By Jacquelyn Heidegger, Coordinator Senior, Career and Professional Development Services, ASU
Employers are looking for candidates that have developed career competencies and transferable skills, and while many seek out candidates who have completed an internship, they’re also interested in your academic program, leadership experience, work history, involvement and more*.
Why do employers care so much about skills and experience? First and foremost, they want to hire someone that has the tools to be successful in the job, at the organization and in the industry. Employers are hoping to find someone who is invested in the work they are doing, and they can glean this by looking at the time you have put into building your knowledge, expertise and network.
Below are eight professional development tips that all Sun Devils should consider:
1. Take your academics seriously
It’s not enough to go to class. Engage, reflect, ask questions and utilize your academic community as a professional network to learn from. Treat every project or assignment as an chance to grow your technical skills and career competencies. Go to non-required sessions and schedule time with your faculty.
2. Seek out (and engage in) events
There is always something happening within the Sun Devil community. Find events related to your academic program or college, career interests, skills you are hoping to build and topics you want to learn about. The ASU Event calendar and Handshake are great places to start, but you should also look for events in the greater community. Make sure to engage and network with peers, faculty/staff, alumni, employers and other professionals at the event.
3. Connect with Professional Associations related to your Career Interest Community
Seek out professional associations that align with your Career Interest Community. Professional associations provide you with the opportunity to learn more about job functions and industries of interest and to network with professionals already in the field. Most professional associations have virtual learning resources, in-person conferences for networking and professional development, and committees you can join for leadership, networking and work experience.
4. Join a student organization and engage in student leadership
Student organizations are another great way to get connected with fellow students with similar interests and explore a variety of topics that interest you. Many student organizations bring in industry professionals to speak at meetings, host career-related events and offer professional development opportunities. Check SunDevilSync for more information on joining student organizations. Once you are a general member, you can explore the opportunity to hold a leadership position to further increase your learning and professional development.
5. Seek out on-campus employment or a part-time job off-campus
Whether you are building skills off or on campus, on-the-job training is fantastic professional development. Work to seek out a part-time opportunity that is related to your future goals or will help you develop your career competencies. Reflect often about what you have learned and work to have frequent conversations with your supervisor about your growth as a professional.
6. Get an internship
Quality internships are intentional learning experiences designed to help you gain relevant work experience and explore potential career pathways. You’ll have the support of a dedicated supervisor and projects designed to help you develop technical skills and career competencies.
7. Network and find mentors
Build and expand your professional network in order to seek advice and mentorship from a variety of sources, including peers, faculty and staff, alumni, employers and industry professionals. Not sure where to start? Informational Interviews are a low-risk, high-reward opportunity for you to engage in a short conversation about another professional’s career pathway. You can also use the ASU Mentor Network to find mentors connected to your Career Interest Community.
8. Learn on-demand
Looking to learn a specific skill? Create your own learning experience online.
Career & Professional Development Services has a YouTube channel with a variety of short videos aimed to help you develop your career competencies and other career-related topics
Lynda.com offers online courses to help you develop and strengthen technical skills
Ted Talks offer short videos on a focused topic from influencers in a variety of industries
LinkedIn provides you with the opportunity to share your professional brand, build your network, and stay up-to-date with your industry by following employers and influencers that matter to you
Looking to strategize how to take ownership of your professional development? Schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor to discuss how you can explore career pathways, build skills and experience and prepare for future opportunities.