Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
Rowan University’s Office of Career Advancement will be launching a one-credit seminar in the College of Education during the upcoming academic year that is designed to help higher education students strengthen competencies and become career ready.
The course is the result of collaboration between Office of Career Advancement Assistant Director Ruben Britt and the College of Education. It will help these students clear several of the obstacles they have been encountering.
“We are partnering with the College of Education because our data and feedback from various school districts in the region show that our students who are graduating in the field of education have well-written resumes, but they do not interview well,” explains Shirley Farrar, career counselor.
“These students were lacking some of the core competencies that national programs such as NACE have established.”
The semester-long, still-unnamed career development course will cover career exploration and management, networking, interviewing techniques, job-search strategies and resources, professionalism in the workplace, and other pertinent career planning areas.
“Students who take this course will be well equipped to go into an interview for employment,” Farrar says.
“Beyond that, it will give them the skills and know-how to manage their careers and conduct future job searches. Our partners in the College of Education believe that this particular cohort of students can benefit from this course because, while some people assume that graduates can obtain their next employment opportunity simply because they have a degree, this is definitely not true.”
Britt will teach the career development course. He points out that it will also help students better understand their career options.
“There are students who are completing their student teaching and then decide that they don’t want to teach,” Britt explains.
“They get stressed out because that’s all they know and everything they have done has been to prepare them to teach. We will provide graduate students with key tools and information on how they can explore other career opportunities.”
Farrar and Britt offer several suggestions to their colleagues for creating, launching, and growing a career development course:
- Start small—Target a particular department or college first. Develop strong relationships with department heads and faculty to build an understanding of the challenges their students face and then support their needs. When other colleges see the positive impact of the initial program, they will be more likely to buy in.
- Have a plan of action to grow—When presenting your proposal, share information about what the course will cover. Support your proposal with data about the need for this course and, if available, the impact it has had and testimonials that support its effectiveness.
- Customize the information for the audience—As Britt explains, the resume of education majors and their professional attire are different than those of other majors. Sometimes engineering majors are told to dress business casual for interviews. However, individuals with teaching degrees should dress in a conservative business suit. Reflect these nuances specific to certain majors in your course for that particular college.
Following their own recommendations, Britt and Farrar say that once the career development course is established and successful in the college of education, they plan to expand it to other colleges at Rowan University.