Shape up your career in the new year

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in AlumnInsider, the Alumni Association's monthly e-newsletter that's a benefit of membership. Visit the Alumni Association's website for options on joining. 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — With the new year upon us, it’s time to get in shape.

But we’re not talking about your physique; we’re talking about your career.

The Penn State Alumni Career Services’ annual Career Fitness Challenge is set to start Feb. 1, and if you’re looking for ways to exercise new skills and tone up those problem areas, this training might be the right place to start.

“The Career Fitness Challenge is about the participants and for the participants,” said Cheryl Bonner, director of Alumni Career Services. “It’s a structured program, but it is designed for people of all different backgrounds and career types to really pick and choose what they want to get out of this experience.”

The monthlong challenge covers a wide array of topics that participants learn about and discuss online from the comfort of their own offices and homes. In addition to growing their professional networks, people have the opportunity to practice interviewing skills, touch up their résumés and LinkedIn profiles, and explore their goals, among other topics.

Each day of the challenge involves a different activity related to career exploration, and participants are prompted to think about how the task pertains to them and respond accordingly. They also are able to seek advice from their personal career specialist in Alumni Career Services.

Upon completion of the challenge, participants receive a congratulatory certificate and a toolbox of resources to carry with them through new career endeavors.

Bonner, who has been leading the program for the past several years, said that many people who have completed the challenge feel as though the program puts them in a new mindset, helps them figure out what they want, and makes them take themselves more seriously.

February’s Career Fitness Challenge is capped at 60 participants, though there will be an identical challenge running throughout April, too.

The Career Fitness Challenge is $28 for Penn State Alumni Association members and is also open to nonmembers for a fee. More information and registration for the February event can be found here.

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Last Updated January 13, 2017