July 19, 2024

Advancing Business Excellence

Pioneering Corporate Success

Top career development tips from the What Works Podcast

Alyssa standing outside of Stan Grad building

What Works is a podcast series that provides insider insights and guidance to support career development for SAIT graduates. The podcast is hosted by SAIT alumni Alyssa Athanasopoulos (Radio, Television and Broadcast News ‘09). Her varied career path has led her to her current role as an Alumni Engagement Officer here at SAIT.

Supporting students and making connections are major themes in Athanasopoulos’ career journey. She attended an extra year at SAIT to serve as Vice President, Student Life at the SAIT Students’ Association. After graduating, she earned a degree in Communications at the University of Calgary. Her education laid the foundation for diverse roles in marketing, corporate communications and student recruitment. 

Athanasopoulos has grown and evolved in her career because of the connections she’s made within her industry. Her best advice for new grads breaking into the job market is to build your network. “It’s not something you can necessarily quantify, but it’s invaluable because it can open up doors down the road,” she says.

Every episode of What Works features experts and established graduates who share advice and experiences to help current students and alumni generate career momentum after graduation. Here are just a few of the top career development tips from the SAIT alumni interviewed in the latest season of What Works.

Photo of Rigel Raju

Rigel Jose Raju, Venture Capital Associate – Bachelor of Business Administration ‘21
🔊 Bonus episode: Setting the stage for your career

“Take action and adopt a growth mindset. Don’t wait for a sign. Don’t fear failure. Just take that step—whatever it is, no matter how small it is. Do something that scares you a little bit with the intention of learning something through the experience. You don’t have to succeed. Just focus on what you’ve learned in the process.”

portrait photo of Tiana Henderson

Tiana Henderson, People Operations Generalist – Bachelor of Business Administration ‘22
🔊 Handling rejection and accepting an offer

“I know it’s daunting and it can feel like it’s not your place to negotiate your pay—especially if it’s your first real job. Go in with the mindset that it never hurts to ask. I recommend doing market research. There’s a margin companies have for salaries and they’re usually willing to negotiate within that range. Don’t forget that you can also negotiate on benefits and vacation time, which are often overlooked.”

Photo of Drew Purdy

Drew Purdy, Data Analyst – Data Analytics ‘21
🔊 Nailing your next interview  

“Show that you’re willing to learn, that you have a genuine interest in the role and that you’ll put in the time and energy to grow—alongside demonstrating that you have some of the hard skills required for the job. Employers are looking for someone to invest in, not just your experience. I didn’t have much formal experience from previous jobs, so I leaned hard on the angle of being a lifelong learner.”

Carla Matt photo

Carla Matt, Field Engineer – Bachelor of Science in Construction Project Management ‘21
🔊 Optimizing your resumé (and cover letter)

“Find someone who can critique your resumé. I went to Career Advancement Services at SAIT and they helped me tailor my resumé with the keywords and information that human resources (HR) is looking for. Highlight your best features first on your resumé. If the hiring manager sees that you have education and experience, they’re going to read more. Highlight the fact that you’re either within a program or that you’ve completed it and you’re gaining the experience you need for the role.”

Kori Ford photo

Kori Ford, Content Fulfillment Manager – Geomatics Engineering Technology 2017, Bachelor of Applied Technology Geographic Information Systems ‘18
🔊 Networking essentials 

“Work at getting over the fear that the people you’re networking with are judging you. At the end of the day, you need to remember that anyone you talk to is just a person. Five years ago, that person would have been in the same class as you. Try to relax and be genuine with them. These people aren’t as serious as you think they are in your head.”


What Works started on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The series, like many other programs, was temporarily paused. From 2021 through 2022, the series moved to a virtual format until its latest evolution to a podcast, hosting SAIT experts and inviting SAIT graduates to share their career experiences and tips. 

Explore more What Works