Mentoring Helps Students Navigate Real-World Job Market

Mentoring Helps Students Navigate Real-World Job Market

Mentor: Cait Murphy (left)
Mentees: Kira Knight (centre) and Rose Wu
Photos of Cait and Kira provided courtesy of Ashley Kobayashi

In the months following her graduation from the Global Resource Systems (GRS) program, Cait Murphy recalls applying for multiple jobs and not getting anywhere. During that period, she had a wonderful mentor who taught her networking and goal-setting skills to help her better understand the job market.

Now as the Program Coordinator of Climate Change and Air Quality at the Fraser Basin Council, Murphy jumped at the chance to become a UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS) mentor, wanting to ensure that her mentees had the necessary post-graduation job market skills that gave her a leg up.

Through the 2018-2019 LFS Mentorship Program, she not only shared her knowledge, she also gained knowledge in return. Her mentees, Rose Wu and Kira Knight are both GRS students. Murphy is inspired by their passionate involvement in extracurricular activities, club associations and podcasts. “They made me think about the types of extracurricular activities I’d like to be pursuing.”

While Murphy does not work in Knight’s field of interest of global health, she significantly expanded Knight’s interpersonal skills, knowledge about her career journey, especially how to navigate networking events, job applications and interviews.

“Cait is a wonderful mentor dedicated and motivated to helping me and Rose,” said Knight. “Together, we made time in our schedules to meet and debrief on various topics above and beyond those assigned to us from the Mentorship Program. The skill I developed most was how to interact in a professional environment, whether at an interview or with colleagues. I have a better understanding on how to adjust my behaviour to ensure a cohesive and positive working environment.”

From Knight’s perspective, the best thing about her mentoring experience was all of the connections she made. “Not only did I network with other mentors at the opening and wrap-up events, my mentor Cait provided me with many connections in my field of interest. I have many more doors open to me with respect to finding future employment opportunities.”

Fellow mentee Rose Wu transferred from Science to GRS, completely changing her major, and joined the Mentorship Program with the intention to connect with professionals in similar fields and get a better understanding of what work would be available post-graduation.

Through this program, Wu learned about work dynamics and personal work strategies from Murphy and Knight. “Cait helped me see how the StrengthsFinders personality quiz [that we did in LFS 250] is used in her organization’s collaborative projects and how to be more effective in the workplace and life in general.”

Wu also honed her ability to ask for help and reach out to people out of genuine curiosity. Where she previously feared they would not want to waste their time talking to her, she learned about the value of informational interviews. Both Murphy and Knight connected her with people in her field of interest.

“This experience has made me less afraid of networking and has inspired me to make more connections,” said Wu. “I see the power of simply knowing people and asking for help. I have learned that job searching and career building is not something one does alone. In the future, I see myself expanding my career by reaching into my network for support as well as giving support to those who need it.”

Since 2001, the LFS Mentorship Program has created networking opportunities for students, alumni and local professionals.To become a mentor, contact Niki Glenning, our Alumni Relations Manager, at 604-822-8910 or