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Learning as a Key to Skill Development

EACE contribution by Carol Crosby,Assistant Director in Career Services at Bridgewater State University.

crosby-college-student-laptop-360For those of you following my blogs about Bridgewater State University’s Student to Professional Project, in our first few months of this project, our office had completed the following steps:

  • Added the learning and practicing of professional skills to our mission statement;
  • Surveyed employers, faculty and staff to determine these skills;
  • Established 28 skills as necessary for our students’ professional development;
  • Began to review our materials, programming, and on-line presence for opportunities for skill development.

As we reviewed our current work with students, we realized that observation was probably not enough for learning development; our students need a variety of opportunities to learn these skills while in college.

As I mentioned in my last blog, we decided to look first at the skill set we referred to as Social Media Professionalism.  At that point, we communicated to students via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn but we didn’t always intentionally instruct students on the professional use of these sites.  In a group meeting, our career counselors brainstormed how we could insert the learning of social media professionalism into materials, on-line presence, and programming.  To date, we have completed the following projects that were conceptualized during that meeting:

  • We added more detailed information to our Job Search guide that provides instruction on social media professionalism and presence.
  • We also added information regarding social media professionalism to our Networking guide that instructed on appropriate communication and presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites.
  • We developed a webpage for students preparing to network on LinkedIn that offers samples of appropriate language for on-line requests for networking and a sample of a professional-looking LinkedIn student profile. Now counselors can send a student an e-mail immediately after their appointment with details from the appointment and a link to this webpage.
  • We coordinated a LinkedIn Photobooth during Career Fairs that produces professional photos for students to add to their social media sites.

What I feel is exciting about this approach is that it is intentional.  We, as an office, are no longer just innovating or enhancing our work, materials, and programming randomly.  We are selecting a specific skill set and finding ways to teach our students how to develop or enhance the skills within that set.

So, we now have added another step to our list for those offices wishing to develop a Student to Professional Project on your campus:

Developing a Student to Professional Project in your own Career Services Office

  1. Add the learning and practicing of professional skills to your office’s mission statement;
  2. Survey employers, faculty and staff in your community to determine these skills;
  3. Create a list of skills necessary for your students’ professional development;
  4. Review your office’s materials, on-line presence and programming for missing opportunities for skill development.
  5. Intentionally create active learning opportunities for specific skill development.

In my next blog, I will show you how we are expanding opportunities for students to practice skill development.

 

Carol Crosby

Carol Crosby

Carol Crosby is Assistant Director in Career Services at Bridgewater State University.  She has also worked in Student Affairs at Wesleyan University, University of Connecticut, and Brandeis University.  She received her M.S. in College Student Personnel from University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English from Wheaton College.  You can connect with her through LinkedIn or by e-mailing her at ccrosby@bridgew.edu

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