Finding and learning about new opportunities will become easier if you have connections in the field you are pursuing. Professional networking may sound intimidating at first, but it is one of the best approaches to the job search process and further career advancement. Eighty percent of the job market is hidden and cannot be found on job-search platforms. The only way to access the hidden market and learn about these opportunities is through networking. By expanding your professional network and developing meaningful long-lasting relations, you will increase your chances of finding out about an open position ahead of other applicants which will give you an advantage. Luckily, Brock University provides numerous opportunities to get to know more about your industry and connect with professionals and employers from your field. Annually, Brock hosts and participates in career fairs and networking sessions for students from all programs. Make sure to keep track of the events posted on the CareerZone (https://careerzone.brocku.ca/) and ExperienceBU (https://experiencebu.brocku.ca/) websites as they get updated regularly with new opportunities. And to help you present yourself in the best way to potential employers and professionals, CareerZone hosts online cafe workshops on Teams, where we share helpful tips on networking.
Another approach to expanding your professional network is using social media. LinkedIn is the biggest professional platform that allows you to make connections in your field and explore various opportunities. We encourage everyone to update their profile regularly and remain active on LinkedIn to increase your chances of getting noticed, make useful connections, and not to miss out on opportunities. Online recruiters often look for potential candidates on platforms like LinkedIn. However, you have to regularly update your profile and remain active on social media to increase your visibility. In addition, there are other networking platforms such as Ten Thousand Coffees which allows you to connect with alumni. This gives you a chance to request an informational interview with professionals and gain more insight into a career that is of interest to you. CareerZone (https://careerzone.brocku.ca/) > Student Resources > Social Media and Branding has multiple resources to help you set up a professional account and useful tips on online networking.
Memberships & Professional Associations
Now that we learned about opportunities for making career connections, let’s explore ways to get experience and learn in new environments. One such option is to join a professional association in your field. These organisations provide networking and professional development opportunities relevant to your pursued profession. Joining a professional association would allow you to expand your professional network, gain valuable industry knowledge, attend academic conferences, and most importantly learn about job opportunities. A lot of associations have job boards that are exclusive to members. Check out a list of Canadian professional associations at http://www.cpmdq.com/htm/org.canada2.htm.
Another common way to get experience is volunteering. Some people may think that just because it is unpaid work, it is not as valid to employers as work experience. However, volunteering is just as valid as a job and helps you to develop core skills. It is important to be strategic when selecting volunteer experience that is relevant to your field. Consider the type of work you want to do and its relation to your future career goals. This will allow you to gain an insight into your chosen profession and connect with the right people. It is not rare for a volunteering position to lead one to employment if enough passion and commitment is demonstrated. Helpful resources and platforms as well as a Volunteer Board with opportunities can be found on the CareerZone website (https://careerzone.brocku.ca/) > Student Resources > Gain Experience. In addition, check out the Brock University Volunteer Association (BUVA) that provides students with opportunities and skill development workshops. To learn more about BUVA visit the ExperienceBU website.
Internships are another great opportunity to gain relevant experience. Many organisations provide internship opportunities for students and recent graduates to give practical skills and relevant knowledge. Internship placements can be remote or in-person, international and domestic which gives you a lot of flexibility and options to explore. It is also common for an internship to turn into a full-time position offer after a successful completion. You can find more information and platforms with internship postings on CareerZone website (https://careerzone.brocku.ca/) > Student Resources > Gain Experience.
With summer coming up, it is the perfect time to make connections and fill your resume with new relevant experience. Every step on your career journey counts, as it adds up and fills you with confidence and knowledge. Whether it is working on your resume, volunteering, or completing a professional development workshop, your efforts will not go unnoticed by employers!
We are here to support you, so don’t be afraid to ask for help! We offer many student resources on our portal (careerzone.brocku.ca) and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any inquiries you may have.