When I was in third-year University my dream job was to work at SickKids Foundation. I love kids and obviously I have a passion for health so I knew it would be a perfect fit. A friend of mine had worked there the summer before and offered to make the first introduction. From there I was forwarded along from e-mail inbox to inbox; the entire process took about six months of me writing in weekly telling them how much I loved them and how badly I wanted to work for them. Then one day finally I received an invitation to interview for a pilot program with the corporate partnerships team at the foundation. PERFECT!! I was so excited for the interview; I couldn’t wait to get back to Toronto.
My rock star businesswoman mom kindly offered to lend me a power-suit for the occasion, which I gratefully accepted and didn’t think twice about bringing my own back-up outfit home with me from school. When I started trying on my mom’s suits there quickly became a very apparent problem. I didn’t realize until then how much weight I had lost; I was literally swimming in the suits, they all looked ridiculous – like I was playing dress-up and clearly not wearing my own clothing. When I came down in the first suit Matt burst into laughter … not encouraging! With 15 minutes to change I made a very unorthodox decision: I opted for a knee length cream sequin skirt and a monochromatic cream silk blouse. I looked like a million dollars for a semi-formal dinner date but totally not typical interviewee apparel. I decided then to go big or go home so I added red lipstick and off we drove to SickKids.
When the panel first saw me they smiled right away – I was quickly nicknamed “The Glamazon” due to my athletic resume and sequin attire. I was later told by my first and fabulous boss Dee Diaz that she knew she would hire me from the second I walked in the room because the position called for a person who could instantly make an impression and wasn’t afraid to go outside the box and be bold.
The lesson I learned that day is just because a book or a fashion expert or even your mom tells you that you really should wear a navy conservative power-suit to an interview doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t be afraid to colour outside the lines every now and then! SickKids did become my first dream job, it’s where I really grew comfortable and confident in connecting with people and I might never have had the opportunity if I hadn’t gone big and added a few sparkles!
So choose to shine, you won’t be disappointed.
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