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K-State Today

November 28, 2012

Ambition accomplished: Intersession course helps students strategize for career success

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Kansas State University students have an advantage for getting ahead in an increasingly competitive and changing professional world.

Achieving Career Success, open to all students, provides insight into the career and organizational issues people face, including decision-making, conflict resolution, negotiation, creativity and self-awareness.

James Bloodgood and William Turnley, professors of management at the university's College of Business Administration, will teach the three-credit course during the upcoming intersession, Jan. 2-18.

"We want students to get to know themselves and their abilities better, recognizing their individual characteristics and how they affect work performance," Bloodgood said. "Students will be able to improve their skills with practice, and learn not to limit their career options because they think they are not good at something."

Course instructors say it is more important than ever for young professionals to have a deeper sense of current skills for career success. The hands-on activities in the course reflect the situations students are likely to encounter in the workforce -- and how to avoid common career traps and professional blunders.

"Most professionals possess the intellectual and technical ability to succeed in their careers, but hit a career plateau or get derailed because of issues with interpersonal skills, office politics, impression management or leadership," Turnley said. "Course activities focus on enhancing negotiation skills, assessing when it is better to cooperate and when to compete, and strategies for influencing others."

Bloodgood says students have the chance to try out a variety of approaches as individuals and teams to practice developing their career skills in a way that is fun and non-threatening.

"Many students comment to us years later that they remember the activities from the class and that it made a difference for them," he said.

The course also complements information and services provided through the university's career and employment services office, according to Turnley. While many services focus on enhancing students' skills for obtaining a job like resume writing and interviewing skills, the course addresses critical skills needed for the first few years of employment. These skills include building relationships with colleagues and enhancing value to a corporation to improve advancement opportunities.

"Employees today are more responsible for managing their own careers and have to be more proactive in seeking out the kinds of responsibilities that will lead to advancement," Turnley said. "Students will leave the class more aware of the kinds of activities and skills that will facilitate success in their own careers."

View a complete listing of on-campus and online January intersession classes at http://www.dce.k-state.edu/intersession.