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Workshops - Job Search Strategies: Competing in the Job Market

Strategies for Success in the Workplace

John Huynh

Watch streaming video of John Huynh

John graduated with a degree in Economics from York University in 2001. Like many students upon graduation, he became active and frustrated in his search for employment. John applied for and was hired as an intern working in a partnership between BMO Financial Group and York University. Upon completion of his internship in the spring of 2002, he found a full-time position within BMO's Direct Banking division. Since then, he has been promoted into various roles and departments within the Bank. John currently works as a Marketing Associate with BMO Insurance, and is also the chair of StepAhead, BMO's affinity group for persons with physical disabilities.


The transition from school to work is an exciting and challenging stage in life. For persons with disabilities, there may be doubts and fears upon leaving the academic world. What will the workplace be like? Will I be able to succeed?

In this presentation, John will discuss topics such as networking, time management skills, and other tips to help you succeed and advance in the workplace. He will also share his personal experiences transitioning from school to work, and how he moved into different roles over the years.



John Huynh’s presentation focused on strategies for success in the workplace. Drawing on his personal experience, Huynh told participants that making the transition from school to work can be daunting. That is why it is important to follow a few basic rules when entering the workforce.

Huynh said that when beginning a new job, the most important thing is to relax. Most employers will give a thorough orientation and be more than willing to answer any questions. He said participants should listen, take notes, and ask for any required accommodations early on, “to ensure that you have all the tools you need to succeed.”

The disclosure of a disability to co-workers is a very personal matter, said Huynh. Some may prefer to wait; others may need to let a manager or co-worker know for safety reasons. Huynh suggested speaking about the disability to a supervisor in private, and speaking “in terms of how it affects you.”

Huynh offered an overview of some general skills that help ensure success in the workplace. These include adopting proper office etiquette, using effective time management techniques, and networking to build relationships and hone communications skills. He suggested creating a “network of mentors and people you trust who can give you advice.”

On career development, Huynh said that “once you have a foot in the door, your career is your responsibility.” He said knowing one’s skills, stretching boundaries, and showing initiative are excellent ways for employees to demonstrate that they wish to further their career. Researching internal job postings and the required skill sets, and job shadowing are also excellent ways to determine how to make a natural progression in an organization, he said.

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