Career, and success in career, is a developmental process. Few of us show up to college with the top leadership skills employers seek, or even a clue about how to behave in professional settings. Networking, interviewing, elevator pitches, and “business professional attire” are words and phrases that start to pop-up around the time we get to college. To most, it’s like learning a new language. So, when you’re already busy learning an ACTUAL new language or calculus or Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages, professional etiquette may seem low on your priority list. Then, just as you’re settling into your semester, it starts.

The professors start mentioning it in classes. Posters and advertisements show up around campus or on your Twitter feed (sorry, the CLDC persistent). The Career & Internship Fair is coming – an opportunity to meet with employers offering jobs and internships right on your campus. You know it’s worth your time, but the reality of preparing is daunting. That’s where the experts come in. Learning professionalism is not unlike learning…well, anything. You need a seasoned professional to guide you through the basics.

In an effort to provide lessons in professionalism basics, the Career & Leadership Development Center, the College of Business, Connect, and Kohl’s Department Stores organized a week of professionalism for students beginning February 9th. Prepare for the Fair consists of four workshops – spanning a variety of subjects – led by industry professionals and CLDC staff.

YOGO – You Only Get One Chance to Make a First Impression (Monday, February 9th) will be led by Ohio University alums. They’ll focus on everything from resumes to professional etiquette. The purpose is to help you develop a professional persona and communicate it to employers.

Networking 101 (Wednesday, February 11th) will finally answer the initial question that everyone has when first hearing that word, “What is networking?!” Quickly followed by, “And, why should I care?” In a nutshell, it’s building relationships. Networking is realizing your goals by helping people achieve their own.

Mock Interview Day (Thursday, February 12th) is the perfect chance to get interview jitters out of your system before the real thing. Learn from corporate recruiters – they’ve seen it all – and gain networking experience in the process (two birds, one stone).

Finally, all the professional etiquette, networking and interviewing skills, will go right out the window if you show up looking like a “college kid.” This year the CLDC partnered with Kohl’s Department Stores to develop Dress for Success (Friday, February 13th), a straightforward workshop about how to dress professionally on a budget. Certainly that quality suit is a worthwhile investment, but often it’s out of reach until after the first couple paychecks. Learn to put together a professional look that doesn’t break the bank. Kohl’s also went above and beyond by offering $300 in giveaways. Attend the workshop to learn and win!

Learning professionalism takes time, but it doesn’t have to be done independently. Your Career & Leadership Development Center is always here to help. At CLDC, we understand that everyone starts somewhere. We work with your level of knowledge and skill to help you fulfill your promise and reach your highest professional aspirations.

Erika is the assistant director of employer relations and marketing for the CLDC.
Erika is the assistant director of employer relations and marketing for the CLDC.

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