|Loyalist Public Relations Student Derek Holota|
In the summer of 2015 I found myself sitting in the kitchen of my apartment in Calgary, coffee in hand, staring at my résumé.
I had lost my job a few weeks earlier after the price of oil plummeted. I had been working as an agency recruiter for the better part of two years, so I knew what it would take to find a new job, even in Calgary’s slowing job market. I thought this could be an opportunity to make the career change I had been thinking about.
Before I started updating and reformatting my résumé, I analyzed my skills. I asked myself, what do I know how to do? The answer to that question was sobering. Although I have a degree, I didn’t feel prepared to apply for the jobs that piqued my interest. I lacked the hands-on experience so many employers require.
I reached out to my network of family and friends to help me decide what to do next. Many of them had pursued a degree-to-diploma pathway when they faced a similar dilemma and found great success. So I decided to do the same and enrolled in the post-graduate Public Relations program at Loyalist College.
Once at Loyalist, I quickly saw that I was just one small part of an ever-growing trend of university graduates pursuing a college education.
“We’re seeing a lot more university students coming to the college to get that hands-on experience,” said Lyndsay Kerik, senior alumni and career services officer at Loyalist.
Staying competitive in the job market is the main reason so many university grads follow through with a degree-to-diploma pathway.
“There is a demand for workers who have a combination of technical training, formal education and ‘soft’ skills,” Kerik added.
After experiencing life at Loyalist, it’s easy to see why. The style of teaching at the college simply does not allow you to be anonymous. The faculty members were highly engaged in my learning and I had the opportunity to gain real-world experience by completing projects for local clients. There wasn’t a single day when I could (or wanted to) sit back and be a spectator. Coming from a university of 80,000 students, it was an adjustment to get used to that style of learning, but it’s better in every way. I now have a portfolio of highly employable skills, my network of industry contacts has increased exponentially and I’ve made dozens of new friends.
The degree-to-diploma pathway is a great option for university graduates to get their foot in the door. The combination of both a degree and diploma can really set one apart in the job market.
Loyalist has given me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and gain a whole new set of skills in an engaging environment. As I return to the workforce after completing the post-grad PR program at Loyalist, I feel confident and prepared to make an immediate impact in my next job.
For more information about Loyalist College’s post-graduate Public Relations program, click here.