Langara Alumni who visited us on campus at event such as Alumni Talks, share their stories and inspiration. Included below are stories from Alumni who graduated from the Business Administration, Business Management, and Supply Chain programs.
For updates on these Alumni and where their career journeys have taken them, visit their LinkedIn profiles.
In Canada, I learned that networking is very usual and can be natural if you just share your stories, be a good listener to the stories of others, and find common interests.
Title: Information Assistant
Company: Simon Fraser University
My background is in Communications, and before moving to Canada, I had a long experience in content writing, editing, proofreading, and customer service. Most of my work was engaging and motivating people through organized information. At Langara, I got involved in several activities that had the common purpose of informing, connecting, and engaging students. Using my skills and experience to help students achieve their goals was so fulfilling that I decided to direct my career path to the post-secondary environment.
My goal was to be able to transfer my skills to a new career path in Canada.
When I was a student, I worked on campus and also had volunteer opportunities on and off campus. The first time I really had to apply to jobs was for my Work Experience term, and it happened at the beginning of the pandemic, in the midst of a lockdown. My main strategy for getting a job was focusing on administrative positions in companies where I could use my skills to help people. Currently, I work as an Information Assistant at SFU Registrar and Information Services, providing students with the information and services they need to succeed.
Networking can be natural if you just share your stories!
I believe networking can have different meanings depending on the culture. In Canada, I learned that networking is very usual and can be natural if you just share your stories, be a good listener to the stories of others, and find common interests. The common interests can open opportunities for future conversations, new connections, maybe an informational interview, or even a job offer.
We can always learn from others’ stories.
Get involved in on-campus activities as much as possible, mainly if you are introverted. Networking can also happen when you join a club, volunteer, or work on campus. Langara offers amazing services to help us succeed, so use them! Also, join mentorship programs and attend events that connect you with professionals willing to share their experiences.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Andrea’s LinkedIn for updates on her career journey.
Look for jobs that interest you and show initiative by applying even if you do not meet all the requirements.
Title: Transition Manager
Company: Sherwin Williams
I always envisioned myself as someone who will pass on his knowledge and experience in the future, and my role as a Transition Manager allows me to do just that. I coach and help recruits as they start their journey in the company.
I went into the co-op job not knowing what I wanted to do.
Truthfully, I imagined this as just a summer job to fulfill my work experience requirement. I did not have much job experience, but I wanted to explore different avenues of business. I was fortunate to stumble onto a position that allowed me to do that. After my co-op term, the company allowed me to stay. I did not think fifteen years later that I would still be with Sherwin Williams, flourishing in a role that suits me the best. So, in terms of getting to my current career, the timing was perfect.
If I had any regrets, it is that I was too complacent. I did not take enough risks to try out different levels of management and different challenges that were available within the organization due to the satisfaction and comfort I had at my previous position in the company. Looking back, I wish I had attempted those challenges to not only build my resume, but to develop stronger skills within the company.
Sometimes being the most prepared for an interview does not necessarily mean you are the best candidate.
One of the reasons that landed me this co-op role was how I conducted myself when talking to my interviewer. I prepared for the interview just like any other candidate. However, when the interview happened, it ended up being more of a conversation with the interviewer. Everything I prepared for the interview went out the window after the first couple of minutes and we ended up talking about not only the expectations of my role for the position, but also about casual things. So, my advice is treat the interview like a conversation with friends and family. The human element is just as important as the qualifications.
Many companies look for people who are not only confident but proud too. You do not have to come off as cocky to be proud of your successes and abilities. Look for jobs that interest you and show initiative by applying even if you do not meet all the requirements. The worst thing they can do is say no. Then, you can move on to the next opportunity.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Andrew's LinkedIn for updates on his career journey.
Networking is key for helping you continually develop and learn.
Title: Office Administrator and Accounting Assistant
Company: Envirochem Services Inc.
My work totally aligns with my career goals. I work in a company that has the same values as myself with the right culture and teamwork. My tasks are exactly what I wanted to experience, and now after 5 years, I have a chance to revisit my long-term career goals and select the tasks I prefer to continue and improve doing and grow with the company.
I thought about what I would like to do and how far I wanted to go.
When my husband and I decided to move to Canada from Brazil, I had to really think about a new career strategy because the validation of my first degree (Law) would be very long and expensive. So, I thought about what my strengths, weaknesses, and values are. Closer to graduation, I used concepts from the Communications Skills course I took to start planning my strategy - researching the jobs that would be a good fit for me and paying attention to what skills I should develop and what experiences and expertise I should make evident in my resume. And then I drew up my short term goal: to find a job that piqued my interest where I could perform the knowledge I’ve acquired; and, my long term goal: to build a new career in a company that aligns with the same values I have.
Networking is a process where you build relationships.
It is where people share information, it is safe to ask questions, and you can grow and learn. You can give and take essential information that might change your perspective, clear your mindset, or even help you set your values. Networking is key for helping you continually develop and learn.
I recognized the importance of networking in a market I was unfamiliar with, so I went to the Co-op & Career Development Centre and met with Career Instructor, Jennifer Reid. I also talked to all my instructors and built my network with them.
Think about your values when preparing your “Tell Me About Yourself” story.
I think about all my values, traits, and skills that are key to that specific job I am looking for. Then I think about all my previous experience, not only work, but all my life experiences that helped me build my values, traits, and skills. In my opinion, this is key to helping you connect your experiences with the skills required for the job. Also, it’s helpful to include some actions you took to resolve issues and the result of the situation.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Anna’s LinkedIn for updates on her career journey.
When doing an interview, believe in yourself and be proud of your story. I would suggest focusing on demonstrating skills that are useful for the job, even if you do not have the exact job description qualification required for the position.
Title: Office Manager
Company: Huard Marble and Tile Ltd.
Industry: Home Design & Installation
My job as an Office Manager gives me perspective on several areas of business such as finance, administration, and marketing. I find that the most fulfilling part of my job is being able to help a medium size company grow and thrive. It allows me to learn for the future as well.
I have always given my best.
I worked a full-time entry-level job during my summer break, trying my best and working hard. When I had to return to part-time, they kept me employed and offered me a full-time position during my co-op. When my co-op ended, and I graduated, they offered me a promotion. I have always accepted jobs that are not my final goals, and I have always given my best. Eventually, I was offered more positions that were aligned with my goals.
Always believe in yourself and be proud of your story.
I used to apply to at least two jobs a day during my job search period. I feel that more than that was too overwhelming because I could not give my best to applications and cover letters. I also kept a Microsoft Word file to help me keep track of my applications. When doing an interview, believe in yourself and be proud of your story. I would suggest focusing on demonstrating skills that are useful for the job, even if you do not have the exact job description qualification required for the position.
Try to learn as much as possible.
Believe in yourself and try to learn as much as possible, no matter what position. If I could go back, I would have invested more time in doing informational interviews. Doing so made me gain a deeper knowledge about the daily life of professionals in the business and helped me create connections I will keep for life. I encourage students to book informational interviews and be a part of all professional events they can attend in the field they are interested in. Ask questions and be curious. You will take these learning with you for the rest of your career.
This story was written in the Fall 2022 semester. See Anna's LinkedIn for updates on her career journey.
Every company hires to solve an issue they have, so when doing an interview, showcase that you are capable of solving their problem.
Title: Business Sales Consultant
Company: Shaw Communications
Industry: Telecommunication Sales
My main goal is to set-up my own firm, and my current career pathway is giving me exposure to the know-how and challenges behind selling and marketing a product.
Make your presence known.
As a student, I volunteered and made my presence felt throughout the campus, so that when I applied for positions, they recognized me. While searching for my Co-op, I networked crazily by attending networking events across the city. After these events, I made sure to connect with the people I met on LinkedIn, and followed up with them regularly. I got my first job through networking. It was a magical moment for sure. I got connected with the boss at my previous company (who was also the CEO of that company) when I was in my second term. Through LinkedIn he would help me to connect and he also appreciated the activities I posted on LinkedIn. I applied for jobs at several places and when COVID suddenly hit, all those applications got cancelled. One fine day, I got a call from this boss who checked on me and asked if I would be interested to work for him. That's it. I was offered a position without even being interviewed.
For my second job, I sought advice from my connections and sat down with them for coffee chats to make my resume stronger before I started applying. I tried to contact the hiring managers directly by finding their email addresses which helped me get interviews. Langara's EXPE courses helped me to a great extent, that set a base and helped me reach out for informational interviews. I felt prepared to approach these Informational interviews due to extensive training at Langara College that helped me reach out to the right individuals and learn how to improve my resume, application, and interview skills.
Highlight that you have the right problem-solving skills to help the company.
Every company hires to solve an issue they have, so when doing an interview, showcase that you are capable of solving their problem. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions to see if it is a company you want to work for. Be prepared to tell a story for every question asked. Approach them as conversations rather than treating them as Q&A sessions. I've had amazing conversations during interviews. When you have these conversations, your passion for that job automatically flows out and employers can see how you fit in their workplace. Do the basic right things and everything will fall into place. A good resume is a basic requirement to get an interview. There might not be immediate results. But as we keep on applying by implementing our learnings, we will eventually see that there will be an increase in interview calls. Once we start taking interviews, we will start to understand the expectations and eventually will land in an amazing job. It is easy to get disheartened in this process. But, if we can do these basic steps right, we will achieve success.
Stay focused and do not burnout in the process.
A tool that helped me identify my strengths and use them wisely was the StrengthsFinder workshop by Stephanie Koonar. Also, use tools like Google Calendar wisely. I used to log all my activities in Google Calendar, which helped me to know how much time to allot for each of my activities. During my final term, I was leading the events team of the Digital Media Marketing Club, Vice President - Public Relations at the Langara Toastmasters Club, Committee Co-ordinator in the International Education Volunteering Program, a Career Leader at the Co-op & Career Development Centre, an Information Ambassador at The Hub (Office for Student Engagement) and I was taking 4 classes. All this was possible due to effective usage of Google Calendar.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Arun’s LinkedIn for updates on his career journey.
Networking means putting yourself out there for the world to see.
Title: Facilities Assistant
Company: Langara College
My goal is to work in Student Services, and I understand that it will require me to have strong organizational, administrative, and relationship-building skills. My current role as a Facilities Assistant is helping me strengthen these skills, which I will transfer to a future position in student advising/ management.
Gain as much experience as you can!
I volunteered with several departments and clubs while studying, which allowed me to gain skill sets, make connections, and understand what I like to do. It was my on-campus work that made me realize that I want to work in Student Services.
Networking means putting yourself out there for the world to see.
It means making meaningful professional connections, sometimes personal as well. It is important because it allows you to gain knowledge and get insights from industry experts; it is always good to hear from people who are doing what you want to do. Networking gives you a sense of direction and helps you find internal jobs.
I applied for jobs conventionally by submitting my resume, but my main strategy was to network. I got my first full-time job at the Royal Bank of Canada due to a referral that I got from someone I met through networking.
Working on campus is amazing!
It is amazing. I have always wanted to work at Langara; it was the dream I saw on the day of my orientation on May 6, 2018. So, when I got the opportunity to work on campus, it felt like coming back home.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Bhumika's LinkedIn for updates on her career journey.
My strategy at Langara College was meeting as many industry professionals as I could through all the extracurricular activities I was doing.
Title: Marketing Manager
Company: Sandman & Sutton Place Hotels
Where I am right now, has been a culmination of all my experiences working for different types of companies. From a small startup, to a large multinational agency, working in these different environments has given me the experience I need to be successful in my current role.
Get a variety of experiences before graduation.
I was the Student Representative on the Langara College Board of Governors, participated in student clubs, represented the College in business case competitions, and had three different co-op work placements. My career strategy after college was to continue getting different experiences within marketing by working for a mix of in-house brands and agencies. This combination gave me the skills and perspective that I needed to succeed.
Networking is about building meaningful relationships.
When I go to a networking event, I am more interested in meeting one or two people and having good conversations with them, than trying to meet as many people as I can. Networking is so important because a wide circle of people you know and trust will give you access to resources and opportunities that may not be otherwise available to you.
Just to emphasize how important my network has been in my career, every job I've ever had has been because of my network. I got my internships because of connections I made through school clubs and events, and every time I've moved to another company or agency, it's because someone in my network has referred me or recommended me for the job before it was public.
Be proactive when searching for opportunities.
My strategy at Langara College was meeting as many industry professionals as I could through all the extracurricular activities I was doing. My first co-op placements and first full time job came through the connections I made through clubs and events at the College. Prioritize what you're doing outside of the classroom. Be active in extracurricular activities and proactive when searching for the opportunities you want for your career.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Dean’s LinkedIn for updates on his career journey.
Do not click the “fast apply” button and expect to magically land a role.
Title: Enterprise Account Executive
While at Langara College, I knew I always wanted to get into B2B sales. I love working with executives, traveling, solving new complex global problems, and quarterbacking initiatives with a team of talented professionals. Sales as a career path has allowed me to have the opportunity to fulfill all these things.
Take part-time jobs that teach you new skills and start networking.
My career strategy encompassed a few things. One – working part-time was critical to see how the world operated, and I tried my best to take on roles that did not just pay the bills, but also taught me new skills and experiences. The other one was networking. There is no better time to network than as a student because the majority of professionals are much more likely to help out someone who is early in their career for free.
Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations will help you adapt in the long-term.
A lot of people assume that B2B sales requires extroverted personalities. This couldn’t be further from the truth, the majority of the top people in this profession are either ambiverts or introverts. This career path requires more listening than speaking, being adaptable to different kinds of people and environments, and strong research skills. The more curious you are the better, as you will be solving unique customer challenges each day. Any role that requires you to meet customers and work in teams will be a great start to build the foundational skills required for this career path. I personally worked as a bank teller and a clothing retailer, and together these unique customer challenges helped me develop the resiliency and breadth of knowledge that I still apply to my career today.
Make a difference!
I have gotten every single job in my career from cold calls, networking, referrals, LinkedIn messaging, and inbound recruiters. If you do not have LinkedIn, create an account and cold-message professionals that you wish to learn from and invite them to a virtual coffee session. You will be surprised how many say “yes.” I met with at least 3 professionals a week for an entire year (in-person at the time) and made friendships and connections that I still have to this day by doing this. From there, I was easily able to get referrals to organizations I truly wanted to work for.
Do not click the “fast apply” button and expect to magically land a role.
Build a targeted list of organizations you truly want to work for, network aggressively within these organizations to understand how they operate and what the day in life looks like, and then seek ways to get internal and external referrals via the connections you have made. Do not fear failure, you will make mistakes and fail throughout your life. College is the safest time to make mistakes and fail, so keep failing and learning from your experiences. You will need to continually put yourself in uncomfortable growth situations to truly develop yourself. Build a circle of experienced mentors that you can rely on for objective advice. Ensure these are people you either look up to, aspire to be, or have accomplished things that you wish to one day achieve.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Jai’s LinkedIn for updates on his career journey.
Always send them thank you email and stay connected after the interview.
Title: Senior Student Recruitment Manager
Company: University Canada West
I wanted to set up an international network with the educational stakeholders, consultants, and speakers to provide quality experiences to prospective internationals students, as I had when I was looking for opportunities to study abroad. Now, I have a network of over 200 partners across the globe in the same industry I’m serving.
Build your network!
I always believed in the importance of networking, volunteering, and supporting immigrants, so that I can build larger network. Connecting with people from the same or different backgrounds in order to learn is not what networking means to me, instead, it’s how you maintain and sustain those relations.
Think about your job application strategy.
I never had a target number of applications to send per week. Instead, my strategy was to enhance and leverage my LinkedIn network weekly through creating attractive posts and engaging with other people’s content, as networking was key to my success.
Be prepared before you go to interviews.
My three interview tips are:
- They always ask about challenges you’ve faced in the past.
- Be ready to offer the solutions for these challenges.
- Always send them thank you email and stay connected after the interview.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Jashanpreet's LinkedIn for updates on his career journey.
Recruiters are not interested in your entire life, so I believe a crafted message according to your audience is always applicable and makes it more interesting.
Title: Coordinator, People and Culture
Company: Invictus Accounting Group LLP
My current work in Human Resources is exactly what I was looking for when restarting my career after moving to Canada. During the last 14 months in my role, I was able to learn a lot and progressively get more responsibilities, and was promoted to the Coordinator position.
I looked for roles that would match with what I was interested in doing.
My strategy was to search for an entry level position where I could learn about the Canadian job market and its particularities, so I could learn and redirect my efforts accordingly to grow as an HR professional.
I applied and connected with the recruiters on LinkedIn through a personalized message introducing myself and mentioning the reasons I believe I could be a good fit for that position. I created a spreadsheet where I added every position I applied for, so I could keep track of my applications and follow up if needed or check the details in case they call me for a quick chat before the interview.
Meaningful connections could help you in many different situations.
Networking is crucial for your professional life, not only to get a new job, in my opinion. You will always need people, so meaningful connections could help you in many different situations throughout your career. I believe networking is part of our lives since we start our professional careers, and it will never end.
Always add a personal touch when telling your “Tell Me About yourself” story!
I would start writing a paragraph and polish it according to the situation or who I am presenting to, highlighting what I consider relevant for each situation and giving examples when possible. Recruiters are not interested in your entire life, so I believe a crafted message according to your audience is always applicable and makes it more interesting. I always try to add some personal touch so recruiters will remember me for something memorable that I mentioned.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Juliana's LinkedIn for updates on her career journey.
Be resilient and do not underestimate your achievements and strengths! You are not starting from zero, your experience can be a lot more meaningful than you think.
Title: Strategic Planning and Corporate Development Manager
Company: Innovation Networks
My career goals have evolved throughout the years, from being a lawyer in my home country to transitioning into the IT industry. My professional goals are to make a difference in the community and lead by example, which is something that I am able to do in my current role.
Be open to new connections
I would say that my biggest strategy was to be curious. I attended multiple events throughout my time in school including some at Langara and other volunteer, community, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, etc. I always searched for job fairs and overall interesting events happening and went to as many as I could. However, none of it is worth the effort unless you open yourself up to actually talk with people. The key strategy here was build new connections. I would not narrow down my audience, but rather try to learn more about anyone crossing my way. That really helped me not only meet more people but to hear different stories and get ideas, feel inspired and bridge connections. My biggest tip is: don’t let your immediate goal limit your relationships. You might be going to an event looking for a job and end up meeting someone that can be a wonderful mentor or your best friend. Go ahead and make that connection, help that next person. I truly believe that life will often surprise you if you allow yourself to receive insights from the not-so-obvious places… I was not looking for a job in IT, but here I am, working as a manager in an IT company! Sometimes, that person you just met cannot give you what you were looking for, but there are other ways they can add value to your life, so go ahead and further develop a relationship anyway.
Never say no to opportunities and let people around you know your potential.
In 2019, I had 7 jobs. It was like a rollercoaster of emotions. Before landing at Innovation Networks, I was on “survival mode”. To start, I was not sure which career path to pursue and experimenting different things was a big part of the goal behind jumping from one job to another, along with different volunteer jobs. My first job, like many other international students, was an entry-level part-time position. However, within less than 3 months at the Save-On-Foods Customer Service desk, I was moved into the office to work with payroll and reconciliation. This was my strategy from the beginning: never say no to any opportunities, while always letting everyone around me understand my potential. From there, I continued applying to jobs with either a better schedule or better pay and building my network. It was at a Career Fair at Langara where I met my current employer, who did not have any position that matched my resume at that time. However, we kept talking about how promising the IT industry is, and later on, I was invited to an interview.
We all have lots of skills that are transferable.
The process of transitioning from industry to job was challenging at the beginning because I had to learn the concepts and processes. But the truth is that we all have lots of skills that are transferable. Being in the leadership team now, it is impressive to see the difference between an employee that needs very specific and detailed instructions to be able to perform a task and another one that is able to gather the training and skills already provided, combined with company and customer’s interests to come up with solutions even to problems that are new.
Your course projects can count as professional experience too.
When I was interviewed for my current job, I was asked if I had experience working with social media. I am not from a marketing background, but I had a course at Langara where I was tasked to create a social media plan for my employer at the time. I showed the plan and said that although I did not have formal education or extensive experience, I could learn and help the company with whatever social media needs they had. One year later, my interviewer (who became my boss) and I had a full Marketing and Sales Department running. I am not sure if I would have gotten the job if I simply said “Sorry, I don’t have any digital marketing certifications or previous work experience...”
Be honest, do not underestimate your strengths and your network.
Be honest. People can tell when you are lying, so learn what your strengths are, have good (and authentic) examples to demonstrate that, and get a good sense of the company too. They need to be a match for you as much as you need to be a match for them. Be resilient and do not underestimate your achievements and strengths! You are not starting from zero, your experience can be a lot more meaningful than you think. Develop your strengths and pick your fights with your weaknesses – progress over perfection, always. Also, network and go to as many events as you can, especially if they have the opportunity of participating as a volunteer. Looking back, I would have worked better on prioritizing goals and would been more patient and kinder to myself. It is not necessarily a regret because all the challenges made me grow professionally and personally, but the cost (not taking care of my physical, mental and spiritual health) was definitely high. The most important lessons in this journey were definitely these: you are stronger than you believe and your efforts are worthy when they take you one step closer to your dreams.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Lais’s LinkedIn for updates on her career journey.
Whether it's an online interview or in-person, the first impression you give your interviewers is very important as it sets the tone.
Title: Supply Chain Manager
Industry: Orthotics and Prosthetics
I can say that everything has aligned perfectly for me. My goal was to be able to apply what I learned in the Supply Chain and Logistics program, slowly, but surely, work my way up the ladder, and eventually land a senior management position in X number of years. I'm fortunate enough to be progressing quite nicely, ahead of the goals I set right after I graduated.
Have a purposeful approach when looking for jobs.
I always start by asking two questions: a) Does the company align with my core values? For example, companies that advocate a good cause or companies that are eco-friendly.; and b) Will the role align with my strengths and core competencies?
I see and define networking as the act of establishing and keeping relationships.
Start with your classmates, your instructors, and your program coordinators. Then, build and expand through co-workers. I can attest to the importance of networking as I got my first two full-time jobs from referrals by my classmates in my program.
Before going into any interview, put together a clear and concise story about yourself.
Not too long (as to bore your interviewer) and not too short (as to make your interviewer wonder).
Key points for your “Tell Me About Yourself” story are:
- 1 to 2 sentence for your personal introduction.
- 3 to 6 sentences about where are you currently working and what do you do?
- 3 to 6 sentences about the job prior (if any) to your current job
- 5 to 10 sentences about your previous experience outside of Canada (if applicable)
- The last bullet is especially most important for international students.
- The most important step is the first step. Whether it's an online interview or in-person, the first impression you give your interviewers is very important as it sets the tone. Look the interviewer in the eye. Smile. Beam with confidence. So always have this in mind.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Lawrence's LinkedIn for updates on his career journey.
The Vancouver marketing community is close-knit, which means the more you put yourself out there attending industry events, social gatherings and volunteering with relevant organizations, the more you increase visibility and build a positive reputation within the community.
Title: Communications & Special Projects
Company: Town Hall Brands
Industry: Marketing Agency
I knew that I wanted my work to be something I am excited about, something that makes me want to get up in the morning, and something that challenges and allows me to continuously learn and grow.
My current work with Town Hall Brands is just that – I get to work in a creative role with a small-but-mighty team in the fun, ever-evolving food and beverage industry. Most importantly, this role gives me the option and flexibility to work remotely or in their Mount Pleasant office.
I said “yes” to any opportunity presented
In the early stages of my career, I said “yes” to any opportunity presented that had the potential to further my career, whether that was a volunteer role at a local conference or flying to Toronto to network at the Great Canadian Sales Competition. Not only did this expose me to the world of marketing and the many possible career paths in the industry, it helped me build my network with industry professionals which led to more opportunities – like a domino effect.
Networking to me is the act of making connections and building relationships
With likeminded peers, industry professionals and potentially employers. The Vancouver marketing community is close-knit, which means the more you put yourself out there attending industry events, social gatherings and volunteering with relevant organizations, the more you increase visibility and build a positive reputation within the community. It’s also a great way to gain confidence, exchange knowledge, learn about opportunities, and even make friends!
Come prepared – do your due diligence and research before stepping foot into the interview
- Look up the organization’s website, social media channels, and recent news articles and take notes.
- Practice responses to common interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
- Prepare 2-3 questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview – they can be about the role, the organization, etc.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Melody's LinkedIn for updates on her career journey.
My tips are straightforward: attend Langara's career fair events, build your LinkedIn profile, join networking sessions, volunteer, learn about different cultures, learn about yourself, your skills, and desires, increase your self-awareness, benchmark with your career of choice, and ultimately, learn planning first, then plan for your future career.
Title: Project Coordinator
Company: Vancouver Coastal Health
I was always excited about projects and leadership. While studying at the Langara, I had this great opportunity to meet incredible individuals who inspired me to a project management role. In addition, I had this opportunity to have my Work Experience Term at the college, which involved in a tremendously massive project (Workday ERP Implementation) that was the stepping stone in my career in Project Management in Canada.
I realized how project management resonate with my skills and interests.
I was a Project Engineer in my previous life that is more focused on the engineering requirements and designing phase of the project. However, project management is more comprehensive and looks at the project from the above, and integrates different stages and works with subject expert matters, functional managers, and a more extensive range of stakeholders. At Langara, within the ERP implementation project, I had the opportunity to engage with many professionals in various fields, specifically project management office specialists, and that helped me to realize how project management resonate with my skills and interests, and also where I need to develop my skills, namely leadership, technical skills and business management side of the work. Thus, I started to plan for the requirements to become a Project Manager through various sources such as online learning and, later on, working as a Project Coordinator to get more in touch with the project management setting.
Most goals, short or long-term will need a strategy to be met.
I learned this from the Project Management concept of agility, where you create a vision board of the product, you are going to make showing different stages and times where different functionality will be added to the product in each release until the final product is ready to the market. I implemented the same idea in my personal life as I believe most goals we set no matter if they’re long-term or short-term, will need a strategy to be met. I broke down my goals to smaller projects with a tangible/intangible benefits and results, required tasks, risks, and opportunities, and included the people as stakeholders on my path. Creating a vision board and a roadmap is very beneficial for me to look at the path from above and have a quick high-level plan.
We can learn from others’ experiences.
As we meet new people we can learn from their experiences. I learned this through various volunteering and networking events I attended and still attend. Gaining a tremendous amount of knowledge; especially because when we are students, people will be more ardent to share their experiences and lesson learned, by which you can compare and gain more insight into your future career. I was part of Langara's Project Management Club (PMC) and did a lot of networking on LinkedIn, where I had the opportunity to have informational interviews with a couple of professionals and collected valuable advice. That helped me reflect on my personality, values and goals so I could find the best fit for my future career.
Also, learning and then implementing all the resources presented and available at the college, including EXPE courses assisted me in my career planning and how I can tailor my skills toward my career goals.
I still network religiously and encourage students and friends to do the same. We live in a highly social world where many individuals with different skills and knowledge can save us precious time rather than experiencing everything ourselves. Utilizing other individuals' experiences, learning from them, giving back, and paying it forward is my mantra. Being a student in Canada and Vancouver is an excellent opportunity. My suggestion is, besides studying the courses, to utilize all the resources at the College that are included in your tuition. Therefore, my tips are straightforward: attend Langara's career fair events, build your LinkedIn profile, join networking sessions, volunteer, learn about different cultures, learn about yourself, your skills, and desires, increase your self-awareness, benchmark with your career of choice, and ultimately, learn planning first, then plan for your future career.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Navid’s LinkedIn for updates on his career journey.
I knew that every job posting was unique, so it is crucial to read each one carefully to understand the requirements the recruiter wants when applying. I also made sure to research the company and familiarize the products/services it offered before interviews.
Title: Administration and Event Coordinator
Company: The Radius Group
Industry: Safety and Security
Ever since I was young, planning and organizing events was something I knew I wanted to incorporate into my career. All throughout my professional and academic journey, event planning has always been one of my key responsibilities. Unlike my previous positions where I focused on external event planning, I now concentrate on internal events for our staff, fostering a positive and engaging work culture. I thoroughly enjoy and do my best in this role, and aspire to continuously grow and learn, and am open to opportunities that may come my way.
Getting my first job required a focused strategy, especially as an international student adapting to a new environment in Canada.
During my job search, I invested time and effort in editing my resume to meet Canadian standards, taking valuable feedback from my EXPE professors. I also frequently leveraged the use of LinkedIn. By updating my profile with relevant experiences and skills, it ensured that recruiters would know my career background. I had a clear goal for which roles I wanted to apply for which were marketing, events, and/or admin jobs, which is how I streamlined my job search.
Know what you’re applying for.
For each job I wanted to apply for, I spent time reading the job description and then editing my resume making sure that it connected with the role. I knew that every job posting was unique, so it is crucial to read each one carefully to understand the requirements the recruiter wants when applying. I also made sure to research the company and familiarize the products/services it offered before interviews.
Going to an interview might seem nerve-wracking, but I always tried to keep my calm. This way, I was able to organize my thoughts and felt less intimidated. I believe that first impressions matter, so I would always try to dress professionally and neatly.
Understand the importance of networking.
Networking to me is an avenue where people meet, connect, and share information/ideas about industry topics or certain interests. I find it valuable since I get to learn new topics, trends, and opportunities from people within the same industry. Building relationships with peers is also very important as it expands your visibility and is a way of growing your personal brand.
I am still aiming to land a marketing role; specifically branding and customer marketing. Trends change all the time and right now I see that AI, hyper-personalization, and UGC (user-generated content) are important points marketers should incorporate in their strategy.
This story was written in the Spring 2024 semester. See Pryscilla's LinkedIn for updates on her career journey.
When I heard in the radio that ICBC was shifting to a No-Fault system, I immediately identified myself with all the experience I had as a medical expert in the judicial court, that I could personally relate with the company’s new vision and mission and that I could make a great impact in my interview.
Title: Advanced Support & Recovery Specialist
Industry: GovernmentToday, I work as an Advanced Support and Recovery Specialist at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) where I utilize my medical knowledge to best support customers who are recovering from severe and catastrophic injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents, until they are able to return to the highest level of function possible. I am also able to use my experience in disability and return-to-work to develop a program, in cooperation with employers, to gradually have them back in their jobs.
When I heard in the radio that ICBC was shifting to a No-Fault system, I immediately identified myself with all the experience I had as a medical expert in the judicial court, that I could personally relate with the company’s new vision and mission and that I could make a great impact in my interview.
Target the positions that you want and tailor your resume.
While being a student at Langara, I focused primarily on EXPE classes and tried to understand my skills to find ways to best describe them and make them transferable to other types of jobs. Practiced writing resumes and cover letter until I became good at it. Worked on my LinkedIn account to align with my resume, and carefully searched for job opportunities that would best suit my experience.
My job application strategy was to apply for just a few job postings, targeting only the positions that I wanted and that I believed I had the best qualifications for. Then, I would learn all I could about the employer and focus on the job requirements to best prepare my resume and cover letter. ICBC and WorkSafeBC were my only two targets, so it was easier for me to tailor my resume to their expectations.
Networking is all about being remembered!
Create meaningful relationships and display your attributes in a natural way. Reach out to anyone that works in a position that you aspire and ask for advice, because some of them will be delighted to help. Networking is to be out there, meeting people, be able to communicate well and share your thoughts and ideas in a meaningful way, so people will remember you. This is important because they will remember you if they need to recommend someone that would be suitable for a specific position.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Sergio's LinkedIn for updates on his career journey.
My tips for students to be successful in their job search are to attend CCDC workshops and events, work on their LinkedIn profiles, and network as much as possible.
Title: Domestic Marketing & Recruitment Assistant
Company: Langara College
Industry: Higher Education
I love being in academic environments as I used to be an assistant professor back in my home country. After finishing business school, I found interest in marketing and my current role as a Marketing Assistant at Langara College allows me to experience the best of both worlds.
Work on your professional branding.
As an international student, I made sure to make my presence known by volunteering in different departments and expanding my network within the college. I worked on my resume and cover letter with the help of the Co-op and Career Development Centre (CCDC), and by asking my native speaker friend to check my documents. I focused on my EXPE classes too and took advantage of booking one-on-one resume reviews with my instructor. I also checked out online resources on LinkedIn and Indeed to further expand my knowledge. Most importantly, I talked with the managers and let them know that I have the skills, and I am passionate about working in an academic setup. When preparing for an interview, I made sure to practice since it makes me feel more confident. I research the company, role, and requirements to tailor my answers based on the information I acquired. I also built connections by attending networking events, applying for different student work positions, and volunteering.
My tips for students to be successful in their job search are to attend CCDC workshops and events, work on their LinkedIn profiles, and network as much as possible. In the beginning, I was hesitant in exploring new careers because I did not feel confident, and I feel that I have lost many opportunities because of it. I could have had better positions and more self-esteem if I was not wrapped in my bubble of self-doubt. The workshops organized by the CCDC, my EXPE instructors, and my courses helped me a lot in building my confidence.
This story was written in the Fall 2022 semester. See Shadi's LinkedIn for updates on her career journey.
One of my biggest challenges was coming out of my comfort zone because I am an introvert.
Title: Warehouse Manager
Company: Canadian Dry Storage
Industry: Warehousing and Storage
I started my career with a 5-year goal of getting a management position which I achieved last year when I was promoted to Warehouse Manager in October 2022 at Canadian Dry Storage. While studying at Langara, I was a Career Leader at the Co-op & Career Development Centre and I was part of the Leader of Tomorrow program; these experiences, helped me gain valuable connections and improve my professional branding.
Identify your goals and have a specific time set to achieve them.
Have a specific method to help you prioritize your tasks and categorize what is urgent and what is not. To be successful, you need to learn how to manage your time more efficiently; this will help you be productive and constantly improve yourself. Make a goal to know where you want to see yourself in 5 years and then start drafting tasks to achieve them. I wanted to be in a management position in 5 years after I joined my company, I realized that it was going to be in Operations. I kept on learning the procedures in warehouse operations and kept on asking questions whenever I had doubts. Communication skills and customer service are skills which can be used at any time and in all fields. I utilized my skills and experience gained through part-time jobs and my Co-op term working at Walmart as Customer Service Manager.
Do not be discouraged, keep working smart.
In the application process, it is important to adapt and target your resume and not to send a general resume to many employers. Keep working part-time, networking, or volunteering on campus and outside the campus. I am still in touch with my mentor from the Leaders of Tomorrow program to help me set my personal brand and practice my professional pitch. Focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Learn from your mistakes and never be afraid of challenges. Keep in touch with your College and professional connections and if you need guidance, talk to your instructors, manager, family or friends. There are a lot of resources at Langara that can help you as well when you have a dilemma or you are stuck on something. Always be a team player and practice active listening because even someone at a junior level can bring great ideas to the table. Also, do not forget to talk to your parents, siblings, or friends at least once a day because this will help you to ease your mind.
Success does not come overnight
One of my biggest challenges was coming out of my comfort zone because I am an introvert. It took me some time to get active with networking and engage in conversations. Being a Career Leader at the Co-op & Career Development Centre made a difference when it comes to networking, leadership, effective communication, time management, how to pitch, and branding yourself. Be patient, flexible, and stay motivated. Think clearly about your professional goals, write some plans, and keep yourself open to opportunities you might not have thought of. If you ever feel low, try to do things that refresh you. Talk to your friends, family, mentors, and keep going. Stay focused on what you want to achieve.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Simrandeep’s LinkedIn for updates on his career journey.
Make yourself remembered. Send a message to former colleagues, instructors, and people that you asked or asked you for coffee.
Title: Senior Procurement Officer
While planning out my career, it was important for me to have realistic and achievable goals. I was constantly looking at and reading job postings even if I was not applying at the moment. This helped me understand the kind of candidate the company is looking for and the market for a certain job.
Give the best you can in everything you do!
My career strategy was to always be seen, do the best I can, learn always, and give my best in everything I do. Everyone notices you when you work with care and attention. I made sure to focus on people as well by asking for and understanding their needs. If you help people, you will see that when it is your time to ask for help, the deed will be reciprocated. By the time I do get invited for an interview, I try to be calm and treat it as a professional conversation between colleagues. I made sure to speak louder than just concepts by giving examples may it be work, school, or life-related.
Work. Volunteer. Rinse. Repeat.
Do your best in your work, and try to volunteer as much as you can without expecting anything in return. These experiences will help you build your character and create connections with the people around you. When everything feels too much, give yourself time to rinse and relax before going back to the grind again. In my experience, I chose to focus on studying and not work during my first year in Canada. Although everything went fine, I think doing so was not the best choice because the more you work, the more connections you have, and the more you will know about the marketplace.
Those that are not seen, are not remembered.
Make yourself remembered. Send a message to former colleagues, instructors, and people that you asked or asked you for coffee. Those that are not seen, are not remembered, so always try to keep the relationship alive.
This story was written in the Fall 2022 semester. See Tiago's LinkedIn for updates on his career journey.
While applying for jobs, my first step was to filter the job posts in which I could fulfill at least 60%-70% of the requirements before revising my resume and cover letter.
Company: Creation Technologies
Industry: Supply Chain Management
My job as a buyer gives me the opportunity to work on projects and support internal and external stakeholders. As a buyer, I am able to help solve customer issues and fill out their needs, as well as work on electrical components. It is entirely new for me, but I am up for the challenge. My work aligns with my career goals of gaining more Canadian work experience, running big projects, and expanding my network.
I started on entry-level jobs when I arrived in Canada.
I had many years of work experience in my home country, but when I arrived in Canada, I started on entry-level jobs to get Canadian experience. Afterwards, I focused on positions aligned with my background. Now, I am working on my skills to help boost my career. While applying for jobs, my first step was to filter the job posts in which I could fulfill at least 60%-70% of the requirements before revising my resume and cover letter. I did this every weekday after working for about two to three hours.
We are not robots. Unexpected issues can happen.
When going to an interview, my first tip is to be yourself and do your best. Do not be afraid if not everything is perfect. Recruiters are people like you, and they will understand that. Next, be prepared for traditional and behavioral questions that are usually similar from one interview to another.
Examples of these questions are:
- Tell me about a time you worked under pressure.
- Tell me about a time you had the opportunity to lead
- Tell me about a time when you encountered a difficult situation with a customer
Lastly, read the job post, and think about how your experiences will fit. You are on the interview to be a solution for the company’s problem. It is essential to demonstrate that your background is a great fit.
Trust the process.
Looking back, something I would have done differently is to be more confident of my past experiences and build my network sooner. So my advice for students would be to not be afraid to apply for your dream job or company. You can be rejected many times, but the practice will help you to develop your skills for your future.
This story was written in the Fall 2022 semester. See Vanessa's LinkedIn for updates on her career journey.
Networking is connecting with people who share the same interest in the context of the event. Thus, it may lead to new insights, collaboration, mentorship, and other unforeseen opportunities.
Title: Sales Engagement Consultant
Company: Skaled Consulting
Industry: Business Consulting
In my current role, I am able to consult executives on their market strategy and implement changes across their sales department. This allows me to accrue the experience that may help me become an independent leadership consultant later on.
Networking leads to unforeseen opportunities!
Networking is connecting with people who share the same interest in the context of the event. Thus, it may lead to new insights, collaboration, mentorship, and other unforeseen opportunities. This helped me when I was looking for opportunities. Since I applied to work for start-ups, I contacted the CEO directly. I knew why I wanted the job, persisted in following up, and provided value throughout the process (e.g giving feedback on their website, and recommending resources relevant to their industry).
My tips on how to prepare your “Tell Me About Yourself” story:
- Research the company and job you applied for and figure out: a) Why I want to work for this company, b) What they're looking to accomplish through this job, and 3) What skills are needed for it
- Identify what values, goals, accomplishments, and overall experience resonate the most with the points above
- Craft a story in a format that emphasizes that
- Cut it in "half" by removing any fluff and fillers
- Bonus steps if this job really sticks out:
- Practice in front of a mirror
- Practice in front of a friend, then a mentor
- Adjust the story based on the feedback
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Vitaly's LinkedIn for updates on his career journey.
Strategies guide our decisions and they evolve, so don’t feel like you’re off track if a strategy you picked years ago does not align with who you are and what you want right now.
Title: Commercialization Program Coordinator
Company: Praxis Spinal Cord Institute
Industry: Non for Profit
I wanted to have a career where I would sit on different sides of the table. Before working at the Commercialization team of Praxis, I had the experience of working in a start-up so I was dealing with the challenge and beauty of building a business from the ground up. Today, I’m working for a company that invests in and supports start-ups. By changing seats, I’ve learned not only the mentality and daily struggles of being a company that needs funds to prove its concept, but also now I’m understanding how investors think and how they make choices. Those experiences made my career compelling by being a professional who has diverse perspectives.
Strategies are what guides our decisions and they can change and adjust as we evolve.
I never had a specific company I wanted to work for, but I knew I wanted to do something related to education and seeing people and businesses transform over time. Not being focused on a specific company made me deeply focus when scanning every opportunity I got – does this opportunity align with my strategy?
Whatever career strategy you have – maybe for you is a certain company, or a certain title, or a certain pay, or like me, the meaningfulness of the job/work - just remember that strategies guide our decisions and they evolve, so don’t feel like you’re off track if a strategy you picked years ago does not align with who you are and what you want right now.
The power of a network is undeniable and it does prepare us for the real world.
Networking is hard but it is crucial. It challenges our vulnerabilities, it can make us feel exposed or pressured to have something to say or to think on our feet. Building a powerful network not only will help you to find a job but it increases your confidence, make you feel less alone, question your beliefs and it will present to you what others see in you – a perspective you wouldn’t have if you didn’t connect with others.
Every ‘no’ is a redirection, not a receipt of your worth as a professional or as a person.
Before an interview, take the time to do a deep research into the company, and the latest news related to that business and go to the interview with a clear response on why what you know about them relates to who you are and what you want.
This story was written in the Spring 2023 semester. See Yasmin's LinkedIn for updates on her career journey.