This fall, Centre College’s Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD) launched five new programs aimed at preparing students for life after Centre. Already, the innovative programming is proving to be successful.
The programs mark the continuation of a commitment to “help students focus not just on their career development but on their professional development as well,” Director of the CCPD Joy Asher says.
The new “Career Chats” program connects students on the second Tuesday of each month with “industry insiders,” who discuss their occupation and give tips on breaking into their industry. Among the career fields featured this fall were publishing, industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology and sports psychology.
The “Emerging Professionals” series, which meets on the fourth Thursday of each month, brings employers and other professionals to campus to speak with students about topics related to professional development. Among the subjects covered in the series this fall were professional communication, internships, and professional résumé and curriculum vitae writing.
One programming addition targets students looking to explore career options early in their time at Centre. The Career KickStart program is designed for sophomores and affords students the opportunity to take the cutting-edge aptitude test YouScience. This test provides information on careers tailored to each student’s skills and interests, including powerful descriptive sentences about themselves to use on résumés and CVs as well as in interviews.
“Most students know that you need to ‘test-drive’ possible careers while at Centre before deciding what career to pursue upon graduation, but students sometimes struggle with identifying which careers would be a good fit with their interests, with their skills and innate abilities,” Asher explains. “That’s where Career KickStart comes in. YouScience gives students a starting point for career exploration and enables them to focus in on possible careers earlier and with better precision.”
Among the office’s new student-led initiatives are the peer educator and career ambassadors programs. Peer educators host office hours three days a week, offering instruction on how to write a résumé or cover letter as well as how to seek out internships and apply for Centre’s various internship funding. They also give presentations on career opportunities to interested clubs, professional groups and residence halls, among others. Student career ambassadors contribute to the office’s marketing strategies.
In addition, the CCPD overhauled the student job search booklet, which provides up-to-date information on networking, résumé and CV writing, interviewing and job searching.
“Professionalism skills, including networking, adapting to company culture and professional communication are crucial to workplace success,” Asher concludes. “However, many employers say that new, entry-level employees often lack these ‘soft’ skills. Our goal is to teach these skills to them while they’re still at Centre, so that they can hit the ground running upon graduation.”
by Hayley Hoffman ‘16
December 3, 2015