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Career Growth Series

*Special note: Are you looking for a space to intentionally think about your career and what's next? Check out  Designing Your Life and Career , a small group life design and career coaching experience. Spring 2024 groups will start in February and March. 

The goal of the Career Growth Series is to provide structured, intentional opportunities for staff to focus on their career development, and to add tools and resources to their career development toolkit. 

In this series, we explore topics that are top of mind for employees who want to grow in some way and build self-awareness around their career.  We invite you to participate in any sessions that interest you, building your career development toolkit so that you’re building towards your next growth opportunity, whether that means gaining new skills to use in your current role, moving into a leadership position, or enhancing your personal brand in your field.  

Sessions will be hosted virtually, and most will be recorded so that interested employees can view at any time. Topics were intentionally selected based on ongoing feedback and input from Vanderbilt Staff Mentorship Program applications.  

If you're a manager thinking of how you can support career development for your employees, and whether or not you should encourage them to participate in this series, visit our resources for managers

career growth toolkit

Add to your career development toolkit:

Navigating Career Journeys at Vanderbilt

Join HR Employee Learning & Engagement for the first session of their Career Growth Series. In this panel discussion, participants will:    

  • Learn more about various types of roles, departments, and fields, within the university    
  • Discover how panelists have navigated career shifts and moves both within and across departments within Vanderbilt    
  • Identify strategies for growing and developing their career, including how to grow and leverage transferrable skills    

The panelists bring 20+ years of experience at Vanderbilt in fields including student affairs, housing, graduate education, medical education, and more. Their journeys have included shifts across functions, roles, and departments. *The panel discussion will be recorded and available in Oracle the following day. Panelists include:

  • Nicole Doctor , Director of Business Operations, Career Advancement and Engagement   
  • Krystal Clark , Director of Employee Learning and Engagement, Human Resources    
  • R.C. Stabile, Ed.D. , Associate Director of Trainee Well-being, Biomedical Research Education and Training, School of Medicine   
  • Anna Thomas, Ed.D. , Director of Events and Communications, Graduate School   

ELE level 3

Facilitator: Krystal Clark, Director of Employee Learning and Engagement

Date and Time: Wednesday, April 19, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Location: Hosted Virtually (Zoom link will be provided after registration)

Register here to view the recording. 

Links to resources discussed in the panel session are available under "additional resources" below.

Enhancing Your Resume so It Works for You

When was the last time you updated your resume? How confident are you that your resume effectively showcases your experiences to make you stand out to a recruiter or hiring manager?  

In this session, you will:   

  • Revisit foundations of effective resumes, including formatting, phrasing, and more, and determine strategies to optimize your resume for your next opportunity  
  • Hear directly from recruiters on what they look for in a resume, as well as common mistakes on resumes and strategies to avoid common mistakes  

To get the most out of this session, we invite you to bring your most recent resume with you. We won’t ask you to share your resume in the session, but having access to your resume during and after the session will help you to apply the strategies discussed.  

ELE level 3 ELE level 3

Facilitator: Andi Samaniego, Joe Gentry, and Brian Bergheger, Talent Acquisition; and Krista Vaught, Assistant Director of Employee Learning and Engagement

Date and time: May 23, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Save your seat! Enroll here!

(*You may enroll for the live session on 5/23, or for the self-paced version to watch the recording.)

testimonial testimonial

Tips to Craft and Deliver Your Elevator Pitch with Confidence and Purpose  

Join us for this session with the Owen Graduate School of Management on tips to craft and deliver your elevator pitch with confidence and purpose.  

ELE level 3 ELE level 3

Facilitators: Sandy Kinnett, Senior Associate Director, & Kathleen Rall, Associate Director, Career Management Center, Owen Graduate School of Management

Date and time: May 31, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Save your seat! Enroll here!

(*You may enroll for the live session on 5/31, or for the self-paced version to watch the recording.)


Storytelling to Find Your Why and Envision Your Aspirations

What is your “why”? What motivates you in your personal and professional life? What future do you wish to create for yourself?  This workshop will help you leverage the power of storytelling to tap into your passions and purpose and unleash your best self.    

Your story is important and meaningful.  By reflecting on your experiences and envisioning your professional and personal growth in the form of a story, you will be able to align your goals, your trajectory, and your legacy with the story you want to live!  

level 3

Facilitators: Brandon Telg, M.S., Director of Self Narrate Inc., & Jaron Jones, Ph.D., Co-founder

Date and time: June 6, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Location: Hosted virtually (Zoom link will be provided after registration)

Save your seat! Enroll here.

*Please note this session will not be recorded. Please also note that enrollment is limited to 40 participants. 

About the facilitators:

Brandon Telg: Brandon is a social entrepreneur who strives to help people grow through understanding and developing their personal stories. He combines his experience in communication with a hands-on mentoring approach to work with people and organizations to achieve their goals.  
He holds a Master’s Degree in Leadership Development at the University of Florida, specializing in the study of Organizational Narrative. In 2013, he co-founded Self Narrate, an organization dedicated to empowering people to tell authentic stories. His expertise in the story process, leadership development and organizational branding has allowed him to facilitate workshops in fields ranging from business to non-profit to higher education to healthcare and beyond. In 2016, he published his first book, Break Your Invisible Chains, followed by a number of collections of short stories in the years following.   
Everyone has a story. Brandon can help you tell it.  
Jaron Jones: Dr. Jaron Jones is the co-founder of Self Narrate, Inc and the Senior Program Manager for AWS focusing on ID&E Talent Acquisition and Engagement Strategy for our global expansion sites. He has over a decade of ID&E experiences ranging from federal government, academia, tech, and aerospace and defense.

He is a nationally recognized TED speaker and story coach, author, and consultant with a focus on developing resilient and inclusive communities. His doctoral studies in leadership development focused on leadership theory and measurement, critical and creative thinking, and leadership in cross-cultural settings.

In all aspects of his work, he believes that excellence in education, innovation, service and research is enhanced when diversity, equity, and inclusion are practiced within our organizations, and through operating inclusively, organizations can successfully prepare diverse leaders to solve global problems. He believes that together, we must be committed to building and expanding individual and organizational efforts that foster respect, dignity, fairness, caring, equity, and self-esteem.



Build Your Online Presence through LinkedIn

LinkedIn offers more than opportunities to search for jobs – you can use it to build your network, participate in hot topic conversations in your field and the broader workplace, enhance your reputation and presence, and more.   

If you’re not using LinkedIn, you’re missing out on growth and connection opportunities.   

In this session, you will:  

  • Explore key components to building your LinkedIn profile  
  • Identify additional steps to optimize your profile, including the often underutilized headline and summary  
  • Identify ways to use LinkedIn to build your personal brand and reputation – not just when you’re seeking a job
  • Gather insights into how recruiters use LinkedIn, what they look at on your profile, etc. 

You’ll have several opportunities to apply new strategies and edit your LinkedIn profile in the moment.   

*The first few minutes of this session are geared towards employees who are newer to LinkedIn. If you’re already a frequent user, we invite you to join us to explore strategies to strengthen your profile and online presence.    

ELE level 3 ELE level 3

Facilitator: Jenn Knapp, Talent Acquisition, and Krista Vaught, Assistant Director of Employee Learning and Engagement

Date and time: June 14, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Location: Hosted virtually (Zoom link will be provided after registration)

Save your seat! Enroll here
*You may enroll for the live session on 6/14, or for the self-paced version to watch the recording. Follow-up resources are available below. 


Networking 101

Join the VU Career Center for a presentation on all things networking! If you are seeking tips and tricks on how to create and maintain connections (both internally and externally), this workshop is for you!

ELE level 3 ELE level 3

Facilitator: Alexis Coulter, VU Career Center

Date and time: July 13, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Location: Hosted virtually (Zoom link will be provided after registration)

Save your seat! Enroll here! 
(*You may enroll for the live session on 7/13, or for the self-paced version to watch the recording.)

Mock Interviews with Talent Acquisition Consultants

Want to brush up on and practice your interviewing skills? Wondering if your responses are truly conveying your skills and experiences? Or wondering what it’s like to interview via SparkHire (a recorded interview screening tool used by Vanderbilt)?  

We invite you to meet with a talent acquisition consultant for a 45-minute mock interview. In individual sessions, a consultant will provide feedback on your interview and tips on interview preparation. When signing up for a time slot, you may choose to have a live mock interview with feedback during the session, or to experience a SparkHire interview prior to the session and discuss feedback during the session.   

*Mock interviews are confidential with the sole purpose of practicing interviewing; consultants are not acting as career coaches, and will not provide advice around the types of roles you might want to apply for, insight into departments, etc.  

Mock interviews are available on June 28 and 29, and July 11 and 12, with:

  • Jennifer Garrett, Senior Director, Talent Acquisition
  • Mike Johnson, Talent Acqusition Manager
  • Jenn Knapp, Lead Talent Acquisition Consultant
  • Andi Samaniego, Talent Acquisition Manager

Sign ups are available here!

*Please note that mock interview time slots are first-come, first-served. Each participant may sign up for one (1) mock interview time slot. If time slots are full, we invite you to share your interest via this waiting list  


Resources for Managers

I'm a manager - should I encourage my team members to participate in this series?

Yes, and here’s why:  

The CUPA-HR Higher Education Employee Retention Survey (Bischel et al., 2022) found that:  

  • 57.2% of higher ed employees surveyed said they are somewhat likely, likely, or very likely, to look for other employment in the next 12 months  
  • 38.8% of higher ed employees surveyed were not satisfied with their institution’s investment in career development, and 46.3% were not satisfied with opportunities for advancement  

A McKinsey & Company study (De Smet et a., 2022) found that:   

  • About a third of employees surveyed left their jobs related to lack of career development and advancement potential, and about a third left due to lack of meaningful work   
  • When employees reentered the workforce and returned to their jobs, the top reason that they might leave again was lack of career development and advancement potential (around 60%)  

Employees want and need opportunities for career advancement and growth – and by providing opportunities, we show them that we value them and want to invest in them.   

If we don’t provide these opportunities, we risk losing great employees. 

Our Career Growth Series was not designed to encourage employees to leave the university – and, in fact, in many of the sessions, employees will have opportunities to gain more awareness around their skills and experiences, spark ideas on how they can leverage those skills in their current role, and gain clarity on what they want their overall career path to look like. Many times, employees realize there are many opportunities to grow, both within their role and within the institution, that they hadn’t noticed or leveraged previously.   

If you're looking for a resource to help you prepare for and hold conversations with your team members about their career development, we recommend the following:

Additional Resources for Employees

Here's a great Harvard Business Review article to start with: What's Holding Back Your Career Development?

Links and resources from Navigating Career Journeys at Vanderbilt panel on 4/19

Links and resources from Building Your Online Presence via LinkedIn

Leveraging Your Strengths

Have you completed Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment? Based on positive psychology, the assessment reveals your unique contributions of strengths – what you’re naturally good at. Below, please find additional resources related to leveraging your strengths in thinking about your career growth and development:

If you haven’t completed the CliftonStrengths assessment yet, we invite you to join HR ELE’s next CliftonStrengths session  

Additional Resources

Please visit HR ELE's Self-Paced Resources page and click on "Career Growth" for more resources.