How Full Sail’s Career Development Department Helps Prepare Grads for Success
Published on Aug 2, 2021 by Stephanie Rizzo
Full Sail’s Career Development team provides students and alumni with targeted support at many stages throughout their career journey. And once on the path, they work on building and maintaining a community network, ensuring a lifelong Full Sail connection. We spoke with Doree Rice, Director of Career Development, about how her team’s services form a cornerstone of the Full Sail experience.
Before You Graduate
Career Development starts building relationships with students long before graduation. We strive to enrich each degree program with messaging that supports a student’s career pursuit through either classroom/online visits or short form video. These sessions tackle topics from various career paths to developing a personal brand to advanced interviewing strategies.
The staff also makes themselves available for walk-in appointments. These weekly sessions, known as “Open Door,” are intended to familiarize students with Career Development services at any point in their educational journey. The low-pressure environment allow students to connect with an advisor who specializes in their industry and ask a few fundamental questions. These services are also available to online students through phone appointments or virtually via Zoom
“So much of what makes for a successful transition into the industry is planning,” says Doree. “These Open Door hours each week allow our students who haven’t yet reached the point of being assigned a Career Advisor (which happens three months prior to graduation) an opportunity to get to know our department as a whole and gain answers to questions from the various industry professionals on our team at any point in their educational journey.”
The entertainment and media industries operate under a unique set of professional standards. To prepare students, the Career Dev team worked with Full Sail’s education partners to develop the Global Professional Standards (GPS) program, which builds upon the soft skills needed to succeed.
As Graduation Approaches
All students are assigned a primary career advisor three months prior to graduation. These advisors are staff members with industry-specific backgrounds, so they’re able to understand what new grads are facing in the job market. Together, students and their advisors will work to build on professional skills needed to prepare them for their launch into the industry. This will include resume and portfolio review, career strategizing, and making sure they are set up with a profile and job alerts in Career Development’s proprietary graduate portal, where job leads are posted from our employer relationships.
The team also offers a variety of supplemental workshops covering everything a new grad needs to know to make their way in the industry.
“We encourage students at all levels to attend these workshops,” Doree says. “But we really lean in around the time they’re approaching graduation.”
In addition to workshops, the alumni relations team frequently hosts employers and industry guests on campus. Many of these events are live-streamed, providing online students with the opportunity to tune in and participate from anywhere in the world.
Finally, students are introduced to CareerSync, an online portal that acts as a hub for information that connects new grads with career advisors and employers. And they’re directed to Full Sail’s Alumni Network website, which connects the university’s community of 60,000 grads and allows them to share their story with others.
“CareerSync with be their home after they graduate and transition from our campus or online student community. We introduce it early, prior to graduation, so that they can be familiar with how it works and access job listings and support from the minute they step off the graduation stage,” says Doree.
New grads will continue working with their career advisors as they navigate CareerSync and follow up on job leads. From the standpoint of Career Development, the post-grad process isn’t that different from the student experience. Grads still have access to their career advisors and all of the resources provided by the department – including online workshops, hiring events, and proprietary job leads.
“All the services are the same,” says Doree. “The one thing that’s different as a graduate is that you are now accessible to employers.”
She goes on to stress that the relationship between career advisors and graduates is a partnership, one that should be directed by the individual rather than the school. Throughout a person’s time at Full Sail, Career Development works hard to provide each student with a full set of tools and skills to go out into the world and find a job. Putting those newfound skills to work is key to the beginning of any career path, and it’s deeply personal to the individual.
“The more a graduate can take a proactive approach, the more opportunities they will have,” says Doree.
Once a student enters the industry, they’ll continue to have access to their career advisor for as long as they need before transitioning to the alumni relations team, which is organized regionally rather than by industry.
“We still maintain a connection with our graduate base even after they move on to their careers – we work with them on building a community and networking with other alumni to capitalize on forward momentum,” explains Doree.
“We want to invite all of our grads to be a part of a community that understands them,” she adds. “Hopefully, those connections will continue to propel them, and if they ever need us, we’ll be there.”
For more resources, grad stories, and information, visit Full Sail’s Alumni Network.