New Professional Development Series Builds Career Competencies for Graduate Students

New Professional Development Series Builds Career Competencies for Graduate Students

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The comprehensive program complements graduate coursework using LinkedIn Learning delivered in short segments to fit any busy schedule.

This year, the Dolan Career Development Center launched a new graduate professional development program. A first-of-its kind series for graduate students at Fairfield, the purpose of the program is to offer Dolan graduate students the opportunity to build professional skills to complement what they are already learning through coursework. The Graduate Professional Development Series (PDS) Program, designed by Director Sarah Bollinger, MEd, 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 include the latest topics in career and professional development soft skills and business operations/analysis.

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

The program focuses on the following key professional development 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 students report feeling well equipped to approach a new job opportunity or to maximize their current job.

“The resume 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 resume 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, graduate students attend Dolan signature events to hear from industry leaders or to 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 this, 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 Sarah Bollinger. “Our graduate students and their motivations for pursuing an advanced degree vary greatly. Whether they recently graduated with an undergraduate degree, are looking to pivot into another career, or want to advance their career within their company, the program provides them with the necessary resources needed to achieve their professional goals.”

Tags:  Dolan School


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