Friday, January 29, 2016

The works of networking

“I don’t need to talk to people and network to get a job.”

Have you ever had a version of this thought when networking was mentioned? If you haven’t, then congratulations on avoiding a big hurdle! However, if you have, then like me, you know the feeling of dread that follows.

Networking doesn’t have to just be about scoring a job; it can be a rewarding experience at any stage of your professional life. Networking provides you with the opportunity to meet people that are in a career you’re aiming for, and information about the path they took. It can even introduce you to new careers you never considered before. Here are some tips to make networking a better experience, no matter what your comfort level is.

Get comfortable with the idea of networking
Many people are uncomfortable because they feel that they’re using people to get a job, but you shouldn’t look at networking this way. The people you meet at these events have similar professional interests with you. Connect with them to get to know them as who they are and what they do, and offer back your own experiences to engage in a conversation. When you make yourself more relatable, they’ll get to know you more and offer relevant information about the path they took to get to where they are now, offer resources, or even introduce you to other people with similar interests.

Prepare something to talk about beforehand
You may have heard of this as the “elevator pitch.” You don’t need to have a spiel memorized, but consider having some relevant points that summarize yourself, such as why you’re attending this particular event, what your current position is, or what path you’re on and where you want go. I personally like to keep some points in mind that I know I can expand on.

Enter conversations!
Maybe you heard someone say something interesting or you’ve been wanting to talk to a specific person. Sometimes, you’ll be able to naturally join into a conversation. Whether or not it’s easy, you should make your presence known by introducing yourself and saying why you wanted to join in the conversation (for example, “Hi, I couldn’t help but overhear you talking about X”).

Know how to exit conversations
I used to think the biggest problem was initiating a conversation with someone, until I found out that it was just as hard to leave one. If you feel that the conversation is starting to end and there isn’t much left to be said, politely take your exit (try: “it was great meeting you, and I will definitely look into the organization you mentioned”) and ask for information to stay in contact.

Keep in touch
Stay in contact by exchanging business cards or adding them on LinkedIn. In the next 48 hours, send them a message that includes where you met and personalize it by mentioning a topic that was discussed. LinkedIn is a great tool to develop your professional network and you can come to the AACC to have someone look over and review your LinkedIn profile.

If you meet someone who you would like to know more about, you can follow up with them to see if they would be willing to set up an informational interview and answer some of the questions you have. You can meet with a Career Counsellor at the AA&CC if you have more questions!

The next step is to now put your skills into use. Take a look at the networking opportunities and check CLN regularly for different events coming up! 

Good luck! 


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Networking Nerves? Learn from Experts at RBC!

Networking is one of those things that can get tricky, and nerve wrecking, but it doesn't always have to be that way! To help you with networking, we asked two campus recruitment professionals from the Royal Bank of Canada to answer some of our networking questions from the other side of the coin. Here is what they had to say.
Melissa’s Story

After graduating from Western University with a degree in Sociology, I decided to pursue a post graduate diploma in HR from George Brown and continue my career focusing on recruitment. I’ve been fortunate to work at a few companies since graduating from George Brown and have taken a keen interest in student hiring. For almost 5 years I have been involved in campus recruitment. For the last two years, I have been at RBC which has been a fantastic opportunity for me as I get to work closely with students, while also fulfilling the hiring needs of my business partners. 

Rosalyn’s Story

I graduated from York University and studied Human Resources Management. My first professional experience is from my co-op placement working for a Canadian Telecommunications company.  From there, I acquired my first job by applying to an entry-level Staffing Associate role with a Global Employment Agency.  Subsequently, my last 3 jobs were all due to networking.  I knew someone, who knew someone else, who knew about a job opening, and so on.

What does networking mean to you?

Networking should be done in all phases of one’s career, whether you are looking for a job or if you are happy in the job you are in. There is never a bad time to network. To me, networking is the chance to talk with people from all levels and industries to gain valuable insights into their roles and responsibilities.

In your experience, how often are entry level positions filled by individuals who have had some form of interaction with the employer?

Students are encouraged to look at job boards to determine what roles are available, but they also need to combine that with meeting people from the business, whether it is at an information sessions on campus, mock interviews, or connecting with alumni. Networking allows you to understand the specific roles that people hold and can open up doors and opportunities that you might not have thought about before. It should not always be about landing a job, but rather the intent should be to make meaningful connections with people. A candidate who can successfully network should be content that they may not land a job immediately, but will be creating a connection with someone who may be hiring down the road.

Do you have any tips on how students and recent graduates can be proactive in identifying networking opportunities?

Join groups on LinkedIn and follow companies through various social media sites to be in the know on what is happening locally. Keep your eyes and ears open for signage on campus for when employers will be present, and work with your school’s Career Centre, as many events get planned directly with them, and they almost certainly have the necessary details on timing and location of events.

What are good networking opportunities for students?

There are many different avenues one can take to network, but it ultimately depends on the type of industry they want to get information about. Some companies and industries rely heavily on career fairs, which are attended by hundreds of students and therefore limiting the 1:1 interaction. Being involved both on campus and off campus can provide opportunities to meet new people who can ultimately lead to your next career move. You could be standing in line waiting for coffee and meet someone who starts a conversation and is hiring. Students need to be aware and always have their elevator pitch ready to go.

What are some of the best questions you’ve had from students and recent graduates you have interacted with? What stood out in those interactions?
·         Asking open-ended questions is the best way to ask your questions.  You will learn more about the job, industry and insights on their story. 

·       Thoughtful questions about current trends from the industry are always impressive as well.  It shows that the student is aware and has taken the time to research and find out what is happening in the market.

·        To stand out, don’t fake it – just be yourself and tell your own unique story.  Be your authentic, best self!

Networking can be nerve-wrecking sometimes! What tips would you give to students to beat the nerves and feel more confident while networking?

First thing is to be comfortable with yourself and have the confidence to put yourself out there, so have your ‘elevator pitch’ ready! Do some research about the networking event like who will be there, what companies they represent, and what those companies are doing right now.

How important is social media, particularly LinkedIn, in building relationships with potential employers?

It is very important.  Through social media, you can find out about people, companies, and reach them faster than ever.  Join Groups, Industry Associations, and be a part of the conversation!  You can build your profile and connections effectively via social media, but remember to always be professional!

Is there any other advice you would provide to students and recent graduates on networking?

·         Be Proactive

·         Do your research and be prepared to put yourself out there!

·         Be able to relate to people and don’t be afraid to tell your unique story!

Put these networking tips to practice this month! Check the Events Calendar on for upcoming opportunities where you can connect with professionals as well as for networking workshops! If you need some extra pointers on how to approach the different events, be sure to check our tips sheets at, including:

Happy Networking!

Stay Connected!
  Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

5 Tips to Keep Track of Employer & Career Programming this January!

Getting back to school in January after the holidays can get hectic with finalizing your course schedule for the semester, getting textbooks, and making important decisions within tight timelines. However, January is also a month where many employers are looking to connect with students and it’s a good time for students to start exploring employers and careers!  To help you balance both, here are five tips on how you keep balance employer and career programming to incorporate them in your schedule:

TIP #1: Mark Your Calendar.

Check the CLN Calendar early on. Remember that registration for all information sessions, panels, and events open two weeks before the event, so marking your calendar for that date and setting a reminder to register may come in handy and prevent you from missing the chance to register.

TIP #2: Drop-by the Summer & Full Time Job Fair at your convenience.

This fair is a great place to meet employers for both summer jobs as well as potential full-time roles. Remember that the fair is taking place from 11:00AM – 2:00PM on Wednesday January 20th, but you are not required to commit the two hours, and are able to drop-in at any point of time during those hours. This gives you the flexibility to pick a time and duration that works for your schedule!

TIP #3: Explore UTSC graduates' entrepreneur ventures and resources available to you, under one roof.

Along with meeting employers, you can also find out about entrepreneurship. The idea of entrepreneurship can be overwhelming, but you can attend the Entrepreneur Expo on Wednesday January 28th to see what past UTSC students like yourself have done in starting their own ventures as well as the resources available to students to start their own ventures Having both under one roof will allow you to explore the variety of entrepreneurs and also learn about resources, all in one place. Again, the event will take place from 2:00 – 5:00PM, but drop in when it’s convenient! Want to learn more about entrepreneurship? Register on CLN for the one hour Entrepreneurship 101 session prior to the fair from 1:00 – 2:00PM!

TIP #4: Get Information about application deadlines, procedures, and advice from Government HR Representatives, all in one session.

Are you interested in getting a summer job with the Government? There are many facets of the government and navigating through the information may take up a lot of time. To get information about application procedures, deadlines, and tips from HR representatives all at once, register on CLN to attend the Summer Jobs with the Government Panel on Tuesday, January 26th from 3:00 – 5:00PM.

TIP #5: Choose the Extern Orientation Session that fits your schedule best.

The Extern Job Shadowing Program is an excellent opportunity to explore a career by visiting a professional in their workplace.  To learn about more information and instructions, you simply have to register on CLN and attend an orientation session. These orientation sessions are offered at multiple points of the month, so if one doesn’t fit in your schedule, there are other options!

Madiha Ahmed, MIRHR
Employer Engagement Coordinator