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“Conversations with a Career Coach” offers UCalgary alumni tips to prepare for next steps

By Krishna Shetye, January 18 2020—

Leaving the comfortable nest of academia and education can be very intimidating for students who are suddenly thrust into the job market and left to fend for themselves. To give guidance and an opportunity to plan and help advance student careers, two UCalgary Alumni Career Coaches will be hosting “Conversations with a Career Coach,” on Jan. 25 from 12-1 p.m.

According to Carol Wert, one of the coaches, this event is a virtual open forum discussion where students can ask questions related to, but not limited to, the “job market, resumes, interviews and networking.”

As the Associate Director of Alumni Career Development, Wert will be moderating this event with Brian Palmer, a career coach with “more than 14 years of experience in the consulting and energy industries.” Palmer, known as a “resident career coach,” for UCalgary alumni, will be the primary facilitator.

The virtual program, piloted in March 2020, now occurs on a monthly basis after a successful debut.

“This is the only program that is an exclusively open forum and that doesn’t have a presentation or particular topic that it focuses on,” said Wert. But generally, topics typically discussed during the hour-long program tend to include advice for students and grads just breaking into the job market and those who want to “pivot their careers.”

According to Wert, “Conversations with a Career Coach,” has been popular since its launch, even occasionally partnering with career services to focus on specific student/graduate needs. The program has always been virtual and despite the difficult situation brought on by the pandemic, Wert noted that “all virtual programming [done] out of the alumni office since March has been extremely well received and we have seen a dramatic increase in attendance.

“This shows us that continuing to offer a blend of virtual and in-person programming in the future will be valuable and important. Virtual programming has offered flexibility for participants to attend easily from wherever they are in the world.”

Although not all questions can be answered on the spot, Wert mentioned that the program provides excellent references to other UCalgary services to focus on specific student inquiries. One such service is the UCalgary Mentor Link, a “digital platform that makes it easy for UCalgary students and alumni to build connections through informal mentorship activities including career conversations, industry insights, professional development advice and networking opportunities.”

Wert spoke highly of the program.

“Students can benefit from the experience of alumni and for students or new grads, this is very valuable,” she said.

This upcoming program is a great way for alumni to have some preparation for this new chapter of their lives. Wert encouraged people to attend and also offered some words of support for future UCalgary graduates.

“Students are our Future Alumni and alumni are eager to help students.”

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