New Program at Fairfield Dolan Builds Career Competencies for Graduate Students

New Program at Fairfield Dolan Builds Career Competencies for Graduate Students

program visual

The comprehensive Professional Development Series is the first of its kind for Fairfield graduate students and complements coursework using LinkedIn Learning.

This year, the Dolan Career Development Center launched a new Professional Development Series (PDS) for graduate students. A first-of-its-kind program at Fairfield, the purpose of the new graduate PDS is to offer Fairfield Dolan's grad students the opportunity to build professional skills to complement their coursework. The program was designed by Director of Career Development Sarah Bollinger, MEd, and uses the power of LinkedIn Learning, which offers online video courses taught by industry experts. Students can select the video courses that align best with their degrees, and those that include the latest topics in career and professional development, soft skills, and business operations/analysis.

Students complete the graduate PDS through a “microlearning” approach – progressing in short segments – which allows them to be in control of what they learn and when. This helps graduate students fit the program into their busy schedules; they can view quick one- to two-minute modules on their phones while waiting for an appointment or a class to start, for example. Upon completing a segment, LinkedIn issues digital badges which students can add to their LinkedIn profiles.

The graduate PDS focuses on the following key topics:

  • Resume and LinkedIn profile review
  • Professional networking with employers and alumni
  • Salary negotiation techniques
  • Interview strategies
  • Making a career change and managing your career
  • How to be promotable
  • Subject Matter Expert (SME) technical skills

While not a requirement for graduation, the program is highly recommended and Fairfield Dolan students who have completed the graduate PDS report feeling well-equipped to approach new job opportunities or to maximize current jobs.

“The resumé and LinkedIn profile reviews were great to have, going into my job search,” said Kerry Clarke ’18, MSBA’19. “Sarah Bollinger knew so many tips and tricks that helped my resumé and profile stand out against countless qualified candidates. The networking events were invaluable in my job search, and I got a job with PwC though a recruiter I met at the Business Analytics Showcase.”

In addition to participating in online video courses, participants in the graduate PDS program attend events to hear from industry leaders and network with local business professionals in their field. Events include the Etiquette Dinner, Dolan Lecture, Career Night, Dean’s Executive Forums, and more. Due in part to programs such as these, Fairfield Dolan reports that 95% of graduate students are employed within six months of graduating.

“The graduate PDS program was created to satisfy the career and professional needs of our diverse, talented, and driven graduate students,” said Bollinger. “Our graduate students and their motivations for pursuing an advanced degree vary greatly. Whether they recently graduated with undergraduate degrees, are looking to pivot into other careers, or want to advance their careers within their companies, the program provides them with the necessary resources needed to achieve their professional goals.”

Tags:  Dolan School,  Top Stories


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