Kent State Stark Hosts First Student Professional Development Conference on September 23

Student Professional Development Conference on September 23

Degree? Check. Resume? Check. The question for college seniors and recent graduates is, “Now what?”

Kent State University at Stark has the answer. The Corporate University is offering to Kent State Stark seniors and recent grads its first-annual Student Professional Development Conference, Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Conference Center. Participants will learn what is expected of them by their future managers and coworkers and how to “adult” consistently, says Faith Sheaffer-Polen, director of The Corporate University at Kent State Stark.

Why this type of conference? There are literally hundreds of surveys of employers which have consistently shown that no matter the technical or how-to (“hard”) skill requirements of a job, there are “soft skills” valued at all workplaces. For example, employers want employees who are:

  • Strong communicators – writing (formal/informal), verbal, presentation/instruction
  • Self-motivated, have ideas and take initiative; delivering more than is promised or expected
  • Easy to work with, positive, has conflict resolution and negotiation skills
  • Active in professional organizations and have a large network
  • Willing to inform supervisors of problems and proposes well-thought-out solutions
  • Organized and able to multitask, be punctual, behave professionally, meet deadlines without reminders

“Moving from student status to the ‘real world’ can be a major adjustment as they navigate their way through changing routines and developing new habits,” says Sheaffer-Polen. “And local employers are clamoring for new employees with not only the skills they need to perform a job, but the professional demeanor that comes with it.”

Conference participants will be provided with a “Real World Starter Kit” every graduate needs to be successful. The starter kit includes:

  • A professional LinkedIn photo and tools to enhance a professional image
  • Ways to improve communication skills
  • Tools that provide a clear understanding of what employers expect
  • A plan to help soon-to-be-grads stay financially sound
  • New professional contacts and opportunities to get connected with other area young professionals

Kent State Stark students already signed up for the conference are encouraging their fellow classmates to take advantage of the conference, which is open to all Kent State Stark seniors and recent graduates for only $10.

“Looking for a job can be a job in itself, but with tools like the ones offered at the Student Professional Development Conference, that job can go more smoothly,” says Kent State Stark senior applied communication major Brielle Black. “In the generations of selfies and Snapchat, I think my peers and the generations before me really struggle with professionalism. I think it is extremely beneficial that this conference is offering free professional LinkedIn photos – a selfie just doesn't cut it. Overall, I am excited for the event, and so thankful that Kent State Stark is offering yet another excellent opportunity for students to learn and gain tools for the years after graduation.” 

Students can get more information and RSVP for the conference at, or call Mona Zink at 330-244-3508 or email


POSTED: Wednesday, September 07, 2016 11:05 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 01, 2023 04:42 PM
Laura M. Massie