Most people who attended University all share a similar experience. Yes, those include late nights at the library, stress over an algebra, micro-economics, or biology mid-term that you knew anything about, and cheap draft night at Cowboys. But, in addition to those, there is often a similar experience towards the end of your degree. You’ve been feverishly been working on learning the fundamentals of business and an uncle at family bbq asks you, so what are you going to do after you graduate? At which point you give the “I’m not too sure yet, something in business”. But what, specifically, was the hard part to answer, and as graduation day came and went the pressure started to mount. This is when we all turned to the online classifieds looking for jobs online, submitting applications and sending out your minimal (and somewhat exaggerated) resume. And then…waiting for the phone to ring. And it rarely, if never, does with a hiring offer following someone reading an online application submission. Getting a University education was one of the most valuable experiences I’ve ever had, but the preparation on how to navigate the world of career opportunities beyond the campus was minimal, at best.
As a founding member of the BUSY (Building Up Successful Youth) Foundation I thought about this experience and how I accidentally fell into a job I loved. Albeit, I took me a few times of falling into a job before I found the one I was right for. We started providing a service to University students called the “Connector Program”. The aim is to introduce them to people who are in the career they think they might be interested in to better understand what that role looks like from a day to day, what career road map that person took to get into the role they’re doing today, and start to build their network. This last part is the most important. For those of us who didn’t have connections through friends and family, it is really hard to get an “in” in an industry that you want to work. Building a network, getting introductions to others in the industry for guidance, will often lead to getting an introduction to someone else who is hiring.
I have applied for a TON of jobs, and never had my online application pulled out of the pile for its brilliance. Every job that I’ve had in my professional career has been simply through a coffee meeting with someone, who introduced me to someone that was hiring, who later asked me to provide my resume as a formality. The BUSY Connector program is helping University students get to this experience faster, and with guidance as to what career paths are available to them. We are currently engaging exclusively with the students in the Business program at Mount Royal with plans to expand in the future. Over the last four years we have had the opportunity to meet with nearly 100 students and introduce them to members of the BUSY Foundations professional network in Calgary, with many of those leveraging those introductions into job interviews, and some getting the starting job they were looking for.
Whether you’re a University student looking for that first step in your career, or starting again on a new career path, NEVER rely on the online application engine to get the job you want. Leverage your contacts, friends of friends, or a program like the BUSY Connector Program (www.busyyyc.com) to start meeting the people who will make that happen for you.
Written by Justin LaBrie