By Abigale Subdhan
Ryerson students fretting about life after university can take advice from graduates that were once in their positions at the sixth annual Alumni Expo on March 7.
“This event is a good opportunity to network with people in your field,” said Tyler Forkes, executive director of alumni relations at Ryerson. “Students often ask what the real world is going to be like in their programs. So, alumni discuss and share with students how they can get into the workplace.”
The expo is an annual event where Ryerson’s soon-to-be grads can speak to alumni about what they can expect in their respective fields. It also lets students know what opportunities there are to stay connected with Ryerson after they graduate.
Christopher Drew is one of about 35 alumni attending. As a student, Drew helped to spear-head the Close Gould Street initiative and now works as a professional planner for the Centre of Social Innovation – an innovative space of non-profit and entrepreneurial organizations.
He also feels networking is an essential skill and explains ways to make it easier.
“I encourage all students to have business cards. Something simple like your name, number and email address. Twitter is also a good networking app to keep track of professionals in your field and stay aware of updates,” said Drew.
The alumni attending come from a wide span of Ryerson programs. The backgrounds range from broadcast television to medical careers. They will be set up in a round-table format so that students can circle around the room to speak to individual people.
Janean Brühn graduated from the interior design program in 2008. After many job interviews, she finally landed an appropriate job within her field in June 2011 as a junior interior designer. She feels her mistake was not being prepared when presenting herself to employers so she encourages students to stay aware.
She also coaches Ryerson’s figure skating team.
“Young professionals sometimes come across as timid and unsure, but [they] need to come across as adamant and strong,” said Brühn. “Ultimately, you are selling yourself.”
Albert Ho is also a representative at the expo and he feels that it’s important to create connections, but ultimately, the trick is discovering your main objectives and working towards them.
“It’s about ensuring the end goal,” said Ho. “It’s important to focus on where you want to be and understand what you want to do.” The Alumni Expo will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second floor of the Hub cafeteria.