Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Work-prep Bootcamp whips students into shape

Agnes Mhene (WorkSafe BC) and Michael Begg (Red
Label Communications) give students the skinny on job

You’ve heard of speed dating, but how about speed interviewing?

This was but one of the gruelling events at the Co-operative Education Work-prep Bootcamp last Wednesday at the New Westmintser Campus.

Twenty-two students and five employers – WorkSafe BC, Red Label Communications, Canada Revenue Agency, Douglas College and Winners – attended three sessions designed to help students get an idea of what’s out there in terms of jobs, how to get them and how to network.

Session one was an employer panel discussion, where students asked questions about the respective organizations. Topics raised included what types of job opportunities were there for students – whether in co-op placements or for recent grads. The panelists encouraged students to see entry-level positions as a foot in the door, and to look at the big picture in terms of potential advancement and other opportunities within the organization down the road.

Michael Begg, Douglas College alumnus and Business Development Manager for Red Label Communications, said that due to the size of his organization – under 40 employees – students have to be prepared to hit the ground running, meaning they need to be prepared to ask appropriate questions while in their co-op placement, and must be able to understand, adapt and figure out how the company works, without a lot of guidance.

The second session was speed interviewing, 10-12 minute sessions where employers asked students typical interview questions. Employers gave feedback on students’ responses, with an aim to help them perform well in future interviews.

The final session saw Winners showing participants how to dress for success. Lively discussion ensued around matching sock colour to pants (attention men: please do not wear white socks, and do wear dark-coloured shoes instead of sneakers). The panelists agreed unanimously on interviewees not wearing perfume or cologne to an interview. As for hair, keep it neat and trimmed.
The organizers would like to thank Winners for donating a $50 gift certificate, which went to Olga Ramos, a student in Math and Developmental Studies. Thanks also go out to the Alumni Association, which provided pizza for participants.