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Center for Student Professional Development Overview
The Center for Student Professional Development will help students effectively develop their professional capabilities, define their identities, and build resilience as they prepare for employment in a rapidly changing world.
MyVU Article: More Than Just a Resume
A Holistic Approach to Preparing Students to be Resilient
Following the recession of 2008-2009, Center staff began looking at how they could best prepare students for opportunities while in school and after graduation. After numerous conversations with Vanderbilt faculty and staff representing a variety of academic disciplines, high-profile employers, alumni and parents, and leading peer institutions, the staff developed a comprehensive strategy designed to help students map out the knowledge and behaviors that they will need to be resilient in their professional lives.
To prepare students to be resilient, the Center identified five key areas that serve as the framework for working with students. Known as The Five Pillars, these five areas are integrated in all Center activities.
The Five Pillars
We guide students through the process of identifying their strengths and interests.
We teach students to understand change, take action, and manage transitions.
We support students as they expand their knowledge of the professional workplace, and discover paths to opportunities.
We teach students how to leverage personal connections and networks.
We educate students in social and business etiquette to prepare them for professional interactions.
This strategy involves partnering with stakeholders to integrate services across campus; incorporating experiential and simulated learning activities through engaging employers, faculty, staff, parents and the Vanderbilt community; and utilizing stakeholder networks to teach students about change and transition, professionalism, relationship building, understanding opportunities and how their identity relates to them.
By utilizing this integrated, holistic approach to professional development, Vanderbilt students are better able to navigate the ever-changing global job market.
Who We Serve
The Center for Student Professional Development serves undergraduates enrolled full-time in the Blair School of Music, College of Arts and Science, School of Engineering, and Peabody College and also will provide full-services to recent graduates (0-2 years out).
The Center provides many opportunities for students to learn about and explore professional opportunities, including career coaching appointments, workshops, career panels, Industry Career Days, and field trips.
Through exploration, students can begin to identify the right professional fit within the world of work.
To begin mapping out a life direction, students are encouraged to drop by the Center during walk-in hours to meet with one of the professional career coaches or peer coaches on staff. During this 20-minute session, the staff member assists the student in determining next steps in the exploration process, or, if the student already has a field in mind, will connect the student with one of our Industry Clusters (groups of related industries and/or career fields).
Professional pursuits of Vanderbilt graduates are varied and often not directly tied to a students major. For example, English majors sometimes find themselves in the music industry and Engineering majors find themselves on Wall Street. By providing coaching based on career clusters, students can explore their interests in various fields and see how they can apply what they have learned through their curricular and co-curricular experiences to a field of interest. Additionally, this approach provides students with more targeted information in their life mapping process.
As students begin to develop their professional persona, there are many resources they can leverage through the Center that will help them prepare for the world of work. A key resource is meeting with a Career Coach in a one-on-one coaching appointment where students are supported in their professional development including ways to conduct a strategic internship or job search. The goal is for students to develop their professional toolbox during their four years at the university which will provide a strong foundation to build upon after graduation.
For students not quite clear on their career interests, the Center offers coaching and exploration resources to assist students with clarification of goals. This process often leads students to discover professional development opportunities through participation in activities offered through the Center.
The Center for Student Professional Development partners with the Career Development Services office of the Graduate School to provide career resources to graduate students.
The Graduate School offers career services to all PhD, MS, MA, MLAS and MFA students. Additional information including walk-in hours is available on the Graduate School Career Development website.
Additional on-campus resources available to graduate students include:
BRET Office of Career Development
The School of Medicine's Office of Biomedical Research Education and Training (BRET) offers services for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the biomedical and biological sciences.
Owen Career Management Center
For master’s students enrolled at the Owen Graduate School of Management.
Vanderbilt Law School Career Services
For Law School students.
Vanderbilt Peabody Career Services
For students in professional programs (Master’s and Ed.D.) at Peabody College of Education and Human Development.
Meet Our Staff
The Center employs staff members to support you in your journey. Below you will find the staff with their titles. Our staff includes individuals dedicated to:
- coaching you in your life path decisions
- establishing relationships with potential employers
- evaluating and implementing the best technology and resources to support you
Visit Our Office
Located on the second floor of the Student Life Center, our office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. during the academic year. Stop by and visit us during our walk-in hours to meet with one of our coaches. View current walk-in times on our homepage.