Last night, Ryerson students gathered in POD 250 for a night full of advice from career professionals based in Toronto. A mad dash for chairs ensued at the event due to the last-minute turnout of students from all programs.
A discussion with audience questions was the first item on the agenda, with Nikki Waheed, one of the event organizers and career education specialist for the faculty of arts, guiding the panel.
“People will take a chance on you,” Waheed said when recalling her own journey into her social work beginnings. “You come with academic experience.”
Some of the panellists started their careers from volunteer work.
“There are perceptions you need to know people. I didn’t know anyone,” said Garry Green, senior manager at the Toronto District School Board. Green has now grown in his position over 14 years. He’s added student transportation, business development, and community service programming to his job role.
A major takeaway from the night for attendees was to try different things and get your foot in the door, no matter how long that takes, said Green.
Even short-term, three-month internships may prove to be useful, because it can be the first point of entry into more valuable (i.e. paid) career opportunities further down the road, according to Waheed.
“Take a chance on people who want to take a chance on you,” she added.
Following the panel, students took part in 15-minute rotations of table networking with industry professionals from across the city.
Social work student Virginia Visoi said, “I’m active in attending career fairs because there’s a 50-50 chance of finding a job. It’s all about networking.”