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Professional Skills for Material Resources

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

Professional Skills for Material Resources

In my last blog, I provided an example of our office’s efforts to add professional skill building to our social media sites.  We had, at that point, also added professional skills to our workshops and programs.

Our Career Services Office has one more source of information available to BSU students – our paper guides.  BSU students covet these guides.  The environmentalist in me shudders and encourages online resources; but I can’t tell you how many times a student has come to an appointment with a dog-eared and red-marked guide in hand. 

So I convened a meeting with our counseling staff to discuss adding more skill development to our guides.   Based on our discussions over the past few weeks regarding the Student to Professional Project, we all quickly concluded that networking skills was the area least represented in our materials.

We had a networking guide, but it was written a number of years ago.  Since it was written, and as a part of our work through the Student to Professional Project, we had added Twitter, Facebook, an on-line LinkedIn alumni networking site, a LinkedIn Photobooth during our job and internship fairs, and a Networking Mocktail Party.  We now needed a guide that mirrored where the students were – online – and provided details and samples of professional etiquette for all venues for networking.

So during that meeting, we used our list of professional skills we had developed (see my 4th blog in this series for the full list) to help us brainstorm the skills that students needed to network both in-person and online.

The following provides you with examples from our session:

Professional Skills Needed to Network Off and Online

  • Verbal Communication: The ability to give an elevator speech, verbally request an informational interview, engage a recruiter at a job fair, steer a conversation with a professional toward careers, conduct an informational interview

 

  • Professional Writing: The ability to request in writing an informational interview and write an effective thank you letter

 

  • Social Media Professionalism: The ability to add a discussion on LinkedIn, message a LinkedIn alumni appropriately, request in writing an informational interview, tweet in a professional manner

From our list, we were able to not only organize a new networking guide, but this process made writing the guide easier.

Once again, our Student to Professional Project with its list of skills simplified our efforts to fulfill our mission, this time when revamping or developing informational materials for students.

Now we have completed five steps to developing a Student to Professional Project in your office.

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 and practicing opportunities for specific skill development.

Now we need to ensure that the system is working – through assessment.  In my next blog, I will address how we assessed whether our students were learning and practicing these skills.

 

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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