Student stories

Connecting to UVic career support helps graduate make the leap to employment

Ania Esquivel

What services or supports have you accessed through Career Services?

During my time at UVic I have met with various career and education counselors to explore work opportunities during and after my degree. My early years focused on developing my cover letter and résumé in preparation for required co-op terms and volunteer opportunities outside of my degree. In 2nd year, I focused on job interview preparation by meeting with a counselor to become stronger at communicating my skills, knowledge, and interests to a future employer or program recruiter. This was also the time I was seriously exploring and planning what type of career I wanted to pursue with my commerce degree.

Once I returned from my study abroad in the United Arab Emirates, I knew that I wanted to have a global career. This was when I met my most influential career advisor, Chantale, and began investigating the possibilities of searching for, applying to, and finally (as of August 13th, 2019), transitioning into a job outside of my home country. 

How did your career educator support your career development?

I first sought the support of an academic advisor out of worry that if I was not actively planning for my life after university, I would be left behind by my classmates, who were all very intimidating and would undoubtedly stand out to employers upon our graduation. This early perception of what university was and how life worked, is perhaps telling of my lack of self-confidence, lack of understanding, and lack of maturity at the time.

Looking back, I can list many ways my career educators supported my career development throughout my degree and to each member of staff that has patiently worked with me through my various challenges and curiosities, I am abundantly grateful! However, I believe the most profound impact Career Services as a whole has had on my career is that it facilitated and encouraged a deep exploration of who I am and who I want to be, both as a business professional and as a person. 

What have you learned about yourself as a result of connecting with Career Services?

I know that I am in fact extremely capable of pursing and achieving the life I always dreamed of. That may seem silly, but for someone who at one time did not know whether she would graduate high school, the sincere belief that I have realistic abilities, strengths, skills, and opportunities, is a mindset that took 4 years to build (and still maintain). In very practical terms, I learned to reflect on every new experience or challenge by making bullet points of the specific skills or knowledge I could add to my identity as a business professional. And I learned that if you pursue and engage opportunities that genuinely interest and excite you, it is much easier to see the impact it has had on your career goals, and tell others about how it has helped you grow as a professional, as well.

What are your current career goals or plans—how did your career educator or Career Services support you towards these goals?

On August 13, 2019, I am moving to Bangalore, India to work for 9-months at the headquarters of Mu Sigma, an Indian management consulting firm that operates globally, primarily offering data analytics services to 140 largest Fortune 500 companies, such as Amazon, Google, and Walmart. My long-term goal has long been to become a management consultant, however, I know I have much to learn before I can do so. Studying abroad in the Middle East inspired my passion for exploring, experiencing, and working alongside different people to solve different problems, in different places in the world. And working as a Data Analyst in an environment as growth-intensive as Mu Sigma, I am putting myself in a good position to learn a lot.

Discovering this opportunity and supporting me throughout the application process was my Career Services advisor, Chantale, with whom I had been working with almost bi-weekly since I returned from studying in the Middle East in Dec 2017. Without her support and the tremendous influence she has had on my academic and professional life, I would not have been in a position to pursue this exciting opportunity. Although I have always known her to be incredibly busy with students and faculty at UVic, Chantale has always made time to see me, allotting extra time when necessary and even providing me with follow-up emails after each meeting to track our progress and offer additional resources for me to investigate further. Her honestly and genuine care in my professional success and personal well-being has meant so much to me. I am truly thankful for all that she has done for me and inspired to give back to Career Services with the same sincerity. 

What would you tell other UVic students or alumni about how Career Services can support them?

Career Services can be incredible impactful on your development as a student, a professional, and a person overall. I would recommend that you actively engage with the services, because I found that the more I made an effort to take the meetings and any follow-up tasks seriously, the more my advisor was able to help me. I personally set purposeful appointments almost every two weeks (every week at one point), in order to ensure I was continuing to grow and develop towards my career goals. I treated my appointments like classes and any follow-up tasks as graded assignments. And I genuinely learned so much, even in areas that I thought I already knew it all, such as composing résumés and cover letters.

I would recommend that you put in consistent effort when working with the staff at Career Services and not simply wait for anyone to chase you down and offer their help to you. I did not ever trust that I could fall into an incredible co-op or volunteer position based on luck. I pushed myself to start building my experiences, knowledge, and skills early. I kept (and continue to keep) in mind, that, inevitably, I will one day find myself sitting across the desk from a recruiter for my dream position at my dream company and I want to be able to show, honestly (without overselling or overcompensating), why I am the person for the job. 

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