Preparing for interviews

Do you have an interview coming up?  How prepared do you feel about it?  Not sure how to express all your ideas to answer scenario questions?

How would you answer this question, “Have you ever lead a team before?” in an interview?

One way to approach the question is organizing your ideas using the STARR method.  Interview-2

STARR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result, Relate.

You could have answered “yes” or “no” and move quickly onto the next question, but that does not tell the interviewers anything about your leadership skills.

Let’s build a STARR story answer.

(Situation) “Yes; a relevant example being at my last company, where I was initially a software developer in a team of 6 developing a new finance module for our core accounting product.”

(Task) “The project was critical as launch dates had been set with a lot of sales and marketing investment riding on the product being ready. However, the project was behind schedule, when our team leader unfortunately became ill, and had to leave the position.”

(Action) “I had been a sports team captain at school, where I loved the challenge and responsibility of leadership. So I volunteered to stand in, and by using my technical analysis skills, I spotted a few small mistakes made in the initial coding that were causing the sporadic errors and slowing us down. I led the team to work out the kinks and resolved the problems.”

(Result) “At the end, the software was delivered on time with a better than target fault tolerance. The project was seen as a great success by the company and I was officially promoted to the team leader afterward.”

(Relate) “I am sure I can utilize my leadership skills gained from that experience and apply it to this position as a manager and lead the team to great successes in your company.”

Want some more tips on interview preparation? Eager to try it out and practice in person?  Student Life Centre is now offering mock interviews on Mondays and Thursdays.  Drop by the Hive or the Student Life Centre to book one. Hurry as spots are filling up fast!

 

What is an elevator pitch?

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An elevator pitch is a short 30-60 second summary used to quickly and simply define yourself. It’s a perfect gateway to start conversation when meeting someone new. It’s a great tool to invest time on! Common uses are: ‘tell you about yourself’ in an interview, introducing yourself at a career fair or while networking to create a positive lasting impression.

There are three main elements to the elevator pitch. Firstly, introduce yourself – name, degree, school, related experience, skill or qualifications. Secondly, be aware about the person whom you choice to talk to. Touch on a common denominator topic, acknowledge their work to show you’ve done your research or simply express your interest in their profession/company. Lastly, express what you are looking for and how you have a competitive advantage. If you don’t know the individual, you can say ‘how can my skills be beneficial to you or your company?’ Remain confident, professional and enthusiastic when networking! Remember to be original and do not be afraid to be yourself!

This term, there are amazing opportunities at Western that allow you to sharpen your elevator pitch!

  1. On Jan 28th, Brescia’s Student Life Center is hosting it’s 4th annual Career Symposium from 6 – 9:30 pm. It is a free event for all Brescia students and recent grads. Become familiar with the panels profiles and the event breakdown. For more information and registration: http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/brescias-4th-annual-career-symposium-tickets-19411892493
  2. On March 2nd, the London Economic Development Corporation is holding a Student 2 Business Networking event from 3-8 pm at the London Convention Center. With a fee of $10, they are providing a guest speaker: Bobby Umar, workshops, transportation, food and beverage ticket and coat/boot check. To learn more, check out their website: http://www.ledc.com/s2b

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What’s your Career Story?

write your own story

With the whole year ahead, the New Years is a time for new beginnings and a great opportunity to assess and make future plans. For your career this might mean new goals and priorities, a new job or just growing in your current role. Wherever you are in your career it is important to understand and appreciate your career story.

Your career story is a way of telling your journey and experiences through the world of work. It could include jobs you’ve had, volunteer positions or special awards and recognition. Having a good grasp of your career story makes it easier to plan for the future and find direction to create the successful and fulfilling professional life you have always wanted. Putting thought into your career story gives depth to your experience and will give you confidence to shine in job interviews as well as when establishing yourself in your profession.

Start the New Year fresh and start filling those pages of your career story.

The student life center has great workshops to help create Your Brescia Experience. This and your Co-curricular Record are great ways to build your career story!story quotation

Stressed out?

Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by final exams?   Do you wake up each morning from a terrible sleep?  Are you suffering from pounding headaches? Suffering from mood swings and feeling irritable all the time? nail-biting

Those are all signs of stress.  Keep reading to get more tips on managing your stress.

 

  1. Shift your perspective
    Do you see a glass as half full or as half empty? Adopting a more positive mental attitude has been shown to be an effective way to deal with stress and give you more resilience in coping with stress.  Check out this link on ways to adopt a more positive attitude.
  2.  Form a positive support network 
    You are not the only one who is stressed! Talking about it with your peers help! Talking with friends or your support network has a way of dispelling the tension associated with stress and can boost your problem solving skills
  3. Practice relaxation techniques
    Look up videos of Laughter Yoga and try doing that either on your own or with some friends. Just remember you don’t need specific reasons to laugh and laughing does not only improve your mood emotionally but also reduce stress hormones like cortisol in the body.  laughing yoga

5 Tips to Stop Stress and Rock Your Exams

Exams are almost here and you’re probably feeling the stress starting to build. To help you get through your exams here are 5 quick and easy tips to help you stress and set you up for exam success.

1.Manage Stress 

Take time for yourself and try positive self-talk to boost your confidence. If you can believe you can you will! Remind yourself that exams will be over eventually and that you can do it! Also try meditating or doing other mind-body practices like yoga to give your brain a break and reduce your stress.

 

2. Eat Well

 

Getting the proper nutrition is important for fueling your body and your brain. Make sure to eat a well balanced diet, a good breakfast, and healthy snacks throughout the day to keep your energy levels up and your mind alert.

 

3. Stay Hydrated 

Dehydration can make you feel irritated, tired and even more stressed. Always have a bottle of water close by when studying and during exams. Take little sips throughout the day, especially if you are feeling thirsty.

 

4. Sleep Enough 

It can be challenging to get enough sleep when exam stress builds up. Sleep is very important for both learning and memory. Sleep helps with memory consolidation and the strengthening of neural connections. When you are sleep deprived you will have trouble focussing. When you are rested you will be able to focus better and get more done in less time. Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep to feel well rested and ready to rock your exams!

5. Stay Active

Taking study breaks to be active is one of the best ways to boost your energy, motivation and self-confidence. When you get your body moving you are improving blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain which will help you think clearer and study better. Even taking a quick 10 minute break for a brisk walk or run or doing a mini circuit of a few different exercises one after the other (e.g. squats, jumping jacks, push-ups etc.).

Website for Student Jobs

 

 

Looking for a job but overwhelmed with the market? Try Jobpostings.ca!

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Job engines like Indeed, Workopolis and Monster are great places to search but lack student opportunities. Jobpostings was made specifically for students looking for jobs, co-ops and internships. The website has postings by companies such as Rogers, Service Ontario, Loblaws, SunLife Insurance, Cineplex, CCAC, RBC, BMO and TD Bank.

Initially, Jobpostings was launched as a magazine in post-secondary campuses that was a huge success nationwide. Providing career advice, exclusive interviews and job leads for students, it was a hit. As the market changed, they developed a website! 16 years in the business, today Jobpostings is able to help 500,000 students per year to find jobs!!

Start your job search today!!

Additional tips on resume writing for Masters/ internship applicants

stress

For all of those who are applying to DC internships/ Masters programs, we understand the how much stress you may be experiencing…

 

 

So to make resume writing a little bit easier, here are some tips we want to highlight. resume_writing

  1. Follow guidelines of the particular program to which you are applying (i.e. length, margins, fonts)
  2. Double check if the program wants chronological resume only or if they are fine with functional format as well
  3. If you have only  partially completed a prior degree, be clear on the resume how many years you completed
  4. specify the number of hours for volunteering and the timelines (3hrs per week during March – Aug or the total hours in a time frame)
  5. Separate paid work from volunteering and clarifying skills you have acquired
  6. Remember names of supervisors and their designation (i.e. RD) or advisors for volunteer experiences
  7. Separate out work study experience.  If you have been a work study student, you must specify this
  8. Add the geographic location of your volunteer experience or job.
  9. You may not be allowed to use titles such as research assistant or clinical nutrition assistant.  Remember to double check with your research advisor and add the name of the research advisor
  10. Do not use titles such as “RD in training”, “Health promoter”, “Nutrition educator”, “Nutrition consultant”.  At most, a student would have a title such as “Health promotion student”
  11. Put “Education” at the top of your resume.  Make sure you have the correct date of your past or expected graduation.  Include your academic awards and honors
  12. If you participated in a project as part of a team, you must state that (i.e. “as part of a team”.  Do not misrepresent yourself and your level of responsibility for a project
  13. Ensure you have included food service experiences
  14. If you know another language, be sure to include it
  15. if you have been volunteering at a location, don’t list the location multiple times if you have completed more than 1 project there

If you want a second opinion on your resume from a Career Peer, considering dropping by at one of the drop in hours (Monday 11:00-1:00pm, Tuesday 2:00-400pm or Wednesday 11:30-1:30pm) at the student life centre.

10 Tips to Making Decisions Better and Faster

One of the greatest challenges we all face is the process of making a decision. We make decisions on a daily basis from what to wear in the morning and what to have for lunch to but we also have to make significant decisions about our lives and careers such as which courses of study to take, choosing a degree program, and whether or not to make a career change. The most difficult challenge we face is not so much in the decision to be made but in the indecision that keeps us from making a decision. Even the most successful leaders and executives still struggle with decision making. Decision making will occupy a considerable part of our personal and professional lives and you will find greater success when you learn how to make better more confident decisions.

making decisions

Here are some strategies you can incorporate into your decision making to take the “in” out of indecision.

 

  1. Stay Calm. One of the worst things you can do when trying to make a decision is to get stressed and upset. This will affect your judgement and make the decision seem a lot more difficult and take a lot longer. By staying calm and focused you can work your way to a solution much more easily and rationally. If you feel panic coming on try taking a couple of deep slow breaths and taking a step back from the situation for a moment.
  1. Pretend that You Are Advising a Friend. Imagine you have a friend in exactly the same situation who has to make exactly the same decision. If they had no idea what would you say to them? How would you support them?
  1. List all of your options. Gathering all the pieces of key information is critical. Knowing all the details before making the decision can really help to clarify your options and give you more confidence in your final decision.
  1. Pros/Cons. When you have a good understanding of your options you can compare and analyze them by thinking about the pros and cons for each option. Sometimes you might realize that although the opportunity sounds fantastic you are not willing to make the sacrifices based on the drawbacks of that option. This technique will really help you gain perspective of each option and provide a clear way to evaluate each one by itself and to the others.
  1. Look at the Big Picture. It’s great to have all the details but try not to get too caught up in the little things. Try and think of the big picture – your career goals and/or life goals. How will this decision affect them.
  1. Ask for Help. It’s okay to ask for help! If you’re stuck in a dilemma reach out to friends, family, councilors or mentors you respect and trust. Sometimes all it takes is another set of eyes to see something you’ve been missing and give you the hints you need to come to a clear decision.
  1. How will you feel in the long term with making the decision? How will you feel in the long term if you don’t make the decision? Thinking to the future and how you will feel can really help you make the decision. In the end we all want to feel good and satisfied with our choices. Always consider your well-being when making a decision.
  1. Think about who will be affected. Who does your decision affect? Is it just you? Your family? Friends? Coworkers? When you think outside yourself to other people and the implications of your decision will have on them it can put your options in a different perspective which can help you come to a decision.
  1. Sleep on it. Sometimes you just need to take a break from a big decision for a while and give your brain a rest. When we sleep our brain processes information which can be helpful to making your decision. Also, when you’ve had a good night’s sleep and you’re feeling refreshed you are more likely to think clearly and make a better decision.
  1. When in Doubt Follow Your Gut. Intuition is the ability of our mind to gain knowledge or make an inference without the use of reason. Your subconscious can be more perceptive than your conscious mind in knowing what you truly think about a situation. If you really have no idea what to decide follow your instincts and trust yourself.

decision quotations

Trying to make a decision about your career? The Student Life Center offers workshops on a variety of professional topics. Click here to learn more!

You can also find information on our website to help with career planning and decision making in the resources section.

How to become a member of Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM)?

Found the previous post on working as a FSM fascinating? Want to learn more about working as a FSM at long term care facilities or hospitals in Canada?

You must be a member of the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM) to do so.

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To be eligible for Active Membership in the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM), an individual must fulfill one of the conditions outlined below:

  1. GRADUATION FROM A TWO YEAR CSNM ACCREDITED PROGRAM IN FOOD SERVICE AND NUTRITION MANAGEMENT
  2. GRADUATION FROM ANY OTHER POST SECONDARY PROGRAM WILL NEED TO WRITE THE CSNM ENTRANCE EXAMThe candidate will be required to complete an application for membership, the required non-refundable application fee and proof of successful completion of the college or university program (copies of transcripts and copy of degree/diploma). If the candidate meets the criteria, they will be required to write the CSNM examination.

Competencies being tested on the CSNM examination
The exam breakdown is broken down to test on 8 competencies

  1. Professionalismcompetencies
  2. Quality management
  3. Nutrition and healthy living
  4. Clinical nutrition
  5. Food service systems management
  6. Human resources management
  7. Financial/ business management
  8. Marketing and promotion

12.5% each- making up to a total of 100%

Check out this link for more details on each competency:  http://csnm.in1touch.org/site/studyguide?nav=02

Here is a list of resources that will help prep you for writing the exam:
http://csnm.in1touch.org/site/references?nav=02

To write the exam:

  1. Contact CSNM office to indicate interest in writing the entrance exam and for ENTRANCE EXAM AND PROCTOR REGISTRATION PACKAGE
  2. Arrange for a proctor (http://csnm.in1touch.org/site/qualifications?nav=02)
  3. Check list of examination dates on the CSNM website.
  4. Mail in the completed registration package for approval a week before the selected exam dates. The exam and instruction package will be mailed to the proctor
  5. Mail in completed exams by date marked on the exam verification form in the package

For more information about CSNM, click here for more information.

Maximize Your Skills: Leadership

thWhen you think leadership, what comes in mind? Your boss, the prime minister or an activist. Well, it’s not just limited to those titles. You don’t need a specific job title to indicate if you are a leader.

A leader is anyone who helps themselves and others to set direction, build an inspiring vision or create something new. It means different things to different people around the world based on religious, political or social circumstances. There are differences between a leader and a manager as they have different objectives and approaches to their challenges. leadership_quiz

Employers are always looking for new creative people to join their teams. They seek people with strong leadership and interpersonal skills to see progress in their company. Individuals who have innovative visions and are able to deliver by inspiring others are ideal. Employers wants employees who can push boundaries and keep a cohesive team environment at the workplace. Hence, it is highly important that you showcase your leadership skills in your resume, cover letter and interviews.

Leadership can be overwhelming because it requires having strong communication, time management and problem solving skills. But start to tackle those challengesimages at a young age is greatly beneficial in the long run. Simple tasks such as joining clubs, student council or school/community volunteering are great places to building your expertise. Once you become comfortable with that routine, you can push yourself and apply for an executive club or student council position. Or you can start working in a field of interest and start using you
r skills.

Regardless of you realizing or not, at some people you have been a leader. Examples may be either in a school group project, playing a sport or organizing a summer camp. It all depends on your aspirations if you would like to build these skills to suit your needs.