New Edmonton advice podcast targets student job-seekers

A new advice podcast from the University of Alberta’s alumni relations office tackles the looming question on many students’ minds: how to find a job and build a career.

What the Job? features interviews with U of A alumni and advisors from the school’s career centre.

Chloe Chalmers, an alumni career services manager who produces the podcast, said the office created it because students and alumni were expressing “a high level of anxiety” about their post-graduation job prospects.

“There are definitely new challenges today than maybe 30 years ago,” she said Wednesday in an interview with CBC’s Radio Active.

“But one thing that remains consistent is that people remain nervous about the unknown.” 

Uncovering unconventional career paths

For host Matt Rea’s father, a career meant working in the same factory for 50 years.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to do that ever again,” Rea told CBC. 

Recent podcast guests Jimmy Quinlan and Rakhi Pancholi both described unconventional routes to their current roles.

Quinlan studied radio and spent years as a professional lacrosse player before becoming a teacher and Pancholi worked as a lawyer before going into politics.

Unrelated work and volunteer experiences taught them skills they now apply in their current fields, both guests said.

Pancholi’s years of volunteering, for example, helped her learn how to mobilize volunteers during her political campaign and Quinlan often shares sports psychology techniques with his students.

Rakhi Pancholi, an Edmonton lawyer who became an NDP MLA last spring, shared her path to politics on a recent podcast episode. (Rakhi Pancholi/Facebook)

Though Pancholi’s transition from lawyer to politician seems typical, she dabbled in science, history and business before settling on political science at the U of A.

Her bachelor of arts degree took six years to complete while she worked multiple jobs, including a stint at Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman’s office. Although Pancholi landed an articling position with a Bay Street law firm after graduating law school, she withdrew her name from being considered for a permanent job because she realized it wasn’t the right fit.

“Don’t feel like the first job you’re going to take is going to be what you’re doing for the rest of your life,” Pancholi said on the podcast.

Job-seeking 101

The podcast also releases mini episodes with basic tips from career advisors on how to land a job. 

These episodes explain skills like resume-writing and networking — “all these terrifying things about jobs that you’re never actually taught how to do,” Rea said.

Recent episodes focus on cultural differences in the Canadian job market (of use for international students) and preparing for interviews.

Listeners can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Soundcloud, Spotify and Stitcher.

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