No one is great at something the first time they try to do it. When that thing is important — like accepting an exciting job after graduating from college — then it can cause uneasiness if you haven’t done it before. That’s why Business Career Planning (BUA 321) is quickly becoming a popular elective class for our students at Cumberland University. In this particular course, we learn the basics of launching a meaningful career and get a chance to practice necessary skills for success.
Actually practicing the skills of a job search from start to finish before graduating gives our students a significant advantage in the job market. While this step is often overlooked by others, its importance should come as no surprise. When we learn any new skill, we have to actually put that knowledge into practice to learn how to do it well. Think about when you learned to drive a car. You may have studied all the basics of how to drive in your driver’s education course, but you had to actually get behind the wheel of a car for the first time for it all to come together. Then it took a lot more practice to become a good, safe driver.
In many ways, that’s what a college education at Cumberland is all about. You are given both the knowledge of a subject and the opportunity to put it into practice so that you can succeed. Mastering the necessary skills for your chosen career field is essential for finding employment after graduation, but it is not the only skill set that we want our Cumberland graduates to acquire.
Business Career Planning allows students to practice a unique set of skills required during the employment search process.
These skills include the following:
- Compiling an employment portfolio
- Crafting a top-notch resume and cover letter
- Sifting through job listings to find the kind of jobs you want
- Applying and interviewing for a job
- Succeeding at a job once you’ve started!
We practice these five specific skills with workshops, mock interviews, conversations with professionals at various stages of their careers, and attending a career fair (spring semesters) or visiting a local employer (fall semesters).
While BUA 321 emphasizes interpersonal skills, some of the benefits of this course are tangible — students have a new or improved resume, business cards to share when they are networking, and leads on real jobs they can apply to post graduation. But most of the outcomes have an intrinsic benefit. When students have practiced a high-stress interview, they are much more confident when they go to interview for their dream job after college. With Extensive discussions about what types of careers will allow them to lead impactful lives, they can quickly pick out which job opportunities are a good fit and which ones are not and after looking at hundreds of resume templates, they know exactly which one represents them the best.
No one knows for certain what they will encounter as they approach the job market, but if you’ve learned the skills and practiced until you are confident, then you can know that you are prepared to rise to your greatest potential.
The 2023 Nashville Area Career Fair takes place April 4th from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Nashville Fairgrounds. Find out more about the Nashville Career Fair or register to attend here.
If you haven’t stopped by the Career Services office, located in the Learning and Career Commons Room 225, you can schedule an appointment with Director of Career Services, Dixie Rury, by contacting her at email@example.com or (615) 547-1308.
Jacqueline Isaacs, MBA is an Adjunct Instructor of Business for the Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business. She is also the Director of Strategy for Bellwether Communications.