The Student Perspective: Meet Cindy
Written by: Corina Chen and the CareerVillage.org Team
“Like a treasure hunter, she thoroughly and gratefully asked question upon question to professionals on CareerVillage.”
Since she joined CareerVillage in 2017, Cindy proved to be unafraid to ask specific questions in order to more successfully join the workforce. As a third year college student majoring in psychology from Calgary, Alberta, Cindy was initially interested in what a career in music therapy might look like. Dozens of fields within the general subject of psychology were open to her, and Cindy wanted to figure out what appealed most. She heard back from a variety of professional perspectives on CareerVillage:
With new information on what a career in psychology might look like, Cindy’s questions quickly shifted. She became more focused on job skills, reference letters, application best practices and networking to make connections — the more specific her questions grew, the more Cindy revealed that she was determined to use CareerVillage as a recurring stepping stone throughout her journey navigating career.
Many of Cindy’s questions in her first year on CareerVillage surrounded her internship job hunt. She asked, “Is it okay to ask for reference from your previous employer on Facebook?” She had already sent formal emails to her previous employer, but had yet to receive a reply. Cindy enjoyed a great working relationship with her previous boss and they were now Facebook friends. As advice filtered through from professionals across varying fields, Cindy learned that much of the decision process for this question would be predicated on the longevity and sort of friendship she and her former boss shared. Ultimately, many professionals suggested, it is better to keep social media and work separate.
As Cindy continued to pursue summer internships, she turned to CareerVillage to ask how to properly answer interview questions. Written with self-awareness and honesty, Cindy asks:
Again, almost a dozen professionals rose to the occasion, advising Cindy that in this question, interviewers are looking for real answers. Asking this is simply another way to learn more about her accomplishments and journey that brought her to the application table.
As Cindy continued practicing for her interviews using the advice she received on CareerVillage, she came across another challenging interview question that she knew professionals on CareerVillage could help her with:
Like a treasure hunter, she thoroughly and gratefully asked question upon question to professionals on CareerVillage. She asked what she could do with a psychology degree, what UX UI designers’ experiences were like, and what organizational psychology was about. The more she wrote, the more views and responses she received from the CareerVillage community, an encouragement to her that she never failed to recognize by thanking volunteers.
By the time Cindy was three years into using CareerVillage, she was asking bigger questions. Now a “self-taught” web developer, with the guidance of professionals on CareerVillage, Cindy’s career had shifted from a focus in psychology to one of web development. She explored this career pathway with guidance from the supportive community on CareerVillage:
Cindy knew that many companies persist in wanting experienced candidates; so, what next? Fifteen professionals answered Cindy’s question, sharing personal experiences, validation, and tangible next steps for Cindy to accomplish and learn from.
Dhairya Dalal, volunteer on CareerVillage was especially bold, sharing their own personal experiences having been in Cindy’s shoes before: “Your story resonates with my own experiences, as I’m a self taught developer and AI researcher as well. You should feel very proud that you’ve taken the initiative and dedicated your time to hone your skills in web development and software engineering. It’s not easy and speaks volumes about your determination, grit and hard work. You’re not alone in feeling like an impostor. Even professionals at the highest levels feel that bit of uncertainty that perhaps they squeaked through the cracks and someone will realize that they don’t belong. It’s an all too human experience, especially when we live in a world where all we see are superficial signs of success on LinkedIn, social media, that TEDx talk or Forbes 30 under 30 list. What you don’t see publicly are the moments of adversity, shortcomings, and uncertainty that we all face in our journeys.” Such admissions of uncertainty and adversity showed Cindy that the professional world is more than just resumes, promotions, and success — it’s also about confidence, dedication, and humility.
With hard work and the support of CareerVillage, Cindy grew more settled in her journey. Today, her career goal statement says: “I want to be a front-end web developer.” From her evaluation of CareerVillage professionals’ encouraging advice around her studies in psychology, Cindy was able to work through the difficult decision to diverge from her initial college major to a passion she was confident she wanted to pursue. Cindy’s persistent, unabated slough of questions around types of work, interviews, and web development reflect an internal motivation that has only grown stronger as she’s found her way towards her dreams on CareerVillage.
Cindy’s journey is one of 6million other students that are seeking career guidance on CareerVillage.org. If you’d like to join this movement or learn how your company can contribute to the massive impact CareerVillage is making, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.