Vancouver is a hub of opportunity and diversity, with so much to do, learn, and see. But how do you set yourself apart from everybody else? Here are five steps you can take to create a better path for success:

  1. Stretch Your Comfort Zone
    Many youth make the mistake of assuming their comfort zone exists as a manifestation of their strengths; thinking this, they direct their efforts towards only where they feel they would reap the greatest rewards. This is, of course, not true. Our comfort zone is only as small as we choose to make it, and in restricting ourselves we are likewise limiting the number of opportunities available to us. Tomorrow, do something you never saw yourself doing: make that cold call, go skydiving, try that foreign entrée. You’ll thank yourself after discovering more about yourself and seizing that new opportunity.

  2. Volunteer and Make a Difference in Your Community
    Dramatic improvements in education systems all over the world have allowed the pursuit of knowledge to accelerate at a rapid pace. Paradoxically, however, the relevancy of any academic pursuit to the growth and betterment of society often becomes less clear as we learn more and more. Regardless of your alma mater, engagement with society is essential for future success, and companies recognize the importance of volunteering in your community. Simple projects like planting trees, working in a hospital, fundraising for charities, or teaching young children are great ways to make an impact and also show businesses you’re committed to your passions without the extra motivation of making a salary. Wherever your interests lie, try to find a way of fostering it through volunteering!

  3. Find Your Passion
    Life without direction is a dangerous and rather existential concept, and one that we certainly shouldn’t use to define our career. Your university years are one of the best chances you’ll ever have to find what you love and make a future out of it. Spend some time on yourself; dig deep and discover the things you’ve always wanted to do in your life. It’s a proven fact that we go further with ideas that we’re passionate about, and your career should be no different. More than ever, companies see passion as a defining characteristic of their perfect job candidate, so don’t waste your youthful years on what you don’t love! Find your passion and lead; don’t follow.

  4. Join a Youth-Run Organization
    Every youth in the world has at some point created a vision of how they want to make a difference in the world; this is the prized distinction of Generation Y. Having a platform to voice those visions is certainly an added bonus, and it will also help you to find like-minded individuals that can help make your vision reality. Whether it be running international exchanges with AIESEC, tackling global issues with TakingITGlobal, or working with a local chapter of World Vision or the Red Cross, joining a youth-run organization is one of the easiest ways to connect to the global movement!

  5. Travel!
    Ever heard the phrase “the world is your backyard”? We really do have a lot to see around us; all that’s left for you to do is to explore it! There are things we can learn about ourselves, our passions, and our future path only through travelling the world. An ethereal sunset, a road trip with best friends, or a hike in the countryside is often all it takes for us to discover who we are and where we want to go. Employers want their candidates to have experience, and travelling provides mountains of it. Every new word learned, every new dish tried, every culture you’ve been immersed in contributes to your world experiences. Seeing the world isn’t just about capturing moments; it’s a fast-paced, exciting, and rewarding way to learn life skills. Commit yourself to your inner wanderer and travel!

One quote sticks particularly well with me: “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” Wherever you’re from, there’s always something you can learn from travelling, and hopefully these tips will help you kick-start a successful career!

 By Andres Lee, Corporate Relations