Monthly Archives: August 2017

Things To Do Before Signing Your First Employee Contract

Searching for that auspicious first job after graduating is a daunting task. Even if you’ve considered and calculated every problem point in your professional journey (have all potential career paths lined up, networked, got work experience while at university, and researched the current job market), most fresh graduates seldom get exactly what they envisioned for their primary salaried role. That being said, it’s oft the strategy of newbie workers to seize the first offer that comes their way, seeing it as a stepping stone towards great things. If you don’t want to tarnish your perception of work with a poor first impression, hold out and consider these items before you sign your life away:

Your day-to-day duties

Entry level roles – for the most part – are repetitive, mundane, and limited. It is a shock for most graduates to be reduced to the level of tasks entry jobs demand, but is a vital one. Understanding that your first job will feel underwhelming is crucial, but that shouldn’t mean you accept a role regardless of your duties. Before signing that scroll, read and re-read your job description; make notes of what you like and, if you’re brave, let the hiring manager know if there are any additional roles you’d like to see included – i.e., if you’re a digital marketer, filling out and designing a newsletter.


Not all of us have the luxury of working close to home, but it’s something you should fight for if you’re concerned about wasting time and energy commuting. For graduates, location tends to be a transient state; most graduates live away from home with the aim of moving back in with their family after, while others float in a state of limbo preparing to move for a role they find. For both cases, it’s important to consider roles that make commuting as facile as possible. Research accommodation/living costs – different areas have different costs, even within the same city. Do you require a car to get to your office, or is there adequate public transport? Most companies have salaries that reflect the costs of living and working in their area, however, for entry level this may not be enough to comfortably live on.

Company type and size

There’s no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to company type and culture. Many graduates aspire to white-collar jobs in established, franchised companies, but forget the bountiful professional perks of working in a startup and SME. Each company type has pros and cons – it’s vital that you outline what you want out of a company before committing to any one type.

Personal development

Leading on from company types and their respective perks, finding a company that appreciates and can further your professional and personal development is key. You want to avoid entering into a position that will treat you as a glorified intern where you complete remedial work day in day out (think HR administrator with no HR software). Make sure your employer has internal or external training regimes in mind, and that your role teaches you about the industry or position you wish to fulfil in future.


What benefits are available in your potential future company should be considered, particularly if there are benefits that accumulate as time goes on – i.e., pensions, or gratuity. What kind of health insurance are they offering (is there maternity insurance coverage?), are they quite tech-savvy (have they got cloud HR software rolling around) and are there opportunities throughout your careers to train, grow and, perhaps, change roles? While some companies may have less than appealing starter salaries, the rewards for staying with them and growing are numerous, so always consider their long-term potential.


The hours you will be expected to work vary massively from company to company. For individuals looking to balance their work/life schedule (Millennials and Centennials in particular) it’s important to double check on your hours and their flexibility. Does your office offer work from home alternatives? Will you be expected to complete overtime or handle shifts – and how will that impact your ability to get home (should you use public transport).

5 Careers a UBC Biology Major Can Land You

A Biology major can prepare students for a variety of health-related careers, but because the subject is extremely broad, the subject is applicable in a wide range of professions outside the health sector. Below is a list of options for Biology students:


The epidemic of lifestyle-related diseases has prompted many to seek advice from nutritionists. With heart disease being the leading cause of death and obesity a growing issue in the country, the guide that nutritionists give to their patients toward behavior changes can be helpful as preventative measures or to simply improve one’s health. Biology graduates can apply the scientific knowledge of the human body and its environment as nutritionists in educating people about the food they eat and how it impacts their health, communities and ecosystems. Many nutritionists are self-employed, but certain positions require certifications and postgraduate study.

Genetic Counselor

Biology is an excellent major for those looking to pursue a career in genetic counseling. The practice is being increasingly sought after as more and more people become interested in looking into their ancestry and find out about their particular genetic health risks. Aside from providing factual information, the role of a genetic counselor is to give emotional support to individuals who have been diagnosed with a genetically-inherited illness, or who are at risk for developing a disease. Because of this, a strong background in psychology or counseling is preferred by graduate programs. Genetic counselors might also work with those who are planning a pregnancy and are concerned about their baby’s risk for birth defects.


Entomology is the study insects, their environments and their behaviors through observational, experimental, chemical and genetic techniques, but the importance of its research goes beyond the diverse group of animals on earth and is critical to human lives. Entomologists make great contributions to fields such as health, agriculture, chemistry, biology, and forensics. Finding cures to serious diseases spread by insects require understanding of insect biology, for example. And agricultural entomologists may develop new types of integrated pest management that uses some species to control others, reducing the need for pesticides or conventional roach killers.


Being a lawyer doesn’t sound like a likely path for science majors, but the scientific knowledge and reasoning from subjects like Biology are pertinent in some legal fields. Medical malpractice lawyers, for example, need to analyze medical interventions to judge whether health professionals have acted correctly and ethically. The same goes for litigation and criminal lawyers who need to gather evidence to test a hypothesis. Patent and intellectual property lawyers also need to understand the science behind biotechnological products, drugs and medical instruments in order to process applications for patents and defend client infringment. Biology majors who are particularly passionate about the environment can work as an environmental lawyer with their scientific understanding of how the ecosystem will be impacted by certain projects or policies.

Health Educator

Health educators develop health education programs that teach people how to maximize their wellness and promote healthy behaviors. Like biology majors, they write about scientific topics like nutrition, safe sex, substance and stress reduction. Biology graduates who are interested in working with people and have strong written communication skills can use their scientific knowledge from biology as health educators to digest information and research about public health concerns.

Conservation Scientist

Our natural resoures today are being used up at an alarming rate. The future lies in our willingness to invest in discovering newer and more efficient resources that will be sustainable in the long run. Biology graduates who enjoy applying their skills outside the classroom might be interested in becoming a conservation scientist who spend a lot of time in the field. Many of them work with government or environmental agencies managing the overall land quality of natural resources.