York College Center for Professional Excellence

Center for Professional Excellence

A lack of professionalism can overshadow all the great experience you have on your résumé when you graduate. The center gives you the tools and professional polish to make you a poised, well-spoken, quality job applicant and employee.

No matter your career path, we strongly believe that professionalism matters. Prospective employers have told us again and again that graduates who show professionalism stand out — and that York College students are the ones who are shining.

Our work has been showcased at a national level in media such as The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and USA Today. Take advantage of our campus events and resources. You’ll be glad you do when you’re face-to-face with an interviewer!

Student Senate leaders 2015-16 at York College
Our Student Senate leaders set a high bar for professionalism on campus and off.
Interview advice, presented by York College's Center for Professional Excellence.

Professionalism corner The Interview: Do's and Dont's

What small mistakes are you making for an interview that are holding you back? Find out what you can do to improve your chances of being hired.

Our professionalism reports

National studies. Workplace insight. Preparing you for tomorrow's career.

Our highly-respected and publicized research on professionalism in the workplace is an asset you can take advantage of today. How? By avoiding the mistakes of others, reading what employers like and don't like in job candidates, and taking serious consideration of what you may be doing to prevent future success. 

Check our out National Professionalism Study for the full scope of what we do — it's caught the eye of media outlets around the country.

A snippet of York College Center for Professional Excellence infographic on workplace professionalism
Our professionalism infographic gives you a look at what has real employers shaking their heads — and what you can do to address it before you walk into that next interview.

About Us

  • About Us

    About the Center for Professional Excellence

    While at York College, the Center for Professional Excellence helps students work to cultivate the behaviors needed for academic and professional success via the following avenues:
    Campus Seminars: Topics such as “Multitasking Is a Myth,” “Excelling at Your First Semester” and “Accepting Criticism Can Make You a Better Student” highlight these highly-focused professional development events for students.

    Classroom Experiences: We take it an extra step by working with faculty and staff to weave in professionalism into our curriculum. Topics include “Mastering the Art of Small Talk,” “Presenting with Power,” “Building Your Personal Brand” and more.

    Student Workshops: Professionalism is needed before you graduate, too. We help students elevate their interpersonal skills to improve their relationships in clubs and organizations. “Creating Memorable Impressions,” “Moving from Good to Great,” and “Unlocking the Personality Puzzle” are a few memorable topics.

  • In the News

    In the News

    The Center for Professional Excellence regularly appears in the media as a thought leader on a range of topics including professional development, leadership, interpersonal skills, and anything else that helps college grads navigate the workplace terrain.  

    For media requests, including interviews and quotes, please contact cpe@ycp.edu

  • A Message from the Director

    A Message from the Director

    A traditional view of a professional is often limited to specific occupations, such as physicians, attorneys, and accountants. However, current research illustrates that professionalism today has little to do with what degree you’ve earned or your chosen career path. According to a nationwide survey of over 400 HR professionals and business executives, nearly 90% of the respondents associate professionalism with the person, not the position.

    Employers want college graduates to bring the right blend of technical skills and professional behaviors to the workplace. Regarding the role a college plays in developing professional skills, the majority of employers we've spoken to indicated that colleges and universities should prepare students to be professional regardless of their field of study.

    Every campus has a dedicated career development center.  At York College, we’ve taken this one step further.  To help college students foster these professional behaviors during their academic experience, the Center for Professional Excellence (CPE) was created.  Its goal is to help prepare students to be professionals in whatever career path they chose.  Through our national survey, the Center identified the primary behaviors as essential to being professional.  These key professional traits (most often cited by employers) include:

    • effective interpersonal skills
    • the ability to communicate and listen 
    • a solid work ethic 
    • appropriate personal appearance
    • a sense of self and confidence 

    At the other extreme, the survey data also revealed what behaviors employers consider as unprofessional. Topping the list of unprofessional traits include:

    • inappropriate appearance
    • poor communication skills, including grammar
    • unfocused at work
    • being disrespectful
    • demonstrating a sense of entitlement

    Without a doubt, the presence of such behaviors (professional and unprofessional) strongly influences the hiring process for newly minted college graduates and affects their career success.

    The Center is on an exciting upward trajectory.  We've demonstrated an ability to adapt to regional employment trends and create effective on-campus programming to meet those needs.  Local organizations, in a variety of industries, look favorably on York College’s professionalism efforts.  And the institution’s alumni strongly support this unique position that distinguishes York College from its competitors.  Given today’s challenging job market for recent college graduates, this focus on developing professionalism at the collegiate level is more important than ever.

    Matthew Randall, Executive Director, Center for Professional Excellence, earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and an MBA from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He is a qualified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator practitioner, a certified Professional in Human Resources, and a member of the American Society for Training & Development. Randall most recently served as senior manager of learning and education for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. He has also served as manager of training and development for Intellinex (an Ernst & Young enterprise) in Cleveland and for Arthur Andersen LLP in Chicago.

Contact Us
Center for Professional Excellence
Matthew Randall, Director
Campbell Hall, Room 238
Phone: 717.815.1354
Hours 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.