How to expand your career opportunities – Industry Mentoring Program

Over the past few days, I’vePicture been speaking to grad recruiters about the qualities they seek in the ideal candidate. I’ve also run into some students who are currently going through the application process and feeling frustrated after submitting over fifty applications. Whether you are a first year student or in your final weeks, it may not be that simple to walk into the perfect job. Sometimes you will get led down a path you didn’t expect and end up learning skills you never even imagined. As the mid semester break starts, consider what Griffith provides to enhance your employment prospects

Every year, the Careers and Employment team run the Industry Mentoring Program which matches students to mentors in their field and it offers an invaluable opportunity to expand your networks.

Garry Smith, owner of Jamhouse Creative is a Griffith industry mentor and provides many students with practical advice on breaking into the music industry. “While it’s getting harder and harder to make a living in the traditional ways, a student can be introduced to thoughts and ideas based on real life experience and hindsight they otherwise may not get”.  Spanning nearly three decades, Garry is a well-respected music and advertising figure and has worked as a composer, arranger, writer and director and produced many very successful advertising campaigns, television series, short films and live shows. As an industry mentor, he guides students to understand their goals but also helps them understand that their careers may not always run in a straight line. “I help students discover a pathway to making some of the goals come to fruition but understanding what they think is important today may be unimportant tomorrow as new trends emerge”.

As a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium in 2012, Georgia McDonald was mentored by Garry who she still works with now and he recently produced her debut EP, Charcoal. She says, “The Industry Mentoring program was the most beneficial thing that came from my studies because it gave me experience of what it’s like out there in the real world”. Under Garry’s mentorship, Georgia quickly realised that textbooks provided only one side of what she needed and the Industry Mentoring Program allowed her to build networks and connections with experienced professionals in her field which could also become her references (contacts) for future employment.  She encourages students to “never be afraid to learn new things and gaining knowledge really only begins after you receive your ‘piece of paper’”.

So as a current student, what are the top tips Garry and Georgia believe the Industry Mentoring Program can provide you towards gaining employment?

  • Start and keep networking! Always be building new networks but respect and nurture the old ones and keep in touch with your uni group;
  • Develop a hard-working and strong work ethic towards everything you do;
  • Have fun along the way. Make sure you say yes to opportunities, explore new areas and follow your instincts;
  • Be resilient. Life is not always easy but the ability to bounce back from difficult times can help you learn new things along the way that may make you desirable to an employer you had never considered;
  • Do what it takes to get your foot in the door but always be respectful;
  • Listen to those around you and take their guidance and experience on board;
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – it is how you learn.

Mentors are still available across all campuses for Semester 2 2014. Visit the Industry Mentoring Program website to read mentor profiles, and apply online.

If you have any questions, contact industrymentoringprogram@griffith.edu.au or phone 07 3735 3568.



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