• Meet Shoffana Sundaramoorthy, OCC Student Journali ...

    Hey, my name is Shoffana Sundaramoorthy, and I am a third year student at Wilfrid Laurier University.  While I am majoring in communications, I am also pursuing two minors in political science and psychology. I am excited to join the OCC Student/Graduate Journalist Team as it will further my interest in writing. What I enjoy most about writing is that it gives me a chance to express how I feel without any boundaries. Putting my mind on paper is relaxing and second nature for me. In addition, I strive to write with purpose. When I write a piece for OCC, I hope it resonates with its wide audience - whether it is with students, friends, or even alumni. I want to use the platform to speak on issues/ topics that matter to me and ideas for action for these issues. I hope to share valuable resources or insights that resonate deeply with my audience while aligning with the OCC’s core values.
  • Meet Anna Langmuir, OCC Student Journalist

    I am a fourth-year UBC student from the U.K, graduating with a Major in English Literature and a Minor in Psychology. While my love for traveling, writing, and literature inspired me to move to Canada for university, my hospitality experience has also given me many amazing work opportunities worldwide, from managing luxury villas in Spain to living and working in Egypt. My goal is to work in journalism and media one day, start a travel blog, and combine my two biggest passions!   Joining the OCC Student & Graduate Journalist team is meaningful to me because, in the past, I have struggled to navigate being a university student, gain work experience related to my degree, and am still trying to decide on my 'dream' career. Approaching graduation and deciding on a particular career-related goal to work towards is daunting and confusing. I understand that many people might feel similarly anxious about making such a significant transition. I am so excited to join a group of like-minded student journalists whose primary goal is to support, reassure, and inform others who may be feeling lost or intimidated by a future beyond university. By sharing my own and others' career successes and experiences, I hope to bring some reassurance and valuable insight to those at a similar stage in their university journey.  
  • Ten jobs you can do from Anywhere in the World

    Many remote and virtual career options won’t leave you stuck in the same office cubicle (for upwards of 8 hours a day). Whether you are looking for a way to earn money while sitting on a beach in Bali, are drawn to the work-from-home lifestyle, or are simply looking for a COVID-friendly career, here are ten roles that empower you to live and work from anywhere in the world!   1. Freelance Writer Whether it’s blogging, reporting, content writing, or anything in between, freelance writing is an excellent option for those who have strong written communication skills. Not only is the job itself flexible, so is the pay. Depending on how organized you are and how much work you’re willing to take on, the amount you earn is really up to you. Salary: $42,938   2. Virtual Tutor If you have a knack for education or are well-versed in a specific subject, then virtual tutoring may be an exciting option for you. This type of role gives the flexibility of working with many different skill levels, age ranges, and subjects, and it is an occupation available to almost anyone with skills or experience in teaching. Salary: $39,000   3. Graphic Designer This role requires a strong creative flair and tech-savviness but typically comes with the ability to work remotely. A graphic designer creates visual concepts and images to help draw in their client’s target audience - such as logos, website design, magazine covers, and more. Salary: $45,000   4. Virtual Assistant A virtual assistant essentially works as a stay-at-home (or work-from-anywhere) executive or administrative assistant. As with many of these remote roles, proficiency in communications and the confidence to work independently is a must. Typical responsibilities will include managing emails and making travel arrangements Salary: $48,000   5. Website Developer If you have graphic design and computer programming skills, then consider a role as a web developer. You will be responsible for the coding and layout of a client’s website—another excellent option for the tech-savvy. Salary: $53, 762   6. Social Media Consultant This role requires strong social media know-how and the ability to market a brand, figure, or idea successfully. You must be creative and in tune with the company’s target audience. This role will involve collaborating with sales/marketing staff, posting written and visual content, and recommending new ideas and improvements.  Salary: $65, 325   7. Online Translation Are you fluent in a second language? Then why not profit off your valuable linguistic skills? Responsibilities include translating text or audio recordings and ensuring that the newly translated pieces convey the appropriate meaning and tone. Salary: $53,138   8. Online ESL Teacher Teaching English as a second language is many 'a nomad’s' dream job and a great way to live, work, and travel within a myriad of different regions and countries. Many ESL teachers have a degree in English, as well as an ESL or TESOL certification. Once you are qualified, the high demand for ESL teachers means that the world is your oyster. Salary: $42,800   9. E-Interior Designer While interior design seems like it would be a hands-on career, many interior designers work remotely, allowing them to reach an international client base. As an E-Interior designer, you will develop plans and 3D models that align with the client’s vision and wishes. Salary: $48,750   10. Accountant Accounting is a role with high growth potential and can be worked remotely in both entry-level and senior positions. The role primarily involves reviewing or preparing financial accounts for businesses and individuals while ensuring they are in line with laws and regulations.  Salary: $56,544  
  • The Advantages & Disadvantages of Working While in ...

    During my three years in university, I decided to work part-time. I worked in various positions ranging from an event floater for homecoming, cashier, study space host, and research assistant. From my personal experience, it gave me the chance to explore different fields while providing an income. I found it quite delightful! Of course, I wanted to go more into detail about the pros and cons of working through your post-secondary studies. I am sure many students are contemplating this idea as the school year is fast approaching.    PROS of Working While in University or College    1. Improves Your Time Management   What really helped me to manage my time was the use of a virtual planner. When I got into university, I found Notion, an online multi-use workspace with a concise design and a layout that was user-friendly. At the start of each school year, I used Notion to create a weekly calendar template where I inserted all my times for classes, labs, tutorials, study sessions, and blocked out time for my work shifts. From there, I was left with an idea of how much free time I would have.      2. Better Comprehension of Personal Finance  When you begin to earn money for yourself, the realization starts to sink in that your money can leave just as quickly as you received it. In my experience, this realization makes you more self-aware and pushes you to think about finances long term. While there may be some new clothes that you’ve been eyeing, for instance, paying for next month’s rent takes your top priority! (Trust me, you'll begin to see the money you save versus the money you spend). Taking it a step further, this could be an opportunity not just to save but look at investment options. Given that you do your research and don’t make emotionally fuelled choices, you have the potential to create long-term gains - cool, right?       4. Source of Income & Work Experience  Working part-time gives you a dependable income that can be used to pay tuition fees and bills.  Depending on how much you have, you may be able to save some money (as mentioned above) or splurge on yourself (every once and a while). Having an income during university can also aid in creating an emergency fund for the event that something unexpected arises. These are more apparent advantages, but it is worth noting.   5. Personal Growth & Development  Entering university, I considered myself an introverted and reserved individual. It was not until I began working in customer service that I became more comfortable interacting with others. I started to grow more approachable and friendly. I enjoyed talking with complete strangers and became less anxious in doing so. Working a part-time job as a responsibility gave me a boost of confidence in knowing that I can challenge myself to achieve the best I can and push myself toward greater heights. Even if you never worked a job, it is a similar sense of self-fulfillment as holding an executive position in a club or playing on a sports team.    CONS of Working While in University or College 1. Stressful Sscheduling  While I don’t recall going through this issue myself, some employers may be pretty rigid in their scheduling. Due to this, you may be double-booked and have to choose between missing a shift or missing a class. It feels like a lose-lose situation where you would have been better off not getting a job during school.  If you reach the interview stage of a job, be sure to address the interviewer about your involvement in school. While some stores/ businesses may be strict on schedule, others are lenient and recognize that their employees have other responsibilities to attend to.  2. More Work, Less Play  Even if your employer is quite flexible with scheduling, work still takes up a considerable amount of time. While some students can be extremely diligent in their time management, others may not keep up. Working a part-time job comes at the cost of hanging out with your friends or even studying time; it's a choice that requires sacrifice. For me, I enjoy getting involved in extracurriculars. I acknowledge that working a part-time job sometimes took me away from club events/ activities that I would have wanted. It left me feeling like I was missing out whenever I heard my friends talk about it afterward. If there is one recommendation I could share, you can aim to work a seasonal job during the summer (a part-time or full-time job). Assuming that you will be finishing your courses for the school by April, it will give you a chance to work this seasonal job for about 3-4 months. Once you go back to school in September, you would have saved up some money and worry less about working a job throughout your studies.  3. Likelihood of Burnout  Whenever I would have a closing night shift, I would aim to study a little before heading to bed. Despite this expectation, I would occasionally underestimate how exhausted my body was from the responsibilities of my part-time job. I would end up heading straight to bed after my shift. Once I wake the following morning, I would regret my decision. There have been times when I would skip out on my morning classes, too, just because I was so exhausted.  This sense of burnout can also come from trying to juggle various responsibilities. Sometimes, we tend to get caught in this possible cycle of school, work, sleep, and repeat. When we go through the motions for so long, we tend to focus on what we are doing and undermine our body’s well-being. Burnout can happen when, despite our time management skills, we simply bite more than we chew. Remember, we are not robots! We only have one mind and body, and with that, we must attend to our physical and mental well-being whenever possible.    4. Counterproductive  It would help if you recognized whether working during post-secondary is worthwhile for you when it comes down to it. Specific academic programs, like health science, can be strenuous in course material and require more time to digest. While these programs may prove to be a challenge now, your efforts can pay off in securing the grades necessary to pursue internships or even grad school. Since working a job during school can take away valuable time to complete coursework or study, you should reconsider trying to work during the school year. If your job undermines your current efforts in school, then forget it.    This proves a similar case to students who are already financially set. These students may already have the necessary savings to pay for their yearly expenses. Unless they are looking to earn extra money, these students wouldn’t be keen to spend their time working.    If anything else, it comes down to whether you will find the job worthwhile. I did not need to get a job during university, but I decided to. I felt it would have been a great way to spend my time and improve my skills. While I may miss out on time to socialize or check out clubs, it does not take away from my satisfaction. If you simply do not want to work because you do not want to take on an additional responsibility or want more time to be with loved ones, then working during school isn’t for you.    Biggest Takeaway    Working a job during post-secondary has its ups and downs.  It is ultimately up to your discretion whether a job would be worth it for you.    Nevertheless, it is good to start early in preparing yourself to enter the workforce.  From my knowledge, most universities offer a career center where knowledgeable staff provides employment-related support. I certainly recommend this resource while in school. At my university, they hold various workshops on topics like writing a cover letter/ resume and networking. The career center also holds speaker panels where professionals from industries like communications or sustainability provide insight on their career development.  Even if you are not looking for a job now, the career consultant staff can help gauge your future aspirations and aid in setting up a plan for future success. 
  • Meet Justin Andrews, OCC Graduate Journalist

    Hello, my name is Justin Andrews. I am a writer living in Hamilton, Ontario, and a recent graduate of the University of Toronto with an MA in English in creative writing. My work has been published in Canadian literary journals, and, currently, I'm writing a novel (or attempting to, at least!). Beyond writing, I spend my free time reading, board-gaming, and meandering down backstreets and trails. Writing for the OCC Student and Graduate Journalist Team is meaningful because I understand the difficulty of making substantial career connections, especially amid the hastiness of academic life. As an OCC Graduate Journalist, I’ll be eager to help students gain work experience and find fruitful careers. It’s a pleasure to support a platform that simplifies and democratizes a complicated and frequently inaccessible process.
  • Motivated by Activism, By: Shoffana Sundaramoorthy ...

    Working a job has become an integral part of our lives. It is as though finding a full-time position following your post-secondary graduation is like this “rite of passage” into adulthood. When we contemplate precisely why we strive to work, a prominent reason would be to ease our impending financial obligations. Other common answers would be to fulfill our life’s purpose or be satisfied by the work at hand.    Motivations for Work    First and foremost, I do want to highlight the prominence in why people tend to work. Richard Ryan and Edward Deci were both professors from the University of Rochester. They co-published the book “Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior,” which centered around a human’s internal and external motivations and their application into certain life aspects (McGregor & Doshi, 2019). One of these aspects that they covered was work. They were able to compile six reasons why people worked, these reasons include:          1. Potential    If you are motivated by your potential, you perceive your job as an avenue to elevate your capabilities and achieve your fullest potential. For example, a store cashier would feel inclined to perform well on the job as they believe that they can obtain a higher position as a store manager by working at fulfilling their potential.          2. Play     If you are motivated by play, you tend to work because you find the work to be entertaining. For example, a veterinarian who likes taking care of animals would enjoy their work.           3. Purpose    If you are motivated by purpose, there is a strong alignment between the job’s result and your identity. You acknowledge the work’s significance as it resonates with your self-fulfillment. For example, a policy officer may resonate with their job as they value morality and justice. Moreover, a police officer may identify with their intentions to ensure the safety of their citizens.         4. Economic Pressure  If you are motivated by economic pressure, you are driven to work by an external force/ circumstances that relies heavily on money. These economically fueled stressors include paying monthly rent or providing for your family.         5. Emotional Pressure  If you are motivated by emotional pressure, you seem to work as outside forces/ circumstances threaten your identity and well-being. These external forces exert emotional strain, whether it is guilt from your past actions or fear of not having a roof over your head.         6. Inertia  If you are motivated by Inertia, you frankly do not have a clear-cut reason for why you are working. In this case, it is tough to put into words what exactly drives you.    Some interesting trends have arisen regarding these work motivations. We can arrange these six reasons into two groups. The first group comprises Potential, Play, and Purpose. Research has backed up that possessing any motive in group one can improve your overall performance. The second group consists of Economic Pressure, Emotional Pressure, and Inertia. Conversely, research has showcased that having any motive in group two can hinder your overall performance.    Jobs in Activism    With these motivations in mind, I feel that there is a growing demand for activism-related jobs. With the widespread use of technology, connecting people and events globally, we can transcend borders and boundaries. We have also grown in self-awareness towards social issues and become deterministic in making headway against the ordeals around the world.   Now, activism jobs do not have a concrete image of what they entail, unlike the job descriptions of, for example, a teacher or scientist. Activism, in itself, is such a broad and abstract concept. Activism-related jobs and roles within the field do not exist in the same industry or demand the same skill set. The key principle behind both is that activists push through obstacles to facilitate positive change in society. Considering all this, those interested in pursuing roles in activism or related fields need to have a firm resolve for working with a purpose and making a difference in the lives of others. I will be going over a few jobs that employ these activist elements below.    Social Worker    Social workers pave the path for their patients when it comes to navigating their everyday lives. They recognize that their patients may endure prominent hurdles, so social workers try to provide their patients with resources to overcome these hurdles. Social workers develop and monitor a patient’s treatment plan, refer patients to suitable community initiatives, conduct research to draw connections between their patients' struggles and overarching social issues, and administrative work. They operate under various categories such as family life, school, mental health, and so forth.  Social work is a job sector that heavily intertwines with activism. Professionals within social work advocate for change, especially for marginalized groups, and work to increase accessibility for these groups to pre-existing services and resources.   Activism Jobs in Social Work    Child welfare specialist  Mental Health Counselor  Case Management Aide  Behavior Supervisor      Policy Analyst    Policy analysts look to implement long-lasting, meaningful policy initiatives. To achieve this goal, they are expected to do the following: Assess the effectiveness of current policy legislation. Conduct extensive research. Consult with third-party stakeholders. Make sure that their policy recommendations align appropriately with their given objectives.   You can specialize in a particular field as a policy analyst. If you are interested in improving healthcare, you can look to be a health policy analyst. If you are interested in improving education, you can look to become an educational policy analyst - and so on.   Policy analysts possess an element of activism when enforcing laws/ recommendations to address social issues impactfully. Little known fact, policy analysis is considered a legal field. Besides the duty to enforce the law and exercise morality in society, legal professions are responsible for protecting the rights of vulnerable citizens and establishing suitable punishments for those who do not comply and put these rights at risk.    Activism Jobs in Law    Lawyer  Probation Officer  Prosecutor  Government Lobbyist    Photojournalist    A picture is worth 1,000 words. As a photojournalist, one intends to capture the compelling narrative of significant events through taking photographs. On top of that, they need to develop captions for their pictures. This job certainly sounds more accessible than it seems. Depending on a photojournalist’s vision, it may require them to travel to different countries to get a genuine glimpse of these events. Of course, these events can be either good (ex. Presidential inauguration) or bad (ex. A natural disaster). To add on, the combination of visual elements (color, size, proportion) can encapsulate engaging dynamics between notable individuals and vivid emotions. It takes a creative talent to excel at this talent truly. Going back to a previous point about the widespread use of technology, it has disrupted the traditional means of photojournalism through newspapers. Alternatively, social media more quickly distributes these impactful images while sparking a conversation online for thousands who are invited to engage freely.    Jobs in the media are crucial in activism. They help to record these precious moments from the present. Years from now, we can look back on these archived photographs or written pieces as evidence of past events. More importantly, the archived material can be a learning resource to have citizens reflect on the dual-sided nature of humanity. With the 'good side' captured in positive world events, we can be more appreciative. With the 'bad side' captured, we can reflect and ensure history does not repeat itself from adverse world events.     Activism Jobs in Media    Documentary Director  Biographical Writer  News Reporter  Social Media Manager    Become a Fundraising Director    A fundraising director generally works within a nonprofit organization (NPO). They work on the financial side as they are responsible for monitoring an NPO’s fundraising patterns. With this responsibility, the director must brainstorm effective fundraising strategies to implement in the local community, create positive relationships with stakeholders (ex. event sponsors, media companies, donors), and prepare crucial documents (ex. Budget statements, press releases).     Fundraising directors can determine the existence of NPOs. If these NPOs cannot obtain government grants or rather the grants cannot cover all the necessary costs, members of the NPO must secure other forms of income. Their money can be generated from merchandise, memberships fees, and mainly donations. By focusing on the longevity of these NPOs, these organizations can hold community events and initiatives that can spread awareness about social issues alongside assisting disadvantaged groups in the community. After all, any extra revenue made by these NPOs is meant to go back and help the community in any way possible.    Activism Jobs in Nonprofit    Grant writer  Community Outreach Worker  Administrative Services Manager  Event Manager    With that, I would like to emphasize that you do not have to wait. You do not have to wait until you achieve an activism-related job to give back to your community. You can give back through volunteering at a local community organization or even donating. Moreover, the amount of information disposable is incredible. We need to utilize this privilege of knowledge to understand the underlying circumstances of social issues, how they vary across countries/ continents, and whether there are pre-existing mechanisms in place to alleviate these social issues. We cannot tackle a problem through naivety and ignorance.     Though, there is another point I want to make. At the start of this article, I mentioned that there are various motivations for one to work. Even if you are not interested in an activism-related career, I want you to know that you should choose a job that fulfills you. Recall around the start of this article where if you were motivated by either Potential, Play, and Purpose, you will find yourself achieving better results. Many of us have encountered a situation where we were inclined towards a specific job just because a friend/ family member wanted us to pursue it. Despite the job not resonating with us, we tried to go down a specific path out of fear of disappointing our loved ones.      How are you supposed to do well out of your job if you find it mundane and draining? Sticking to a job you do not enjoy or feel fulfilled by is a regret that will eat away at you. Everyone has their unique aspirations that they want to reach. No ambition is better than another’s. It is relatively based on an individual’s personality and skill. Even if you do not intend for an activism-related job, we all have to eventually advocate for our desired futures in the face of adulthood.      Work towards your goal, and do not get discouraged.      ------ Work Cited  McGregor, L., & Doshi, N. (2015, November 25). How Company Culture Shapes   Employee Motivation. Retrieved from   https://hbr.org/2015/11/how-company-culture-shapes-employee-motivation
  • Ten (oft-neglected) ways to optimize your resume, ...

    Alas, the grueling road of resume writing! One spends hours fretting and agonizing over a resume for the glazed eyeballs of future employers skimming through reams of lists and dates and soft skills. How to craft a resume that doesn’t dissipate into the resume-ether? Here are ten frequently neglected tips to help catch an employer’s eye. 1. Skills-based resume  Without thinking, many of us stick to the basic rule: work history first. But if you’re a student applying for a job outside of your work experience, consider a skills-based resume. Here your skills are listed first and emphasized. It shows employers that you’ve developed relevant abilities through untraditional means. You may be fresh on the scene, but that doesn’t mean you’re unprepared.    2. Find key words in job descriptions  Larger companies often use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System), software that filters out weaker resumes so human eyes have less to read. One way of appeasing ATS bots: incorporate key words from the job description into your resume (and cover letter, too). If the job requires “time management” skills, note how you successfully managed your time at different jobs. The ATS will see that your resume matches the employer’s requirements. Also, human eyes will see that you’ve read the job description carefully and understand their brand or goals. But balance is everything. Too much copy-and-paste looks lazy and manipulative. Remember: use your own voice!      3. Quantify, Quantify, Quantify  Sometimes a detail, a single number, turns a dull statement into something sharper. Compare: “I helped students achieve better grades,” versus, “I helped forty students achieve grade-A marks.” The latter is precise and concrete. It shows that you’re attentive to your work and allows employers to better process your accomplishments.     4. No to adverbs/adjectives   An old writer’s truth: adverbs and adjectives often (not always!) signify a weak verb. When you have limited space, when your reader will be skimming, concision reigns. A few words need to say a lot. Too many adjectives and adverbs will clog sentences and strain weary eyes. Instead of saying, “I successfully made very accurate predictions on outcomes,” simply say, “I predicted outcomes.” Everything else is unnecessary.      5. Yes to action verbs   Action verbs describe, well, action—things happening. They are dynamic, forceful, and engaging. Instead of writing, “Because of my influence, the math club was popular again,” write, “I revitalized the math club.” 'Revitalized' grabs readers’ attention. It’s more direct and sophisticated.     6.  Avoid cliches   Cliches like “team player” and “hard worker,” as true as they may be, suggest that you haven’t taken the time to write something original. Find language in your own voice, not from a thousand other resumes. Get specific: how were you a hard worker? What separates your hard work from others’? That said, avoid the other extreme: thesaurus writing. In the context of a resume, “indomitable worker” sounds forced and somewhat pretentious.      7. List volunteer work   Some conventional wisdom says that only those with little work experience should list volunteer experience, but this has changed. Yes, volunteer work can show that you’ve acquired relevant skills; it may also suggest something about your integrity as a person. Employers worth their salt look for employees who care for more than monetary success.   8. List successes, not duties   Saying you’ve built a table doesn’t prove you’re good at building tables. Saying you’ve built an award-winning table does.     9. Highlight remote work   As more employment opportunities remain remote, new skills are needed. Have you led a Zoom meeting? Have you worked independently from home? Consider highlighting your remote work on your resume.    10. Keep it clean   When formatting, don’t get creative. Keep things minimal, direct, and consistent. You can’t go wrong with 1-inch margins, 12-point font, and Times New Roman. If you want a little spice to stand out from the crowd, keep it subtle and cohesive. Do everything possible to cushion the employer’s weary eyeballs. Remember, within a short period of time, you want them to know who you are and what you offer. Fancy borders, weird fonts, and a plethora of emphasized words is tiring and unprofessional. A well-structured resume demonstrates your ability to structure things. Your resume’s aesthetics is the first impression you’ll give.    
  • Kick-starting Your Career with a Canada Grant

    It’s a truism and an understatement: Starting a career in the arts or a creative industry is difficult. But for some, a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts could be the first step. You don’t need to belong to the stereotypical “arts crowd”—thespians, musicians, illustrators, etc. Canada Council supports a range of creative types: programmers interested in emerging digital arts, gymnasts interested in circus arts, engineers interested in the artsy side of robotics—the list goes on. You can apply for grants at any time, for substantial amounts (tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands), for projects of any span (okay, most spans—think weeks to a few years). A grant can help you develop a portfolio for that dream company or provide the needed expertise to start your own company. If you want to build a non-profit (say an arts program for low-income families or a festival that celebrates deaf and disabled artists), then developing your own artistic practice may be the first step toward future funding and opportunities. Regardless, Canada Council grants look great on resumes and CVs. They show that professionals in your field—who are hired to assess applications—believe in your project and abilities.    Obtaining a grant is a particularly competitive process, but don't let that sway you. Applications are free, and Canada Council is committed to supporting new voices. Peruse the website: you might qualify for as a “New/Early Career Artist,” an applicant profile that requires little experience and keeps you from competing with veterans who’ve perfected their craft. Canada Council also commits to supporting underrepresented voices. There are particular opportunities for Indigenous or deaf and disabled artists. If you have a disability or face cultural or language barriers, you may qualify for “Application Assistance” where someone helps assemble your proposal. And while the application process is long, it’s straightforward: introduce a project, supply a sample of your work, and create a tentative schedule and budget. Four or five months later, the results are in.     I’ve talked to those who have applied for Canada Council grants and those who have assessed Canada Council applications. I've also won one myself. If you’re interested in applying, here’s some wisdom I’ve gathered:  Start early. Like, months before the deadline. This pertains to both the application and your project. Before applying, you must create a “profile” that, among other things, shows you’re committed to your discipline. The “New/Early Career Artist” profile, for instance, asks for some evidence of “training, experience or accomplishments” within your field. Then, once your profile is accepted, the application may require long responses to difficult questions. Five hundred words explaining how your project will contribute something new to the genre and yourself: more difficult than it sounds! Also, if you begin your project before applying, you will have a better sense of what you’re proposing and how to propose it. Projects can billow in unexpected ways; you want your budget to cover your costs. Grant writing is an artform. Start now and take it slow!  Don’t get fancy. I’ve heard a grant assessor emphasize the importance of clear, unpretentious project proposals. Often artists will have a strong intuitive grasp of their project, which, when translated to paper, seems convoluted or ostentatious. Remember: assessors may read your application at the end of a long day, hours beyond their last coffee. Keep it neat and down-to-earth. You’re selling a proposal, not a finished product. Assessors are artists too, and they know projects have nuances and theoretical underpinnings that cannot be fully articulated in an application. They know end results may look quite different than what’s first proposed. Concentrate on writing an elegant, compelling proposal, even if means leaving out certain aspects of your project.  Don’t be afraid to ask for money. Assessors find that emerging artists frequently ask for too little. You want to demonstrate a realistic understanding of your project’s viability. Don’t be sheepish; be fiscally truthful.    All in all, don’t be discouraged by rejection. I’ve heard a grant assessor call the process a “lottery.” Assessors, no matter how open and fair, are humans with preferences and perspectives. A rejected project isn’t necessarily a subpar project. An editor at a respected press told me that one of their authors, despite years of applying, hadn’t received a Canada grant. Why? Who knows. He’s a talented writer who’s published several books with a respected press. The point: rejection, or the fear of rejection, shouldn’t keep you from trying. Keep going for it!     
  • An Introvert's Guide to Networking During a Pandem ...

    Ah, networking! Can we agree it's an introvert’s worst nightmare?! I’m sure many of us would rather put pins in our eyes than attend a five-hundred-person networking convention, or awkwardly amble around handing out resumes and business cards. For an introvert, networking is not only anxiety-inducing, it’s physically and emotionally exhausting. Luckily there are ways to make the process a little bit easier.  Whether it’s making the most of your close personal relationships, taking advantage of the current COVID-related restrictions, or increasing your online presence, there are many introvert-friendly ways to network effectively. Here are a few tips and tricks to make networking more stress-free for introverts.    Make the Best out of a Bad Situation The current state of the world isn’t exactly ideal, but when it comes to networking, we can try to make the best out of a bad situation. Introverts may find a kind of guilty pleasure in the current climate. Being forced to spend more time at home also means that there’s a great excuse to avoid all unnecessary physical and social contact! While it may seem like the worst time in the world to network, for introverts, networking just got much easier.   Most networking events are now digital, which removes much of what makes them so stressful and exhausting for introverts. Would you rather attend an in-person networking convention with hundreds of people, or sit in the comfort of your own home and simply leverage your online presence?  If you’ve considered attending a networking event but are put-off by the idea of large crowds, then join a virtual event. Where you would have previously made only local connections, digital networking opens the door to endless new possibilities.    Go Online  Establishing yourself online is not just a professional asset, in the current climate, it’s crucial. With businesses, events, and just about everything else transitioning to the digital realm due to this pandemic, it is has become just as important for us to move our own professional and personal achievements online.     Polish up your social media accounts: Refine your LinkedIn profile, put your profession (or your desired one) in your social media bios, and join job-specific Facebook groups.  Make sure you’re staying active on social media: There’s no need to leave the house, take just 10 minutes a day to interact with accounts and posts that inspire you. If your goal is to one day work in marketing, follow inspiring marketing professionals and take a few minutes during your morning coffee break to like and comment on their posts. This not only increases the likelihood of building a relationship with the individual, but also elevates your online presence, making it easier for other aspiring or established professionals to come across your account.     Don’t Underestimate the Power of Existing Contacts (i.e. Friends and Family)  A large part of what makes networking so intimidating is the idea of reaching out to total strangers. It goes without saying that meeting new people is the key to networking, but there is no reason that this can’t be done through existing close connections.   Maybe your friend is close with someone that works for a company you’re interested in, or maybe a family member happens to have connections with someone who is interviewing for an exciting internship. Whoever it is, your network and professional opportunities can be increased tenfold simply by reaching out to your nearest and dearest for help. Whether it’s a cousin, a dad, a best friend, an old acquaintance: reach out and ask! Not to mention, ties with close friends and family greatly increases the probability for new relationships to be more long-lasting and meaningful. If this feels intimidating, write a list of the people you’re closest to: Start with your closest friends and family to get more comfortable with the idea of reaching out. With time, you may feel confident enough to also rebuild old connections.  Despite the current restrictions, people all over the world are more within reach and more eager to make meaningful connections than ever before. Though forming new relationships can be particularly difficult for introverts, now really is the best time to go online, leverage your social media and job platforms (like this one), and reach out to those closest to you.  
  • Five Less-Obvious Careers for English Graduates, b ...

    When asking the question, “What can I do with my English degree?” the first careers that typically come to mind often include writers, librarians, or teachers. While these are great options for many English graduates, they only scratch the surface of possible careers available to someone with an English Degree. The broad and transferrable skills (such as communication and critical thinking) developed as an English major means that English graduates are prevalent in almost every industry.   So, what can you do with an English degree? This article will break down five less-typical career paths (with salaries) that you may want to consider as an English major.           1. Marketing Executive  If you have a creative flair and found yourself enjoying the research-based, analytical side of your major, then you may want to consider a career in marketing.  As a marketing executive, you will need to produce creative, eye-catching content to help campaign for and promote a product or service, such as videos and blog posts. Ultimately, the goal is to help develop and create more awareness of the company’s brand and ethos.  Other responsibilities involve conducting market research, writing/proofreading marketing copy for campaigns, and building customer relationships.  To succeed in this role, you will need to be creative and analytical, have strong interpersonal abilities to liaise with customers and clients effectively, and possess a well-rounded commercial awareness.  Median Salary: Marketing Executive: $51,202, Marketing Manager: $64,065            2. Human Resources  An HR Officer’s overall goal is to look after employees by providing adequate training opportunities and dealing with workplace grievances.  The responsibilities of a human resources officer include promoting diversity and equality, enforcing workplace policies, recruitment, and ensuring the welfare of all staff.  As a human resources assistant, effective communication (both written and verbal) is critical - an area where English majors shine! You will also need strong interpersonal skills, as employees will need to feel that they can approach you to discuss personal, confidential, and, often, sensitive issues.  Median Salary: HR Assistant: $41,500, HR Manager: $70,721          3. Events Manager/Planner  If you find yourself thriving in a fast-paced environment and have a strong set of interpersonal and organizational skills, then consider a career in events management.  An events manager’s primary responsibilities involve producing proposals for events, researching venues, and negotiating with clients and suppliers, managing staff, and all-in-all making sure that the event in question runs smoothly and within budget. Events managers are usually hired by corporations such as hotels, charities, and business associations, but some are self-employed, working on a project-by-project basis.  Excellent communication and attention to detail is the key to success in this role. An events manager must also have strong organizational skills, problem-solving abilities, and experience managing projects.  Median Salary: $53,462           4. Paralegal/Legal Assistant  Though some English graduates go on to complete a three-year graduate degree on their journey to becoming a lawyer, there are other routes into the legal realm that are less timely (and less costly)! If you are an English major interested in pursuing a career in law but are unsure about pursuing a graduate degree, then you might want to consider a career as a paralegal.  As a paralegal, responsibilities vary greatly depending on the type of employer. Still, they typically include drafting and proofreading legal documents, interviewing clients and witnesses, analyzing legal data, and providing support in the courtroom at hearings and trials.  To succeed in this role, you will need to be detail-oriented and technologically savvy. Effective communication (much like within the other roles we’ve discussed) is also critical.  To become a paralegal in Canada, you will need to complete a paralegal diploma, which can be completed in as little as 12 months.  Median Salary: $53,409            5. Public Relations (PR)  If you’re quick-thinking, adaptable, and can cope well under pressure, then maybe consider a role in public relations.   In general, a public relations officer uses all forms of communications and media to manage the image and reputation of their client. These clients can range from businesses to public bodies.  Responsibilities within a role in public relations involve planning and implementing PR strategies, researching and distributing press releases to targeted media, monitoring media opportunities, and managing social media platforms.   To succeed in this role, you will need excellent interpersonal and writing skills, organization, and creativity.   Median Salary: $65,908    If you have an English degree, you will be a strong candidate for roles in various industries. If none of the above careers interest you, there are many alternative opportunities to consider. Other possibilities include multiple careers in psychology (with additional studies), media and journalism, publishing, freelance writing, and translation.     All information on median salaries sourced from payscale.com 
  • Meet Fahmida Islam, OCC Graduate Journalist

    My name is Fahmida, and I graduated from UofT with a life science degree. I am very excited to be part of the OCC Journalist team because it gives me a platform to share my experiences as a recent graduate. I wish I had this during undergrad because I love learning from others' experiences. Everyone's career and learning path are different. My journey begins in healthcare, working mainly with seniors. I'm excited to share advice and stories with fellow graduates and students, informed by my current roles as an assistant at a psychology lab, a community organization worker, and a volunteer. Look out for my pieces on navigating jobs, internships, and volunteering with a life-science degree.
  • Meet Ariana Calvachi, OCC Student Journalist

    As an Ecuadorian living 5,000 km away from home, adapting to new surroundings has been quite a challenge but the first step to my dream of becoming a journalist - a dream I've had since I was a little girl. Journalism is a good fit for my personality because I am ambitious, generous, thoughtful, determined, and calm. I believe in fighting for what you desire, no matter the obstacles.  I´m a full-time student, and I will be entering my fourth year in the fall at St.Thomas University in NB, Fredericton, where I´ll complete my major in Journalism with a minor in Communications. I continue to be motivated by my love of learning and writing. It is my goal to become an outstanding and successful woman in today´s society. I want to become a professional and well-known journalist who empowers the voices of others.  My passion for writing also awakens my curiosity and leads me to explore different fields of knowledge such as arts, science, and history. I dedicate my time to learn from the outside world since it makes me grow and understand the different situations in which people find themselves daily. That's why in the summer of 2019, I was an intern at Diners Club International. In this role, I engaged in a community project while working with Human Resources to better their customers’ experience.  As an artist and writer, I have written several pieces alongside The Aquinian as their reporter - jumping outside my comfort zone to connect with my community. Since the pandemic hit, I have pushed to adapt my journalistic skills online, but even though many challenges presented themselves, I pulled through, and it was worth it.  A new chapter in my career journey is now starting as a part of the Orbis’ OCC Student and Graduate Journalist Team, where I am excited to keep developing myself as a professional. I’m looking forward to exploring my fields of study, connecting with projects to help my community, and gaining experience.    
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