Alumni share career advice with up-and-coming grads

Danielle Cini (BA'10), Chris Giles (BA'10), Patrick McCrudden (BA'11), Emily McCaffery (BA'13), Alicia Merry (BA'01), Rachel Mills (BA'10), Owen Deveney (BA'08)

Danielle Cini (BA '10), Chris Giles (BA '10), Patrick McCrudden (BA '11), Emily McCaffery (BA '13), Alicia Merry (BA '01), Rachel Mills (BA '10), Owen Deveney (BA '08)

Public speaking is nerve-racking and sometimes it’s hard to feel like an expert in your field. But, Brock University graduates have a lot of successful career wisdom that current students are anxious to hear about.

In October, seven young professional Brock alumni spoke to Communications, Pop Culture and Film (CPCF) students to share some of their thoughts on career trajectory after graduation.

The Q & A panel, hosted by the CPCF Society, featured graduates from 2001 to 2013 working in various fields such as public relations, event management, film production and even a local brewery. The graduates were encouraged to share their stories and tips of the trade with the students, while Career Services and Alumni Relations shared the tools available to them.

“You are part of a network of over 80,000 grads,” said Meaghan Moore, Alumni programs officer. “Use that network and make connections before and after graduation.”

Danielle Cini (BA ‘10), a graduate from the media and society stream in Communications, explained that her degree provided the backbone for her professional success, while experience has shown her the value of positivity and authenticity.

“I can teach anyone about beer,” said the retail and experience manager at Niagara Oast House Brewers, “but I can’t teach them how to make a customer feel amazing, or how to remain positive even during stressful situations.”

A common thread throughout all of the panelists presentations? Network, make connections, and then network some more. Each graduate had at least one story of how one connection led to another important connection, which eventually led to an amazing job.

The CPCF Grad Night was full of quotable quotes and useful information that came directly from graduates who once sat where many of the students now sit. The success stories represented the diverse and transferable experience of these grads, from a grad with a degree in Pop Culture now working in public relations for Big Brothers Big Sisters to a cinematographer and managing director of a production company who leveraged his Film degree.

Would you be willing to share your story? Students are always grateful to hear from industry professionals and successful graduates at alumni mentoring events, graduating student conferences and in-class conversations. To learn how to get involved, email us at alumni@brocku.ca.

secondphotoforstory1Tips and takeaways for students

Build a portfolio.  Samples of projects you completed demonstrate to a potential employer that you have proven experience in a specific area. Writing samples and creative videos, for example, indicate you are serious about your craft. Be prepared to provide details on these projects.

Network. Network. Network. Students should attend networking events in the community, such as This is my Niagara’s Connect Event on Nov. 12, and get to know people they would never otherwise meet. Who should be in their network? It might include people they never considered: co-workers, professors, friends, social media contacts - it’s a long list.

Use services available through Brock. The University has extensive services to help students develop and strengthen the skills needed in today’s competitive job market. There are so many services available to students and alumni, from meeting with academic advisors to visiting Career Services for resources and resumé help.

Build your resume early - and keep building.  There is no time like the present. Use every job to showcase your range of skills. Take on volunteer positions or internships that will give you practical experience in your career. Volunteer positions and clubs are great experiential learning opportunities for students to take advantage of and enhance their portfolio.

Have a great attitude about the journey. Careers take time to develop; it is a journey.  Sacrifices are part of the journey and it takes perseverance to accomplish one’s dreams. Enjoy the trip and recognize that every new opportunity has the potential to become something much bigger.

Posted on November 6, 2013

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