Getting into your field right after university can be extremely difficult, a fact that most professionals can and will attest to. Advice comes from left, right, and centre as to what students can do to help increase the likelihood that their transfer between student and professional can be quick and comfortable. Networking is an important method of gaining information about your field and expanding your network through talking to professionals who have extensive experience. Networking is often tiring, yet hugely rewarding. Bonus incentive: more often than not, it’s free!
The IABC Mentorship Program provides its members with an opportunity to network and learn more about the industry. The program, according to Amanda Zirk, the Mentorship Program Coordinator, “is a way to connect students to communications and industry professionals.” This year, the mentorship program consists of approximately seventy-five members, including both students and mentors. There are three levels of mentors: junior level (less than six years experience), mid-level (seven to fifteen years experience), and senior-level (fifteen plus years experience). Most of the current mentors are drawn from the mid-senior levels.
The IABC Mentorship Program holds one event per month from October through June. Mentors and mentees attend these events to listen to panelists, gain information about the industry, and create connections in the field. There are four events coming up: March 22, April 12, May 17th, and June 14th. The theme for March is communication training and the theme for April-June is communications skills.
When I asked Amanda why students should join the mentorship program, she gave me two answers: it’s networking, and it’s free! What better way to build your professional persona than testing it out with people who are willing to give you tips about how to get out there and get into the field? Nowhere else are communications and marketing students going to get the same chance to mingle with professionals currently working in their field who are there exclusively to share their knowledge.
The Mentorship Program also offers opportunities for mentors to grow their professional networks with students and other mentors. Amanda explains, “No matter where you’re at in your career, you’ll always have the chance to meet new people and learn something new,” and that opportunity is offered by the mentorship program in multiple capacities. Being able to guide the next generation and give them the advice that current professionals would have wanted to hear when they were students puts mentors in a unique position to further their own network and their field itself.
Interested in the mentorship program? Sign up here:/resources/mentorship-program.aspx
Any further questions about the mentorship program can be directed to the Director of Mentorship, Brittany Lewchuk.
Written by: Kyra Droog
Kyra Droog is an Edmonton-based editor, writer, and Oxford comma enthusiast. She is a 3rd year Bachelor of Communication Studies student at MacEwan University, looking at entering the publishing field after graduation. You can find her communications/pop-culture/fitness-based blog at www.thehardybeatles.wordpress.com.