Brock University graduate students got a lesson in networking Friday, April 20 at the fifth annual SHIFT Professional Development Conference.
J. Kelly Hoey, a well-known personality in the networking industry who has appeared on CNBC’s Power Pitch, and in magazines such as Forbes and Business Insider, delivered the keynote address at the conference and told students about the importance of using the opportunities that pop up in life to make new contacts and connections.
“Networking is an ongoing process of establishing and strengthening relationships,” said Hoey, the author of Build Your Dream Network. “It is not confined to a single activity such as email introductions or cocktail receptions in the lobby of a corporation’s headquarters. And it is so much more than simply handing over a business card. It is continually connecting to build stronger connections.”
The SHIFT Conference is a day-long event for graduate students co-ordinated by the Vitae partners including the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Career, Co-op and Experiential Education, the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation, Alumni Association and the Graduate Students’ Association. It is aimed at supporting students in making the shift from learning to earning and to the next stage of their lives.
“The whole process of professional development entails a commitment to personal growth, creating opportunities for self-development and taking incremental action,” said Karin Perry, Program Co-ordinator, Development and Training in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. “The SHIFT conference provides grad students with the best connections to campus expertise and the invitation to take action.”
Students had the opportunity to attend conversational and hands-on workshops covering a range of professional development topics including leadership, knowledge mobilization, social media, interview skills and resume preparation.
“The SHIFT conference provides us with a captive audience of graduate students and the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise to support their career development,” said Kara Renaud, Supervisor, Career Education in Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, who has been involved with planning SHIFT since its inception. “Whether considering a career in academia or industry, students benefit from learning best practices and strategies for exploring career possibilities and searching for employment”.
Lewis Lau, an MA student in Applied Health Sciences, attended SHIFT for the first time this year after volunteering in the past.
“I realized what an amazing opportunity it is for graduate students,” he said. “While I love the research I am doing, I know research isn’t what I want to do for the rest of my career. The SHIFT conference is such an important supplementary experience and has really helped me focus on the professional development I need.”