Aspiring professionals take advantage of networking opportunity

Courtney Dickson, Incoming Roving Editor Ω

Career Mentoring and the TRU Alumni Association held their fourth annual speed-dating style networking event, Tuesday, Oct. 28, that gave students first-hand insight and advice from industry professionals.

“Every person who has made something of themselves owes it to his or her interactions,” said Michael Cohen, one of the professional representatives at the event and past TRU graduate.

Cohen opened Networking 411 with a speech that encouraged students to value networking and take advantage of the opportunity.

There were 150 students who attended and had access to 46 professionals from various disciplines including business, arts, science, tourism, information technology, journalism, architecture and engineering.

Throughout the 90-minute event, students were given 10-minute sessions to speak with industry professionals about how to find a job, the transition from school to the workforce and labour market changes. Organizers at the event gave direction about which professionals to speak to as well as conversation starters in order to break down barriers between students and professionals.

“This workshop has success stories,” said Susan Forseille, Student Employment Coordinator at TRU. “There was a student a couple of years ago who is now in the process of applying for a job with one of the mentors she met at this event.”

Alexander Osipov, a second-year bachelor of business administration student, was invited to Networking 411 by friends and decided to check it out.

“The event was helpful, but next time there needs to be more food,” he said.

Michelle Butterfield used networking to land a position as an editor at the Calgary Herald and is now associate news editor for The Huffington Post.

“Networking is the future,” she said in early October. “To be able to network effectively, you have to take risks.”

Butterfield said she is an avid social media user and makes effort to call contacts and arrange meetings.

Program-specific networking workshops will be the next event hosted by Career Mentoring and the TRU Alumni Association. Students can expect those in the spring.

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