This academic year I have the privilege of wearing a few different hats at the UNC School of Social Work. Along with working directly with the fabulous students we have as Student Ambassadors, and the work I do with recruitment, admissions and financial aid, this year I am also coordinating the Professional Development Workshop Series. I invite professionals from the area, professors here at the school, and our liason over at University Career Services to come and join us for informal lunch time workshops designed to prepare our students well for a successful transition into the work force.
So far this semester we have hosted workshops covering the designing and delivering of Effective Presentations, one called Crafting your Resume, Creating a Professional Portfolio, and a final workshop about using winter break to network and get the job search going. This final workshop was especially useful because Gary Allen Miller over at University Career Services came to talk ab0ut social media, some of the useful features of LinkedIn, how to run a “Socioclean” scan to protect your online reputation (it tells you who are your most professionally dangerous facebook friends!), and how to bolster your name with good associations in a google search. The premise of his research and work is the statistical reports indicating that nearly 50% of Employers use the internet to find additional information about potential employees, and that according to a Microsoft survey of HR employees, 60% of them had refrained from extending a job offer in the past because of information found on the internet. It was a fascinating workshop!
The line-up of Professional Development Workshops for the spring semester is jam-packed, and I am excited to have a small part in helping our students prepare themselves for the job market. We have panels of working social workers from the community lined up to come and share their experiences, Networking Nights, a panel of private practitioners coming to talk about the pros and cons of their work, a workshop called Before, During and After the Interview, a NC Licensure Exam preparation workshop and a workshop specifically on the process of becoming an LCSW, an event centered on negotiating social work salaries, benefits and repaying student loans, and in April we will host our annual Career Day/Job Fair. This event lasts nearly all day, and usually about 50 different agencies come to occupy a table and share the good work they are doing in their various spheres of social work.
It will be a busy spring semester for me, but how satisfying to see our well-qualified and talented students taking their passion and love for people out into the community and join the worldwide profession of social workers!