pages. Most job positions require a cover letter and employers may not want to read a 4 page cover letter followed by a 6 page resumé.
When applying for a job, you’re often competing with hundreds of other equally qualified applications, so how do you make sure your resumé sets you apart from the others?
According to The Undercover Recruiter, a UK-based website/blog designed to meet the needs of job seekers, career advancers and anyone needing information on this type of stuff, they mention a few things to do to ensure your resumé will stand out in a crowd and here are a couple of interesting suggestions:
Make your resumé keyword rich: The people who review your resumé have likely looked at tons of others in the same sitting and may start to just scan for keywords. Speak to certain specific aspects of the job description and use the correct terminology for that field.
Make it easy for employers: Font, legibility, spacing and formatting are crucial. Though employers do prefer a professional type font, you may want to consider stepping outside the box and using a slightly different font to catch the attention of the reader who may have read tons of resumés already. On that same note, it is very important to not branch out too far and use Wingdings, but something a little different may make all the difference.
Add a link: With social media being as pervasive as it is, attaching a link to your LinkedIn or Facebook profile may be an interesting touch. Many employers will do an internet search before hiring a person so on that same note, make sure everything on your personal profiles are employer appropriate
Keep in mind that, for employers/recruiters, after reading a pile of resumés, they all look the same. Work to make yours stand out, within the boundaries of professionalism of course, and try a new unique creative way.