Category Archives: Careers

My 2012 New Year’s Resolutions

Although I often make goals for myself, I have never really made a list of New Year’s Resolutions. I guess once it’s written down, it creates more pressure for you to actually follow through – and makes you feel guilty when you don’t! This year, I want to be as pro-active as possible, so I have been thinking a lot about the most important things I wish to accomplish.

Instead of just calling them resolutions, I prefer to call them goals. There’s a stigma attached to the word resolutions, as if it’s just something we make in the new year hype and never follow through. The word “goal” is more concrete and will hopefully help me stick to them for the entire year.

2012 Goals 

1. Learn how to sew: I have wanted to do this for a while but have always said I don’t have the time or energy to try. I’m starting 2012 off to a good start by signing up for an introductory sewing class at The Sewing Studio in Toronto. It starts next week!

2. Read at least 2 books a week: As a student, I was often reading long essays, papers or textbooks daily. Now that I’m a graduate, it’s easy to work all day and spend your evenings with friends and family or watching TV. One of my goals this year is to use some of that free time to read books (and pursue more freelance writing opportunities). I’m trying to go to the Library at least once a week to take out a few books and especially 7-day rental ones to encourage me to read them in a timely manner.

3. Pitch at least one story a week to a newspaper or magazine: This was something I started at the end of last year and I want to continue doing this year. In particular, I want to have at least one story accepted by a publication I have never written for before.

4. Blog once a week: I initially started blogging as a way to keep track of my writing and create an online portfolio, but it is also a great way to meet interesting people and share your thoughts with the online community.

5. Take another writing course: This summer, I took a news and feature writing course at Concordia University and I want to take another one in Toronto. Unfortunately, they are more than double the price here! The skills you learn are really valuable though, so I’ll probably fork over the cash.

6. Work out at least 3 times a week. This summer, I was really good at working out – it was much easier when I lived a two minute walk to the McGill Gym and was able to go on my way to work. Luckily, I have a treadmill in my house so I have been trying to work out at home at least 3 times a week and attend one fitness class once a week (my favourite is Zumba!).

Those are my top 6 goals so far, and I’m glad that I’m already making progress on half of them. In a few months, I hope to add to the list!

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Can an ethnic-sounding name take you out of the competition for a job?

Last week, I was reading an interesting article on the Globe and Mail’s website about career advice. It revealed that job applicants with an ethnic-sounding name may actually be subconsciously discriminating against you and assuming that you may not have the right language and social skills for the job.

I think it’s quite shocking in this day and age that an ethnic-sounding name might reduce your chances of landing a job. Even if it’s not a conscious decision, now that a study has revealed that recruiters are more likely to pass over a resume with an ethnic-sounding name, employers should make sure that they aren’t making these mistakes and missing out on top talent.

According to the article, “the researchers sent out more than 7,000 hypothetical résumés to hiring managers at companies in three cities that had advertised jobs requiring that applicants have a bachelor’s degree and fluency in English. The positions covered a number of professional fields.” The study found that employers are 40% more likely to choose an applicant with an English sounding name than an ethnic-sounding one.

If employers want to increase diversity in the workplace, then this is a great way to start. Employers should be looking over their hiring ways and examining if they’re prone to these errors – and if they are, start correcting them before missing out on great candidates.

Have you ever felt that an ethnic-sounding name may reduce your chances for landing a job?