Developing Professional Distinction

Success in today’s global business environment requires more than academic preparation. Successful business people must navigate organizational dynamics, write clearly and concisely, speak with confidence, and develop personal aptitudes and talents across an entire career. Students at UNIBusiness develop these capabilities by achieving professional development goals in four stages.

UNI's Office of Professional Distinction provides the tools so a student can graduate READY! to contribute immediately in a career position.  Our own Career Center did the research with our own graduates, so we know the formula:

3+2+2 = a job after graduation

The three numbers refer to GPA, internships, and leadership experiences, but students can meet the goal in a few ways: 
        3.0 GPA + 2 Internships + 2 Leadership Experiences
               2.7 GPA + 2 Internships + 3 Leadership Experiences
                      2.6 GPA + 3 Internships + 2 Leadership Experiences

The best professional development path creates a match of YOUR own interests, strengths, and skills to solve the formula in YOUR way. Each Stage of the Professional Development Program guides you toward the steps you should be taking as you move through your time at UNI.

Students coming into the College of Business Administration take the first steps toward starting a career within six months of their graduation. In the first year as a business major, Business 1000: Introductory Seminar for Business Professionals, provides guidance and tools toward success in the three key characteristics of a business professional: cutting edge business knowledge, strong work values, and exceptional professional skills that contribute immediately and confidently to an organization.

Developing cutting-edge business knowledge involves doing well in class. Doing well involves some obvious steps, like meeting with an advisor regularly, going to class, and doing the homework. Motivation to do well can depend on picking the right major in the first place. Students in BUS 1000 hear from department heads and faculty, as well as young alumni from each major and business executives, to help guide them in their decision. The Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment helps students explore their own talents.
At Stage 1, students define their own goals and values, and workshops in BUS 1000 explore some of the issues that professionals face in the contemporary workplace. Students receive training in speaking up, professional relationships, and business ethics. At this stage, students should examine their own values, explore ways they can best serve others, and review the CBA ethics pledge. For resources and assistance in taking these steps, use the Values and Work Ethic tab.
BUS 1000 workshops, led by professional trainers, focus on foundational professional skills in communication, relationships, teamwork, and time management. Students should join at least one student organization associated with their major or intended career and become familiar with common work software such as MS Word, Google Apps, Slack, and Zoom. For resources and assistance in taking these steps, use the Professional Activities tab.
Endorsements, certifications, and badges can't go onto a resume until an individual develops the skills. That development process begins with identifying talents and interests that can turn into strengths and skills. During BUS 1000, peer and executive mentors will provide feedback on communication skills and interpersonal behaviors. Meanwhile, course grades, organizational experiences, and personal satisfaction can all guide a student in discovering his or her talents. For resources and assistance in taking these steps, use the Certifications tab.
BUS 1000 introduces Stage 1 students to all the details of the UNI Career Fair, including proper attire, preparation steps, and basic networking techniques. A guided phone call with a corporate executive provides additional practice, along with useful professional advice. Experienced professionals facilitate each session, and along with upper-level business students who act as peer mentors, serve as role models and knowledge sources for all aspects of the job preparation process. For resources and assistance in completing these activities, use the Career Planning tab.

At Stage 2, students are formally declaring a major and gaining admittance to the College of Business. By enrolling in Business 2000: Business Professional in Training , they gain important insights on professional issues, get feedback on their own career preparation, and begin to develop their own business knowledge, work values, and professional skill set.

Career development continues in Level 2 with sessions on resume writing, crafting a one minute pitch, and behavioral interviewing. Students further their understanding of their Strengths as assessed by the Gallup StrengthsFinder by reflecting on the impact of their strengths in their career. For resources and assistance on these activities, use the Career Planning tab.
Skill development workshops in Level 2 focus on business writing, communicating with confidence, conflict negotiation, leadership, understanding generational differences in the workplace, conversation and listening skills, and creativity and improvisation in business. Workshops are led by professional trainers who are experts in their topic areas. For resources and assistance in these preparation steps, use the Professional Activities and Certifications tabs.
Students in Level 2 put their training to practice by attending the UNI Career Fair - dressed in business attire, write a resume and cover letter, record a one-minute pitch, conduct a mock interview, and participate in a mentoring session with area business professionals. For resources and assistance in these activities, use the Career Planning tab.
Professionals facilitate each session and upper-level business students act as peer mentors. These facilitators and peer mentors act as role models and sources of knowledge for students enrolled in the program.

At Stage 3 students begin to differentiate themselves, focusing on developing their strongest skills. Several different sections of Business 3000: Intermediate Professional Skills allow students to focus building their personal strengths into demonstrable skills that are most important to their own careers.
At Stage 3, students take concrete steps to demonstrate a personal brand, develop relationships with potential employers and professional colleagues. For resources and assistance on these activities, use the Career Planning tab.
Professional activities as Stage 3 can involve taking on leadership roles, developing as a technical specialist, or practicing the people skills involved in effective communication, teamwork, and professional relationships. For resources and assistance on these activities, use the Professional Activities and Certifications tabs
The most important Stage 3 activity might be the process of discovering your own personal strengths--what you do better than others, what you like doing the most, and what allows you to make the most contribution toward what matters most to you. For resources and assistance, use the Values and Work Ethics tab.
Stage 4 in the student's development involves showcasing academic success, taking leadership positions in student or community organizations, finding avenues to serve the community, and a whole lot of job hunting. Many students take advantage of Business 4000: Advanced Professional Skills, to enter a structured mentoring relationship with an alumni, business professional, or community leader. Students and mentors are matched on the basis of career field, desired post-graduation location, and specific development goals.
Stage 4 involves taking the first steps in a career, which is not a path to travel alone. Success comes from finding mentors at every career stage. For resources and assistance, use the Career Planning tab.
By Stage 4, the preparation steps should have brought you to a position of leadership or technical expertise. You'll want to do a great job, of course, but you'll also want to create a resume, portfolio, or pitch that showcases your skills. For resources and assistance, use the Career Planning tab.
You'll explain your skills on the resume and in the interview, but if there is a certification, endorsement, or badge to prove your expertise, go for it! For resources and assistance use the Certifications tab.

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