Professional Development Series for Students

Today’s students seek more out of higher education than just classroom knowledge. Current research on the importance of professional readiness and a growing nontraditional student population reinforces the notion that students are placing an increased emphasis on the employment-related benefits of post-secondary education.

There are few resources for students which address the social and soft-skills gaps needed in professional environments. The Office of Student Life, Career Services and the Oral Communication Center have collaborated to create a Professional Development Series for students. The overall goal for implementing this type of student programming is to fully equip NOVA’s diverse, student population with the soft skills that are necessary to become marketable graduates ready to enter the global workforce.

According to Oral Communication Center Supervisor Shaunda Durham, “Teaching students how to be strong job candidates in a student services environment encompasses the development of skills vital for career readiness and advancement.” It also supports NOVA’s retention efforts and mission to “deliver world-class, in-person post-secondary learning and workforce development to ensure our region and the Commonwealth of Virginia have an educated population and globally competitive workforce.”

Student Life Events Specialist Noor Naveed knows from experience the benefits of professional readiness training. Naveed, a NOVA graduate and a current George Mason University senior feels, “It’s important to expose students to professional practices and environments.” These workshops will prepare students for the real world and will provide students with a “competitive edge.”

Topics covered in the series include resume and cover letter development, how to brand yourself on social media, interviewing strategies, building a professional wardrobe on a budget, presentation/listening skills bootcamp, networking 101, dining etiquette, etc. Students who attend a minimum of three out of the eight workshops will attend a networking dinner and receive a certificate of completion in December.

For questions or more information, please contact Durham at

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