Whether you’re a new graduate, an established professional or somewhere in between, lifelong learning is something we can all aspire to. Now in its second year, our Alumni Blog has become a valuable source of career advice for alumni, by alumni – a platform to share ideas and build connections. As 2017 comes to close, we’re looking back to our favourite lessons from the past year.
There’s (quite possibly) a model for that…
Whether you’re entering the job market or are a seasoned professional navigating a new challenge, seek out proven strategies to lean on. Foraying into the booming world of e-commerce? Jackson Cunningham (RTA ’05) breaks down selling online into six handy steps here. Preparing for that big job interview? Monika Monga (Business Management ’00; Human Resources Management MA) outlines the STAR Model, a popular interview tactic used by recruiters, plus 10 insider’s hiring tips here.
…but don’t fear the (career) path less travelled.
“Your career is a journey, not a destination,” writes Jaclyn Broughton (Criminal Justice ‘09), who draws on her own story to share advice, such as “it’s ok to take a tour” on this journey. “My point is: no field exists in a vacuum,” she concludes. “There’s always a parallel, albeit different option to investigate – if you want to.” (Read more here)
Meanwhile, Elis Halenko (Nutrition and Food ’10) admits to “unintentionally complicating [her] career path,” and feeling lost and unfulfilled in previous roles, not to mention underestimating the potential of where her degree could take her. Fast-forward to today, and she has catapulted with that degree into her dream career, running her own creative kitchen and marketing company. (Read her six tips on nailing a dream career of your own.)
And think beyond your degree…
Given the prevalence of degrees in today’s market, Marc Herscovitch (Sociology ’10) notes how critical it is for graduates to differentiate themselves “by demonstrating value beyond their degrees.” What’s his formula? Complementing a degree with technical skills, and bringing soft skills to the hiring table. Check out his advice.
…while realizing the power of networking.
For those right out of university, “Shake 100 hands in your first year (virtually or for real),” advises Jeff Aylen (Retail Management ’12), noting how grads are most likely to land their first full-time position through an internship or personal connection. (Read more insights for recent grads here.)
Similarly, Halenko extols the value of networking and building relationships. “Interview successful people & find a mentor” is one of her six steps.
Remember entrepreneurship takes many forms…
Can entrepreneurship exist within a corporation? “Choose an organization with a buoyant culture and a leadership team that’s not afraid of change,” advises John Bell (Business ’68). “The changemakers are small- to medium-size enterprises that either lead niche categories or are hell-bent on knocking the big guy from the top rung of a mass market. In those companies you’ll find entrepreneurial thinking.” Don’t miss his seven guidelines for entrepreneurially-minded, job-hunting grads here.
And when it comes to the right mindset in business, Jaclyn Patterson (Fashion ’15) offers a unique, yet powerful take on collaboration. “Viewing your industry peers as collaborators over competitors presents the opportunity for an even more successful business,” she suggests. Read more here on why she expects collaboration to be the way of the future.
…as does creativity.
If “being creative” isn’t part of your typical 9-5, it can still play a meaningful role in your life. Marijana Miric (GCM ’13, MDM ’15) and Jamie Kwan (Architecture ’13, MDM ’15) are advocates for what they call the “creativity happy hour,” that time after work when we’re free to embrace a passion project. Here’s why you need one.
That’s a wrap for 2017! Join us next year for a fresh slate of career insights from your alumni peers. Interested in writing for us? Email us!
Tanya Kostiw (MA, Literatures of Modernity ’13) is the editor of the Alumni Blog and the Marketing and Communications Liaison for the Ryerson University Alumni Association (RUAA). She is the Associate Creative Director at Mayk Ideas.