Through the four-week Professional Persona series, student participants learned about professionalism and associated behaviors that lead to job interviews and career success.
Meaghan Haugh

Jaspreet Kaur still has two years left before she graduates but she felt extremely confident when she talked to job recruiters at the Career Fair on November 3. The sophomore Accounting major had prepared an “elevator speech” of her accomplishments and extracurricular involvement, and the recruits apparently were not the only ones impressed. A nervous peer asked Kaur if she could tag along with her as she navigated her away around the fair, which featured more than 75 vendors.

 Kaur credits her confidence to the Professional Persona series, hosted by the Center for the Development of Leadership Skills (CDLS). The four-week series featured Steve Roesler, president and founder of the Steve Roesler Group, who holds more than 30 years in training, development, and high-level executive coaching.

Through information sharing, self-assessments and experiential activities, the 20 student participants learned about professionalism and associated behaviors that lead to job interviews and career success during the first three evening sessions. Later, they were expected to attend the Career Fair and a wrap-up session on November 7.

“Topics included, how to present yourself, things recruiters and companies look for in prospective employees, ways to communicate, and tips on how to interview,” Roesler said. “I was impressed with how everyone was here all the time. It showed their commitment and willingness.”

Laura Seplaki, associate director of CDLS, invited Roesler to campus. Seplaki and John Farrell, director of CDLS, sat down with Roesler to design a series that would prepare participants to talk to recruiters at the Career Fair.

“Professionalism is not an innate trait, but fortunately, it is something that can be learned. Our goal was to develop a series of workshops that would help students learn the behaviors associated with professionalism so they could make a good first and lasting impression upon employers,” Seplaki said. “By limiting the number of participants to a small group, we were able to provide each student with personalized attention. Steve very much catered to the needs of the group, and I am grateful that he was willing to share his knowledge and expertise with us.”

Kaur said she signed up to participate in the program because she wanted to improve her professionalism and the first impression that she gives to others. “During one of the workshops, we worked on our elevator speeches. We gained a lot of tips on how to present to recruiters,” Kaur said. “I felt well prepared for the career fair. I felt like this series helped me get to that point.”

The Center for the Development of Leadership Skills is housed in Rider University’s College of Business Administration, which is AACSB-accredited for undergraduate and graduate Business and Accounting programs. Since 2004, CDLS has served as the leadership training and education resource for the entire University and its surrounding community. The Center has hosted a number of programs designed for women in transition, aspiring executive leaders, student performers in the arts and athletics, as well as lecture series, leadership trips and career workshops.