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Student Professionalism Expectations and Recruiting Policies

Building Your Professional Reputation While Building Your Career

One of the unique demands on business students is the management of the fluid boundary between being a student and a working professional. Students have exposure to future employers and clients as many employers participate in guest lectures, case competitions, student events, and alumni gatherings at Kogod. Every interaction with the Office of Career Engagement, employers, and alumni involves developing your personal brand, reputation, and professionalism. Therefore we expect you to act with the highest standards of integrity, good judgment, timeliness, honesty, and open communication.

When in doubt, ask yourself: "What would I do if this was my job and my boss, colleagues, and clients are all aware of and impacted by my actions?" Consistently making the right choice will build your professional reputation while positively impacting every Kogod stakeholder, including fellow students, alumni, employers, faculty, and staff.

Expectations & Student Responsibilities

Treat all your commitments with the office as if they are business meetings and apply the same standards:
  • Arrive on time, be prepared, and be ready to engage. If you have tasks due from previous meetings, bring them completed to your appointment.
  • If there is a professional reason that you cannot attend or are running late, notify the appropriate party as soon as possible. When in doubt, call the office's front desk at (202) 885-1908 or email
  • If you RSVP "Yes," then be sure to attend. If you cannot attend, cancel with at least 24 hour notice. Otherwise, you are expected to be present. If you fail to attend an event without giving prior notice, the event host will be worried or upset. If an emergency arises at the last minute, notify the host ASAP. If you are not sure of the host, call our front desk at (202) 885-1908 or email

Exercise good judgment in your attire for office events (anything with an employer or alumni present):

  • Women: Skirt or pantsuit. Alternative: Quality pants or a skirt with a pressed blouse. Adding a blazer is preferable. Appropriate footwear (no flip flops or tennis shoes). Conservative jewelry, light or no perfume.
  • Men: Full suit. Alternative: Wearing a blazer over a pressed shirt, with or without a tie, and good quality slacks would be our strong recommendation. Appropriate footwear, well groomed, light or no cologne.

Represent yourself accurately and honestly:

  • Update your Handshake profile and resume regularly (at least once a semester) with academic, co-curricular, and work information.
  • Include only activities or information that have already happened on your resume, not what you think will occur in the future. Answer interview questions fully and honestly.
  • Ensure emails, cover letters, resumes, and online profiles are error-free and have a professional tone. When in doubt, ask yourself, "If this was on the front page of a newspaper or came up in a Google search, would it represent me well?" Make an appointment with a career advisor for a review if needed.

Conduct your internship and job search with integrity:

  • Pursue positions in which you have a genuine interest and that fit your qualifications. Only apply if you would accept an interview and the position if offered. 
  • Withdraw your candidacy ASAP if during the process you lose interest or accept another position. This allows other interested students to apply. 
  • Accept interview invitations only if you are fully prepared for the interview, can adjust your schedule to participate, and are committed to pursuing the position. 
  • Notify the Office of Career Engagement in a timely manner if you cannot fulfill your scheduled on- or off-campus interview commitment due to an emergency so that the recruiter can be notified of the schedule change. 
  • Send a thank you note within 24 hours of an interview and indicate if you are still interested in pursuing the opportunity.
  • Meet with a career advisor when you receive an offer to discuss accepting or declining professionally. 
  • Accept or reject an offer in a timely and gracious manner so you continue to build your relationship and provide the opportunity for other students to be considered.
  • Keep your commitment(s) to an employer, such as acceptance of an interview or job offer.

Communicate your job and internships:

  • Notify the office of your acceptance so we can celebrate your good news and focus on students still searching.
  • Provide (at a minimum) the employer name, job title and salary data for each internship and full-time job offer you receive. Input this information into your Profile in the "Employment" tab in CareerSource, or email to All information is kept confidential and used only in the aggregate or with permission.
  • Complete KSB and Office of Career Engagement surveys, including the Post-Graduation Survey. We aggregate this data and send it to external ranking organizations (e.g., BusinessWeek, US News & World Reports, Princeton Review, etc.) which improves the value of your degree.

Manage your reputation:

  • Accept an offer only when you are ready to make an irrevocable commitment and contract with the employer. Although they may represent the two biggest decisions of your life so far, accepting an offer for employment is not the same as accepting your offer to attend American University. Reneging on a job offer acceptance can destroy your brand just as you are entering the market and have long-term repercussions on future employability.
  • Meet with a career advisor as soon as possible if you have any doubts about accepting an offer or are feeling pressured to make a decision prior to exploring all of your options. We can help you make a decision objectively or develop a negotiation strategy to give you the necessary time.
  • Withdraw from any outstanding searches as soon as you accept so you are not tempted to continue your search.


Impact of Unprofessional Behavior 

Building a good professional reputation requires consistent positive decisions and actions; one negative act can damage your reputation and possibly impair your career. Similarly, as part of the Kogod community, your individual actions help (or negatively impact) the Kogod brand and all of its stakeholders, most importantly current and future students.

As part of its mission to provide lifelong career management skills, the Office of Career Engagement enforces consequences for unprofessional behavior that align with those that will occur in your future workplaces and career. Our guiding questions in enforcing professionalism: What would your boss do if you performed this way on the job? How are Kogod's relationships and reputation impacted by your behavior?

When your conduct does not align with the above expectations and you fail to meet your responsibilities, the office will immediately address the situation so you can learn and proactively resolve the situation professionally. Examples of failing to meet these expectations include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Missing an event to which you have RSVP'd (Industry Days, Site Visits, Employer Information Sessions, Career Management Advisor Appointments, Workshops, etc.)
  • Failing to participate in a scheduled on-campus interview
  • Misrepresenting yourself in your Handshake profile, your resume, cover letter, or an interview
  • Dressing inappropriately for an event
  • Breaking a commitment to an employer such as accepting an interview or job offer and then reneging.

If the Office of Career Enagagement perceives you have behaved unprofessionally, you will be notified in a timely manner to meet with a staff member to discuss the incident. In the interim, access to office resources including Handshake may be suspended. 

Consequences will be determined by the Assistant Dean of Career Services based on the severity of the negative impact of your action, and can include the following:

  • Loss of access to office resources and/or services (Handshake, appointments, online tools, etc.)
  • Inability to attend office functions (Industry Days, Information Sessions, Interviews, etc.)
  • Referral to Kogod Dean of Students for further disciplinary action
  • The duration of loss of services and requirements to regain eligibility (such as writing an apology letter to an employer or alumnus) are at the discretion of the Assistant Dean of Careers Services.

If you have any questions about these expectations or need clarification, please contact the Office of Career Engagement at (202) 885-1908 or



Office of Career Engagement
Phone: (202) 885-1908

Hours: Monday - Friday,
9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Evening Hours by Appointment,
Monday - Thursday

Drop In Advising with a Peer Consultant:
Monday - Friday
from 1 p.m.–4 p.m.

Mailing Address:
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

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