School teaches you the essentials of your profession. But what about those unspoken details one needs to pay attention to when entering into the professional world? What are small things one should know when transitioning to the corporate world? The IEEE Young Professionals Toronto team organized the Professional Development Series to answer just that. The team hosted a series of three workshops to address the challenges that arise when introduced to a new working environment and to educate participants on three matters that play a significant role in the working life that are never taught in university. All three workshops were held at the University of Toronto on consecutive Mondays in September, and successfully gathered 70 people who participated in one or more of the events.
Up until the point where we are finished with school and in the work force, we have not yet faced the necessity of dressing in a specific manner that is considered “appropriate.” In acknowledgement of this fact, the IEEE Young Professionals Toronto team welcomed two personal fashion stylists, Kamilla and Nora, for the first workshop named “Dress to Impress.” The two ladies presented all that a young professional should know about how to dress in a corporate environment in order to project the right image. What is considered to be “business formal?” What is defined as “business casual?” What is appropriate for the business environment and what is an ultimate faux pas? By the end of the evening, not only were our participants style connoisseurs, but they also had the opportunity to network and mingle with each other.
Just a week later the team brought in a tasty buffet dinner for the second session titled “Dining Etiquette!” When in a corporate or even an advanced academic environment, occasions often arise where we’re invited to business dinners or conference lunches, all of which are situations that require eating in public and performing it in style. And what better way is there to learn how to hold your fork and knife properly, than to enjoy a delicious meal while you’re at it? Osman, our guest speaker, was more than happy to show to us how many things indeed we did not know about the dining status quo. By the end of the evening, the participants were well fed and enlightened on the best practices of public dining and also got to know a few more things about their fellow diners as they had to share with everyone one thing they learned about the people sitting at the same table.
And last but not least, the team offered participants a networking 101 with plenty of tips and tricks on how to effectively expand your network and build significant and lasting human relationships on a personal and professional level. Our amazing guest speaker, David, addressed networking as both an art and a science, and shared some great insight and advice on how to make the most of our relationships with people. His enthusiasm about people and on how interesting we all are was a true inspiration for everyone and motivated us to keep meeting more. And of course, at the end of the presentation, the participants had the opportunity to do just that.
Overall, the Professional Development Series was a success. The IEEE Young Professionals Toronto team received great feedback and comments from participants encouraging us to continue the good work by organizing more useful events in the future as well as giving us excellent food for thought on event ideas that would be of interest to them. We’re all very excited with this success and look forward to having everybody back for bigger and better events to come. Stay tuned!
For a full set of photos from Professional Development Series, check out the Facebook albums here: Part 1 – Dress to Impress, Part 2 – Dining Etiquette, and Part 3 – How To Network Like A Boss. You can also view the follow-up video here.
Article contributed by Maria Attarian, incoming 2015 IEEE Young Professionals Toronto Chair