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The School of Professional Studies is committed to helping our students seek to discover and apply knowledge to advance their careers. Our goal is to support our students in their educational journey and confidently manage their career transition. Career Management in the School of Professional Studies provides comprehensive, quality services and access to Columbia Universities career resources and networks which support students’ progress towards meeting their professional goals.
Develop a Career Plan
In the 21st century workplace it is essential to have a well-developed career plan. Your professional development and career transition start on your first day of graduate school and evolve for the rest of your life. Getting an early start with the steps outlined below can prove instrumental to success, and can make the difference between falling into a job because it’s available—and finding an calculated match that meets your professional desires.
Take the time to do some self-assessment and clarify your career goals; it's difficult to make a successful career transition without a sense of direction.
Meet with your program director and faculty to learn more about industry trends and expectations.
Gain hands on experience through project based experience, internships or part time positions.
Attend seminars, workshops, speaker series and career fairs gain insight on understanding your value proposition in your industry so you are able to build your brand.
What is a value proposition?
Value propositions are developed to target market segments for products sales. It is an assurance of value to be provided and a confidence from the customer that the value will be experienced. Marketing champions are developed around value propositions focusing on the benefit they provide. But value propositions can also apply to career strategy! It should be the foundation for your job search and career progression. You need to set a clear target market and be able to articulate your highest and best use, and why the target should pick you.
A well designed value proposition presents your best features to your target market. It requires that you have a good understanding of the market you are targeting and the ability to show how your talents can be applied to benefit that market. Developing a value proposition requires establishing a clear target market and being able to develop a marketing champion based on your talents, tying them to the needs of your target.
The key to developing marketing documents like your resume, bio, and cover letter is to use your Value Proposition. In each document, you need to lead in with a strong outline of your value.
Develop your marketing materials based on your highest and best use, and have them critiqued.
Participate in at least one Mock Interview
Identify employers in your chosen career field and research them. Check LinkedIn and the Columbia University Alumni Network to see if any alumni work there; if so, arrange some informational interviews.
Create your career transition action plan, focused on organizations you want to pursue
Build your LinkedIn profile, completely. Clean up your digital dirt. Professionalize your digital identity.
Keep in mind that the best time to explore career directions is while you are still a student or are already employed. That way you’ll have the opportunity to compare careers without the pressure of being forced to take the first job that comes along.
The Office of Career Management at SPS is available for individual appointments — either in person or by phone — to assist you with your career development needs. We also offer access to several career assessments to help you in self-exploration and goal clarification. All counseling sessions are confidential. You can also schedule a mock interview with one of the career counselors or schedule a document review. Please call us at 212-854-1102.
Career Counseling Appointment Cancelation Policy: If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please provide at least twenty-four (business) hours’ notice so that we can make that appointment time available to another student or alum. If for any reason you fail to advise us that you cannot make an appointment, your appointment will be recorded as a No Show. If you accrue three No Shows during a semester, you will not be allowed to schedule further appointments during that semester.
Professional Career Development Series
The Career Development series includes individual workshops and talks as well as groupings of presentations on career related topics that can help students evaluate and prepare for a range of career paths. These series are designed to broaden graduate students’ career perspectives and develop competencies in, self-awareness, communication professional adaptability, and the job search process.
Below are several videos from career development presentations. Additional videos and PowerPoint presentations specific to the School of Professional Studies’s Master’s programs, covering topics such as industry-specific career outlooks, job prospects for emerging professions, interviewing for success, and more will be posted as events occur.
- Career Development Day: Salary Negotiation. Ellis Chase
- Career Seminar I: Using Social Media in Your Job Search
- Career Development Day: Interviewing for Success: Ilona Vinklerova and Kelly Ahn
- Career Development Day: Proactive Approach to Job Search and Networking: Ilona Vinklerova and Kelly Ahn
- Owning Your Talent to Developing Your Brand with guest speaker Peter Weddle
Industry Specific Resources
Career Management has compiled a list of industry-specific resources that includes links to professional organizations, associations, and other groups affiliated with industries including actuarial science, communications, conflict resolution, international development, construction, environment and sustainability, and fundraising.
The Columbia Network
We encourage students to harness the Columbia network by seeking out program alumni to connect with or by reaching out to program directors.
Students are welcome to order business cards with the Columbia logo through Columbia University Print Services for use at networking events.