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Navigating future career conversations via The Gustavson School of Business Café

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Erynn Mayes
Ten Thousand Coffees Team -
November 26, 2019

What have been some of your experiences on Ten Thousand Coffees so far?

The very first person I was introduced to on the platform was the most influential. That connection worked with immigrants at a not-for-profit, which is not a career path that I had never considered before, but was excited to learn about as a potential career path. As a follow up from our coffee chat, she invited me to tour her office, which was amazing. I got to meet her co-workers and see what her office life was like. It was really interesting! I learned about the work culture and environment there, and their day-to-day work life. It was a great experience for me to help determine whether or not that type of work environment and culture would be a good fit for me.

What have been some of the key learnings from these coffee chats?

More recently, I talked to someone from the platform who works in business development. I had also never considered that type of role. Hearing about her experience and job-components opened my eyes to this as a potential fit for me. She told me all about her position and responsibilities in business development and made it clear that the primary focus and critical success factor for that role is building client relationships. Learning that this was an essential part of business development became crystal clear to me and helped me to add more pieces to the career path puzzle. I have since highlighted these skills more in my resume and LinkedIn profile to jump out to prospective employers.

What skills have you developed by going on these coffee chats?

I am more of an introvert naturally. Going on the coffee chats has given me more experience reaching out to someone new and built my confidence speaking to new people. It has also helped me to become more resilient when accepting that they may not respond and still trying again next month. Since the first couple of introductions, I have consistently reached out to people as much as possible. Even if they don’t reply, I am proud of myself for putting myself forward and being confident. It’s good to remind yourself that people are busy and may not see notifications, and not to take it personally.

Have you been able to apply these skills to your current job search?

I noticed that while I was doing two phone interviews recently that I felt a lot more confident during the calls than I had previously. I believe that having those networking experiences through Ten Thousand Coffees has helped me to understand that there’s a real person on the other end of the phone and not just an ‘HR robot.’ Also, during a recent interview, I was asked a lot about my interests and goals for the future. I was able to bring some of the same answers I had discussed during my recent conversation on Ten Thousand Coffees.

Do you feel like these coffee chats have helped you to prepare for the future of work?

Yes, my experience with Ten Thousand Coffees has given me experience in networking with people from a wide range of different backgrounds, teams, and sectors. Talking to these people has helped me to strengthen my own voice and talk about my specific interests and uniqueness. Overall, I think the coffee chats were thought-provoking and have given me new perspectives on different topics and business sectors as well as helping me to build my confidence for interviews and my future career.

After joining Ten Thousand Coffees, Erica :

Feels more confident with networking

Learned about a new job or career

Learned about a new industry

Practiced active listening

Improved interpersonal skills

Erica, 21, is a Bachelor of Commerce student at the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria. She has enjoyed working and volunteering in a variety of roles in customer service, sales and internal communications alongside her studies. Erica joined the Gustavson School of Business Café powered by Ten Thousand Coffees in October 2018 to build connections and identify different potential career opportunities after graduation. She has been on five coffee chats through Ten Thousand Coffees introductions since joining the program. Erica lives in Victoria, BC.

To help young Canadians prepare for the future of work, RBC Future Launch and Ten Thousand Coffees have partnered to increase access to alumni networking and mentoring for students at seven post-secondary institutions across Canada. For more information click here.
Ten Thousand Coffees offers students and alumni an exclusive online network platform, enabling them to share relevant career and life experience. Click here to learn more about how Ten Thousand Coffees can help your school or college today.

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