The one-day professional development Drive-In Conference focused on navigating the job search by allowing attendees to participate in educational sessions of their choosing. As a second year in the Educational Counseling program at USC, graduation is the most anticipated event as the semester comes to an end. With this in mind, the educational sessions I decided to attend include Moving from Graduate Student to (New) Professional to Mid Level Professional and Breaking In: Establishing a Career in a Community College.
The first educational session, Moving from Graduate Student to (New) Professional to Mid Level Professional allowed me to reflect on my current graduate assistantships, the role I take on as an aspiring professional, what my work ethics consist of, and how I can maximize my time now to build cross-campus relationships. The presenters for this session had counseling backgrounds in both the community college and the private university sector, thus their presentation highlighted their personal experience in student affairs, and how they learned to market themselves in order to build their careers in higher education. Ultimately, this session reinforced my passion for pursuing a career in higher education and it reminded me that transitioning into a mid-level professional is not easy, but can be attained through persistence.
The second educational session, Breaking In: Establishing a Career in a Community College was facilitated by Dr. Dyrell Foster, the current Vice President of Student Services at Moreno Valley College. Dr. Foster’s presentation was relatable to the majority of graduate students who are in the process of updating resumes and cover letters, are getting ready for the job hunt, and are slowly beginning to take part of the interview process. Through his presentation, he stressed the importance of keeping up to date with the new initiates, strategic planning, and learning outcomes of the institution one is interviewing for. This not only allows employers to know that one is aware of the current practices taking place, but it sets individuals apart in the interview process. Dr. Foster’s words of advice are truly genuine, assessable, and relatable to students who are interested in pursuing a career in the community college system.
These educational sessions prepared me for the job search process by solidifying my understanding on how to transition from a graduate student into a working professional, and ultimately into a mid-level professional. Overall, this professional development Drive-In Conference was tailored to encourage and empower graduate students to seek positions in higher education and work towards building cross-campus relationships.