I recently read an article written by Veronica Hislop who is also a FoodGrads Campus Ambassador and a Food Scientist like myself (but majored in Chemistry).
Her article titled, “Learning the hard way-Lessons I have learned working in QA” She talked about her first job in QA as a new grad;
When you are a recent graduate, it’s easy to get it in your head that you don’t have enough experience. Even though this might be true, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have experience which could help improve a company.
I agree with her 100%.
In her article, Veronica was able to tell us some of the ways in which she has contributed to her company’s success and made improvements. One of the first contributions was creating a database for label expiration dates, to make it easier for herself and anyone who might join the company after her.
You Can Always Make a Contribution
Way to go Veronica!! There is always something you can contribute to make improvements to your company no matter how small it may seem or how much lack of experience you think you have.
As Food Scientists, we are exceptional, phenomenal, innovative and creative!
About a week ago, I got an email from my QA manager. In it she wrote;
Excellent reports Sashana! I will be using your reports as an example in our next team meeting.
That is one of the many contributions I have made for the company. My reports will be used as a template to follow. How awesome is that?
I felt motivated! I was happy I could contribute positively to my department and company as a whole. I say this with emphasis, you can too!
It might not be report writing for you, but it will be something else. Sometimes it will take a while to get recognition or no recognition at all, but still press on, you are making a difference to the world (especially if you are a Food Scientist :))
Before I graduated Centennial College in Canada, I already had experience as a Food Microbiologist, QA/QC Technician, Supervisor and also HACCP Coordinator from my home country so lucky for me, I had a head start in the game (That’s what most employers are looking for).
The majority of students in my class and program had just graduated college/university back home and had zero work experience so were very worried about finding a job in the Food Industry. When I spoke with some of them, I assured them that this Industry is huge and it will always be looking for young and vibrant people with new ideas.
It had also come to my understanding that it benefits some companies to hire inexperienced Food Scientists’ because they may only be able to afford an entry level salary (depending on company size). You will get on-the job training in order to fulfil the company’s needs and expectations whether you are working in Quality Assurance, Quality Control, HAACP, Research & Development, as a Food Inspector or Food microbiologist–so you will be learning on the job!
Take What You Get, Until You Get What You Want
My long standing motto is, “Take what you get, until you get what you want” Even though I had experience in my skilled area, it was not Canadian experience. So if it meant taking an entry level paid job until I got a better paying job, so be it.
Luckily, I was able to get a good position (Research & Development Food Scientist then Food Safety/HACCP Coordinator) and decent pay right after I was finished with my studies (now I am in Quality Assurance – my day one passion).
Related: My Experience at Centennial College
If you read my previous articles, you will be able to follow my career story up to this point and know my struggles becoming a Food Scientist. I still have a ways to go, I’m only just starting my Food Industry journey and I’ll share it with you.
What’s your story?
Author: Sashana Chattoo-Edwards
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