Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Approach Of Career Services To Student Learning Activities And Assessments

In today’s competitive job market, employers tell us they are looking for well-rounded candidates. The degree gets them in the door, but a student’s transferable or “soft skills” also play an important part. For this reason, the Career Services office is offering Certificates of Participation in a variety of transferable skills, such as customer service and promotional skills. Students participate in three one hour long sessions to earn their certificate. This gives students who don’t have an internship requirement, haven’t held student employment jobs, or those that just want a resume builder the opportunity to gain these important skills.

In February 2010, a Promotional Skills Certificate was offered. The objectives were:

  • Build and maintain positive customer relationships
  • Develop a positive, professional attitude
  • Learn the importance of being knowledgeable of themselves and the product/service they’re promoting
  • Use listening skills to anticipate customer needs
  • Understand company branding
  • Brand themselves in their job search
Our learning assessment was having each participant “sell” themselves to the class. The presentation had to be less than one minute long and could be anything they wanted. Some students sold their resume, some gave their 30 second commercial, some told us why we should hire them, and some even created unique poems or handouts.

Each presentation was critiqued by everyone in the classroom, includ­ing two Ferris staff members. Each learning objective was rated on a 1-5 scale with 5 being the best. The presentation critiques showed:
  • Knowledge of Product—average score was 4.5
  • Positive attitude—average score was 4.3
  • Communication skills—average score was 4.2
  • Building Relationship with audience—average score was 4
  • Professionalism—average score was 4.3
  • Uniqueness (branding)—average score was 4
The scores show our participants not only learned but exhibited the skills we were teaching them. Nineteen students earned a Promotional Skills Certificate.

Angie Roman serves as coordinator of Career Services at Ferris State University. This article was first published in the June 2010 Student Affairs Assessment Newsletter.

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