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SPA Professional Development Series

Helping our graduate students prepare for their careers.

The Professional Development Series at the School of Public Affairs is designed to provide workshops to help our graduate students prepare for their careers. Workshops are capped at 15 students to allow for personal attention and guidance from the professor. All workshops are offered on the weekend and range from 2 hours to 4 hours. Workshops for the 2018-2019 Academic Year are taught by SPA Adjunct Professorial Lecturer Trace Lasley.

For any questions, please email Rachel Marie Paquin rmpaquin@american.edu.

2018-2019 Academic Year Workshops

In this workshop, participants will learn how to draft a career development plan. Beginning with the basics of identifying personal and professional mission statements, this workshop will cover career research and conducting an analysis to enable short- and long-term planning. The goal is to have participants ready to draft a living document they can use to help guide their professional development for years to come.

In this workshop, participants will learn tips and techniques for getting their resumes noticed on USAJobs.gov. Designed for students interested in careers with the Federal government, this workshop will explore the differences and similarities with typical resume writing. Topics covered in this workshop include how to find and explore vacancies, how to match skills with those sought, and how to highlight the best qualities of each candidate. The goal is to enable participants to better match their skills with Federal vacancies and increase the likelihood they get asked to interview for a position.

This workshop meets in two sessions. In the first session, participants will explore the benefits of networking and how to build and expand their existing network. Using a step-by-step approach, participants will learn to identify who is in their network and who should be, how to reach out and follow up with new contacts, and how to make those relationships mutually beneficial. Between the first and second session, participants should engage in at least one professional networking event. In the second session, participants will discuss their experience and explore ways to take the next steps to ensure the experience supports their professional growth. The goal is to encourage participants to make networking a priority and give them the tools they need to make the most of it.

In this workshop, participants will learn about plain language and why it is the best guide for professional writing. Focusing on words, sentences, paragraphs, and essays, participants will learn tried and trusted principles that make writing samples clear, concise, and informative. Organized as a general writing guide, this workshop will show participants how to take their existing work and make it better suited for submission as a writing sample for prospective employers. The goal is to equip participants with the principles of plain writing to improve their written communication skills.

In this workshop, participants will learn how to organize, support, and deliver professional presentations. Recognizing that fear of public speaking is pervasive, this workshop recognizes that participants need ways to deliver their important message despite their anxiety. The goal is to empower participants to deliver more effective and informative presentations.

In this workshop, participants will learn how to prepare for and deliver job-winning interviews. The focus of this workshop is on preparation, building confidence, and rehearsal. Participants will revisit career research basics and explore how to use these to better prepare for anything an interviewer raises. The goal is to enable participants to better talk about their skills and experiences in a way to match what an interviewer is looking for, to increase the likelihood they get a job offer.