Conference Aims to Educate Arts Students on How to Find a Job After Graduation

The NEXT: Arts Student Employment Conference will focus on networking, job finding, and making the most out of having a BA

Dr. Kristie Dukewich, Psychology professor at KPU, faculty lead and one of the organizers of the Arts Student Employment Conference at the KPU Surrey Campus. (Nicole Gonzalez Filos)

Arts students are often unsure of how they will find a job after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Unfortunately, there are a few things Google can’t tell you about networking and what to say when employers ask about your education. 

To help fill those gaps, students can consider attending the NEXT: Arts Student Employment Conference.

The conference, which is returning to KPU for its second year, is a free event available to KPU arts students on Oct. 1 in the Surrey campus Spruce Atrium. 

The event will feature a number of small workshops, including one hosted by KPU psychology instructor Dr. Kristie Dukewich, who will talk about ways graduates can get a job after earning their degree. A second workshop will focus on networking and will be hosted by Michele Matthysen, Director of the KPU Career Centre. The last workshop will be hosted by Candy Ho, a member of the Educational Studies faculty. It will cover what students should say when potential employers ask about their education.

Dukewich, who is one of the organizers of the conference, says that many students believe that they won’t be able to get a job with “just a BA.” She hopes to prove them wrong.

“It’s the experience that gets them that better job, not [receiving] another degree,” says Dukewich, who adds that she sometimes had a hard time finding full-time employment even after achieving an undergraduate degree, a Masters degree, a Ph.D., a PostDoc in neurology, and a PostDoc in teaching. 

KPU arts students will also learn about networking and how they can apply those skills when searching for jobs or volunteer opportunities. 

“We want to communicate to students that networking is really important. I think the business [faculty] does a really good job of telling their students that networking is probably how they’re going to get a job,” says Dukewich. 

“But I don’t think we do that good of a job of communicating that to students in the arts. It’s going to be a matter of who you know when you are going to get a job.”

The first 25 students who register online will get a chance to win free business cards adorned with the KPU logo and the student’s name and contact information.

There will also be a free “power lunch” for students who register online, giving them a chance to practice their networking skills and check out volunteer positions and employment opportunities.

“I tell students in my classes all the time, ‘You can go to the KSA, start a student group, a Star Trek appreciation club, make yourself president and put it on your resume and it looks good,'” says Dukewich. 

“Students who do that sort of thing, they often don’t put it on their resume, [but it] still communicates to employers that they are engaged and that they are motivated, and that’s really attractive.”

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