Connecting with Alumni, Networking with Peers Great Way to Jump-Start Career for Graduating Students
Source Newsroom: Ryerson University
Newswise — TORONTO, March 6, 2013 --- Graduation is a huge accomplishment and a major milestone for students. For some, it also means they are about to enter the workforce for the first time and leave school life behind. To help students make that successful jump from academics to the workplace, Julia LeConte, a recent journalism graduate and now the senior copy editor at Flare magazine, offers these helpful tips to the class of 2013:
1. Draw upon your academics. Think you don’t have any concrete skills or experience to include in your resume? Think again. Over the past four years, you have probably cultivated skills relevant to your career, worked on projects with the local community that have yielded positive results, volunteered abroad or have taken on a leadership role in a campus group or student union. Those experiences will demonstrate on your résumé you have solid skills in your field already – even before you graduate.
2. Keep in touch with your alumni group. Your university or college will have an alumni relations office that offers networking events and workshops to help you connect with recent graduates working in your field. They can be a gold mine of information on career advice, and can even lead to an informational interview, internship or possible job opportunities. Networking events, such as Ryerson Alumni Relations annual Alumni Expo, can also help graduating students find a career mentor, who can not only help them find their first job, but who can guide them throughout their career.
3. Set up informational interviews. Interested in learning more about the skill sets you need for that field you want to work in? Come up with your top five companies you would like to work for and contact key industry professionals for an informational interview. It’s best to send them a brief email and follow up with a phone call a few days later. Professionals have busy schedules but are happy to spend some time giving sound career advice. Don’t forget to email a quick thank-you note to your contact immediately afterwards. It shows you are respectful of their time and it also leaves them with a positive impression of you. If they have a job opportunity that could be a great fit for you in the future, you want to make sure they think of you first.
4. Professional groups. Many professional groups and organizations offer discounted student memberships. If you join, it’s a great way to meet seasoned professionals in your industry. These organizations usually offer conferences and workshops on the latest trends and developments. They may also offer volunteer positions, which is a good opportunity to gain some practical experience to add to your résumé. Employers also look upon job applicants more favourably if they belong to a professional group and may list this criterion in their job listings.
5. Take advantage of your career centre. Universities and colleges often have career centres for students, sometimes even specific to their faculty, such as Ryerson’s Career and Employment Partnerships at the university’s Ted Rogers School of Management. Check out these websites for upcoming career fairs, job skills workshops, e-tutorials and résumé-writing drop-in clinics. They also provide one-on-one career counseling to help students make that successful transition to their chosen field.
6. Creating a strong online profile. Use professional social media sites such as LinkedIn to create a polished, professional profile of yourself. Recruiters and potential employers often go to LinkedIn to find out more about a potential candidate so it’s a good place to post your résumé, recent projects related to your field or professional accomplishments you would like to showcase. You can also join professional groups to learn more about your industry and expand your network online through LinkedIn. Twitter is also a good way to tweet about industry news and professional interests.
Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 38,000 students, including 2,300 master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 140,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca
EXPERT AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS:
Senior Copy Editor, Flare
Ryerson Journalism Graduate, Class of 2007