An inside look at the Zero Work program

Monday, March 28, 2022
by Rachel, AFM student

How Zero Work set me on the path for future success

Looking to prepare for your first co-op experience? Zero Work is an asset you don’t want to miss out on!

My name is Rachel and I am a first-year Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) student. I stumbled upon Zero Work in my first term, and now I’m here to spread the word about my incredible experience!

rachel
I first heard about Zero Work from ‘My SAF Community’, a Learn page that keeps SAF students informed about potential growth opportunities. It was promoted as an excellent experience that helped students prepare for their careers and improve their soft skills, and, eager to improve my skill set, I decided to sign up.

Lucky for me, I was accepted into the program, and what I learned from Zero Work still resonates with me now.

One of the major highlights of my experience with Zero Work was their 2-day virtual kick-off event, Ignition. This event was jam-packed with valuable insights and advice relating to interviewing, resume building, networking, and choosing a career, all packaged in applicable and interactive workshops. From this event alone, I learned useful tips on introductions, networking, self-reflection, resumes, and interviewing that I still use now!

Takeaways from the Ignition experience:

Cold Intros:

The students who attended Ignition learned about ‘cold intros’, where we creatively brainstormed all the roles we play in our lives. Once we had a list of roles to choose from, we were able to choose a random role from our list and include it in our introduction, to open a door for the conversation to develop around the role we chose. Then, we were sent into breakout rooms on WebEx to have an open discussion with different people, using our cold intros.

In this experience, I found myself identifying roles in my life I didn’t even know I played, such as pianist, literature lover, and debater. Not only that, but the conversations I ended up having with people in the breakout rooms were incredibly engaging and deep, as we were able to find connections or differences in our roles to learn more about one another.

I still use this tool in less-structured networking scenarios, as it gives the conversation a direction to begin with and lets the conversation flow from there. I find using cold intros results in a much more casual and intriguing conversation compared to a more generic or overly informative intro.

Resume Crash-Course:

We even participated in a resume crash-course, where I learned how to format my work experience in an interesting and succinct manner. My peers and I asked specific questions about our work experiences to improve them and worked together to build a narrative around our work experiences, with the guiding influence from the facilitators Jackson and Holden, who helped make sure each bullet point made an impact on our resume.

My current resume reflects the questions and narrative format I learned in this workshop, as I find the format is not only easy to set-up for each new work experience, but it also removes the excess information without losing the key details needed to help them stand out on my resume.

Creating a Network:

Lastly, we were given a template for making connections with people in industries or jobs that we are interested in. This was a simple email format that we could use when contacting professionals and people we don’t know or have not had many interactions with.

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In the workshop, each of us chose a person that we would be interested in connecting with and used the template to draft an email to reach out to them. Then, we were challenged to actually send the email.

I chose a guest speaker from my high school music class who was a CFO for MusiCounts charity, and I received a response! Although she wasn’t able to connect with me directly, she did get me in contact with someone else working for MusiCounts in their finance department, and I had a great conversation with her about my interest in music and accounting.

Conclusion:

The content above was just some of what I learned from Zero Work Ignition, and that is only the beginning!

Each week participants of Zero Work have the opportunity to join a workshop designed to help students like us. There have been workshops on creating and breaking habits, building self-confidence, and managing stress. All these workshops are designed to be interactive and include actionable templates, advice, steps, and tips that you can keep using beyond your Zero Work experience. You might even get to hear from a special guest speaker!

At the end of the Zero Work program, you can join Ground Zero, a place for Zero Work alumni where you can join Zero-ins (the monthly alumni hangout on Discord), Zero Experience fireside chats, and get full access to the Zero Work library, which provides content around all aspects of career building.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up today!