By: J. Neal Isaac, PhD
University students not only want to gain a sense of academic accomplishment from completing their degrees, but they also want to know that their academic degrees will increase their opportunities of landing a fulfilling career that is related to their field of study. With a multitude of social and academic activities confronting them during college, a student may ask “how do I prioritize? What is an optimal plan I can implement to maximize my career readiness at the time of graduation?” Dr. J. Neal Isaac, Associate Vice Chancellor at Keiser University offers five top ways a university student can maximize their career development during their time as a student.
1. Know the Student Services Staff. Get to know the various staff members in the Student or Career Services Department early. From the first day or week of enrollment, get to know the staff hours of operation. Stop by their offices during your academic journey (often) to ask questions about career trends, on-campus recruitment, job fairs, mock interview schedules, or how to get involved on campus. Express your gratitude.
2. Keep Track of the Career Fairs. Attend all career fairs. Dress for success even if you are a new student attending only as an inquirer. At all junctures of your education, maximize your opportunities with employers. Even as a freshman, you can talk to employers and learn about various jobs, hiring trends, the companies’ cultures, anticipated hiring needs in the future, etc. Nearing graduation (in the six months before graduation), a greater sense of urgency should arise within the student. This soon-to-be graduate should go to career fairs dressed for success along with copies of a professional resume (and even a portfolio of accomplishments related to the specific career area such as certifications, letters of recommendation, honors, etc.
3. Know the Resources that are Available. Ask yourself, does the Student or Career Services Department have an online career center where I may access the job database? If so, may I upload my resume and portfolio on this career site? Most universities do offer this, and a great example is the online career center at Keiser University viewable at www.collegecentral.com/keiser . The online career center may offer such items as a video resource library, job database, list of area career fairs, etc. Other resources may include a mock interview schedule, a list of internships available, overseas cultural exchange programs, or other professional development programs such as Keiser University’s Leadership Distinction Program whereby students commit to participating in community service as well as attending an array of extra-curricular professional development seminars on such topics as “Resume Writing,” “Job Search Using Technology,” “Civic Responsibility” and “Interviewing.”
4. Join and/or Attend Professional Associations, Honor Societies, or Student Organizations. There are often clubs or organizations that students can join associated with the various academic programs/degrees such as SOTA (Student Occupational Therapy Association), SNA (Student Nursing Association). There are honor societies such as PTK (Phi Theta Kappa honor society), or SBD (Sigma Beta Delta – business honor society). There are other groups such as SGA (Student Government Association). All of these groups help with building networking and professional development skills.
5. Personal Behaviors. Always strive to have perfect attendance, dress in a professional manner, be punctual, strive to get involved, and offer a helping hand. Those students who begin to see themselves as being able to make a difference will start making a difference. What you practice in school gets noticed. What you practice becomes a professional pattern that makes you shine.
J. Neal Isaac, Ph.D. is Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services at Keiser University. He has worked in higher education for thirty years. He is a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers as well as a member of the National Career Development Association.
The Design program at Keiser University was filled with real world learning and hands on instruction… Based on the portfolio I created while a student at Keiser University, I landed a job in Graphic Design for a major online retailer immediately after graduation.
The year and a half I spent in the program better prepared me for attaining a job in the field…As a hands-on learner, the project-centered teaching was perfect for me.
Keiser University has given me the opportunity to embrace a career change… It has opened the door for a timely graduation and quick return to the work force…
Without the education I received at Keiser University, I would not be where I am today!
I not only received an excellent education but also encouragement and training that built my self-confidence every day.
I realize the amount of knowledge I gained and feel that the educational experiences have developed me in to a person who can move higher up the career ladder.
Keiser University’s MBA program has renewed my mind, changed the way I think, and given me a new sense of purpose. The professors transformed my attitude and behavior, gave me the self-confidence I was lacking, and restored my energy.
It has been great attending and graduating from Keiser University. Because of the small class sizes, I was able to build good relationships with classmates and professors. The PA professors care very much about the progress and success of the students and have been great advisors every step of the way through the program.
Attending Keiser University and getting my degree was the best decision I have ever made. The small class sizes and personalized attention helped me get my degree quickly. The hands-on experience and the education landed me a job at a neighboring law firm.
I chose Keiser because it had everything—small classes, caring professors, hands-on learning, and counselors that are really there for you. I feel like I’m part of a family here, not just a number.
After being denied for several promotions at my current employer, I decided that I needed to further my education. Since graduating from Keiser with my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, I have been promoted and I am able to obtain positions that weren’t available to me before.
Keiser helped change my life by getting my education at the right school! I have been going to another school before, dropped out because I felt that I was not getting enough information that I need. When I found out about Keiser, I was pleased because the instructors were great.
My decision to attend Keiser University has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I chose to enroll in the Information Technology program… The one-class-a-month pace helped incredibly with my self-discipline.
The BA for Business Administration at Keiser has to be one of the best in the nation. Keiser takes the basics that are taught at the Associates level and uses them to strengthen your skills and knowledge.
I found that Keiser University’s Nuclear Medicine program of advanced studies and small class size was a perfect fit. I never came across a faculty member who wasn’t truly interested.