TORONTO, April 21 /CNW/ - With spring on its way, many students across
the country are studying for exams and looking forward to graduation.
Students have spent the last few years studying and training through
co-op programs, volunteering and networking to make themselves
employable. Once they begin their first career, students have to make
the transition from the classroom to the professional world. A lot of
what is expected of a new professional cannot be taught in school but
only learned through experience.
In the classroom, students are given the basic skills and information
about the professional world such as proper etiquette and respecting
deadlines. What they're not taught is that in many jobs the typical 9-5
doesn't exist anymore. There will be weekends and evenings they will
have to give up; they will have to figure out how to approach and pitch
ideas to senior management, and how to deal with a crisis and the
New business communicators and public relations practitioners face many
of these challenges. The ever expanding role of communications now
encompasses areas outside the traditional roles, such as graphic
design, social media, event planning, and photography.
"Junior professionals are being asked to bring a variety of new skills
to their first jobs thanks to the evolution of our profession and the
increasing role of social media in communications," said Sharon
Beattie, VP Membership at the Toronto Chapter of the International
Association of Business Communicators (IABC). "They're also looked upon
to bring a crucial insight and perspective on the young demographic."
Students are often not aware of the various roles communications play in
an organization. Communications is not limited to news releases, media
engagement, pitching ideas or stories and networking. Communications
encompasses a wide range of roles that fall under the same umbrella;
including internal communications, media buying and planning, research
analysis, marketing advertising and much more.
Still, most reasonable employers do not expect a new grad to know
"A willingness to learn and a positive attitude are key soft skills for
a new professional. However, the technical skills learned in school are
also important, including strong writing skills, and a clear awareness
and understanding of media, combined with social media savvy," says
Andre Beadle is the Marketing Assistant at Applied Electronics Limited.
He graduated from Seneca's Marketing e-business program in 2010 and is
currently a part-time student at Ryerson University studying Marketing
Management. As a student, Beadle felt his school had prepared their
students well enough for the real world by providing career-focused
classes. These classes were structured based on a survey that was
conducted to find out what companies were looking for and what they
"If there is one piece of advice I can give to students who want to get
involved in their field and have a better chance of being hired is to
intern and volunteer, you gain valuable experience," says Beadle, "Not
everything I learned in school is applicable to what I do now but in
the long run I know it will make me more a well- rounded employee."
What can current students and recent graduates do to help them get, and
excel in, their first job? Professional associations such as IABC
provide great networking and volunteer opportunities and chances to
gain new skills. Associations like IABC also offer a Mentorship Program
where new professionals are paired with experienced senior
professionals who provide advice, encouragement and other assistance to
the mentee. Both mentor and mentee achieve professional growth and
career advancement through this program.
"In the end, knowledge is power," said Beattie. "Taking all that you've
learned in school and adding great advice from real world professionals
will allow you to be prepared to offer the greatest value in your first
With more than 1,700 members, IABC/Toronto is the largest IABC chapter
in the world. The organization provides these members with
multidisciplinary resources and a global network of more than 15,000
communicators, in 80 countries, working in diverse industries and
disciplines to identify, share and apply the world's most effective
communications practices. For more information please visit http://toronto.iabc.com
For further information:
Director - Marketing Communications