Namomba Shaputu, BA’20

Namomba Shaputu, BA’20

Namomba Shaputu, BA’20, is a part of the first graduating class since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Learn about Namomba’s experience looking for her first job post-graduation and how she addresses career ambiguity.

What is your current city of residence?

Vancouver, British Columbia

What is your current career/job title?

Commercial Banking Associate 

What is your current company/organization you work with?

Canadian Western Bank 

Tell us about your role

In my role, I will utilize my various skills and experience to conduct effective financial statement analysis and help relationship managers deliver solutions to clients and support branch business development initiatives.

What attracted you to this organization?

What attracted me to Canadian Western Bank (CWB) are some of the organization’s values, which align with mine. Values such as relationships get results. I enjoy building and maintaining meaningful connections and relationships because I know and believe that there is a lot of value that comes from them. Curiosity is one of my strongest values and one that I also felt aligned with CWB’s value of embracing the new. My curiosity has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and continue learning. These two particular values attracted me to CWB because I know that building strong relationships with clients and implementing new ideas will help me work effectively. 

Can you share your experience looking for work during a pandemic?

Looking for work during the pandemic was stressful because quite a number of companies have taken down their postings. However, from my Co-op experience, I learnt that finding a job is a numbers game. The idea behind this is that the more jobs you apply for the more likely you are to be called for an interview. However, this is hard when there are not a lot of job postings which is why I made a shortlist of jobs I desired.

I also made sure I gave my 100% in every cover letter I wrote making sure I stated why I was interested in the position and why the organization and/or its values aligned with mine. Connect! Connect! reach out to people who you think you might learn from regardless of their field, you will be surprised how much you can learn from people’s career journeys. Tell people (mentors, professors, friends, former colleagues) that you are looking for a job and the sectors you are interested in or hoping to get into.

What techniques did you use to address career ambiguity?

Prior to coming to UBC, I always knew I wanted to be in the business sector but had no idea which stream of business I wanted to pursue. In second year, I learnt about the Arts Co-op Program and was attracted to the fact that I could gain experience and earn money while still a student. I quickly signed up for an information session and a year and a half later I began my first Co-op term at the UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning and completed my work terms at Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity).

At both organizations, I learned and eventually developed an interest in relationship management, social enterprises and community engagement. In addition, working for these organizations gave me the confidence to reach out to people and ask them questions about their careers and lives in general. Everyone has been generous with their time and have been able to offer me wonderful advice. My various work experiences and networking skills have helped me narrow my interests and directed me to helpful tools and resources. 

What have you learned about yourself over the past few months?

Over the last few months, I have learnt that it’s important to know what your core values are and that curiosity is an antidote for judgement. Lastly, asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather shows your vulnerability, strength and desire to learn more.

Can you share your experience looking for and interviewing for jobs as a visible minority?

Looking for a job as a visible minority is a struggle, especially if you have a non-white name like myself. Various researches have shown that a name can have a huge influence on your job search due to the biases and stereotypes that employers have when making judgments about you. Minorities who use their white names on their resumes get more interviews. This is disheartening because employers do not level the playing field by giving us the same opportunity to present our talents and skill set. However, whenever I am interviewing for a job I always make sure to do my very best to share my experiences that are both, directly and indirectly, related to my education and career. I think at the end of the day, it comes down to being confident and having the confidence to believe that the skills and experience you have will enable you to work more efficiently and make meaningful contributions to the organization. 

What are you most proud of? 

I am most proud of graduating and completing my Co-op work terms. I didn’t think I would complete my work terms due to the challenges I faced such as applying to quite a number of jobs and not hearing back, but I am proud of the fact that I did not give up.

I am also really proud of the fact that I am graduating. It hasn’t been an easy five years but my hard work, perseverance and the support from my family, friends colleagues, and mentors have helped me earn my degree. 

What advice do you have for the class of 2020?

Class of 2020, you DID IT! Own your hard work and achievement. I know the pandemic hasn’t made it easy for us, but we will more than just survive, we’ll thrive. Take time each day to be grateful for what you have. Set realistic goals and take care of yourself, especially your mental health. Learn something new. It could be learning how to bake, playing an instrument or biking. Take time every now and then to reflect on your identity and core values. Be curious and remain a lifelong learner! CONGRATULATIONS!