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Friday, January 28, 2011

Arts Career Expo 2011


I was recently asked to be an alumni panelist at the UBC Arts Career Expo. I am a huge advocate for education and so I was happy to impart any wisdom I might have.

I was part of “The Social Network: Careers in Media and Communications” panel speaking on career diversity and social media in the industry. My co-panelists were Rick Chung, Broadcast Journalist, BCIT Broadcast Journalism/CBC Radio-Canada/RickChung.com and senior communications coordinator Phoenix Lam. The panel was moderated by third-year Human Geography/International Relations, Aaron Lao.

Rick, Phoenix and I all agreed that recent grads had to recognize that they should volunteer, join groups, and do co-ops to gain skills and build a network. We agreed that students needed to be open to opportunities; you may not get the dream job right after you graduate.

I learnt a lot from Rick about social media but in reflection later I realized that we only touched on one side of the story. I used to work for national software and services provider to the financial services industry. As their client base is not the general public and having a completive edge is essential, social media is not part of their toolkit. Tweeting about the latest software development would get you fired. Suffice to say "know your audience", confidentiality and information security are the keys for some industries.

I was reminded by Phoenix that we Arts grads have a unique skill set: writing, researching skills, questioning, the ability to put information into context, and the ability to accept that there is more than one point of view. We can distill information and package it for different audiences.

It felt a little strange to be back at UBC speaking as an alumnus, as I have supplemented my B.A. with continuing studies courses at UBC, SFU, classes at BCIT, software courses, and industry specific courses but it gave me pause to reflect on what a great foundation my Arts degree has given me for my career.

I hope that I helped the students of my alma mater feel a little less terrified about their future. If there are any history students out there who would like to get published I am always looking for submissions and the British Columbia Historical Federation offers two W. Kaye Lamb Scholarships for student essays relating to the history of British Columbia.
• Lower prize for a student in the 1st or 2nd year is $750
• Upper prize for a student in the 3rd or 4th year is $1,000

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