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Improve Your Career Planning in a New Business Course

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By Casen Combs
Senior Career & Educational Resource Specialist

Earning your degree is an important element in pursuing your career. But in the absence of proper career planning and maintenance, you may become frustrated and not reach your fullest potential. In the midst of the hustle and determination to become an expert in your field, taking the necessary steps to seek out career training and advice can be easily overlooked.

Start a management degree at American Public University.

For this reason, we are pleased to announce that students in the Dr. Wallace E. Boston School of Business have the opportunity to add career stewardship to their list of skills. By taking a new course called “Paving Your Career Path” (MGMT 316), you’ll learn many specific, time-tested principles of career navigation, such as how to plan your career path, conduct informational interviews, tailor your resume to specific positions and create a personal brand.

The Benefits of Taking a Course in Career Planning

Because this course is an elective, you may wonder if taking a class on career stewardship is strictly necessary. After all, with tuition to consider and a graduation date to work toward, signing up for an optional course could easily feel excessive. But this is where we in Career Services strongly encourage you to think twice.

Job searching has changed dramatically in recent years. Previously, you had to worry about writing an eye-catching resume that made it to the top of the pile on a hiring manager’s desk. These days, you must contend with creating a tailored resume compatible with the applicant tracking software (ATS) used by more than 98% of Fortune 500 companies. Resume tailoring is exactly the skill needed to make it past these artificially intelligent gatekeepers.

Social media has also changed the playing field. Seventy percent of employers are using social media to screen job candidates, and 61% are looking for information that supports a candidate’s qualifications for a job. Understanding how to successfully operate a personal brand and network virtually are now essential career planning skills.

While the internet contains scores of free information covering various aspects of the job search, we have taken what would inevitably be a disjointed, generic, and time-consuming undertaking for students and turned it into a structured, comprehensive class created specifically with your needs in mind. Just as learning to cook a soufflé via YouTube isn’t the same as learning from a chef, an accredited course on career stewardship could be the difference between a soaring career and a confusingly deflated one.

What to Expect from This Course

With the combined efforts of certified career coaches, professors, and educational resource specialists, the “Paving Your Career Path” course builds on the foundation of career exploration, beginning with self-assessment and a thorough industry analysis.

At the start of the course, you will learn how to easily find and use both historical and current data to identify average salaries, promotional paths, and lifestyle requirements for your chosen career. You can then determine how accurately that information aligns with your personal values, skills and goals. By the end of the first week, you’ll have a clearly defined career path ahead of you.

Once your career path is established, the course then moves into the topic of resumes, covering the various elements of private-sector and federal resumes. Cover letters, the best support to any good resume, will also be covered. Once you have conquered resumes and cover letters, you’ll learn how to ace various interview formats by developing preparation techniques and mastering the STAR method.

The networking modules in this course are particularly thorough, addressing both virtual and in-person networking opportunities. Other elements of the class include the use of social media and personal branding. In the final week, you’ll round out the course by learning how to negotiate your salaries and professionally decline offers.

After eight weeks, you will have a solid understanding of:

  • The elements of a powerful elevator pitch
  • Resume tailoring and its necessity in the job search process
  • The difference between various interview formats, such as stress interviews, behavioral interviews and panel interviews
  • How to network virtually (an increasingly valuable skill in a post-COVID-19 world)
  • The dos and don’ts of a personal or professional web presence
  • The role of professional organizations in your networking strategy

Most importantly, the lessons learned in “Paving Your Career Path” are ones that can be carried through an entire career, helping you land your first — and even your final — promotion. Sometimes taking one elective can make a world of difference.

Kick Up Your Career Planning a Notch

Career Services is proud to offer complimentary services to students and alumni, and it was with great excitement that we partnered with the Management Program in the Dr. Wallace E. Boston School of Business to develop this valuable course. After you pinpoint a career path and perform the appropriate research in this course, consider reaching out to a Career Coach for one-on-one career help. A coach can discuss career paths with you, review your newly tailored resume, conduct a mock interview or perform a review of your LinkedIn profile.

By the end of this course, you’ll be properly prepared to look for jobs. To find job opportunities with companies that our department has developed relationships with, use our university job board, CareerLink. If you are a current student or AMU/APU alumni, you can also attend our Virtual Career Fairs to chat with recruiters and apply to open positions.

Casen Combs has worked for the university since 2017. As Career Services Coordinator, Casen facilitated virtual events of varying size to encourage connections between students, alumni, employers and the Department of Career Services. She also conceptualized and ran the department social media strategy from 2017 until early 2020, acting as head content creator for all platforms. Most recently, Casen was promoted to Senior Career and Educational Resource Specialist and leads projects that produce career-related educational resources in a variety of formats. Casen received her bachelor of business administration degree with a concentration in music and entertainment marketing from Baylor University.

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