From Learning to Earning: Advice from Alumni & UM President

David Barnard

BSc, MSc, PhD, DipCS
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Manitoba
"Find things about which you can be passionate and do those things."

Did you ever feel like you weren't going to get a job?

Yes, several times, quite correctly, because I have applied for positions that I did not get. I have reached for larger roles too early in my career a couple of times, and once I found myself involved in a process that clearly was meant to justify a predetermined choice of another candidate. These are painful experiences but I've learned about the value of transparency, weighing ambition against reality and how to deal with disappointment.

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Evan Kuz
BFA (H), 1990
Graphic Designer/Owner
Bounce Design

"Be confident, but be humble. Enjoy what you do. If you don't, you're likely meant to do something else!"

What experiences helped you to succeed in your career path?

In a word: Mentorship. Getting a base of knowledge from the university was great, but having someone from the industry to review my work and someone to talk to was the best thing that could have happened.

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Tony Iacopino,
BSc 1982, DMD 1986, PhD 1990
Dean, Faculty of Dentistry
University of Manitoba

"Always be yourself, trust your instincts...There may be times when you think things are moving too slow but remember to be patient and persistent."

How do you prepare for an interview?

Do your homework. Know the employer and what they do. Familiarize yourself with their website. Think about what you can contribute and what skills you bring to them. Practice answering questions fully without talking too much!

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Yilin Sheng
BSc (Human Nutritional Science), 2008
Registered Dietitian
Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program
"Be confident, be humble, and eat fish to keep your mind sharp."

What advice do you have for graduates for their first year on the job?

Ask as many questions as you can. Be patient. It takes years to understand a company and its culture and it may take decades to be an outstanding professional; the Great Wall of China wasn't built in a day.

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Jeff Hnatiuk
BA, U of W; BRS, U. of Manitoba
President & CEO
Sport Manitoba

"..ultimately you need to be your natural self and it's surprising how often that is successful"

How did you decide what to "be"?

I played hockey and other sports and did some coaching but I always wanted to get involved from an organizational perspective in sport and when I learned that there were opportunities to have a career in sport, I really focused my academic and volunteer path in that direction. It was probably my experience as a Recreation Director that really made me decide what I wanted to be. I really enjoyed working with volunteers and providing the type of programming in sport and recreation within the community that were very positive and valued by the participants and by the community.

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Jen Roberts
BSc (Computer Science), 2005
Project Manager/Business Analyst
DMT Development Systems Group.

"As I went through my co-op terms I realized that there were other opportunities available..."

What is the best job search advice you've ever received? What job search advice would you give to new grads?

Take extra time to write specific cover letters for the jobs you are applying for. Often when you have just graduated there will be little difference between your resume and other recent graduates. It is your cover letter that will allow you to stand out and make or break getting an interview.

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