Left, Left, Left Right Left: BU Business Bootcamp

Hello everyone and welcome to the winter semester! To those of you just starting at Bishop’s, on behalf of the student body, welcome to BU! We are so happy to have you as a part of our purple family! To everyone, I hope your new classes are going well and you are settling back into student life after the holiday season. Here’s to making this semester the best one yet.

Today I want to talk about an amazing opportunity offered here at Bishop’s. This past weekend, I took part in the “Building on a Bishop’s Degree Bootcamp”, which was put on by the Advancement Office, the Career and Leadership Office and the SRC. The goal of this event was to better prepare Bishop’s student for success in the professional world. The bootcamp took place over 2 days, Friday and Saturday and featured a series of different workshops and information sessions geared at professional preparation. While highly promoted within the Business school, the event was open to students in all programs, enabling me, an education major, to take part in this amazing weekend.

Resume, Cover Letter and Portfolio Buidling: Bootcamp began on Friday morning with a presentation from Dr. Mike Teed, a professor from the Williams School of Business. This workshop focused on improving our CVs and building our own professional portfolios. Back in December, we had the chance to send in our CVs and when we got to the bootcamp we received a corrected version. In the workshop, we discussed: different types of resumes, how to make your accomplishments and skills stick out, what to include and what not to include, and even what type of paper is best. This was by far the most valuable part of the weekend for me and has given me some great direction for updating my current CV.

 Your Online Presence: The second workshop was run by Sylvain Beauregard, a recruiter for Sodexo Canada. His workshop focused on using Linked In, a networking site. He talked about creating a professional brand for yourself and how to best present yourself on your Linked In page. He also gave some great advice on how to have a good presence on Linked In. For example, he talked about joining different groups, adding people to your network, and how much time to spend building your page (30 minutes of activity per week was his recommendation). He showed us his page and activity to give us an idea of how to use the site. While I do not yet have a Linked In profile, you can expect to find me on the site in the near future.

Networking Strategies: The last workshop on Friday was about professional networking and how to make the most of networking opportunities. This session was put on by Nathaniele Pelletier, a BU career counsellor. As students, we are just starting to create our professional networks, so it is important that we take every opportunity to build them up, which was the main message I took from the workshop. These days, it is all about who you know, so a strong professional network is key for professional success. 

Business Etiquette Cocktail Event: The final event was a practice business cocktail. This was put on by the advancement office and was a combination of a workshop and an actual event. We had a chance to mingle and relax after a long day, but also discussed proper cocktail etiquette and formal dining etiquette, practicing everything from holding your wine glass and appetizer plate at the same time to passing food around the table in the correct manner. I will definitely use the tips and tricks I learned here at all professional cocktails in the future.

Behavioural Interviewing: Saturday morning, we were fortunate to have BU grad Mike DesLauriers facilitate a workshop on interviewing skills. Along with the CV workshop, this was my other favourite presentation. We learned about behavioural interviewing, an interviewing technique designed around the idea that past performance is a good indicator of future performance. This means that interviewers ask questions about past practices, activities, experience, etc. to get an idea of how you are likely to perform within the company. We learned how to respond to these types of questions, and also received great advice concerning how to prepare for an interview, and what to and what not to do in an interview in order to stand out and leave a lasting impression on potential employers.

Job Search Techniques: Mike ran a second workshop on job searching, showing us how to use online search tools to find jobs to apply for. However, he also stressed the importance of networking and reaching out within your networks to find opportunities, which is how he has landed many of his positions. This was a good final workshop for the weekend, as it really tied together everything we had learned over the course of the bootcamp.

Alumni Mock Interviews: For the final part of the weekend, the Advancement Office brought in 25 Bishop’s Alumni to mock interview us as practice for future job interviews. I was interviewed by a BU Career Counsellor, and had the chance to be interviewed and also watch a fellow participant be interviewed. This was a really great activity because I not only got to practice my interviewing skills but also received feedback on my performance and had a chance to go over my answers and debrief the activity, which we do not always have the chance to do in the real world. 

RBC Networking Cocktail Reception: Bootcamp ended with a cocktail reception for all of the participants and the visiting alumni. Principal Goldbloom also stopped by to congratulate us on our participation. We were challenged by the bootcamp director to talk with 5 different alumni, which I successfully did. I was disappointed to not have the chance to talk with the principal before he left, but had the chance to talk with some other alumni, including a former teacher and current BU professor. It was a great way to practice our etiquette skills we had learned the evening before and build our professional networks, though I have not yet mastered holding my plate and wine glass in the same hand! I will have to keep practicing that before my next cocktail!

All in all, it was a very successful weekend and I am very glad I decided to participate. While it was intimidating to be in the minority amongst the business students, it really was for all disciplines, as we will all be applying for jobs in the professional world one day. I would like to extend a large thank you to the Advancement Office for putting this on for us and I hope we will continue to see Bootcamp in the future! Next up – look for me on Linked In!

Until next time Gaiters!

Erica

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