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Soft Skills Training for Graduate Students: Networking Skills and Exploring Careers Outside Academia

Event details:

The Institute for Pandemics (IfP) invites University of Toronto graduate students for a special soft skills workshop to further develop their networking skills and meet representatives from non-academic organizations to learn about and discuss career options in their sectors.

About the workshop

Establishing genuine connections in both your personal and professional circles is a crucial asset during your job search journey. Research indicates that a mere 20 percent of job positions are filled through external hiring, leaving a substantial 80 percent unadvertised externally, often being occupied through network connections. Consequently, networking should hold a pivotal role in your job search strategy, complementing your resume, cover letter, and skill enhancement efforts.

Networking empowers you to approach informational interviews with curiosity and opens doors to a diverse array of job opportunities that may not be publicly posted. This process not only expands your professional horizons but also provides valuable insights into your own strengths and how you fit into the broader professional landscape.

In this session, we will explore the tangible benefits of networking, including access to valuable insights and job opportunities.

Following the networking presentation, attendees will have an opportunity to practice their networking skills by meeting with representatives from invited non-academic organizations to learn about the careers opportunities that exist within their sectors.

Key learning outcomes

Participants will leave the workshop with:

  • A foundational understanding of networking principles, including key concepts, strategies, and best practices, enabling them to effectively initiate and sustain professional connections.
  • Practical networking skills, such as crafting an elevator pitch, active listening, and effective communication for various networking scenarios.
  • Knowledge of how to strategically build and maintain a strong online presence through platforms like LinkedIn to help showcase skills, achievements, and aspirations.
  • An understanding of career options available to master’s and PhD graduate in a variety of sectors

Invited Guests

About the presenter

Garry Curnew is a seasoned professional with a diverse educational background and extensive experience in corporate recruitment and organizational development. He holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology from Mount Allison University and a Bachelor's in Adult Education from Brock University.  He recently completed his Master's in Adult Education and Community Development from the University of Toronto.

With a foundation in psychology and adult education, Garry has dedicated several years to the field of corporate recruitment, honing his skills in talent acquisition and management. Before joining Rotman Commerce, Garry played a pivotal role at Rogers Communications for eight years where he managed the Corporate-wide performance management process and held a key position in leadership and organizational development helping build and run an internal training program for people managers.

Currently serving as a Relationship and Program Manager at Rotman Commerce, Garry wears multiple hats. In addition to his corporate relations responsibilities, he serves as a dedicated career coach, providing personalized guidance to students as they navigate their professional journeys.

Headshot of Garry Curnew
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