For Cheryl Bonner, the message is simple: There’s no point in waiting.
As director of the Alumni Association’s Alumni Career Services, Bonner knows the importance of staying proactive throughout a career. That’s why she eagerly spoke of the Career Fitness February Challenge, a new month-long event sponsored by Alumni Career Services that will afford participants the opportunity to examine their own careers and receive coaching and counseling.
“I think that we wait until something happens and then we tremble,” said Bonner. “We don't work on the résumés until we get laid off, we don't think about our futures until a life change happens.”
Whether someone is starting a career, thinking about returning to the work force or is in the middle of a career and wants to re-focus on job search skills, all participants will have the ability to learn and integrate skills into their own work experiences.
A wide range of challenges will be offered, so if one particular task—such as working on a résumé or adding a profile picture to LinkedIn—doesn’t pose much difficulty, the next day can offer a new challenge.
Bonner mentioned volunteering in the community and reading informational articles as two possible activities and said that webinars will be simultaneously offered for participants who are looking for extra ways to boost their skills.
Most of the tasks will be shared on Penn State’s Angel computer platform, as Bonner and two other Alumni Career Services staff members will be imparting assignments and feedback to registrants.
“Every day, they’ll receive the goals and challenges of the day, the tools they need to meet them and a way they can share the completion of that challenge,” said Bonner. February is a prime month for such an event because it ties in the concept of a New Year’s resolution and breaks up the winter with new activities, she said.
The challenge, which Bonner hopes will become an annual event, will incorporate Penn State-related traditions such as THON.org, as well as Valentine’s Day and Groundhog Day.
Registration is open and participants can sign up here. The cost is $28 for Alumni Association members and $50 for non-members.
Bonner said the challenge will be beneficial for people on all points of the career spectrum and also that other exercise- and diet-related monthly programs helped inspire the career-themed challenge.
Just as with a career, Bonner said it’s important to keep up with the challenge and not fall behind. Some days may require as little as five minutes to complete a task, while most challenges shouldn’t need more than a half-hour.
Taking the time to complete each assignment and giving it the necessary attention will be critical. If participants do so, Bonner expects the challenge will have a lasting, positive impact.
“We really want to give people the skills they need and can use to have knowledge of all of the little things they can do that add up to a great impact,” she said.