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Bentley University Launches Ground-Breaking Career Development Course For Freshmen

WALTHAM, Mass., Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 90 percent of Bentley University freshman are getting a head start on job searching with the launch of a ground-breaking career development course. The first of its kind among colleges and universities, Career Development Introduction (CDI) 101 — provides first year students with a comprehensive career toolkit and the opportunity to do mock interviews and elevator pitches in front of corporate recruiters.

The goal is twofold: to prevent students from falling through the cracks during their four year college experience; and to pioneer a new kind of career education.

"For every one student who is a career go-getter during freshman year, there will be two who will wait until junior or senior year," says Alyssa Hammond, senior associate director of Bentley's Undergraduate Career Services. "This course makes their lives easier by getting to them right out of the gate to avoid the last minute rush."

The course is not required, but is strongly encouraged. Successful completion provides a non-academic credit and appears on students' transcripts. It also opens the door for a one-credit internship course.

The program is designed and taught by Bentley career advisers in partnership with business professionals from top companies like KPMG and TJX Corporation. Lecture and lab components for each class cover:

  • Personal and professional goal development
  • Interactive lab sessions on resume and cover letter writing and interviewing skills
  • Networking and social media
  • Internship preparation and professionalism
  • Four-year timeline (Bentley's HIRE Education career path)

The initial class includes a Strong Interest Inventory® Code Assessment to help students identify personal and professional skills before they start career planning. According to Hammond, different types of careers correlate with specific codes, and remain consistent from age 18 throughout life.

David Lucey, director of campus recruiting at Epsilon, agrees the assessment is vital. "The most important take-away is the realization that finding the right job is a journey. Very rarely do you have your career planned as a freshman. This is a step toward that discovery."

Corporate recruiters from a range of industries attend select classes to deliver face-to-face advice. Among the participating companies: KPMG, TJX Corporation, The Hartford, Enterprise Holdings, EMC, Liberty Mutual, Boston Scientific, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Mock interviews are a great way to practice a spontaneous meeting with an employer," says Bentley junior Dylan Powell of his meeting with Vistaprint.

"The classroom provides a safe environment to improve interviewing skills before applying for an actual internship or job," says Diana Frascella, manager of campus recruiting at Vistaprint. "Students have great stories to tell, but they need to learn to articulate their abilities in the best way possible"

"You can't control the economy or the latest hot job, but you can control what you do to prepare for the unknown," adds Hammond. "This is not just a class. It is the beginning of a lifetime of career management."

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