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Today is day four of five of my week of informational interviews in Toronto.  I’ve met with thirteen professionals within the broad spectrum of the communications industry, turned down one job offer, got two more real job interviews set up for tomorrow, and got a call from my bank thinking my VISA had been stolen because of the hundreds spent at Town Shoes.  So things are going well.

My brain is as full as my notepad – I am learning so much.  It’s impossible not to be inspired by all these driven, successful people I’m getting the chance to have conversations with.  There’s a recurring theme to some of the advice I’m receiving and I thought I’d share the wealth and write down some of these insights. 23 to be exact:

1.  Always read the morning news the day of an interview.  If the interviewer doesn’t ask you about it (which they might) work something interesting you read into conversation.  The VP of a Public Relations firm told me she will always ask: “What is the most interesting thing you read or heard in the news today?” and is baffled by how many people are baffled by that question.

2.  Really know why you want the job before going into an interview.  Because they will ask you.  “Why communications?” “Why -insert-career-?” “Why now?”

3.  Remember that even though you just graduated, you have something to offer.  Yes it can be intimidating, but know that the table has two sides.

4.  Ask yourself what interests you? What gets you excited? What do you like to read about?

5.  If you can, angle your career around digital.  Digital is where everything is headed.

6.  Meet people in each sector / industry / group you’re interested in.  Talking to real people will help narrow it down.  It really is so much about networking.

7.  Treat getting a job as a job. Unemployed? Spend at least 24 hours a week researching and working towards getting finding employment opportunities. Employed? 6-8 hours a week.

8.  Know what you will not do.  Know your morals.

9.  You can always say no at the end (i.e. try things out).

10.  Never turn down a job interview or a date (because you just never know).

11.  Get a business card.  Make it simple – just your name and address.  No snowflakes.

12.  Start to hone in on what it is you want and apply for everything that’s even close.

13.  Your resume needs a summary at the top – one line in bold stating who you are and what you’re about.   Example given: Recent graduate with relevant practical HR experience.

14.  Look at the 100 best and 50 best employers lists. Find a great company to work for.

15.  You need to be able to say in one sentence what it is you want.

16.  Find out what you love to do and get people to pay you to do it.

17.  In Canada not all the jobs are in Toronto, but most of the best jobs are in Toronto.

18.  90% of getting a job is attitude.  Be confident. Excited. Interested. Show that you’ll work your ass off.

19.  Play up the whole small town girl coming to make it in the big city – because “people just love that shit.”  Work off of being young and motivated and wanting to learn.

20.  Stroke the egos of the people you’re dealing with – bring up a recent campaign of theirs and ask questions.  Be curious.

21.  Anyone who says they have a five year plan is looking for disaster.  Things change and mold.

22. When you’re looking for a job you’re essentially shopping for learning opportunities.  What kind of person do you want to work for and learn from?

23.  Find out what you want and leverage your network to help you get there.  If you see a job description that looks interesting ask someone you know in the field if they know of anyone related to that kind of work who you could talk to.

One thing every single person has said?  Find out what it is you are passionate about and pursue it.  Essentially point number 16: find out what you love to do and how to get someone to pay you to do it.  This is really what it’s all about.  I am so excited.


Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
-Howard Thurman

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So I’ve traveled across the country to the big city of Toronto to find my little old self a job.  Well, in the very least, to network and find out how to find my little old self a job.

Today is my first day of five.  I’ve had two informational interviews so far (10+ to go) – one with a digital media expert at Rogers and one with the public editor of the Toronto Star.  The more I keep talking to people the more I’m coming to understand (and believe) what my prof Gil talked about in digital communications class: the necessity to develop an online profile in order to get yourself out there in today’s job world.  So here I am back at the blogging.

(And can I tell you a secret?)  I like blogging.  As much as I used to make fun of bloggers (sorry bloggers) I can’t anymore because I would be a total hypocrite.  I enjoy writing out my thoughts and fine-tuning them more than I would in a journal because someone may be reading the words.  I like following blogs I’m interested in and connecting with others sharing similar interests.  It took me awhile but I’m converted.

Three stand-out items I’ve noticed about Toronto so far:

1. Despite what everyone from the island warns – the people here are super friendly!  The majority of people I’ve been interacting with today are in customer service getting paid to smile at me – but still.

2. Having a Starbucks to-go cup in one hand and a Blackberry/Ipod/insert-trendy-mobile-device-here in the other seems to be a necessity in any downtown Torontonian’s get-up.  Everyone is go-go-go and I feel it affecting me.  I think my mind is working faster over here than it does back home on the island.

3. Everyone has fantastic shoes.  I was at a walk-in clinic to fill a prescription this morning and the doctor was sporting some chocolate suede cowboy boots under his scrubs!  I told him I liked his boots and his questioning look makes me think he thought I was being sarcastic – but really I did.

On that note I’m going to go drop $130 on some Steve Madden’s I was eyeing up on Bloore St. West.

Like yoga? Like being outside in the sun? Like music? Like supporting a good cause?

Well then I hope you’re free this Sunday morning!

Amy Chayko from Downdawg Yoga will be teaching a class with her live DJ at Centennial Square this Sunday July 11th at 9:30am.  A donation of $5 – $15 will help Siobhan McManus raise money for her 7,000 km bike ride across Canada. Siobhan is raising money for the National Kids Cancer Ride. This is an amazing cause and definitely worth supporting.

Check out the Facebook Event page for more info.  My friends Adrien and Lindsay also wrote fantastic blog posts with more information about the event and Siobhan’s story – definitely check it out.

Hope to see you Sunday!

I donated blood for the first time today.  It was really simple and the whole process only took about an hour.  Plus you get free cookies! (Of course there were no vegan-friendly ones, so I took a package for the road to give to my niece).  I was afraid my iron levels would be too low since I’m not eating meat, but levels were high so the iron I’m getting from beans and kale and spinach seem to be doing the trick!

It’s so incredibly easy to do and feels amazing to know you’re helping someone’s life.  There was a tiny prick when the needle first went in but then I couldn’t feel a thing and just sat in the comfy chair for five minutes while my blood collected in the bag.  The nurse said this was extremely fast – most people need at least ten minutes to get the full amount of blood.  She praised me for this and made me feel really good about myself (when really I wasn’t doing anything more than sitting in this comfortable chair watching What Not to Wear).

I thought of the people I love in my life and how I would donate blood for them in a second.  The blood I donated today will go to somebody out there in need who’s loved by someone – and that feels really good.  I’m going to start going regularly (the maximum is once every 56 days).

Here are some facts I found from Canadian Blood Services and American Red Cross:

-Only 2.7% of eligible British Columbians give blood, which is the lowest percentage in Canada and yet over 50% of us will need blood or blood products in our lifetime.

-The #1 reason donors say they give blood is because they “want to help others”

-Two most common reasons cited by people who don’t give blood are: “Never thought about it” and “I don’t like needles”

-If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save over 1,000 lives!

-One out of every 10 people admitted in a hospital needs blood

-Three teaspoons of blood can save a baby’s life

-One donation has the potential to save as many as three lives

-You lose one pound each time you donate blood because you give 1 pint (16 ounces) of blood in one donation

*Check out Canadian Blood Services for a clinic near you and see if you’re eligible.  It’s worth it – help save lives and ensure that there will be a supply of blood there for you if needed in the future!

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On another note, being vegan it’s going just fine.  I miss Boursin cheese and had to sit on the opposite end of the table from the bacon and sausages during family brunch the other day ’cause it smelled so good (but then I reminded myself of the PETA video I’d watched and talked about here and felt great about my opting for a second helping of hashbrowns instead of ham).

I’ll post more about what is is I am eating next week.  So far a lot of baked beans, guacamole, and salads with chickpeas for protein.  My skin started improving after about five days, until I drank a pitcher of Blue Buck last night and then skin took two steps backward.  Ah, well what can ya do.

I feel good about taking more caution in what I’m eating and thinking more about how each ingredient affects me.  The phrase You Are What You Eat has never felt more true than it does for me right now during this food learning adventure.