Marketing Communications Specialist: “Very Chaotic…In a Good way!”

By Michelle Doyle, WorkStory Ambassador at Western University

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Susan Mutterback is Marketing Communications Specialist at StarTech.com, a manufacturer of products for IT professionals. The company extends beyond the headquarters in London, Ontario to 14 countries worldwide!

As a Marketing Communications Specialist, Susan handles social media, public relations and general marketing communication such as ads and catalogues. This is a new role and is “very chaotic…in a good way!”  Because it is new, Susan’s responsibilities were built from the ground up which she finds an exciting challenge. Her favourite part of the job?   Susan emphasized her admiration for the people she works with…she really enjoys the collaboration and brainstorming processes that occur day-to-day at the office. 

Susan’s work journey began at the University of Guelph where she studied Psychology in her first year.  She didn’t really have a solid idea of what she wanted to do, just a vague interest in the field. After that year, she knew it wasn’t a perfect fit for her and decided to take a year off to figure things out.  She moved back home and took courses at the University of Windsor to keep her average up. The following year, Susan transferred to Western University and started thinking about public relations and marketing.  She graduated from Western in political science and sociology and then applied to Western’s public relations program. Of all her formal education, Susan found public relations the most interesting area of study. The final four months of the program involved an internship position. Susan particularly enjoyed this and found it extremely valuable in helping her gain real-world experience in the field.

After the internship, Susan had completed her education, but had received no job offers. She moved back home and worked at an unpaid internship for about 9 months. During this time, she remained persistent and applied to job after job, not receiving any replies. Finally, Susan was thrilled to receive a call from StarTech.com!  She moved right back to London, joined the company, and hasn’t looked back since.

Susan started out in a marketing role that was mainly sales focused. She enjoyed it, but was particularly interested in getting a position in her field.  When the Marketing Communications Specialist job opened up, she applied!

Susan has nothing but positive comments about working for StarTech.com, and is thrilled to be at such a wonderful company and working with such collaborative and supportive coworkers.   When asked what advice she’d give to those entering the job market,  Susan’s first words were “It’s hard”.  Then she highlighted the importance of taking jobs that aren’t necessarily in your specific desired field for the experience you will get from working.  She emphasized the “foot in the door” approach, the importance of starting off somewhere, and getting your name out there.  Lastly, she noted that unpaid internships can be good experiences. Susan was thankful for hers and believes that students entering the job field should not underestimate them.


Getting the Right People in the Right Job! Danielle’s Recruiting Story

By Craig Leonard, WorkStory Ambassador at Western University 

Danielle Giannattasio is a Recruiter for Aerotek, a leading company in the recruiting and staffing industry. As a recruiter Danielle’s job is to place suitable candidates in positions assigned to her on a contract basis. She specializes as a Technical Recruiter within Aerotek’s Engineering Services division. Specifically, she pursues engineers –  technologists, mechanical and electrical designers, and a wide range of specialized engineers.

This is far from the typical 9-5 job. Danielle’s schedule is mostly based around that of her clients and contractors. Typically, she begins the day by meeting with the other recruiters in her office to discuss the most urgent positions that they are working on. After prioritizing business, Danielle begins the recruiting process by using job boards and the company’s own database to screen for candidates, depending on the type of position she is trying to fill. Much of the workday is spent interviewing applicants to uncover what they themselves are looking for in a career and what their interests may be. Danielle also coaches selected applicants on their interview skills to help increase their chances of landing jobs.

Danielle thinks of herself as a subject matter expert in the engineering field, and because of this she is able to act as a consultant to her clients. While her primary objective is to provide the most qualified candidates, she also offers business and industry advice based on her daily interactions and findings in the market. Once she is successful in getting a candidate hired, her job is far from done. She continues to work with the contractor throughout their employment to ensure that they are satisfied, and moving towards accomplishing their own goals. When asked what it takes to be successful in recruiting, Danielle says, “A competitive and hardworking attitude…recruiting is about generating results under pressure.”

To get to where she is today, Danielle began by earning an undergraduate degree in Political Science at McMaster University. After completing her degree, she was unsure of what direction to head. She knew that she enjoyed working with people and had always excelled at sales, which fueled her decision to enroll in a Human Resource Management Post-Graduate program at Humber College. Danielle loved the one-year program but was not convinced by the end of it that she wanted to pursue a career in human resources. A requirement of her program was to complete an internship and she began inquiring about various companies and sections of human resources that she wanted to work in. She begun looking into recruiting companies and realized that given her interpersonal skills and passion for sales recruiting was a unique field that she could see herself working in. She then reached out to a number of individuals who were working as recruiters to learn more about what the staffing industry is like.

Funnily enough, after speaking with a number of recruiters she was approached by a recruiter at Aerotek for an opportunity to work in the company. The interview process for Aerotek is unique. It involves a 3-step interview, followed by a “half day”, during which the interviewees work at an Aerotek office for a half of a day to fully submerge themselves in the Aerotek way of life. After successfully completing this rigorous process Danielle was hired in June 2015. Although Danielle entered the staffing industry in order to complete a program requirement, she is fiercely passionate about her job and continues to love it and excel at it. When asked whether she would take the same educational path to her career in recruiting Danielle says, “Absolutely. While I don’t think that a background in human resources is necessary to do my job, I’m not sure that I would have ever entered the staffing industry and come across Aerotek if I didn’t get into it.”

What Danielle loves most about about her job is the fact that she is doing something different and learning something new, every single day. Although she was initially nervous to enter the engineering field without any prior knowledge of the industry, Danielle, as a naturally curious person, didn’t have a hard time networking with industry experts to gain some insight. “During any given week, I talk to at least 100 engineers, all from different backgrounds, with different educations and experiences.” One encounter Danielle remembers fondly is when she met one of the men who took part in designing the Mars Rover!

“Working in engineering has opened my eyes to so many things that I wouldn’t have paid attention to before. You wouldn’t believe how much you can learn from simply listening to other people’s stories.”

Danielle explains that the most satisfying part of her job is hearing that a client is pleased with their employee. “People rely on employment for their livelihood and it feels good being a part of that for someone.” Staffing is a competitive industry, and Danielle loves the competition involved in hiring the best people to the best companies, along with the challenge that comes with the pressure to make deadlines. She states that staffing is a unique industry; “You are dealing with the most unpredictable product – people.”

Danielle’s advice for people searching for employment? “Recruiters look for people that know what they want from a job or an opportunity. Although this may be difficult with the vast number of opportunities out there, it is important that you begin with an end goal in mind.”

 

Retail Associate Reaches for the Stars

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Danielle Smelko is a Retail Associate at Maurices (stylized by the company as “maurices”).

She spends most of her time at the women’s clothing store, located in the Seaway Mall in Welland, Ontario and she wouldn’t have it any other way!  Not only is fashion her passion, it’s her job! Danielle says her position enables her to be “so much more than a retail associate” and describes her role at Maurices as “a customer and community focused fashion advisor”.

When asked why she loves to work for this company, Danielle  mentioned that it is “fun and exciting” and there are many reasons why.  As she put it, her work “allows me to get to know the women in my community,  as well as get involved with charities, fundraisers, and the like, all while expressing my passion for clothing, trends, and personal style.”  Danielle  also finds Maurices to be an inspiring place to work. She feels motivated in many ways to keep “reaching for the stars” and believes that the sky truly is the limit at Maurices.

 Like many people trying to find their way in the world of work, Danielle took a “confusing and unexpected path” in terms of how she got to where she is today.

 “I have always been in customer service. I started with call centre work and bounced from business to business finding my niche. As time went on, I decided I wanted to go to school and start a business, preferably in the nail lacquer industry or [something] fashion related.  So, off I went to Niagara College in Niagara-on-the-Lake to study business.”

 Unfortunately, the stunning campus and all of Danielle’s amazing professors and peers were not enough to keep her there:

 “I hated it. It was so hit-and-miss for me and I ended up finding myself down-right miserable.... Business wasn't for me, so I decided to continue obtaining work experience. I stayed with customer service, seeing as my strongest quality is dealing with the public. I bounced around between the food industry and the fashion industry and found myself more drawn to fashion.”

 Danielle faced a few “gruelling years with some very unappealing, unorganized, and ethically awful companies”.   Eventually she found herself at a turning point in her career and knew that making a change was essential to maintain her positive outlook on life. Although she cannot name where she worked at the time, Danielle explains that the difficulties she had in the past led her to a job she loves at Maurices as well as a better life in general.

 “There was a point after a certain company where I realized I would never again tolerate being miserable at work. I have no room in my positive mentality to not feel valued or appreciated in my work place. Growth within is important to me.”   Looking back on these experiences, Danielle would now like to thank the unmentionable companies for the hardships she went through, “because if it wasn't for them, I would never know just what I stand for in my career!”   She has also learned that there are things she has no tolerance for in her life as well. She concluded the interview by saying, “Now that I’ve found Maurices, I couldn’t be happier!”

 If you are interested in an internship, a career opportunity,  or a new outfit from Maurices,  here’s the link www.maurices.com .