The room was full of Science students and BSc graduates who were looking to solve a popular predicament in the community – What to do with your BSc? Whether it was the dream of Medical School or Organic Chemistry that gave you “alkynes” of problems, you’re now wondering how to launch a successful career, achieve great things and still create impact in health care.
The event taught us that we are surrounded by opportunities. From IT and Product Development to Medical Illustration or Food Science, the possibilities for remarkable careers exist and it’s up to you to discover them. Be proactive in your search, embrace the journey and connect with people along the way, because relationships, experience and attitude are what take you places.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the event:
1. Network – The best way to expand your awareness on opportunities that exist is to open your network. Source and find the best, and most relevant networking events to you. If you search by keywords on Eventbrite or Meetup, you can find local health care events, workshops and conferences that will put you in front of professionals that gage your interest. You can also join various Professional Associations – whether that is by your demographic affiliation (Tamil, Woman, Canadian, South Asian etc.) or industry, there are hundreds of associations that serve your networking needs. What better way to tap into different opportunities than to meet people who are doing it everyday?
Today, studies show that up to 80% of jobs are never advertised – they are filled by word of mouth. So it is what you know, who you know and who knows you that matters.
A predominant myth that exists among many BSc graduates is that networking is for professionals in business. And this is completely untrue. Networking is at the core of developing professional connections to build relationships and advance your career, regardless of industry.
2. Mentor – If you have an idea of what you want to do, but are seeking some reassurance to see if it would be the right fit for you, find a mentor. There are many different approaches to securing a mentor. You can find one through a program like Paalam or source them yourself. Read this article on how one of our Directors leverages the power of LinkedIn to find mentors. At CTPA, our mentorship program is called Paalam (‘bridge’) for many reasons that attest to the power of mentorship. Finding a mentor could provide you with insights you did not know, reveal blind spots you could not see, strengths you have not developed, disciplines you have not built, opportunities you are missing to see and, of course, potential you are not understanding. Once you find a mentor, or two, you will discover how much valuable guidance and strategic direction can help your career.
3. Just take a job – There are numerous organizations seeking candidates with a background in Science for a job that is far removed from hospitals and lab rooms. There are also ones that work directly with patient care, clinics and hospitals. Sometimes you may never know what you are passionate about until you take a job or two. Try something new and step outside of your expectations. Think about why Co-op programs are so popular among undergraduate programs. They provide students with a glimpse of how real world jobs would be like. As Science graduates you need some real world experience as well, but narrow your search by focusing on the Health Care industry. For example, have you ever thought about Johnson & Johnson or Nymi? Both are tremendously different organizations, one in Consumer Goods and Pharmaceuticals, while the other is in Biometric Technology. The point here is that the opportunities are endless. It is completely up to you to seize them.
4. Internship programs – The government opens up internship opportunities for students in multiple industries every year, and Policy Development in Health Care is one of them. Start by looking up your province’s internship program and apply to see if there could be a fit. For example, Ontarians can find them here.
5. Volunteer – Volunteering is often a highly overlooked option but one that has taken many professionals from unpaid experiences to a highly rewarding career. Not only do you develop both technical and soft skills (depending on the roles you take on), you also meet other passionate and like-minded professionals. Your network grows and opportunities open up. Contact your local non-profits, conferences, research firms or doctors who are conducting research to inquire about volunteer opportunities. See what CTPA’s volunteers have to say about their experience here.
6. Post-Graduate Studies – Is there value to immediately completing your post-graduate studies right after an undergraduate degree? There are both the pros and cons, but it depends on what you are looking to achieve. Do not jump into post-graduate education as a means of landing a job. Although it looks great on paper, it is not the entry solution to a dream job. If you are however looking to learn more, or tap into a new career path by doing a Masters, there may be some value. The best advice here is to start by dipping your toes into some real world experience. If you end up finding a type of job that you enjoy, postgraduate studies can come after as a deeper dive.
The one thing all the panelists agreed on was that they all started with no idea about what they wanted to do. And this is absolutely normal – do not be afraid of not knowing. A part of figuring out your purpose is absorbing the learnings on the way.
A special thank you to Tamil Health Association for partnering with CTPA to host this workshop. We’re proud partners of community organizations that work together to uplift education, professional development and opportunities.
Check out more photographs from the event here.