Home - Career Inspiration

Category: Career Inspiration

GEM: A Real Gem of a Program

Imagine a room full of women with superpowers. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Well, you don’t need to look inside a comic book to see these superwomen, because you can see them in real life. They are the ambitious, intelligent and beautiful women that are part of Girl’s E-Mentorship (GEM).

I have had the pleasure of being a part of the GEM program this year. I truly believe that it has changed my perspective of the world around me in addition to teaching me valuable skills for the future. Not only did I learn things like time management techniques and how to ace an interview, I also learned that women are powerful and can achieve great things. I learned that being surrounded by positive, dedicated and determined people will truly change you as well: seeing these wonderful women made me feel motivated to strive to be the best person that I can be.

I also learned the value of having a mentor in your life. I started off as a self-conscious teenage girl, but with the encouragement of my mentor and all my loved ones, as well as the incredible experiences I have had this year, I have become something more. I am now a confident and independent individual that will continue to grow and become the best person that she can.

And I’m not the only one that enjoyed the program. The response to the program has been staggeringly positive: both mentors and mentees expressed how much they loved it. I interviewed both mentors and mentees to see what they had to say. Celine Do, one of the mentees this year says “There aren’t enough words I can use to describe how phenomenal my experience has been with GEM. If you talked to me a day before that first GEMinar, you would be appalled at how nervous, and shy I was. I have grown so much through this program and its valuable curriculum, and because of my mentor, Alison Simpson. We have established an amazing relationship that definitely will not end like my year at GEM.”

Another mentee, Aklil Noza, loved interacting with like-minded individuals and gaining wisdom from successful women. She says, “I feel so much more self-assured after GEM because I face the same hardships as these beautiful girls around me, yet they’ve overcome their obstacles and still managed to shine. So what’s stopping me from doing the same?”

Similarly, the response from mentors has been extremely positive. Siobhan Desroches, who is the Manager of Government Affairs & Stakeholder Relations of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, says that she became more motivated in her own career as a result of meeting such motivated and focused young women in the program. She also says, “It was incredibly fulfilling to participate in a program working to achieve these goals, and I have never been more hopeful in the future Canadian women after meeting these girls.”

GEM Mentor Liron Davis, who is the Manager of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, also spoke about how this program has been one of the highlights of her year and how surprised she was that mentorship evolved into a “friend-like dynamic.”

So to anyone who is thinking of joining GEM as either a mentor or mentee: do it. You will have the most amazing experiences, meet the most talented, creative and awesome women, and grow immensely as a person. You won’t regret it, I promise!

How to dress for an interview

As if figuring out what to wear in the morning isn’t stressful enough, deciding what to wear to an interview can be seen as added pressure. As soon as you walk into the interview room, before you even get a chance to speak, your outfit contributes to the first impression you leave on the interviewer. That being said, you want to dress to impress! To prevent any last-minute panicking, here are some interview outfit ideas:

Option 1 –  The classic blazer

When I think of interviews, the first thing that comes to my mind is a blazer. Not only can you wear a blazer for numerous occasions, but you can pair it with many different outfits –  with a button down, a blouse, and even a dress. Of course, you don’t need to stick with the traditional black coloured blazer, adding a pop of colour makes things fun and can add a bit to your personality.

Option 2 –  The blouse and dress pants/pencil skirt

Blouses in general, are a very elegant and professional spin to just a normal shirt because they act as the foundation for a stylish, layered look. As they come in different cuts and styles, you don’t have to worry about not finding one that suits you. This versatile top can be paired with either dress pants or some skirt (pencil skirts would be the most professional).

Option 3 –The statement dress

Although you want your interview look to be professional, there is nothing wrong with wearing a dress, especially if it makes you feel confident. With a statement dress, you don’t necessary need to add a jewelry or other accessories because the dress speaks for itself. Make sure, however, that both the neckline and hemline are appropriate because you’re there for an interview with a potential employer, not a night out with your friends.

At GEMinar Three: Getting Your Goals, the panelist Natasha Zdravkovic, Recruitment Consultant at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), said that an important tip is to make sure what you’re wearing is clean: “You want to look like you put effort and care into your outfit because it will project how you feel about the job.”

A little word of advice from Susan Baxter, Vice Chairman for RBC Wealth Management, is that when dressing for an interview, “you should wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident.” At the end of the day, if you put too much stress on what you’re going to wear you’ll miss out on the real importance: the actual interview.

Remember: the best thing you can wear is your confidence. So, make sure to smile and let your personality shine through, no matter what you wear.

We’re hiring: Graphic Designer (Part-Time)

GEM is looking for a part-time (10 hours per week) Junior Graphic Designer who creates aesthetically stunning work based on the organization’s strategic objectives and style.  This is a fantastic learning opportunity for an ambitious young designer/graphic design student who is interested in developing their skills and building their portfolio.  The selected candidate will help develop campaigns and visuals to accompany GEM’s web content across a variety of digital platforms.

Benefits:

  • Work in a start-up environment
  • Work with a creative and fun team
  • Attend weekly meetings with senior management
  • Receive training from our Creative Lead and Communications Director
  • Work for an organization that is passionate about helping female youth facing multiple barriers  in Toronto

Responsibilities:

  • Helping maintain GEM’s branding on official website and social media properties
  • Assist Creative Lead in the development, direction and strategic assessment of visuals accompanying GEM’s web media and marketing material
  • Help manage and direct your own personal weekly workload
  • Provide updates to Creative Lead and the GEM Team to ensure design projects are delivered on time at a level of design excellence.

Desired Skills and Experience:

  • Outstanding sense of design
  • Ability to develop creative concepts that align with GEM’s brand objectives
  • An eye for typography
  • Experience with InDesign and Photoshop
  • Good time management skills and the ability to balance multiple projects at once
  • Ability to work efficiently and creatively with a team
  • Experience with print media and photography skills are an asset
  • Strong interest in social media and branding
  • Must have access to a portable computer (i.e. MacBook)
  • Commitment of 2-3 days per week, plus availability for photo shoots on occasion.

Please send your resume and samples of your work to debora@girlsementorship.com

Answering Interview Questions 101

Why do you want this job? What is your biggest weakness? How much do you expect to be paid? Chances are, you’ve been subjected to at least one of these questions at a job interview. But what is the right answer, and what happens if you can’t think of any response at all?

Don’t fret. Here is Answering Difficult Interview Questions 101.

First of all, why do recruiters ask these questions? The answer is simple: recruiters want to reduce the number of people competing for the same job. If a candidate gives them a bad answer, they may have enough of a reason to move on to someone else. On the flip side, if a candidate gives them a really good response to a tough question, it could make a lasting impression on the recruiter.

Before going into an interview, it is very helpful and effective to write down some examples and key points that you would mention when asked some common interview questions, including the tough ones. These notes do not need to be fleshed out answers because you don’t want to sound robotic as if you memorized them. You want the interview to be like a normal (though professional) conversation. Have an idea of what you want to say, but don’t script the entire interview.

To help you with that, here are some examples of the typical tough questions and how to answer them. Use these tips but make sure to let your personality shine through with each answer. Remember, authenticity is everything!

  1. Why do you want this job?

This may seem like an easy question at first, but beware: employers don’t want to hear that you want this job because you need the money (even if that’s the case). Think about what entices you about this position (not how much you get paid!). Talk about how passionate you are about the job and what the company stands for. This also shows that you did your homework and learned about the company’s values beforehand. You can also explain how you believe that this company is the right match for you. This is a great transition into explaining how you are a great match for them. Here you can speak about your experience and your specific contributions to projects you’ve been working on.

  1. What is your biggest weakness?

This is a tough interview question that is very common. Many people have a hard time answering this because though we all have our weaknesses, it’s scary telling someone that we want to work for our flaws. But the worst thing that you could do is stumble during this question and say “Hmm, this is a hard question. What am I bad at?”. Everyone is bad at something! The interviewer wants to hear an authentic answer. The key here is to “be honest, but not too honest”, as summed up by Laura McLennan, a GEM mentor who works as a recruiter at fishRecruit Inc., show self-awareness and talk about an actual flaw, but make sure it’s something that won’t “raise red flags.”

Essentially, there are two ways to do this. One is to mention a weakness that could be used as a strength. Siobhan Desroches, GEM mentor and Government Affairs & Stakeholder Relations Manager at Greater Toronto Airports Authority, shared a great example to answer this question: “I typically say that I often take the lead on projects and tend to need to have my hand involved in everything. Maybe I take too much ownership. It’s all because I care about the end result of the project. However, this can sometimes result in me burning out. I’m working on that by learning how to delegate and reminding myself to take a step back when others in the group can handle it.”

Also, note that she mentions how she is working on the flaw. This is the second great way to talk about your weaknesses. You can talk about something that you are not naturally good at, but mention how you are managing or working on it.

  1. How much do you expect to get paid?

For this one, you have to remember: recruiters don’t want to hire someone that has unrealistic salary expectations. However, they also don’t want to hire someone who underestimates themselves. In this case, vagueness is your best friend. Tell them that you would be willing to discuss this once you receive an offer for the position. If they really press the issue, mention a range that would represent the average pay for someone in that position. You could use websites like PayScale to search it up.

What happens when you’re asked a question that you really don’t know the answer to? Don’t panic! Even if you don’t know the answer to something, mention something similar that could relate. Of course, it would be less likely that you are asked a question that you can’t answer if you prepare for the interview. Here are some tips that you can use to prepare:

  • As mentioned before, writing down jot notes for some common questions is very helpful. Articulate the reasons as to why you want the job and what you bring to the table. Know how to explain the relevant experience that you have and always know how you contributed to that project/company.
  • Do research on the company and the industry as a whole. This shows initiative and that you took the time to understand the company and the position.
  • Talk to people who have that job and ask for tips and advice.
  • Speak to your mentors, as they may be able to give you tips and help you calm your nerves.
  • Think of some icebreakers that you could have to make the experience less awkward. Susan Baxter, Vice Chairman for RBC Wealth Management and keynote speaker at GEMinar Four: Getting Your Goals, mentioned that she likes to comment on the weather as soon as she enters the room to break the ice.
  • Practice answering the questions at home so that you sound articulate, but not so much that you sound robotic.

Most importantly, realize that you made to the interview stage. This means that they already know you are qualified. Now you just need to be yourself and let your personality shine. Keep calm and be confident. Believe in yourself! And if you don’t get the job, maybe it just wasn’t the right fit for you, so don’t beat yourself up over it. Learn from your mistakes and try again. I wish you the best of luck with your quest for a job, and I hope that these tips helped you.

Run for GEM at the B&O Yorkville Run

GEM is participating for the first time in the Bang & Olufsen Yorkville Run!

What’s the B&O Yorkville Run? Well, it’s a super fun 5K race that unites local runners and businesses to raise funds for local charities. It is well-known for being one the coolest races in Toronto and because it offers THE BEST race kit ever! Plus some super high-quality products to refuel the runners at the finish line. This year, it will take place on September 10, 2017.

We know you believe in the life-changing power of mentorship, and we wanted to ask your help to succeed in this adventure!

There are three ways you can actively help us:

1. REGISTER in the B&O Yorkville Run 2017 in support of GEM. When filling out the online registration form choose Girls E-Mentorship. Once you are registered as a GEM runner, you can start fundraising for GEM by asking people to sponsor you! All the sponsorship funds will go to GEM. Hurry up! There are only 500 spots left! Click here to register.

2. SPONSOR one of our runners! If you’re not much of a runner, you can donate to GEM by sponsoring one of the GEM runners. Check out our running team by clicking here.

3. SPREAD THE WORD! Share this email with your family, friends, and peers and encourage them to run in support of GEM or to sponsor GEM runners. Every single $ makes a huge difference!

About the B&O Yorkville Run
Since its inception in 2010, participants in the B&O Yorkville Run have raised more than $800,000 in support of local charities. The 8th Annual B&O Yorkville Run will take place on Sunday, September 10, 2017, at 9:45 AM. 

The registration fee for the race is $100. During registration, you also have the chance to make a personal donation to GEM.

The race kit includes a New Balance Men’s T-shirt or Women’s Tank, a $100 Gift Card for New Balance apparel, download for professional race photos, personalized bib, timing chip, along with some surprises.

Runners registered to raise money for GEM will have a personal fundraising page. Make sure to share it with your family, friends, and peers to start getting donations for GEM! Once you get your first donation, your name will show up on GEM’s page.

Fundraisers who raise over $500 will receive their choice of luxurious fundraising prizes from Bang & Olufsen, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and other Yorkville boutiques.

For more information check out the B&O Yorkville Run website.

Regards,
The GEM Team