Friday, 8 January 2016

Career Snapshot - Jia Jia - Transition to Career Coordinator - University of Alberta Career Centre

We caught up with Jia Jia to find out what she wishes she knew about careers when she was a student, the best career advice she's ever received and more.

On finding your career path as a former International student:
A series of happenstance events lead me to my career path in Career Services. For example, I would not have worked for the Career Centre as a Career Peer Educator (CPE) if I had not met a former CPE as a fellow volunteer and chatted about finding a part time job. Moreover, I would not have become aware of and applied for my first full-time job with the Career Centre, three years later, if I had not met a former colleague for coffee.  A common thread in these unexpected events is that I went out and connected with people, mostly through informal networking activities like having coffee or connecting via email. In fact, every job that I have had here in Canada was brought to my attention by people in my social network.

The best piece of career advice you ever received:
Many years ago, I was contemplating if I should apply for the Employer Relations Advisor position with the Career Centre. Worried that I might not have the right experience and qualifications for this position, I approached a friend, who used to work at the Career Centre as well. She said: “If you are interested, it will not hurt to try. What’s the worst that could happen?” I keep coming back to this advice whenever I am feeling uncertain about pursuing a career goal.

Something you wish you had known earlier about finding a career path:
When I first come to Canada, I studied for my Master’s degree in Educational Psychology. I chose to do it because I thought the only way to find a good job in Canada is by getting a Canadian degree. Since I had already studied Ed Psych in my undergrad program in China, it would only make sense to get an advanced degree in the same field. It was a great academic program but not a good fit with my interests and values. I wish I had more knowledge of what career options new immigrants with an education from abroad might have and what alternative career options I could have before I committed four years of my life to this program.

Why you are excited about the creation of the Transition to Career (T2C) program?
Transition to Career (T2C) is a very versatile program that can be adapted for each of the participants based on their unique career needs and interests. Doesn’t matter what stage you are at in your career journey, doesn’t matter how much time or effort you can invest in your career development at this point, we can find a way to make T2C work for you. Moreover, we want to empower you to become your own career expert and build your competitive advantage. We want you to be able to apply the knowledge, skills, attributes, and connections obtained through T2C,  ideally throughout your life, to develop fulfilling careers. Our T2C career experts will support you throughout the program.


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