Transferable skills in the classroom
All skills valued by employers, regardless of a graduate's major and career aspirations, can be learned inside the classroom!
Students learn valuable skills, including how to:
- define a question
- investigate possibilities and articulate findings
- write, problem solve, organize research, and think critically
Helping students connect these dots in the classroom, regardless of the field of study, impacts student engagement, retention, employment and overall success. The skills identification and articulation chart is infused throughout all of the services offered by the Center for Career and Professional Development.
Resources through Handshake
Handshake is SFA's online career management platform!
Utilize Handshake to:
- Search for available internship, part-time and full-time job opportunities for students.
- View details about upcoming career workshops hosted by the CCPD.
- View a list of employers attending Career Fairs.
- Search for employer contacts within a certain organization.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to create a Handshake account.
Using our services for an assignment
Integrate the CCPD services into your assignments! To schedule our services for an assignment, complete the online request form at least two weeks prior to the start of the assignment or preferably before the start of the semester.
Have our team review your students' résumés, cover letters, references, curriculum vitae, or personal essays and letters of interest. Students can submit an electronic document critique through Handshake or schedule a face-to-face critique with our office; either way, they receive their feedback electronically which can be submitted or uploaded to a course online.
Virtual Mock Interviews
Mock interviews are a great way for students to gain practical experience in answering interview questions. We offer a Virtual Mock Interview assignment using our online resource, Interviewing.com (formally InterviewStream).
For this assignment, the instructor will set up an assignment within that system and can select their own interview questions or use one of our pre-made sets of questions. The CCPD will help you with the set-up of your virtual mock interview assignment once you complete the Assignment Request Form.
Students will then receive an access code to complete the mock interview at any time that works for them. All they will need to complete this project is access to a computer, tablet or phone that has a camera and microphone.
Request a presentation
Arrange for a CCPD team member to speak to your students on various career-related topics by completing an online request form. Requests should be made at least two weeks prior to the preferred presentation date.
Presentation topics available:
- CCPD Overview: A look at the general services our office provides for students including career exploration, job prep, document critiques, career closet, practice interviews, career fairs and more. (30 to 45 min.)
- Résumé Construction: Basic tips and guidelines for creating a résumé. (45 min.)
- Upper-level Student Tips & Tricks: Presentation geared towards third-year and fourth-year students as they begin the job search and transition from student to working professional. (45 min.)
- Career Fairs & Networking: We walk through a Career Fair experience and how to best prepare. We also offer general networking practices. (45 min.)
- Professionalism - We look at what "professionalism" is and ways to start building on those skills now as a student. (45 min.)
- Interview Workshop - Learn about and practice interview skills. Ideal for classes and groups participating in an online mock interview assignment with the CCPD. (50 min.)
- Personal Branding - How self-presentation and self-representation occurs through various avenues. (30 to 45 min.)
- Effective Exploration – Presents students with concepts, strategies and resources supportive of effective exploration of major and career possibilities. (30 to 45 min.)
Did you have something in mind that is not on the list? Let us know!
Writing a Recommendation or Reference?
View a sample letter of recommendation.
Resources from the National Association of Colleges and Employers
12 tips to remember when giving a reference
The following guidelines summarize important points taken from National Association of Colleges and Employers to remember when giving a reference:
- Obtain consent from the person about whom the reference will be given prior to giving a reference.
- Discuss the type of reference that you will provide with the person who asks you to be a reference. If you cannot provide a good reference, be honest with the individual.
- If "to whom it may concern" reference letters are requested, document that this is the type of reference requested and that the student or job applicant takes responsibility for disseminating the letters to the proper persons.
- Respond to the specific inquiry about the student or job applicant.
- Relate references to the specific position for which the person applied and to the work that the applicant will perform.
- Avoid informal or "off the record" discussions with prospective employers regarding a person's performance. There is no such thing as "off the record."
- Information given should be factual, based upon personal knowledge/observation of the candidate through direct contact or obtained from the person's personnel record or student record.
- Avoid giving personal opinions or feelings. If you give an opinion explain the incident or circumstances on which you base the opinion, and clearly identify this as an opinion, not a fact.
- Don't guess or speculate — if someone asks you questions regarding personal characteristics about which you have no knowledge, state that you have no knowledge.
- State in a reference letter, "This information is confidential, should be treated as such, and is provided at the request of (name of applicant), who has asked me to serve as a reference." Statements such as these give justification for the communication and leave no doubt that the information was not given to hurt a person's reputation.
- Do not include information that might indicate an individual's race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship status, sex (unless by the individual's name it is obvious), or marital status. Do not base an opinion of performance on stereotypes about individuals (e.g. "for a woman, she excels at math").
- Document all information you release.
When should I refer students to the CCPD?
As early as possible! Encourage students to explore their Handshake account to schedule an appointment. Even after graduation, SFA alumni are able to utilize the CCPD services free of charge! See a complete listing of student services on the Faculty and Advisors home page.
How can I help the CCPD?
Talk to the students you see about the services we offer - whether it's in the classroom or advising, your referral can impact a student's career.
- Recommend specific employers or career fields you would like to see recruiting our students
- Share information with us concerning your field of study, related careers, and updated information about your department
- Create a Handshake faculty account and keep track of who is recruiting on-campus
How should I respond when employers request names of students?
The CCPD is charged by the University to meet EEO/AA guidelines in helping students identify career opportunities. Faculty should be aware that they may be in violation of Federal laws pertaining to EEO/AA should they respond to such requests. The CCPD recommends that faculty refer employers to our office to post their opportunities. Should you wish to make student referrals, you may do so as long as the opportunity is also posted on Handshake so that ALL qualified candidates have the opportunity to apply.
For more information see the National Association of Colleges and Employers' A Faculty Guide to Ethical and Legal Standards in Student Hiring.
What companies recruit at SFA?
You can view a list of registered employers for each Career Fair on Handshake.
Can the CCPD aid in selecting a major? A career? Finding a job?
Absolutely! Career coaching, career inventories and career-planning workshops can assist in aiding a participant in academic and career decision-making. The first step is to make an appointment with a Career Coach.
The CCPD also assists students and alumni in various ways towards finding a job:
- Handshake houses many internship, part-time, and full-time postings specifically for SFA students and alumni, as well as requesting to interview with a particular organization
- Career-related workshops and information sessions are held each semester for students to learn more about professional development, a particular industry, organization, or employment opportunities
- Career Fairs are an excellent opportunity for students and alumni to reach out to recruiters for employment purposes
As a faculty or staff member at SFA, how can I encourage my students to attend the career fairs?
- Encouraging and sharing the value of attending career fairs with your students is always helpful. Add it to your class syllabus or class announcements.
- Consider offering extra course credit if a student attends a career fair. The CCPD can help collect sign-in sheets for your class at the fairs. Simply email email@example.com to let us know.