Published: Jan. 28, 2014

CU-Boulder students can now start polishing their interviewing skills and resumes early in their college careers to increase their chances of finding a job once they’re ready to graduate.

A new certificate offered through CU-Boulder’s Career Services office called the CU Buffs Professional Program is open to all students, undergraduate and graduate, with a minimum GPA of 2.0.

To earn the certificate, students are required to complete four steps:

  • Attend four campus workshops (Explore majors and careers, prepare for an internship/job search, start an internship/job search, adapt for a changing world).
  • Attend one campus basecamp event (Career Fair or Meet Buff Employers).
  • Meet with a career counselor for a one-hour appointment to create a personalized career plan.
  • Attend the Summit Event to meet individually with employers and practice your skills.

“The four steps required to earn the certificate give students the opportunity to really plan for their first job out of school,” said Jon Schlesinger, assistant director for career counseling with Career Services, who is spearheading the new certificate.

“The final piece is what we call a summit event, where each student meets with an employer, and goes through a practice interview with them, and then the employer assesses their readiness to enter the job market,” he said. “At that point the employer would let us know that ‘yes the student is ready, or no this student needs to practice some more.’ Once they get the green light from the employer, they’ll have a professional certificate.”

Another benefit of the certificate is that once a student has completed the program, they could be viewed by future employers as “job ready.”

“Once we have a good number of students with the certificate, employers may be able to say ‘I’m really interested in students who have gone through this program.’ So this is a nice way of indicating to employers that our students who have gone through this process are ready to go, and they have a commitment to professionalism,” said Lisa Severy, director of CU-Boulder’s Career Services office.

Because the program is self-paced, a student could do one step each year of school and take four years to do it. Or if someone really wants to beef up their skills right away, they could do it all in one semester.

The good news for job-seeking students is employers continue to seek out CU-Boulder graduates at an increasing rate, according to Severy. In 2012-13 (last school year), full-time job postings on campus were up 69 percent compared with pre-recession levels in 2006. Many employers in the growing industries such as tech, health care, and computer science are hiring all types of positions.

“For example, the health care industry isn’t just hiring health care experts, they are also hiring social media managers, sales people, business accountants and many other positions,” Severy said.

The CU-Boulder Spring Career and Internship Fair continues on Jan. 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom and UMC room 235. On April 17, the Just in Time Hiring and Internship Fair will be held. Both fairs are open only to CU-Boulder students and alumni.