Author: smakkar

Career Strides – Episode 3: The EMPLOYED Graduate

We have heard from the frustrated unemployed grad and dived into the mind of hiring managers, but what does the EMPLOYED grad have to say about Mehvish Mushtaq’s concerns and Rosy Sethi’s advice?

Today, you will hear a short interview with Maham Mahmood, an alumni from the Schulich School of Business and recently employed Pepsi Sales Representative.

0:01 Introduction

0:37 Welcoming my guest, Maham Mahmood

0:45 Maham Mahmood’s thoughts about the previous two podcasts

1:04 Maham Mahmood describes her job search experience and any helpful tips she learned after successfully landing a job.

1:43 Benefits of creating a business card and the importance of branding yourself

2:48 University DID teach me these skills

3:54 Sometimes it is okay to be informal with a potential employer

3:12 Final tips for the unemployed grad

4:34 Thank You’s & Sign Out

Podcast theme music is “Absolutely Uplifting” by AudioJungle.
Image source: Google (The Higher Education)


Career Strides – Episode 2: A Look Into The Minds Of Hiring Managers

You hear it all the time, a university degree is pretty much a must these days in the workforce. But employers often complain that today’s graduates just aren’t cutting it.

So, this begs the question: What are they looking for in university students and recent graduates in the marketplace ?

In this 5-minute podcast, you will hear my conversation with Rosy Sethi, a Human Resource Manager of 7 years, who will take us into the minds of hiring managers.

Show Notes:

0:01 Introduction

0:24 The number of jobs available is expected to rise

0:45 Introduction to my guest, Rosy Sethi

0:58 What characteristics are hiring managers looking for in applicants?

1:33 Where is a good place for students to begin gaining experience?

2:05 Misconceptions students have about getting a job in their field

3:22 Is getting a Masters Degree beneficial?

3:49 Final tips

4:27 Leave a comment on the show blog. Do you agree? Do you have any additional tips?

4:38 Join me on April 4th for the final episode of Career Strides, where I’ll be talking to Maham Mahmood about her recent job search experience.

4:50 Thank You’s and Sign Out

Podcast theme music is “Absolutely Uplifting” by AudioJungle.
Image source: Google (5 Small Things That Make a Big Difference to Hiring Managers)

Graduate vacancies set to rise by 10.2%

Hiring college graduates and entry level positions

Hiring managers believe new college are unprepared for the workforce

What do employers really care about when hiring new grads?

Career Strides – Episode 1: The Unemployed Graduate

This is the first episode of a three part podcast series about what university students and recent graduates think they need to beat out the competition and secure a job after graduation.

In this 5-minute podcast, you will hear my conversation with Mehvish Mushtaq, a soon-to-be graduate from Ryerson University, who is finding it extremely difficult to get hired or even land an interview, despite having completed the “standard student checklist”.

Can you relate? If so, take a listen!

Show notes:

0:01 Welcome and introduction

0:27 The struggle university students and recent graduates are currently facing in the job market

0:57 Introduction to my guest, Mehvish Mushtaq

1:12 Interview with Mehvish Mushtaq

3:41 The gap between what university produces to what employers want is widening

4:08 Send comments to suezan dot makkar at gmail dot com or post them here on the show blog

4:24 Join me on March 28th for the second episode to this three part podcast series, where I will be talking to Rosy Sethi, a Human Resource Manager, about what employers are looking for in new grads in the marketplace

4:36 Thank You’s and Sign Out

Podcast theme music is “Absolutely Uplifting” by AudioJungle.

Students think they are prepare; hiring managers think not

The myth of the unemployed university graduate

Time to bust myths about youth unemployment: Kathleen Wynne

Why are so many of Canada’s young people out of work?

Why can’t today’s graduates get hired?

Podcast 1 Process

Completing the first episode of my podcast series was a bit difficult. I had a number of ideas of how I wanted to create the podcast, in order for it to be interesting and ear-grabbing. However, the more different I tried to make my podcast, the more messy it became – so, I followed the age old rule of K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid).

Collecting research was the easiest part. Since the topic of unemployed graduates is a growing concern, there were many news articles online that I could use. I decided to include an interview in my first podcast versus reading off facts, because I felt that it would provide listeners with a truer perspective/outlook on the struggle that university students and recent graduates are currently facing in the job market. Thinking of questions, however, was probably the toughest part, since I only wanted to know one thing for this episode: what do students think they need to get hired? Therefore, taking from what I learnt from the first assignment, I went with the flow of the interviewee. To my surprise, this worked out perfectly and opened up to an array of questions and more discussion. Yet, I found that my interview sounded scripted but in reality my interviewee was very nervous and robotic (not in my control!).

In terms of music, I ended up purchasing a fairly cheap instrumental from I assumed it was better to play it on the safe side, before copyrighting or infringing on someone else’s intellectual property.

I taped both the interview and my individual monologues in a walk-in closet. I found when I did this for the previous assignment, it eliminated any echoing or fuzz from being recorded in the background. Being anal and somewhat of a perfectionist, I spent a total of 6 hours recording, in order to get the perfect take – crazy, I know! It was important to me that I was not only linguistically clear and loud, but also that I had personality in my voice.

Editing took no time at all! Audacity was easy to use and I learnt a few helpful tricks on how to use the software on Youtube. There were not many speech ticks that I had to cut out, only long pauses.

Overall, completing my first episode was a great experience; however, for the next two I will be sure to start way in advance.

Research Process

My 3 part podcast series will focus on why students cannot get hired or land an interview. At the end of each podcast, I will highlight the most important points made and back it up with research. Since I am still in the preliminary stages of my research, I have only used Wikipedia and the UTM library website to find news articles and interviews. To my surprise, I have discovered a number of useful articles while reading other articles that I would not have otherwise stumbled upon. In addition, I have also listened to podcasts on the CBC website that are similar to my topic.

List of Resources:
The Real Reason New College Grads Can’t Get Hired 
Why Recent College Graduates Can’t Find Jobs
The 10 Skills Employers Most Want In 20-Something Employees

Interview Process

Deciding on a place and time to record the interview was the easiest part of this process. Jena and I agreed to meet a week and a half before the due date, to ensure we both had ample time to edit and complete our podcast. However, on the day of, we decided to postpone the interview because neither one of us were prepared with questions. We both felt it was necessary to have an idea of what we were going to ask one another, therefore we took an extra two days to create a list of questions.

We chose to conduct the interview in one of the study rooms in the Institutional Building. Since the room was small and enclosed, it eliminated any echoing or fuzz from being recorded in the background of the interview. I downloaded a number of recording applications on my iPhone including, GarageBand, SmartRecord and QuickVoice Recorder; however I chose to use RecorderHQ as well as Audacity as a backup.


The interview itself was not what I expected. I not only thought I was going to follow the exact order of my questions, but also that I had an idea of how Jena would answer them. However, during the interview Jena began to talk about her personal struggle with mental health. I followed her lead and the interview soon became more like a conversation.

I recorded my interview with Jena 6 times to ensure that I had enough material to play with while editing. Having many recordings of the interview, each lasting between 8 to 11 minutes, was extremely difficult to work with. Although each recording had similar answers, I drove myself crazy, repeatedly listening to all 6 and trying to pick out Jena’s best answers. In order to shorten the interview to 3 minutes, I also cut out speech ticks such as “uh” and “um,” as well as pauses and information that the interview could do without. Audacity was a great editing tool – despite how much I edited out, the audio sounded like one seamless piece.

I found transcribing the interview to be simple yet tedious. First, I played the entire interview, typing as much of what I heard. I then played the interview three more times, filling in what I missed. After completing the transcription, I played the interview one last time to add in the timings. I tried to use, as suggested by Joan but my audio was not uploading onto the website.

Overall, completing my first podcast was a great experience. I look forward to starting on my podcast series.

A Podcasters Journey – Episode 1: Interview With Jena Fabroa

Hello everyone and welcome to the first episode of “A Podcasters Journey!”.

You may or may not know this – but mental illnesses can take on many forms, just as physical illnesses do. In fact, mental illnesses are feared and misunderstood by many. Today, you will hear a short 3 minute interview with Jena Fabroa who will talk to us about her journey with mental illness and discuss the various resources and facilities available at UTM.

Show Notes:
0:00-0:25 Introduction

0:25-0:53 What topic are you going to be focusing your podcast on?

0:53-1:24 Why did you choose to pursue this topic?

1:24-1:54 Who do you plan on interviewing?

1:54-2:16 Who is your intended audience?

2:16-2:30 Many people are unaware of the resources and facilities available on campus

2:30-2:40 What do you hope to achieve through these podcasts?

2:40-3:00 Conclusion and Sign Out

Passing of Time

“Passing of Time” is the recording of a ticking clock. In doing this assignment, I originally recorded various sounds such as the running of water and the splashing of oil – each time, however, I heard the ticking of the clock faintly in the background. I decided that this would be a great sound effect to post because it is something we hear daily but never really pay attention to.

Name That Type

The podcast I chose to listen to was “Mad Women: The Great Women in Advertising” posted on the wiki by Rida Zehra. This podcast is mainly expository. The host, Terry O’Reilly speaks directly to the listener about famous women in advertising that have had large social and cultural impacts in our society. Through this 26 minute long podcast, O’Reilly uses facts and inserts audio from popular advertisements to “prove” to listeners (in a sense) that women have dominated the advertising industry for years. While I would recommend others who are interested in learning about advertising and the underlying messages it holds, I would not listen to other podcasts from this series because O’Reilly was very formal, factual and scripted.