Job search resources

I’ve been back in Ottawa for almost 3 months now, which means I’m deep into job searching mode! I honestly believe that job searching should be used as an interrogation/torture technique.  Every one of my friends who is also looking for a job agrees that the process is endlessly frustrating.

One of my reasons for creating this blog was that it would hopefully serve as a resource for other EM / Reslife students. There have been a few resources I’ve relied on which have helped me in my search. I haven’t yet found a job, but they have definitely made me more confident in my applications, and helped make the search a little less monotonous.

The Prepary is a site run by San Francisco-based Jaime Petkanics, a recruitment expert who now works full-time helping people find jobs. After looking at about a million career advice sites, I can safety safe that The Prepary is my favourite: it’s clean, it’s simple and it’s written in a way that is both conversational and informative. My favourite article: 3 Effective ways to calm your nerves before an interview.

The Levo League is a career resource for Gen-Y (ish) women that offers career advice, job postings and mentorship opportunities. One of the best features of their website is an interactive Office Hours feature, which are webcast sessions with career experts or leading industry professionals. Members can email or tweet questions which are answered in real-time. An archive of past Office Hours are also offered on the site. My favourite thing about the site is that relevant career advice is offered next to (still relevant, but more entertaining) fashion and lifestyle advice. The founders emphasize the importance of women helping, rather than competing with, each other.

Google Alerts

I’ll be honest. I work my butt off when it comes to sending applications, but I’m lazy when it comes to spending hours trolling through websites trying to find that one job I can reasonably apply for. That’s why Google Alerts is so handy. I can set up search terms like “Emergency Management Jobs” or “Disaster Response Canada” and I get an alert when something new pops up on the web. It’s not the only way I find postings, but it ensures that I find some opportunities as soon as they are posted, eliminating that last-minute scramble to submit an application

I actually just learned about this (from The Prepary!). consolidates information from other job search boards as well as company websites, in order to present a more complete picture of current job opportunities. It also saves your recent searches, which saves me from using the same search terms over and over.


This is an obvious one, but I’ve discovered that LinkedIn stalking is far more fun (and productive) than Facebook stalking, for the reasons that it can lead to some valuable contacts as well as expose you to research and opportunities you weren’t aware of. I also like to look at people working in positions I’d eventually like to have, and figure out what kind of experience or training I might need to get there. It definitely provides a structure to my career plans.


The name we give our mistakes

This just proves my theory that there really is a Carrie Underwood song for every situation.

Today I had a reminder about how far I’ve come since I got my first job (almost 7 years ago!).

I got a call from my supervisor that revealed that I had made a mistake on several of the e-mails I’ve sent in the last week. I realized that I did not have a firm understanding of the task that I had been assigned and I cringed at the mistake.

Fortunately, my supervisor was very nice about it and apologized herself for not explaining it to me better. Despite this, I knew that it had been my responsibility to clarify the task and I spent the next 45 minutes fixing my mistake.

Not to long ago, a mistake like this would have bothered me for the whole day. I would have tripped over myself to apologize and then become highly paranoid that everything else I was doing was incorrect.

Example: Last summer I got a warning from the system administrator that I had been using an unusually high amount of data, and that my internet use would be investigated if I did not clarify that the use was in support of departmental work. I panicked, hard-core. I was SO worried that if I were investigated, the department would find a way to make a problem out of the fact that I left my Facebook open in the background and listened to YouTube videos while I was working.

My supervisor was in Paris at the time, so I fretted in silence for several hours before I finally responded to the e-mail and told them I would keep my usage down. When my supervisor returned, I told her what happened, terrified that I would be admonished for not working hard enough. She just laughed and turned her screen to show me she was listening to YouTube videos as well.

All of this is to say that you can’t be perfect all the time, especially when you are learning. This is something I have to remind myself of all. the. time. Today I apologized, fixed my mistake, and got on with my day.

As I work my way through my 3rd student job in two years, it can feel as though I am moving laterally along, rather than up, the career ladder. It’s moments like these that remind me that every experience is worth something. I am getting prepared for larger responsibilities, which will come with the potential for larger mistakes. Big or small, it’s important to be able to correct and move on—otherwise those mistakes remain errors, rather than lessons.

New job! New province!

Ohh boy, I haven’t updated in quite a while. I have a good reason—I got a job! And I moved! Two very big things, and getting settled in has taken up all of my time.

I am working for the Red Cross in British Columbia. The position is related to Disaster Management, and I was so unbelievably excited when I got the job that I literally skipped around my house in glee. Quite the professional, I am!

I found out about the job on a Friday, and by Monday I was driving across the country with my best friend and a mutual friend of ours. Just the drive itself was an amazing experience, and I will probably post pictures in the next couple of weeks.

I’ve been working for about 3 weeks now, and I love it. The job is a contract, just for the summer, but I don’t mind. The experience I’m getting—not to mention the opportunity to live in this beautiful place!—is totally worth it.

 Another reason for the lack of updates is that I’ve been debating the future of this blog. I still believe emergency management is my passion, but I also firmly believe you should write the kind of things you would want to read. Looking back, I’m not sure I would read this blog if I came across it. I would really like to keep updating while I figure it out—but the posts might be more varied or inconsistent in the meantime.

Thanks for reading!


Links, pranks, and beautiful weather

It’s amazing how a change in the weather can cause such a shift in mood. I don’t think anyone demonstrates this better than college students.

It’s been absolutely beautiful here for the last week, and everyone has been outside, having barbeques, playing beach volleyball, and…getting up to no good. Relatively speaking. There has been an upswing in pranking lately, which certainly wasn’t helped by St. Patrick’s day. Which, all things considered, was actually pretty tame. Especially in comparison to this Ontario college. (My brother actually goes to Fanshawe, but he was nowhere near the riot, thank goodness).

We (staff) aren’t immune to the good weather either. Last week my fellow RA and I pranked our bosses office, by turning everything moveable upside-down. It’s the best prank because its easy to do and is minimally inconvenient. I went in there yesterday, and his coffee cup, binders, and some posters were still upside down.

This post on the importance of emergency evacuation drill on the fictional campaign site of Parks and Recreation character Leslie Knope, made me laugh out loud:  “The official Pawnee City Mandate for disaster evacuations reads, simply, “Run, dummies.””

I’m currently writing a public education program on terrorism, and I came across this article about terrorism not being the number 1 issue. It brings up the question: should emergency management efforts focus on the most prevalent hazards (in Canada: flooding and forest fires) or what the public thinks are the most prevalent hazards?

Decades of research show that individuals almost always perform better than groups in both quality and quantity, and group performance gets worse as group size increases.” I have at least 5 different groups for various projects this year, and while I think group work can be beneficial (if incredibly aggravating) at times, I also love this article from one of my favourite columns, Bullish: Team Work is Overrated (How To Be A Lone Unicorn).

I took a course on Politics in Northern Ireland while I was studying in the UK, and Belfast was one of my favourite places to visit while travelling. While researching the 1998 Omagh bombing for a disaster recovery project, I found this article on how a trauma centre established after the bomb have been able help other victims of tragic events around the globe.