Kristine Gravelle-Rystenbil

Kristine Gravelle-Rystenbil
Grad Year: 
Art History
HR Advisor
Canadian Environment Assessment Agency (Federal Govt.)

Since graduating, Kristine Gravelle-Rystenbil has worked in graphic design, art records management, administration, and human resources. Currently, she works for the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency as an HR Advisor.

“In any position I've worked in, I’ve needed to meet tight deadlines, manage my time and maintain a balance between my job and my personal life,” says Kristine. “I’m continually improving my writing and language skills and need to think out-of-the box to develop methods and strategies for approaching new projects, writing assignments and on working effectively with different personality types.”

Kristine says the characteristics of someone who is successful in her field include a commitment to meeting deadlines, striving to produce quality results, flexibility, credibility, reliability, enthusiasm, respect for other people, computer literacy, and writing skills.

To find work, Kristine used newspapers, the Internet, employment agencies and word-of-mouth.

“I think I was hired because of my quality of work, my work ethics, enthusiasm and my flexibility. My Art and Art History degree in itself encouraged flexibility and out-of-the-box thinking; it also immersed me in the mindset of meeting multiple deadlines.” says Kristine.

Several key experiences assisted Kristine in making career choices. She used UTM Career Centre Resources for help in writing essays, she volunteered at Lislehurst functions, and rather than going on vacation during Reading Weeks, she sourced out work experience opportunities.

“Through these work experience opportunities, I figured out what jobs didn’t interest me and what personality types I didn’t want to work for. Upon graduation, my job search was more effective and more focused. Establishing a network of credible and reliable contacts was important,” she says. “When you’re looking for work, it helps to have a trusted bank of references both work and personal that can attest to your skills and abilities.”

If she could have done anything differently, Kristine says she might have interviewed UTM graduates to find out what jobs they got with their degree, monitored the Art and Art History field more closely (including trends and employment opportunities), and considered study and work experience abroad. She would have also studied abroad for one or two semesters.

“Employers need and like people who are enthusiastic, adaptable, willing to learn and capable of effectively performing a wide variety of functions with minimal supervision,” she says. “Since many skills are transferable from one job to another, continue learning after graduation. When you take courses to expand your skill base you become more employable. Computer literacy, proficient spelling and writing skills are a must."