“You do what you can for as long as you can when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up” – Chuck Yeager
I write this post with the biggest grin on my face. It is only fair to share the good news of me finally being able to secure a job placement. The journey hasn’t been easy, read my roadmap to getting a placement in Canada. I would not say I did anything different other than go back to the drawing board.
I thought I had a deadline to get a placement so I reached out to the director of my program regarding my fate of no coop. He assured me to keep looking and I can always start my internship anytime. This gave me the courage to keep applying for opportunities across Canada. I went back to using the career website dedicated to my university and applied for opportunities that I came across. Most of the roles were aligned with what I do to run my blog. The two jobs I applied to on my university’s career website, I was able to get an interview.
In my first interview, the HR personnel and I got talking, he began to talk about the skepticism regarding hiring international students. He said the problem with foreigners is “their English is too perfect”. They have learned to speak English as a requirement so they speak English in a very professional and academic way. He said they usually fail to use the Canadian lingo in communication. So a lot of times, their communication is too polished and sophisticated which Canadians can’t relate to.
He pointed out that he had a look at my grades. He asked a situational question and it is expected to use the STAR approach (Situation, Task, Action, Result) but I failed to state the result of the situational question. He then said, what was your result? I said I got an A. He then said, yes, I saw your result. He asked other situational questions where I had to talk about my Starting Lean class I took last semester. Apparently, he knew my lecturer and her husband so we were able to connect deeper. I almost fumbled when he asked for her name as it took me over 2 mins to remember her name. I explained how taking the class allowed pitch a business idea in front of Centre of Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED) and apparently the company has a partnership with the organisation. I mentioned the WordPress events I participate in, where I learn more about running a website and I am sure he saw something that I was doing beyond academics.
So yeah, my blog basically landed me my first job placement in Canada. The HR personnel was excited that I would also be learning from them and not just pouring all my experience into the company.
My success in no way undermines how hard it is to get a coop. I believe I had less competition in landing my placement as I was only competing with my classmates. Also, the skills they were seeking were outside what was taught in the four walls of the classroom which gave me an advantage.
- Don’t give up.
- Excel academically, it might be the only thing that puts your feet at the door.
- Become sociable to the people around you to improve your communication in informal settings.
- Look for your passion outside your academics that can give you experience.
- Seek different kinds of roles – I was so focused on being a business analyst that I didn’t pay attention to other roles and possibilities out there.