Career Insights with Anne Dang: Become a Physician Assistant (PA) in Canada

Physician Assistant Canada

Hello,  if you’re reading this, chances are you found out about this new career insight series through our instagram page, facebook page or even our new twitter page. Even better, you’ve already subscribed and found out in the newsletter, if not, you can do so here , that way you do not miss out on any career you may be interested in.

So, if you are already subscribed, you must have gotten the insider scope about the new Career Insights series. Well, in this series, you will be getting loads of career and professional insights from industry experts, it is definitely going to be very informative.

You will get first hand advice on how to pursue your dream career, the steps to follow, academic requirements, advice for both foreigners and locals and much more.

This first feature is for two sets of people:

  1. If you’re interested in pursuing a fulfilling career in an alternative medical field path other than the common routes and

  2. If  you are or planning to become a resident/citizen of Canada.

If this is applies to you, lets get started with Anne Dang of Canadianpa.ca

Physician Assistant Canada

Get to know Anne Dang

Hi! I’m Anne, a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant currently working in the Orthopaedic Surgery Practice. I’ve been practicing for 6 years, and I write about the Physician Assistant (PA) profession on my blog, the Canadian PA .

I enjoy advising PA students through the McMaster PA Student Advisor Program, working as a clinical preceptor for Canadian PA students who are completing 2nd year rotations in Orthopaedic Surgery. I volunteer a lot of my time working on PA Advocacy for the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA), coaching PA students.

I’ve been involved in graphic and web design since the age of 12, through self-teaching. Although my parents really encouraged me to pursue a career in health care, I have always found a way to stay involved in the world of web and graphic design. I’ve found a way to combine my love for tech, social media and medicine into a way that helps others interested in pursuing the PA profession.

Outside of work I enjoy crafting, graphic and web design, volunteering and outdoor activities.

“I am personally very impressed with what she has done in the Physician Assistant field, her selfless contributions, advocacy and mentorships. You can find out more about Anne here .

Just like me, there are a lot of people who are not very aware about the Physician Assistant medical route in Canada.”

Anne shares why most people are not aware of Physician Assistants unlike other medical careers

Physician Assistants in the civilian setting was only recently introduced into Canada and Ontario. They have a longer history in the Canadian military, and have been around a few decades in Canada. I think the fact that the profession is still being pioneered is a factor.

Another factor is that, there are currently 600 PAs across Canada, with 300+ being concentrated in Ontario, whereas, there are 82,000+ physicians in Canada in family medicine and medical specialties. Source . Also, there are are 298,743 nurses in Canada in 2016 according to the Canadian Nurses Association.  Source

Groups like physicians and nurses are more well known because of how long they have been around, the large numbers that are working and practicing in Canada. Newer less common roles such as Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistants are not as common and therefore not as well known.

Anne teaching hand anatomy during an injection workshop Ottawa, ON for the Canadian PA conference.

“As the name suggests, a lot of people may be tempted to think all PAs do is assist Physicians and most likely do the same thing as Nurses. Well, that is not the case.”

Anne shares more on the similarities and difference between  related medical careers

Physician Assistants (PA) are more similar to physicians (MDs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) than they are to nurses. Patients may see a PA or NP instead of the physician for their primary care or specialty care needs.

PAs, NPs and MDs take histories and perform physical exams, order and interpret investigations (like x-rays labs, etc.), they diagnose, and perform an assessment plan. They also prescribe and set the treatment plan.

PAs do a lot of the same tasks as physicians do (as mentioned before – history taking, physical exam, diagnosis and treatment  – but may autonomously in collaboration with physicians. PAs and MDs are also both educated in the medical model.

Registered Nurse also do some assessment and planning, and helping carry out treat plans set by the physician. They work to monitor symptoms, collect vital signs, do general assessments and exams, and prepare patients for exams and treatments. Nurses also do their own assessments and nursing treatment plans based on the nursing model.

It is important to note that Physician Assistants are NOT medical assistants, medical secretaries / administrative assistants, personal support care workers, or a “doctor” in training.

Excerpt from my post on What a PA is not :

PAs are trained under the medical model, nurses are trained in the nursing model. Nurses may choose to pursue PA school or Nurse Practitioner (NP) school. There are some of my PA colleagues who were registered nurses before becoming Physician Assistants.

Read The Differences between Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants .

PAs do not compete for nursing jobs, as PAs do not do the same clinical duties as nurses. PA scope of practice is very similar to Nurse Practitioners more than it is to Registered Nurses. In the United States, there are some practices that advertise for a PA or NP for the same position.

Nursing duties can be divided into four major categories:

  1. Assess patients’ physical, mental and emotional health status. This includes taking history & performing basic physical exams and ensuring appropriate medical documentation throughout the patient’s stay.
  2. Carrying out physician orders for ordering investigations and initiating a treatment plan. This can mean administering medications, wound care, starting an IV, and injections.
  3. Monitoring results of treatment and alerting the physician of any untoward outcomes.
  4. Patient and family education, counselling on treatment plan and preventative health. (Source)

Physician Assistants (PAs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) would perform detailed patient assessments (histories and physicals) and initiate orders as an extension of the physician.

Nursing staff may often consult with PAs and NPs for the supervising physician’s patient (as they would consult with residents, fellows or clinical clerks).

These advanced practice providers (APPs – the PAs and NPs) have medical directives and/or a document signed off by authorizing officials (e.g. hospital or department staff, supervising physician, department lead) which outline the APP’s scope of practice.

PAs are trained as generalists, which means they can enter any specialty of medicine – whether it is Family Medicine, Emergency, Hospital (internal medicine, etc.), or in specialties like Orthopaedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Rheumatology, Urology, Dermatology, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Psychiatry, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Oncology, etc.

“She has a whole lot to share on this, make sure to check her website for more details, I am personally impressed with the amount of useful information she provides and the amount of work she has done to promote the PA profession. Canadianpa.ca is a wealth of knowledge.”

Physician Assistant infographic

“If you are interested in a typical practical path to becoming a PA, Anne shares her educational experience below”.

How I became a Canadian Physician Assistant

At the time I was in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program at McMaster University, almost all of my peers were applying for medicine, with a smaller minority aiming for other health care professions such as Pharmacy, Dentistry, Physiotherapy, etc.

I knew I wanted to practice medicine, but I wasn’t sure if “being a doctor” was the right fit for me. Especially looking at the work-life balance and stress I had seen in physicians that I was working with in my summers as a research assistant on a clinical trial.

I attended career info sessions (e.g. Naturopath), career fairs (visited booths on Chiropractic Colleges), went to the Pre-Med club to listen in on the different medical programs in Canada.

The first time I heard about the PA program was while I was sitting in the BHSc office speaking with my guidance counsellor. She had mentioned a graduate from the program was a 1st year student in the PA program – the more I looked into the Physician Assistant profession, the more the career resonated with me. Once I sat down and spoke with the 1st year PA student, and attended the info session I knew this was my first choice after completing my 4 year degree.

I applied to McMaster’s PA Program during my 4th year of university. I completed the supplemental application, attended the Multi-Mini interview and started the program in September 2009. At this time Manitoba already had its PA program starting, and University of Toronto would accept their first class in January 2010 (back when PA Consortium had a January start, now it is a September start).

I wrote a post about the Canadian PA school admission requirements . However to summarize it here, the PA route depends on which school you are applying to. McMaster, for instance requires minimum 2 years of university completed, GPA of 3.0 and supplementary application to be completed before an invitation of the MMI.

PA Consortium, which is a combination of University of Toronto, Northern Ontario School of Medicine and Michener Institute requires a minimum GPA of 2.7 (at time of writing, November 2017), full  hours of health care experience (which can be paid, clinical placement, or volunteer – refer to their website paconsortium.ca for the most accurate up-to-date information) with some recommended course work to be completed, in addition to letters of reference.

University of Manitoba offers a Master’s PA program, requiring candidates to finish 4 year Bachelor’s degree or higher (no later than May 30th) of the year you hope to enter the MPAS program, police check, letters of reference,  achieve a 3.0/4.5 GPA scale in most recent 60-credit hours, and complete University of Manitoba Faculty of Graduate Studies application. They also have criteria for “competitive” applicants, achieving a GPA of 3.5 or above, completed courses in Biochemistry, Human Anatomy and Physiology with minimum grade B.

Note: Some of admission requirements may change or evolve over time.

“Find out more about a typical day of a PA on canadianpa.ca, a lot of experts share their experiences.

You may want to get information on career development and growth as a PA in Canada, keep reading”.

Required certifications and trainings for PAs

Multiple and endless certifications, masters, Phd. are not necessary. Although in some areas of medicine (for example, Emergency Medicine), candidates may benefit from having a recent ACLS certification, CPR certification – health care provider level.

The University of Manitoba offers a Master’s Degree in PA Studies. The two Ontario Programs – University of Toronto and McMaster University offer Bachelor’s Degree. Whether you have a Master’s of PA studies or Bachelor’s does not matter when it comes to PA employment.

The only factor affecting potential employment is obtaining your PA Certification. Canadian PA graduates and American pAs looking to practice in Canada must register through the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants to write the certification exam. Once you pass, you are considered a “Canadian Certified Physician Assistant (CCPA)” . In order to maintain this designation, you need to complete a certain number of continuing medical education (CME) hours per 5 year cycle.

“A number of foreigners or people looking to move to Canada may be considering a career in the medical field or/and specifically as a physician Assistant. Anne has some advice for you”.

Foreigners and immigrants who would love to practise as Canadian Physician Assistant

For all Canadian PA programs you need to be a Canadian citizen or obtain permanent resident status. Before you apply ensure you meet the minimum English language requirements (i.e. a certain score on TOEFL exam).

Once this is accomplished, you may now start looking at Canadian PA school admissions. Realize that PA role is NOT a bridging program to practice as a physician in Canada. You can look into other roles such as Clinical Assistant program in Manitoba, other bridging MD programs offered to International Medical Graduates (IMGs) in provinces and areas that are underserved. I’ve written about options for IMGs on Canadianpa.ca

As a PA you are not an independent practitioner. PAs work in collaboration with a supervising physician. Therefore you can only perform delegated duties that fall within the scope of your supervising physician.

For example, if you learned a previous skill where you were performing a paracentesis as an IMG, but you know work as a Canadian PA in a family practice. If your supervising physician does not perform paracentesis, you cannot perform that paracentesis in that setting as a result.

Physician assisant
Being a PA includes History taking, Physical Examinations, Investigations, Diagnosing, Treating, prescribing, and performing procedures. A large part is also patient education, which PAs play a large role in. In my role in the Orthopaedic Surgery Practice I educate patients about their conditions, what to expect before and after surgery, about treatment options (operative vs. non-operative) and about their medications. I counsel patients on positive lifestyle changes, smoking cessation and the impact on healing post-operatively

“Why then should you pursue a career as a Physician Assistant?”

Here are a few reasons Anne loves her profession and why it’s totally worth it
  • Less than a decade in school before practicing medicine – I enjoy the PA role because the duration of the program was 24 months and I was “done”. I could start working as staff after 2 years.
  • Lateral Flexibility – I loved the lateral flexibility as well. Should I decide not to work in Orthopaedic Surgery anymore, I can make the switch to Emergency, Family, Dermatology etc. without having to go back to school. At present this is not possible with physicians unless you go back to residency or complete special fellowships as an extension of your family practice degree.
  • Work-Life Balance –  I like the work life balance as well. Although 2nd year PA school was very rigorous with shift work and , once I started working I had regular hours. I have time for activities outside of work.

“There is a lot more information on renumeration, medical field comparisons, typical day in the lives of PAs  and so much more on  canadianpa.ca “

Finally, we stop here with Anne Dang of canadianpa.ca , I am sure if this is your career of interest you have learnt a lot and also visited her site already. 

I hope you enjoyed this and gained a lot of information, do subscribe to get notifications of more posts like this, I will be sharing on a wide range of careers, most especially in Canada but hopefully other parts of the world as well.

Please leave your comments, thoughts and questions. Feel free to reach out if you have any further enquiries or career paths you need insight on.

There’s a new career insights post coming up next week, you don’t want to miss it!  Can you guess which career we will be sharing on next ? 

Cheers,

Deo

26 things you should know in your 20’s

26 things to know in your twenties

It was my birthday recently and I have decided to share a few words of wisdom that would help anyone just starting out in their twenties.

1. On Friendships:

You are going to fall out with a lot of friends in your twenties and make a few more. This is an essential pruning process and it’s ok as long as you keep no grudges and move on in love and maturity.

Be very intentional with your friendships, they can make or mar you.

There is power in your associations.

2. On Relationships:

You’re most likely going to meet the person you end up with for life in your twenties or maybe not and that’s ok.

Build and invest in healthy relationships.

Act with caution and love with utmost care because investing in the wrong person can affect you for a long time.

3. On Career:

Your twenties is the right time to build and grow your career.

Invest in yourself, dedicate resources to personal development.

Connect with mentors or sponsors, they go a long way in helping you build a good career path.

4. On Your relationship with God:

There is no better time to build a great relationship with God than now if you haven’t already done so.

You will avoid so many mistakes and make profitable decisions in life by just this one step.

This is the best advice to be honest.

5. On Forgiveness:

If you have carried any baggage all through life, this is the time to let go.

Learn to forgive and live peacefully with all as much as possible.

Life is much easier with no grudges, drama and hate, they are unecessary.

6. On Finances:

Your financial habits in your twenties are a foundation and mirror of your financial position later in life.

Learn to build financially instead of squandering and frivolous extravagance.

Save and invest wisely.

7. On Purpose:

Have sober reflection and spend quiet time in discovering your own unique purpose.

Everyone has a different path and journey.

Avoid unhealthy comparison, get inspired by others and not beat down.

8. On Success:

Define your own success and learn to grow steadily, don’t let anyone put you down or rush you.

It may look like a long way to success but keep going and celebrate your little victories.

Life is in stages, the butterfly was once a caterpillar.

9. On Failure:

Unfortunately, failure can creep in sometimes even when you do not expect.

Failure is ok as long as you learn from your mistakes, pick your self up and keep going.

Most success stories have a series of failures in between.

10. On Love:

It is totally ok to crave love and belonging, do not feel ashamed about it.

Do not however awaken love when you shouldn’t and in the wrong places, for the wrong reasons and with the wrong people.

Love is a beautiful thing when done right.

11. On Losses:

You would lose a lot of things and people, it is a very painful part of life.

It is fine to grief but you must learn to move on.

Do not hold on to depression built on losses.

12. On Memories:

When life happens, you either lose some people or barely have time to create fond memories anymore.

Create memories withe the ones you love, spend time with family and friends.

Document memories, you will cherish them later.

13. On Education:

The older you become the more difficult it is to learn new things.

This is the time to engage in extensive learnings, read a lot of books, visit a lot of places.

Invest in yourself and get educated.

14. On Values:

There is no better time for you to define your values in life than now if you haven’t done so already.

The values you stand for will determine how well you do later in life.

If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

15. On Personal brand:

Build your personal brand in your twenties, this is what people will know you as for a long time. Start steadily and devotedly.

Do not do things that would harm your brand, your twenties would create very tempting situations to distort your brand.

There is always opportunity to start again and rebuild your brand if you have started out badly but the earlier, the better.

16. On Self identity:

Discover yourself and what you identify as. This is closely hitched to your purpose, brand and values.

Do not make negative compromises on your identity, people will be alright.

Hinging your identity on the right things is very important.

17. On Life:

It’s no news that life is short and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so live grateful and happy for every moment.

Live in the moment, spend life with people who make you happy and make life worthwhile.

Fight every depression, negative feelings and traumas, I hope it gets better for you if you’re in this situation.

18. On Time:

The fact that you’re already in your twenties should make you realize that time flies.

Invest your time on things that are profitable and rewarding. Spend time with people that are deserving.

Be very intentional with your time. Don’t waste time.

19. On Rewards and recognition:

Most often than not, you would not get rewarded or recognized for your efforts and the good doings you do.

Not getting rewarded or recognized doesn’t call for you to quit working hard and doing good, one day it will all pay off.

Even if it doesn’t, you will be happy internally.

20. On Self affirmation:

This is one habit you should learn to pick up if you haven’t done so already.

Your past years may have been filled with people looking down on you or pulling you down, you may have done this to yourself as well.

This is the time to stop and change it.

Learn to affirm yourself, be your biggest supporter.

Stop seeking validation from people and places that don’t matter.

21. On Rejection:

Some people will reject you. Guys, ladies, friends, organizations may make you feel not good enough but that’s ok.

Not everyone will understand the value you have. You are valuable.

Dust up and associate with people who value you.

22. On Focus:

You have to focus now more than ever.

Keep the end in mind and let that motivate you to concentrate on your goals.

People will try to distract you with small talk and discouragement, certain things will try to make you go astray and give up but focus will sustain you.

23. On Money:

Do not let money drive you or your decisions, this has ruined lives, relationships and people.

‘The love of money is the root of all evil’.

‘Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time’.

24. On Family:

Family is a gift, be it biological or friends who have become like family.

Create substantial time for family and show love when you can.

Cherish and build family, this is a legacy.

25. On Health:

Take your health seriously, avoid foods, habits and substances that are detrimental to your health.

Be intentional with your health.

Exercise while you can, go for walks, runs and strengthen your muscles, this has a lasting effect on your health.

26. On Networking:

You do not necessarily have to be close friends with everyone. You can have healthy acquaintances and networks even from a distance.

Building a good network in your twenties can be very helpful later in life.

Do not burn bridges.

If you read to the end, you are the real MVP and I hope this helps you on your journey.

If you like what you read, you can let me know and also Subscribe for more impactful goodies.

Cheers,

Deo

 

 

A few reasons we do not always get what we want

few reasons we do not get what we ask for

I recently visited a friend and sighted a beautiful plant sitting gracefully on her kitchen window and I knew I had to get one. I asked her where she got it from and she mentioned it was from a mutual friend.

For weeks leading to months, I wanted to ask our mutual friend for the same plant but I kept stalling. For one, I just felt I didn’t want to bother her and so I never asked.

One graceful day, I got an  opportunity and I summoned to courage to ask . A day later, she stopped by my house and dropped a beautiful pot of plant at my porch. I was elated.

Every time I look at my new plant, I get reminded of how many times we do not get what we want just because we are wary of asking God. That, and so many other reasons.

We do not get what we want because we do not ask

So many times we think about the great things we want and need but we never bother to ask God for these things. The major reason we do not ask is because we do not believe He is actually capable of fulfilling our requests.

I have been a victim of this circumstance, failing to ask just because it seems unlikely. By doing this, we are outrightly limiting God. When you view God as supreme with unlimited powers, you will ask for anything.

Ask and it will be given to you…… You do not have because you do not ask. (Luke 11:9; James 4:2b)

At this point, I can literally hear some people saying “yea right! I have asked so many times but never received” . Well, so have I but there’s something that usually happens when we eventually ask.

We do not get what we want because we become wavering in our faith

Sometimes, we suddenly doubt the fulfillment of our requests even after asking. We need to believe that God can and that He is able to meet our requests. Faith is a basic element of getting our prayers answered.

Legitimately, the circumstances surrounding certain situations signal negative outcomes and this usually reminds me of Peter’s story in the bible. If only we fixate our gaze on God, we would less likely be deterred and  become more unwavering in our faith.

…whatever thing you ask when you pray, believe that you have received them, and you will have them. (Mark 11:24)

Yet again, someone out there feels “But I asked and I have so much faith but yet I did not receive”.

There are so many reasons why we ask and do not receive even though we feel we have enough faith but one major reason is the intentions behind our requests.

We do not get what we want because of our motives

Do you really think about your motives when you ask for things? When I asked for the plant, I basically wanted it for two things, for my house decoration and for the many purposes of the plant.

My friend did not know my motive, but if she had the power to know, she would assess the usefulness of going the distance to give me the plant. If infact I had no useful need for the plant or worse still, if I wanted to use it for harmful things, she would most likely not grant my request.

This is the way God, who is all knowing, assesses the motives behind our requests. Sometimes getting our requests might bring harm to us or others either in the short term or even in the future. Other times, our requests may just be for frivolous reasons.

…When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives. (James 4:3a)

I have wondered sometimes why I do not get answered prayers even when I believe I have the right motives, at least I do not mean any harm. I know so many people think this way and this leads us to the final reason.

We do not get what we want because our plans defer from God’s plans

Aligning our requests to God’s plans is so paramount to getting them answered. When we make requests, it’s good to pause and discern if really what we are asking for is in line with God’s will and if it would eventually bring glory to Him.

So many times when I sense my requests are not being granted, I always ask for the grace to accept the peace of God’s will being fufilled because He has promised that the plans He has for us are of good and they are definitely better than my own plans.

This is a good way to be at peace and deal with disappointments when we feel our requests are not being granted and we do not get what we ask for.

Sometimes, the timing we get our requests answered differs from what we expect. Therefore, we also need to understand that God’s timing is always the best.

…If we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. (1 John 5:14-15)

I hope this really helps us understand some of the the reasons why we do not always get what we want or ask for.

5 important tips to help you ace an interview

Interview tips

If there is anyone who is tired of the sick gut feeling after receiving regret emails days or weeks after an interview, then this is for you.

Attending interviews could be very nerve wrecking, the least and best thing  you could do is get prepared.

I have attended quite a number of interviews and would be sharing from my experience, things I have learnt with time, things I did and did not do that warranted regret emails. I will also share with you tips on things I did that gave me multiple offers.

If you want to know more about the tips that would get you more positive interview emails, then keep reading.

The first thing you want to do is,

Bring your A game

You would think this is a basic ingredient that everyone brings to the table but it’s surprising or not, to know that a lot of people go for interviews without adequate technical knowledge in the expected field of expertise.

There are more qualified people than there are available jobs and so, many people are the perfect fit as regards experience and the value they can offer to an organization.

Bringing top notch, valuable skills, experience and technical know-how is as basic as it gets. It gets you one foot in the door.

I have an unforgettable experience which I would share.

Straight out of university, I had the opportunity to interview for a financial risk management role in a very big international investment bank. It was a disaster.

I have a Business degree in Economics, I could definitely work in an investment bank but I made a mistake, I did not know enough about risk management and investment banking. It wasn’t surprising that I stumbled.

I had just one job, which was, to do my research and learn more about the role, current happenings in the risk management field, but I did not.

Expertise comes with experience most often than not, but if the role requires some skills in areas which you are not very conversant with, you would need to do a bit of work.

It is indeed necessary to  show that you have the required skills and competence to execute on the job.

The next thing you really should do is,

Research about the role, and the organization/Interviewer

Asides the generic behavioural and competence based questions, interviewers want to know how well you fit into the particular role and the organization.

Familiarize yourself with the job description in such a way that you can relate your experiences with what the organization  is searching for and what the role requires. This helps you tailor your answers based on your own experience, but relevant to interview questions regarding the particular role.

Different organizations have specific, may be similar, but still, peculiar organizational values and cultures. Interviewers want to recruit the best fit that mirrors these values, hence they structure questions around them. Doing your homework about the organization prepares you for these type of questions.

Some organizations may let you know who you are going to be interviewing with or who the hiring manager is for the role. If this is the case, you need to do a bit of research about the individual especially around his/her work experiences, interests and pursuits.

Interviewers may want to know why you want to work for the organization, this is as generic as it gets, but it helps them determine those who are actually enthusiastic about working with and for them.

The best way to convince an interviewer on why you want to work for them, is by tailoring your answers to what they do, how they do it and why they do it.

An excellent research on the role, organization and interviewer helps you take lead on the interview, this highlights the next consideration.

Ask intelligent and direct questions

Doing an extensive research about the role and organization or interviewer enables you ask intelligent questions. Most interviewers are wary of cliche general questions so you are most likely going to stand out if you personalize your questions.

I attended interviews where I was lucky to have been told who my interviewers were. I searched on everything available about these individuals. When I asked them questions, they were very direct about their past work experiences and this triggered very intelligent conversations.

Understanding the role and possessing substantial information about the recruiting organization also helps you ask intelligent questions and steer the interview in the direction that you would prefer it to go.

A clever way to make an interviewer remember you is to ask a very intelligent question, wait for an answer and proffer your own intellectual view about the topic without necessarily negating the interviewer. You can strategically raise suggestions in support of the answer your interviewer has given.

Asking very intelligent direct questions creates an avenue to spark up conversations that leave a lasting memory with the interviewer.

There are several ways to leave a remarkable impression on the interviewer and this brings us to the next tip.

Send a follow up email

Following up after an interview is another way to leave an unforgettable imprint.

In a case whereby the interviewer prefers two or more candidates who meet all the requirements and is struggling to choose, leaving a lasting impression can work in your favour.

You should aim to leave a positive impression during the interview with an approachable attitude, pleasant aura and commendable confidence. However, where you may have fallen short of this, you can make up by following up with an email or mail.

Sending a follow up email may suggest to the interviewer your enthusiasm about joining their organization. It is a good complement after show casing your skills, values and experience.

A good follow up email should draw attention to valuable topics of conversation during the interview, thank the interviewer for their time, highlight your major takeaways and further state your keen interest in being a valuable member of the organization.

You really have nothing to lose by sending a follow up email. Even if you do not get the job, ask for feedback to help you avoid mistakes in future interviews.

After all has been said,

Finally, be confident!

At your next interview, practise these tips and let me know how it goes.

Cheers to getting positive emails and multiple offers.

 

 

The best thing to seek for in a relationship

Best thing to seek for in a relationship

A good number of ladies will remember that sacred ‘list’ of their ideal man or relationship. Mine was very detailed, I kept it for a long time but lost it somewhere in transit as I moved a lot.

Different schools of thought surround the idea of drawing out a list for an ideal partner. Some people feel it is not necessary while others are religious about it. What it helped me do, was focus on what I wanted, what I didn’t want and helped me pray towards it.

I am that woman who is quite intentional about important things and to me, relationships/friendships are an important aspect of life.

There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about in seeking a beautiful relationship and of course different ingredients contribute to the recipe for a successful one.

Before going forward, can we not talk about love? This is the last time I would mention it in this article. No offense, of course I know love is important. Oops!  I mentioned it again. Last time, I promise.

It is quite surprising how the best thing is often considered least in the hierarchy of things when seeking or maintaining a relationship hence why we often tend to hold on even when we should let go.

“The best thing to seek for in a relationship”.

What really is it? You might be asking already. Before I mention it, I would tell you why it is indeed the best ingredient for your relationship.

Imagine going on a journey that is already tough or maybe even easy for you, on this journey, you’re heading to a place you have envisioned and dreamed. It is only fair that you encounter people who make it better and easier for you to reach your destination.

Life is a journey and having relationships that make it easier for you is the most important and best thing you can gift yourself.

Bearing in mind that the onus of living purposefully and happily depends largely on you, it is imperative to invest in relationships that help you build and become a better version of yourself.

If it doesn’t make you better, let go! Of course, it is easier said than done, but I repeat, let go!

Given that relationships are two-way, this is of course vice versa. What are we doing if we are not making each other better, helping each other grow and making this journey a tad bit easier and fun regardless of the bumps on the road?

Why do I need someone to make me better, you might ask. Like I mentioned earlier, this depends largely on you but you really don’t need someone to make you worse off.

How can you determine if someone you’re in a relationship with makes you better?

Irrespective of whether it is a romantic or unromantic relationship, consider the next areas of discussion very helpful.

Consider your wholesome being in every relationship.

Everybody is in someway physical, emotional, spiritual, social and whatever makes you whole, you get the picture.

Your mental and emotional state of health drive majority of your everyday activities.

You really do not want to be in a relationship that messes your emotional state one way or the other. There are so many ways to alter one’s emotions.

Lack of communication, respect, fidelity, trust and other shenanigans will most often than not spark a plug that impedes your emotional richness and robustness. I have seen how adversely emotional instability from wrong relationships affect not just the direct person, but also others around them. It transcends to basically other aspects of their lives.

Life could be so busy and difficult, there are so many things fighting for your attention, it would be so beautiful to be with people of great personality who make you laugh it out, smile and invest in your good emotions and mental state.

Your relationships should be like a partnership; mutual investments, dedication and commitment towards growth, development and profitability.

Assessing how symbiotic your relationships are would do you so much good. You should seek to build and grow together. A good number of people will at some point in their lives encounter parasitic people who only leech for their own benefits and self gratification. This weighs you down on your purpose driven journey.

Partnership in relationships cannot be overemphasized. You do not want to wake up every morning to someone who makes you feel inferior and without value or conversely, someone who depends on you totally for everything.

You should be willing to work together and stick with each other even when the going is rough.

Let’s talk about spirituality.

Some people come into your life and you instantly or gradually notice how drawn back you become spiritually. It is definitely time to re-evaluate such relationships. Is he or she making you better or worse?

Sometimes we become so consumed with the thought of being with someone and we forget God is even more important.

If we indeed want the best for each other, we should be striving towards a better relationship with God together.

The ability of friends and partners to steer us towards our life goals should never be taken lightly.

We all have goals and aspirations spanning across, career, finance, business, family and the list goes on. You should be going into relationships that help you build towards these goals. If your finances, career aspirations, desire for family are falling apart solely due to the presence of someone in your life, that should indicate a red flag.

No matter how vague your dreams get, you need someone with the ability to guide you with support and ideas, and no matter how little they are, you need someone with the ability to help you expand and aim higher without belittling you.

“The best thing to seek for in a relationship”.

So many important factors play out in relationships but indeed, someone who holds your hand, builds with you, helps you grow and become a better you is the best thing you should seek for.

Have you checked out the top discussions to have before marriage? 

 

 

 

Dealing with insecurities

Dealing with insecurities

I remember this day so well, Miranda (not her real name) walked up to the podium and spoke so intensely about how she struggled with esteem issues and insecurities. I was shocked, so were many other people.

Miranda is beautiful, her dark chocolate skin is perfect and her hair,  so long considering the fact that she is black (Nigerian); I remember asking her if that was her real hair and she smiled saying she gets asked that question a lot.

So here I was thinking, how could she be dealing with esteem and insecurity issues, come on! You can’t be beautiful, come from a wealthy home, have most of what you want and still deal with insecurities.

This is where I was wrong, just like depression, insecurities, esteem issues and lack of confidence are not always marked so strongly on one’s forehead.

A large majority of us find ourselves dealing with one insecurity or the other. It could be because of our looks, culture, race, status, recent failures, rejection or even our lack of knowledge.

The beautiful thing is, you are not alone, and you can overcome your insecurities.

The first step to overcoming your insecurities is identifying them and their causes. It was the only way I was able to defeat mine. It’s still a process, I must confess.

So what are the major causes of insecurities?

The causes of insecurities are so diverse and inexhaustible. Insecurities are most often than not, built and they develop from past experiences, feelings and occurrences.

That girl who gets mocked for the colour of her skin or the shape of her nose, the boy who gets bullied for being so fat or thin could go through a difficult phase of feeling they do not belong or have a hard time loving themselves.

Rejection from friends or even failed relationships may trigger self devaluing thoughts. The feeling of not being good enough or being wanted could trigger lingering insecurities.

A lot of people make statements of how they can never have close friends and how they are afraid to trust, to love completely because they believe people are out to hurt them or disappoint them. This paranoid feeling is a form of insecurity.

Most often than not, constant words of negation from ourselves and others build insecurities. Being constantly told you are not good enough or that you wouldn’t amount to anything great could damage self esteem and confidence.

Upbringing also has a part to play in a person’s attitude towards acceptance. Being overly shielded and restricted could affect relationship with people, insecurities around networking  and social gatherings.

A vast majority of us feel less confident in ourselves due to failures in different life endeavours. This could be failures in academics, relationships or even career plans. That feeling of not being able to add value becomes overbearing.

Because of our short comings, we perceive the world doesn’t think we’re good enough and we shrink inwards, avoid people and beat ourselves down.

Little do we know that we are not alone. Everyone has an aspect of life they wish was better, the only difference is respective individual idiosyncrasies.

How can you overcome insecurities?
Drop baggages

I personally recommend this as the first step of walking out of your insecurities. Let go of every bad experiences that made you feel worthless, incapable or invaluable. Trash them.

Some negative deeds and words were probably out of ignorance or lack of emotional intelligence from people, never let these define you or who you become.

If someone feels you are incapable, it does not automatically make you incapable, until you believe it and act accordingly.

That someone feels you are not worthy loving is their own perspective and not your reality. Do not act defensive thus blocking everyone who will try to love you.

Realize your self-worth

Dealing with insecurities requires so much self effort. Irrespective of any external effort you get, change must begin from within. Believing you are enough, beautiful and confident goes a long way to eliminating insecurities.

The moment we realize that our imperfections make us who we are and we are beautiful in our own different ways and not the one-sided way the world defines, the more freely we live.

People who love you will accept you the way you are and for what you are. Do not conform to fit anybody’s preference.

Self love is paramount in alleviating insecurities and this is the best gift you can give yourself. After all, if you don’t love yourself, who will?

I have learnt to affirm myself and celebrate my little victories. Speak words of affirmation to yourself, you’ve got to be your biggest fan, you know:

“I am enough”

“I have so much value to add to my place of work”

“I can achieve greatness”

“I am beautiful and lovable”

Write good things about yourself, paste them around you, smile at yourself in the mirror and watch yourself glow.

Invest in yourself and build your confidence

The more you work on your confidence level, the better it becomes. Instead of shying away from people, face your fears, socialize more, speak out more in public.

A sure way to help with this is by being well informed, learned and well read. This enables you contribute meaningfully to conversations and would likely make others want to listen to your valuable thoughts.

A wise man once told me, ” Learn to speak up, people will never know you have so much knowledge and intelligence if you bottle it all up”

I have never looked back since then. It is a journey that must be started. Start building your confidence today.

Finally, focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses in the background.

Acknowledge your shortcomings, but do not dwell on them. Bring your strengths to the table.

Focusing on your strengths make you realize how valuable you are.

If you’re asking “what if I do not have any strengths?”

My answer is, you do have strengths, take your time to discover them and build on them. The moment you do, your shortcomings and insecurities begin to shrink.

You are perfect and good enough!

 

 

Basics of preparing for professional exams

basics of studying for professional exams

I have a weird desire for constant relevant self development and professional exams and/or certifications are sure one of the ways to achieve this. 

If you plan on writing professional exams sooner or later, you should read this.

Preparing for professional exams or any exam in fact can be very time consuming and nerve wrecking, it basically takes a toll on your entire life. 

You keep thinking about the upcoming exams everywhere and every time, when you’re eating, at work, sometimes you may even dream about it.

You will surely understand the guilty feeling you get when you decide to spend a few minutes relaxing and having fun with friends.

Given the timeless and costly investments towards studying and preparing for professional exams, it is only fair that you pass and succeed. 

So what are the Basics of preparing for professional exams?

Well, from my experience I can tell you that these guidelines not only help you prepare for your exams but they also enhance your chances of passing. Yes, you read right.

So lets dive into the basics.

Exam structure and guidelines

The first basic thing you need to do is familiarizing yourself with the exam  format and guidelines. 

Every exam has it’s unique syllabus, guidelines and requirements, and the more conversant you are with them, the higher your chances of passing. 

ACCA for example, has very detailed information and resources on their website to enable students prepare better. They provide access to technical articles, study guides, sample questions and answers and loads of relevant information.

A lot of their resources lay emphasis on the balance between quantitative and qualitative approach to their questions. It is almost impossible to pass their exams without understanding this approach.

This is why it is extremely important to understand exam structure and requirements. 

Identify a tutor

You may need a tutor to help you prepare for your exams. The need for a tutor is subjective as many people can study exam materials by themselves.

I have tried both approaches for different courses and for each case, I did a true assessment of my capabilities depending on the course requirements. 

Sometimes, it is advisable to use a tutor, especially if they are very experienced as this reduces the time you spend trying to figure out difficult areas on your own.

You can always identify private or public tutors or lecture centers that fit into your study plans and preferences. Of course, based on reviews and referrals you can make an easier decision.

Effective study methods and strategies

The next step is identifying what study method works for you. Some people prefer solo study while others would do better in a group study. So here’s the thing, neither is more effective than the other, it all depends on you.

While it is easier for some people to assimilate better when reading alone, others find studying in groups more encouraging and effective. 

Having a study buddy can also drive and motivate you to be more focused and committed to studying.

Most especially, weigh the benefits verses the cons of a group or solo study. If studying in groups distract you , do not do it. 

Here’s my story, I personally loved solo study but when I decided to try group study, I then realized that I didn’t have to figure it all out on my own. I had a community who understood my struggles and was ready to share ideas, teach and sometimes even relax.

There are also online study forums that provide resourceful materials and provide a platform for students to share ideas, discuss questions and help each other.

I found the opentuition website very helpful and I recommend it every time to my mentees. Useful for ACCA and other accounting exams in the UK like CIMA.

So yes, you can network and build relationships while studying for the win.

Study time and practise

It is almost impossible to pass your professional exams without adequate study. You are studying to become more knowledgeable and professional, sufficient time is required and should be dedicated to your pursuit if you  must succeed.

You can attend multiple classes and still be unprepared due to lack of personal study. The only time I failed an exam was due to inadequate study time. 

Your study time should be effectively allocated between actual reading and practise. 

The best advise on the most effective way to read for an exam is to have a thorough understanding of the course and not just reading to pass or cramming as the case may be.

When you understand the subject matter extensively,  you can attempt any question irrespective of it’s format, this is in fact what makes you a professional.

Invest in study materials, practise questions, flash cards or whatever makes it easier to understand your course. Read broad and wide.

I understand some people thrive on mnemonics, this is not totally discouraged. I found this quite helpful especially for vast qualitative courses like Audit and Assurance.

Effective practise for any exam depends on the first basic point on understanding the exam structure and requirements.

Every exam has time allocations, your speed during your exams are as important as your knowledge. Practise sample questions under time restricted scenarios until you get around attempting the most questions under the allocated time.

It is also strongly encouraged to attempt all questions required in your exams as this gives you a better chance of accumulating as much marks as possible.

Exam Tip: Attempt questions with higher marks allocations first or questions you are more comfortable acquiring more marks in.

Attempt every possible approach to the exam subject matter through sample questions. This includes  quantitative and qualitative question requirements, multiple choice or essay type of question formats.

Regular practise and vast reading made it easier for me to pass my exams on first attempt.

This definitely requires time hence why dedicating enough study time is paramount to your success.

Finally, having the right mindset, before and during the exam should never be ignored. Have adequate sleep and do not lose out on life.

Now you know the basics, go and conquer!