Career Search Strategies Syllabus

(Class Schedule)




“Career Search Strategies” (CSS) is a course designed to be beneficial to all students, both for those who are actively in the job search and for those who are already employed.


The course is recommended for second and third year college students.





CSS has been extremely helpful to students making the transition from an academic environment to a career setting. Transitions involve change and change brings on a flurry of questions about the unknown. Sometimes the unknown relates to options, starting salary, earning potential, risk, security, location, training, lifestyle considerations, etc.


Career planning is like a “wheel” with four spokes, rolling continuously and collecting new career-related information as it moves. The information collected provides data, enabling you to answer questions and ease the transition. The four major spokes are:


  1. Self-Assessment. You must develop a thorough understanding of yourself before making decisions based solely on external factors. Typically, you have gained a good understanding of yourself through earlier courses. In CSS you may choose to verify or rethink some aspects of self-assessment. You may wish to complete some of the assessment instruments used in determining personality type, interests, skills, and abilities. The results of assessments tests provide ideas about your talents that can be used in your “interview presentations.” Chapters 1 and 2 in your textbook give you details on self-assessment and suggest websites and explanations of how to evaluate your results.


  1. Exploring Options. You must possess an understanding of what is available and what credentials are required to succeed in selected career fields. You will find this aspect of the course to be highly beneficial. What do you want to do job-wise with your talents?


  1. Tentative Goal Setting. Very few career decisions are ever set in stone. Flexibility is essential in our ever-changing society. Nonetheless, at some point, significant decisions and choices must be made in order to move forward. Have you separated long-term strategic career choices from short-term tactical job necessities?


  1. Job Search Strategy. The job market is the testing ground for your career decisions. You must move forward with a plan in order to achieve some initial job that may serve as a springboard to future strategic career advancement over a reasonable amount of time. Strategic career planning and tactical job search techniques are life-long processes. What is your “process” for today and the next few years?


This career search strategy course serves as your roadmap. There may be many roads leading to your career objective, and there may be several alternate routes. This course does not purport to show the best route; it simply reveals your options. You must decide which of the available options best suits your long-term career goals and then map appropriate long-term career strategies. To jump-start the process, the course also aids in designing a short-term plan for initiating actions.  Your focus may be on obtaining an internship or a full-time career employment opportunity.


In addition, the course points out many of the skills needed for long-term success once you have secured full-time career employment. Skills in communicating, listening, organizing and supervising are just some of the areas covered. Development of these “career skills” should also be of particular interest to students that have already accepted a position.


The course focuses upon careers in the managerial and professional job sectors in the economy. The concepts, principles, and techniques are quite easily transferred to nonprofit organizations such as government agencies, health care organizations, educational institutions, associations, the professions and the private sector. What are your strategic career goals? What short-term tactics are you using to advance your long-term goals?  Are you seeking an internship where the experience will add to your future employability in your chosen profession?



Relationship of CSS to Your Career Center


Career Centers at every university are part of the educational mission which teaches you to succeed via use of sound career management principles.


Since most universities are not in a financial position to counsel individually every graduating student, they turn to courses like CSS to offer the benefits of career management and counseling in an economical manner.



Course Requirements



All course requirements are explicitly documented in this syllabus. The syllabus explains what is expected, how grades are determined, and lists due dates for all items. Your letter grade is based on a point accumulation system. Points are earned via attendance at various events and through submission of written projects. Points are given for projects only if they are of very high quality work. Your instructor, who will also serve as your Career Counselor, will fail all projects deemed below an acceptable level of performance.



In the schedule you will find a topic by topic description of lectures and assigned projects.



The Career Planning Strategies: Hire Me! (5th Edition) textbook by Dr. C. Randall Powell is used for CSS. This textbook is used extensively as a reference manual and is one of the best-selling books in the career planning and job search market. It is used by many career services offices across the world and is often used as a job search handbook.



Your first step is to complete and submit the first draft of your one-page interview resume to your career Center. You will find instructions in the Resume/Cover Letter Guide and, for your multiple pages resume, in the Networking Resume Guide.


You are also strongly encouraged to create a 2- to 3-page Networking Resume for references and informational interviewing.


The Networking Resume Guide is more useful in preparing your free-form networking resume that you are likely to give to your network contacts, informational interviewing contacts, and web-based inquires.


The more standardized one-page resume is required in your job interviews, cover letters, web submissions, etc., since it is short and quickly scanned by eye and electronically.


You will need to edit and enhance your interview resume to prepare it for viewing by employers and finalize it before the deadline for the Resume Project. (All due dates are specified by your instructor)



Computing And Web Resources


The Career Center (CC) gathers data from information you provide via the CC website. Registration Information, for example, provides your email address which enables the office to communicate announcements, recruiting information, interview scheduling, and other information to you. Therefore, you will need the following resources to participate:


  • Email – use your normal email account. The CC can send email to you at any valid Internet email address that you list. All of your important completed projects related to employment can be uploaded into the Career Center web site for easy retrieval later.


  • Internet Explorer – The Career Center homepage may be accessed at the .(ICC) You will need to use a computer that has the latest version of Internet Explorer in order to properly view and access these services. We recommend the latest version of Microsoft Word for editing your resumes.


NOTE: Save all ICC messages because they cannot resend email messages, announcements, etc. Announcements will be posted regularly on the CC web site.  Please read details on the web site concerning your needs.


Design of Lecture Sections


The typical class offers fifteen topics of instruction which closely, but not exactly, follow the textbook chapter topics.


CSS meets for one time per week for two hours each time.


A team-teaching format is augmented with class presentations by “outside” executives during the Select Career Opportunities Orientation Program (SCOOP) sessions. SCOOP begins with the first lecture.  During the semester, SCOOP sessions occur during the second part of your lecture sessions. The SCOOPs, panels of guest instructors, lectures are usually held in your regular classroom.  Your Career Center staff will participate in your first two or three SCOOP sessions and others as needed.


It is important that you attend all lectures. If you miss a lecture, you cannot make up the points. We strongly recommend that you attend every lecture session if you expect to earn an A grade.


Instructional material is packaged and delivered by way of PowerPoint presentations, the web, overheads, videotapes, verbal presentations, textbooks, the Career Center web site and panels of guest lecturers.


Outside of the lectures, you are expected to do a significant amount of research and reading. The written projects demand a major time commitment. We encourage you to turn to faculty, CC career counselors, role models, alumni, informational appointments, family, friends, mentors, etc. for individual conversations on specific career options. Projects are designed to encourage textbook reading, library career research, web research, and real-world informational interviews.


Some students come to the class with a job already secured. Perhaps more than others, this group tends to focus its energies on longer-term career planning. It is the rare individual who selects a job and remains at that job for decades. Students who already have a job tend to select projects and lecture session topics that revolve around assessing future professional education, structuring future job descriptions, interviewing from the viewpoint of the supervisor (not applicant), improving writing and presentation techniques, management skills, continuing education, and other career management and professional development issues.


The class permits “question and answer” dialogue in lectures and the course provides career counselors in the career center for one-on-one advising.  These career counselors, located in the Career Center, may be alumni, part-time students, or full-time professional staff who are each available to supplement your in class Instructor/Career Counselor Each week you will have an opportunity to meet with a Career Counselor if you wish. You also will find a chance to communicate directly with experts, guest lecturers and colleagues.





The course is broken into a series of three different components that relate to the chapters in the textbook, Career Planning Strategies: Hire Me! (5th Edition). Each module builds upon previously covered modules in a carefully organized pattern.


Part I, “Planning Your Career,” covers career planning fundamentals of self-assessment, personal testing, values, interests, personal qualities, and job-related skills. This component is especially helpful to students who have not taken the first year “Professional Career Development” class. Part I creates a paradigm for which future career-related information acquisition may be evaluated. The “Planning Your Career” component is designed to assist in career decision making.


Whereas the focus in the Professional Career Development course is on early career planning topics such as identifying talents and career options with a light emphasis upon career search techniques, CSS puts much more focused upon the career search strategy and career management parts of the textbook.  The same textbook is used in both courses and students are expected to read all chapters in each course.


During your job interviews you will undoubtedly be asked questions where your answers will come directly from the activities and projects that you completed during the self-assessment phase of your career planning. Recruiters ask about your goals! Your goals come from a thorough understanding of how you want to use your competencies that were identified and clarified during your self-assessment.


Part II, “Professional/Management Career Exploration,” covers a variety of career alternatives and possibilities in technical, managerial, and professional fields for which a college degree is usually a requirement. The limited set of possible options is not all-inclusive but it does try to detail opportunities for which subsequent interviewing is a realistic possibility. The focus is on all types of organizations that hire college graduates.


At the completion of Part II, you usually have a sharper focus in your long-term career direction and what the entering job, or internship, is likely to be. Emphasis then turns to the job search and/or career management components of career planning.


Part III, “Developing Your Job Search Tools,” is designed to assist you in executing a “career search strategy” on both a long-term and a short-term time frame. Lectures focus on topics such as resume preparation, cover letter design, networking, informational interviewing, interview preparation, interview presentation, web search technologies, managing contacts and interviews, on-site employer visits, professional communications, continuing education and career management.


Lectures are presentations led by an instructor or a guest lecturer.  Career Center staff assist in the selection of the SCOOP guest lecturers.  The lectures often present topics with relevant PowerPoints to aid in recall. There is discussion time in class. These are high-impact information-loaded presentations which are often available on the Career Center website for subsequent follow-up and review.


To receive attendance credit, you must be on time, remain for the entire class period, and not sleep or do non-course related work. Please do not attend class if you have more important uses of your time. Non-attentiveness is not going to be rewarded and it is rude to your instructor and guests and embarrassing to your university!



Lecture Section Topics


  • Introduction to Career Search Strategies and Reviewing Your CSS Syllabus
  • Assessing Your Talents
  • Identifying Your Professional Talents and Career Options
  • Preparing Your Professional Resume
  • Developing a Professional Cover Letter and Other Documents
  • Planning Your Job Search Strategy
  • Prospecting for Job Leads Using Professionals
  • Identifying Opportunities Using the Internet
  • Preparing for Your Professional Interviews
  • Conducting Your Professional Interviews
  • Preparing to Lead and Manage
  • Managing Your Career with in Your Profession
  • Networking within Your Profession
  • Developing Your Professional Career Portfolio
  • Influencing Your Long-Term Professional Career Success


Lectures: Select Career Opportunities Orientation Program

(Guest Lecturers)


Each semester many guest lecturers are invited to participate in the course. Professional practitioners teach many different topics especially the portion of the class devoted to Career Exploration. These are held during regularly scheduled lecture times. This segment of the course is known as the “Select Career Opportunities Orientation Program” (SCOOP). These sessions are an extremely popular part of the course. They start immediately and continue during your regularly scheduled lecture class time.


You are expected to attend at your regularly scheduled class time.


The “Select Career Opportunities Orientation Program” is designed to provide an opportunity for you to explore a variety of possible occupations, industry groups, and training programs prior to your graduation from college. We will also discuss topics relative to your job search activities. It is realistic orientation to the world of work from the point of view of practitioners rather than just textbooks, academic empathy, and personal fantasies. We do not purport to cover all career opportunities—only select options which typically are in career fields in which large numbers of graduates are hired upon degree completion within your discipline.



The career opportunities described are designed to orient you to the initial job prospects after college that may later lead to a long-range professional career. Even if you have already accepted a position, you will find these sessions extremely valuable. It is the rare student who stays with the initial employer more than 2-3 years. You need to review many different career options now so you can anticipate and plan for other career moves later. This is a strategic career planning course, not just a “how to get a job” course.  You need to invest in long-term look at your career options and career management tools.


As a broadening experience, it is not unusual for many graduates to try more than one entry-level alternative as part of a professional career management strategy. You are likely to discover after graduation that the ideal job was not what you expected. Keep your options open. Learn as much as you can about several job possibilities. The job market can be very fluid at the post-college stage of your early career.


The SCOOP programs, and your regular preceding lectures, have a variety of purposes:


Explore Career Alternatives

·        Evaluate job functions: What is the right fit for you?

·        Consider various industry groups and employers: Stay focused.

·        Learn about typical career paths and how to get into the path you desire: Keep your options open and clear.

·        Evaluate training programs: Learn as you earn.

·        Investigate specific employers: Compare your options.

Assist in Career Decision Making

·        Establish broad career objectives: What can you do?

·        Set specific, achievable goals: What do you really want to do?

·        Focus on a specific job: Who employs graduates like me?

·        Prepare for interviews: Put your best foot forward.

·        Select employers to interview: Get a jump on your competition.

             Aid in Your Job Search Activities

                   ·      Provide Networking Contacts

                   ·      Share Your Resume


Your lectures and SCOOP sessions are part of the regular lecture classes during the semester. Guests are invited to make a short presentation on a specific professional career field or career topic. These guests, sometimes alumni and/or senior-level managers, often come with high-impact, hard-hitting presentations. Your Career Center staff will also participate in the SCOOP sessions occasionally.  Sales pitches for their firms are frowned upon although they are invited to use their firms as examples of job and internship, possibilities and discuss the hiring process for most firms in their industry.


These sessions are packed with career content that is very useful in your career decision-making process. Your future interview presentation will show a close match to what you learn about the employer job specifications and employment procedures in these sessions.


Student Participation

The SCOOPs and lectures are popular so it is rare that a student chooses to miss one. Indeed, it is very common for students to go to the front of the room at the end of a session just to get to meet the presenters, to leave a resume, and to prepare for an interview with that firm later in the year.


In essence, the SCOOP lectures fill the role of a job or career fair. Obviously, those who hear the presentation stand a better chance of having a good interview with the employer. Since students at few other universities have the opportunity to participate in such an extensive and unique career program, you should take maximum advantage of this networking opportunity. Over time, networking, as a search strategy, is one of the most useful job search techniques.


Employer Participation

Many different employers participate in the SCOOP lectures. Most employers consider it an honor to have been chosen to make a presentation in this class. We rotate our selection each year and try to vary the size of the employers and the type of career fields and topics that they discuss. Many are alumni. Use this component of the course wisely!


Many employers participate during the school year.


The program is designed to give you a broad, well-rounded exposure to different occupations, industry groups, career search techniques and training programs. The goal is to keep you from locking yourself into a narrow career niche at this point in your life. You should keep an open mind until the entire exploration process is complete.


Career research suggests that an individual who assembles a broad base of career information makes the wisest career decisions later. Not having to change a career direction or job frequently allows you to enjoy a higher level of job satisfaction and higher earnings.


The job market is fickle. Plan on change. Know your options!


Educational Content

The SCOOP lecture concept is obviously important to both the employer and the University. Major advantages accrue to employers invited to participate:


  • It gives employers a better feel for the true attitude of current students in contrast to what they read in the newspaper, observe in a day of grueling interviews, and see at superficial job fairs.


  • It gives students a needed perspective on the employer and career fields. Most employers appreciate this type of exposure before their recruiting visits. It creates focus for your interview strategy.


  • This is also excellent public relations for the University. The results occasionally translate into increased corporate financial and political support for your university.


  • Employers who feel they have participated in the educational role of your University may be more inclined to hire a greater number of its graduates.


We have seen significant evidence of increased hiring as a result of employer participation. We know from hard evidence that you will perform significantly better in the interview process than comparable students at other universities. This class and the SCOOP lectures are often cited by employers as the reason.


We urge you to participate for longer-term networking purposes even if you are certain of your immediate job plans after graduation!


Resume Distribution

After listening to the presentation, you may wish to provide the employer with a copy of your resume. Indicate at the top of your resume the position in which you are interested or attach a cover letter. Several firms use the resumes collected as a basic source of student identification for future interviews. Leaving your resume informs the firm of your interest.


Network, circulate, and promote yourself!


Many firms will email you after they receive your resume and ask that you contact them for an interview. This signals that they might have further interest in you.  In many situations, these SCOOP sessions serve as a continuous Career Fair for your university.


Attendance Points

You must attend each class to receive credit for attending. Your instructor will be taking attendance which will influence your class grade.  There are no makeups.


Go to all of your classes!



We cannot allow any student to leave early. In a crowded room it would be quite disruptive to our guests. Conversely, it is important that we start on time and that you arrive on time. The class instructors monitoring the sessions will penalize students who violate these simple rules of common courtesy.


You must remain for the entire presentation. You must pay attention. We must not embarrass our guests. You represent our university and negatives reflect on everyone!


At the end of each presentation you will evaluate the relevancy of the content of the material covered, the presentation style, and usefulness to you. These evaluations are used in selecting future participants and the total evaluation percentages may be shared with presenters upon request.   Please turn in your completed evaluation as proof of your attendance at the SCOOP lecture.  Clearly print your name (last name first) on your evaluation. Any illegible evaluations will NOT receive credit.  In addition to taking attendance, your instructor it uses your evaluations as evidence of your attendance.


Career Center Counseling Sessions




Your Career Center offers regular career counseling sessions.  Full and part-time staff is available to review all of the projects that you will be submitting for your career class.  Just stop by the office and schedule an appointment or visit with others there willing to help you without an appointment. Staff will review your written projects, answer questions about your career employment strategy, and check aspects of your course projects. To receive full credit, your CSS projects must be of A or B quality and must be sent to your Instructor/Career Counselor by attaching your MS Word document project file via e-mail.


Late projects will not be accepted for full credit. Your instructor is your primary source of course information. Bring a printed copy of your project with you to your career Center appointment and to meetings with your instructor. Your Instructor/Career Counselor is responsible for grading all projects. You should be prepared to make an oral presentation of your written project to your instructor if requested to do so.


Your career center staff is always willing to help you evaluate your career projects and give advice regarding how to approach your professional marketplace regarding internships and full-time career positions.  However, they are in no way responsible for grading.




Five projects MUST be completed, each with very high quality work, in order to receive credits for other requirements in the course. Each project should be emailed as an attachment to your instructor. And, you must bring a printed copy with you to any appointments.


All projects must be submitted to your instructor in order to receive credit. Your instructor will mark your printed copy with the points you earn –30 for Satisfactory, 0 for Unsatisfactory, or 40 for Outstanding work – and sign and date it. KEEP these copies in a file since they will be your proof of grade in the event of a computer crash or other problems. Only signed copies will be used in grade disputes.


Each potential project is thoroughly described in this syllabus and refers to specific assignments in the textbook.  Two projects required of everyone in order to pass the course are the RESUME and the CAREER PORTFOLIO.  These can be combined with any two other projects to earn a passing grade of D. Here is the total breakout of project requirements by grade:




8 passing projects + attendance points or more



7 passing projects + attendance points



6 passing projects + attendance points



5 passing projects + attendance points


Required Projects


The Employer Resume project, involves preparing a resume and submitting it to the Career Center via the Career Center website. A Resume/Cover Letter Guide is provided on the Career Center website to help you through this process. A Networking Resume Guide is also included in the web site. These resumes differ in purpose and length. You are likely to need two different types of resumes, depending on the planned use: job interviewing resume (Employer Resume) or networking resume (Recommender Resume). Your networking resume is used when you feel the reviewer will take the time to read it thoroughly versus a recruiter who just wants to quickly scan and screen your background.  The more information that you provide to a potential employer to read, the higher the probability that they will see how your talents match their job descriptions.


You must also submit a printed copy of the Employer Resume to your instructor.


The purpose of the Employer Resume is to urge you to pull together information from a variety of sources into a single document. Nearly every professional, whether seeking employment or not, maintains some type of personal resume. The resume is fundamental as a starting point in career planning that it is absolutely required of all class participants. Every time you change jobs or get a promotion, an updated resume is in order.


Most hiring managers want a one-page-only resume. You must try to meet this requirement. Hit the high points that detail your most relevant competencies. Your networking resume (recommender resume) can be longer because you are fairly sure that your networking partner will take the time to read it.


Career Portfolio, the final project, must be turned in to your instructor after all other desired projects have been presented.  Your Career Portfolio, which is due in your last week, will serve as your final exam.


The selection of the remaining projects is entirely optional, but you must submit at least five written projects or you will fail the course. Each has a deadline by which it must be completed; special instructions for projects are given in the syllabus. Most students pick and choose from these, depending upon the course grade desired, time pressures, and personal needs. Some students prefer to focus on career exploration, some on search tool development, and others on interviewing-related topics.  Which projects you elect to submit depends upon your opinion of which projects from the suggested list best meets your personal and professional needs.


Students who have already accepted employment may write from the viewpoint of the employer. They often choose projects on job descriptions, continuing education, networking, job evaluation forms, training plans, career management, and interviewing subordinates or new hires. Many use the course to enhance their written communication and leadership abilities by completing projects that demand more attention to these skills.


There are many projects that can be very helpful to the student who already has a job offer in hand. These students should carefully examine the syllabus to make their project selections. As long as the purpose is career enriching, your instructor will work with you in modifying the standard projects in a way that will be beneficial to your future career endeavors.


Project Instructions


There are some rules for preparing and submitting projects of which you should be aware. All projects must be emailed as an attachment to your instructor. And you must bring a copy to your class. Your instructor will grade all written projects. Minimum page length refers to substantive text.  You may elect to upload many of these projects on to the career center web site.


Most projects indicate page length, but not all do. When you write reports in the professional work world, you will not usually be told how many pages to produce. You will write however much is necessary to convey your point. When page length is not indicated in these projects, aim for a total of 3-5 pages of substantive text, being sure to thoroughly cover all necessary points.


You are encouraged to discuss your project outline in advance with your Career Center Counselor. Your career needs are unique. If you want to tweak your work to fit your special needs, your instructor will almost always allow some adjustment to the project. But any modifications must be agreed upon IN ADVANCE.


Your advance outline, if modified from the original assignment, should be submitted and discussed the week before it is due. Your instructor will allow you some flexibility provided that it is consistent with the goals of the project and approved prior to being submitted.


You will see your projects listed in the grading section of this syllabus.  By clicking on the project title you will be linked to the project description.


Grading Procedures


Each project is worth 30 points. You have a choice of options.  There are 10 or more projects from which you can choose.  You want to make your choice wisely.  It is your option as to which projects to complete but we recommend that you select projects that will tend to be most beneficial to you at this point in your career.  Your Resume Project and your final Career Portfolio Project are the two projects that are absolutely required for you to receive a passing grade in this course (along with three other projects).


Projects are graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. To earn a “Satisfactory” grade, your work must be of high quality standards indicative of your past grade performance and the standards of this university.


You will have all of your individual projects graded by your designated instructor. If your submitted project is lower than his or her acceptable quality, at the sole discretion of your instructor, you may rework the project. If your project is of outstanding quality (compared to 90% of the others) the first time it is presented, your instructor may choose to award you additional points. It is rare for additional points to be awarded. See the chart for the point system. Only 10% of all projects are graded as “Outstanding” by your instructor.


Written projects will be graded every week. You will probably know your grade as soon as possible, usually via e-mail notification.  In order to receive full credit for a written project, it must be submitted prior to your assigned class.


If you receive a failing grade for a project, consult with your instructor so that you understand why the project failed. When writing your projects, please be aware of all the stated requirements listed. Failure to include a key part of the assignment could result in a failing grade for the project, even if the rest of the work was excellent.




You will notice that there are many references to the textbook Career Planning Strategies: Hire Me! (5th Edition) in the syllabus. Do not attempt to do any project without first reading the assigned chapters. The entire textbook is located on the Career Center web site as well as selected excerpts located within the syllabus or available by a web site link. Reading the assignments thoroughly will give you the necessary depth and background to complete the project in a satisfactory manner. Sometimes the instructions refer you to a specific chart or exhibit in the textbook.


The syllabus will spell out minimum page requirements as well as format and layout requirements. Sometimes you will be directed to cut and paste a form into your project. Follow the syllabus directions EXACTLY when submitting each project.


Within each project, there may be additional suggested readings recommended before you complete the project.


Project Delivery Instructions


IMPORTANT: All projects submitted MUST be received by your instructor at the time of your class. Students who wait until the last minute to turn in their work run the risk that technological difficulty will prevent a successful e-mail delivery. We strongly encourage all students to write and send in their in advance of the within the specific time. 


You are asked to e-mail your projects to your instructor and upload several of the projects into your career center web site under “other documents” if relevant.  This section of the Career Center web site is an excellent storage facility for your MS Word projects, especially considering that several of them will potentially be used by you for employment purposes at a later date.


All projects must be submitted in Microsoft Word document format (Project 1 must also be submitted into the Career Center website).


To turn in a project, email it as an attachment to your instructor so that it can be saved by you, your instructor, and your career center staff.


You must also always bring a copy of your project with you to class.


If time permits, your instructor prefers to read your project immediately after your scheduled class so feedback, if any, can be shared with you before you proceed to complete another subsequent project.



Career Communications and Ethics


Communications Philosophy


Professional career communications (written, verbal, and electronic) are an integral part of the Career Search Strategies course.


The lectures, projects, and reading assignments all relate to

Professional career communications: verbal and written.


Communicating an accurate picture of ideas, past events, goals, and potential contributions is fundamental for long-term career success and for obtaining the perfect initial assignment. What you share and how you deliver your information creates an impression that is used by others to evaluate your talents and motivations.


Communications abilities are always among the highest factors evaluated

by employers of college graduates in all employment sectors.


Leadership skills also rank very high on any employer’s list of desired competencies, but leadership almost always come back to effective communications. College graduates are increasingly criticized for their poor written and verbal communication skills. Your Faculty, in conjunction with employers, supports an increased emphasis on developing writing skills. As a means of enhancing these skills, your instructor requires you to write brief (3- to 5-page) reports not unlike what would be expected of you in a professional career work setting. In all probability, the word “project” will be common terminology in your future work life.


The goal is to present a real situation and require you to address specific topical areas. In many courses faculty often stress teaching cognitive and technical knowledge without attention to communication skills. This course teaches technical knowledge on career planning and job search concepts in professional settings. By their very nature this body of knowledge requires strong communication abilities.


How can we help you improve your communication and leadership skills? The discussions and lectures will help, but experience shows that nothing surpasses writing and speaking in order to enhance your communication skills.


Outstanding communication skills often translate into highly successful job searches and extremely enriching career endeavors. A very important element of career advancement is the ability to communicate effectively in both written expression and verbal articulation of thoughts and ideas.


Successful professionals are required to express thoughts to superiors, peers, customers, and subordinates in a highly professional manner every day.


Career planning, professional communications, management, and

leadership knowledge thrive on each other.


A major criticism on hiring Recommendation Forms, Interview Evaluation Forms, and employer Performance Reviews relates to the label of “poor communicator.” College graduates are as prone to receive that remark as often as any other group. No longer can the professional hide behind the “secretary” excuse because more communication is done via instant messaging, email, telephone, direct contact, and personally word-processed memos, projects, and reports. No one else will be there to polish your written and spoken words.


One method—probably the best method—of improving communication is practice. Perfection cannot come without regularly writing out your thoughts and ideas. In this course, you will present your communication abilities to your instructor in anticipation that you will subsequently present the same information to employers before interviewing for an internship or full-time job, and after you are hired.


Most college graduates have spent years learning spelling, grammar, diction, style, outlining, and related skills. Successful communicators become better only by honing their skill through constant and extensive use. This course is only one of several professional courses to respond to the call of faculty and employers requesting better writing skills by requiring more written work. Regardless of your endeavors after graduation, you will find yourself doing extensive writing. Quality verbal and written communication skills will surely enhance your career advancement.




All students should be familiar with your school’s code of ethics. Your university takes a very serious approach regarding unethical student behaviors. We are obliged to follow up on all reported cases of inappropriate behavior and do so in accordance with University guidelines for due process. Students whose behaviors are determined to be unethical are assigned academic sanctions and a report is filed with the University. ANY CHEATING IN THIS COURSE IS GROUNDS FOR FAILING THE COURSE OR, AT THE MINIMUM, RECEIVING A REDUCED COURSE GRADE.


While we will follow up on all reported cases of a number of possible kinds of infractions, all students should be aware of the most common problem areas:


1.      Submission of written work. Submitting work that is not your own will result in initiation of the academic misconduct procedures. Additionally, no work done for another class may be submitted in whole or in part without the prior consent of the instructor. You may NOT turn in work for this class that you previously submitted for another class. It is always best to consult your instructor when you are in doubt.


2.      Plagiarism of any kind will result in a significant academic penalty in this course.


Any cheating or unethical behavior will be addressed in a timely manner. The faculty is serious about the ethics topic! Don’t do anything that others can interpret as questionable. You will find this stringent policy in effect in your next career experience.


Grading Concept for Career Search Strategies

(See “Grading Scale”)


The course grade is based upon point accumulation. Each attendance event and project has a point value attached to it and there are many options for combining events and projects for earning points. Credit points accrue as grading events are satisfactorily completed.


Attendance Events Credit

The course offers two types of attendance events: lectures which include guest speakers (SCOOP) and your instructor lectures. Students will receive credit for these events if they arrive by the time the class begins, stay for the entire class period, and participate when required.


Near the conclusion of each lecture, you will be asked to submit an evaluation in written form.  Make sure that your evaluation has your name (last name first), e-mail, and your instructors name clearly printed on the top of the evaluation.  Turn in these evaluations as you exit the classroom. Illegible forms or those with inappropriately answered questions will NOT receive credit.  Some instructors use an overhead with evaluation questions while others ask you to turn in a form or write your evaluation on a blank sheet of paper.


Course Projects

All projects carry a specified point value and will be individually graded by your instructor after your scheduled class where it is due. This syllabus gives detailed instructions as to the content of each project. Instructors will grade projects based on the following grade rubric.



Project Grading Criteria


Grade Areas






(Bonus Points)



Basic Requirements








Elegance of Argument








Writing Skills





The “Outstanding” grade is rarely used. It is awarded as a special bonus when your instructor decides that your work that particular week is clearly much above what would normally be expected from other students who completed that same project.


  1. Basic Requirements
    • On time: submitted in lab during assigned week
    • Minimum length: dependent on project description
    • Answered all parts of project: thoroughly followed instructions


  1. Content
    • Clear statement of main idea or thesis: goal or reason for project
    • Voice of writer is appropriate for addressing a board of directors: usually 3rd person
    • Relationships among ideas clearly reflected in sentence structure and word choice


  1. Elegance of Argument
    • Persuasive, well-organized: easy to read structure
    • Facts straight: appropriate research, not hunches or invalid common sense
    • Includes synthesis of ideas when project refers to readings or websites: supported
    • Explains results: addressed purpose of the project


  1. Summary/Analysis
    • What was the purpose of project? Future use?
    • What did you learn?
    • How will you use this info in your job search/career?


  1. Writing Skills
    • Meets requirements for edited standard written English (see description below)


You will usually receive appropriate feedback within a reasonable timeframe from your instructor on all written projects. You will receive 30 points for a “satisfactory” or occasionally some bonus points for an “outstanding” project. Projects are only awarded an extra credit point for “outstanding” when they are truly above what is normally seen in that particular project. An “outstanding” report is one that is nearly perfect in every regard and that exceeds all stated requirements in the syllabus. If your project does not meet the requirements or is poorly written, it will not receive any credit. At the discretion of your instructor, you may rewrite a failing project for up to 15 points.


Edited Standard Written English

One of the tasks of good education is to prepare students to function effectively in a society where writers are expected to use Edited Standard Written English (ESWE).  Professional leaders have frequently remarked on the need for employees who can speak and write well. To help you prepare for a successful career, this course recommends the use of ESWE in all written projects. There should be no more than two departures per page from the following rules in any combination.


You should always run a computer spell check and grammar check on your final project before submitting it. If you have difficulties with standard written language, please visit your campus writing center for assistance, if available.


  • End-of-sentence punctuation—avoid run-on sentences, comma splices, fragments, or misuse of semicolon
  • Verb forms
  • Verb tense
  • Agreement of subject and verb
  • Pronoun form
  • Agreement of pronoun with antecedent (the antecedent is the word the pronoun refers to)
  • Use of apostrophe s (’s) and the suffix –es
  • Use of quotation marks for all quoted words
  • Spelling (a typo counts as a misspelling)
  • Proper sentence sense (no words omitted, scrambled, or incomprehensible)


We urge you to run the spell checker and grammatical components of MS Word before you submit your project.


Grade Reporting and Timing

All grade reporting is returned in a timely way. It is very important to have your name (last name first) and your instructor’s name clearly and legibly marked on all your forms and projects.


Grade Appeal


If your grade points fail to appear in your instructor’s grade book as you expected, you should appeal immediately through your instructor. The instructor will research the problem and respond quickly.


Ultimately, it is your responsibility to see that your grade is properly maintained.


Grade Ranges


This syllabus lists all the requirements needed to achieve each of the letter grades for this course. You are in control of the grade you receive. These minimums must be met:


Ø      You must achieve a certain number of total course points for a specific grade.

Ø      You must complete a minimum number of passing projects, including the required Employer Resume and Career Portfolio.


For example, if you have enough points for a 9.0 but have not completed the requisite number of passing projects, your grade will be calculated based on minimum projects and minimum points. See the grading scale for exact requirements.


You must decide which events you wish to attend, be on time, meet deadlines, submit quality work, and participate actively in attendance events.


We strongly urge that you build more points than indicated in the requirements to avoid unpleasant surprises with your grade at the end of the course.




Grade Activity

Possible Points

Points Earned


L1: Career Search Strategies








L3: Assessing Your Talents








L5: Identifying Your Professional Talents and Career Options








L7: Preparing Your Professional Resume








L9: Developing a Professional Cover Letter and Other Documents








L11: Planning Your Job Search Strategy








L13: Prospecting for Job Leads Using Professionals








L15: Identifying Opportunities Using the Internet








L17: Preparing for Your Professional Interviews








L19: Conducting Your Professional Interviews








L21: Preparing to Lead and Manage








L23: Managing Your Career with in Your Profession








L25: Networking within Your Profession








L27: Developing Your Professional Career Portfolio








L29: Influencing Your Long-Term Professional Career Success








Projects as needed to earn grade desired





APPENDIX – Quick Links


Projects – alphabetical listing

Lectures – alphabetical listing

Grading Scale