By Abigayle Walker, WorkStory Ambassador at University of Ottawa
Aicha Cisse is the Web Editor of MSN Canada, in charge of the Entertainment and Sports pages. Aicha is also responsible for the marketing of the Microsoft online store on MSN. She decides which Microsoft electronics or merchandise the site will promote and how it will be promoted. She likens her job to that of an Editor of an online magazine.
On a regular day, Aicha prioritizes any advertising campaigns that are running on the site. She works directly with advertisers on campaigns in order to generate a certain amount of clicks. If a campaign isn’t running, she focusses on keeping the site up to date with content, especially for the Entertainment and Sports pages. She sorts through the latest news stories from content providers like TMZ, Vanity Fair, and Vogue feeds and decides which source and content to feature on the site.
At Concordia University, Aicha originally majored in Biology. She soon discovered that the sciences were not the best fit for her; so she decided to seek assistance from her university’s career centre. The councillor gave Aicha a personality test, which revealed that she was well-suited to a career in Communications. With this information in hand, Aicha transferred into the Communications program at Concordia University. After her program change, she found her passion for media and journalism. Beginning to work in newsrooms, Aicha learned that her niches were magazines and television.
Aicha started out as a writer for a start-up magazine, in the entertainment and lifestyle section. There she was able to build her portfolio and gain experience in the field. Due to the harsh competitive market, the magazine folded after the publication’s first issue. Being the go-getter that she is, Aicha pushed forward and found an internship at the CTV as a reporter for E-talk. Since this internship was unpaid, she searched online for work and stumbled across a positing for a Community Manager at Yahoo Canada. Her responsibilities for this job were to moderate, screen spam comments, and to report abusive language that she found on the Yahoo Answer website. She developed an interest in further responsibilities whilst she was learning from her senior management team at Yahoo. As people eventually left the company, Aicha was able to apply for an opening as a News Editor. From here, she gained a deeper interest in online news, social media, and new technology. She eventually got laid off from Yahoo, but through her strong networking abilities and experience in the flied, Aicha was soon hired at her position at Microsoft.
Aicha stresses that the industry she is in is extremely competitive. Her advice? Work hard and hustle. Be persistent. Develop impeccable writing and communication skills. And above all else, know how to sell yourself!