3 Students Waiting for Interview

Lessons Learned: Career and Professional Development During Your Undergrad

by Elena Alexandrova, Public Administration & Governance, Faculty of Arts

Ryerson’s New Grad Career Fair is being held from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm on May 4, 2017 at 255 McCaul St. (at UofT). The journey to meaningful employment is a chapter in every student’s #RoadFromRyerson story. Over the next month, we’ve invited graduating Ryerson students to share their professional development stories via the Path to Career blog series.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.”― Mark Twain

This is the mantra I keep applying to different career and professional development situations. As a fourth year student at Ryerson University, I have gone through many ups and downs trying to figure out which career options I want to pursue, because finding an ideal job is difficult and at times may even seem impossible.

A photo of ElenaMy professional career development started in university, which I later translated into my resume portfolio and interview sessions. I strongly believe this is the reason why I managed to score the position as a Trade Assistant Intern at the U.S Consulate in Toronto. I believe the key to achieving career development is through constant involvement in causes that are of interest to you. Do not be afraid to take every lecture as an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions. Letting go of the fear of public speaking through constant participation can lead to excellent results during the interview processes. It allows you to truly sharpen your skills and become a better version of yourself.

Achieving professional development is done through trial and error. Recognizing your mistakes and trying to learn from it is a valuable learning asset, which all students should embrace during their university career and onward. I strongly believe this is the key to persevering in challenging situations. As students, we should also recognize that receiving help from peers, professors and other career-oriented individuals is a blessing. I started to connect more and more with my professors at Ryerson, and I realized that some of them have become mentors to me and that truly allowed me strengthen my confidence and go after the career opportunities I have always wanted.

As a graduating student, the #RoadFromRyerson may seem like a time filled with uncertainty, but if you branch out and embrace every opportunity along the way, sooner or later you will find yourself at a place where you are confident with not only your career development skills, but your personal skillsets as well. To me, the #RoadFromRyerson represents continuous growth, and I choose to see this as a path of limitless opportunities. Take risks, apply to jobs that seem out of reach, go to career fairs, ask for advice often, connect with your professors, keep your support group and dreams close – then wait and see your opportunities start to expand.

Please keep in mind that your career and professional development is your own personal growth journey. Do not compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 45.