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.