Professional Development

Professional Development

Professional Development Audra Nelson

Students have access to outstanding career preparation services, such as workshops on networking, resume and cover letter writing, interviewing and salary negotiation. Students also benefit from one-on-one career coaching and numerous opportunities to network with alumni and high-ranking professionals in the field.

“I found that the program’s alumni, instructors, staff and even my classmates were more than willing to help me move forward in my career. In a prestigious program with such a strong alumni base, it’s easy to network and make advantageous connections”

- Erin O’Keefe ‘MS13


Students in the MSHE program graduate with a powerful professional network comprised of the MSHE community, the School of Education and Social Policy, and Northwestern University, overall. That network doesn’t just exist, though; the MSHE program facilitates students’ active engagement within it. Higher education professionals and researchers participate as guest speakers for courses, panels and events. Students also participate in MeetUps with MSHE alumni, the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program, and the Northwestern Externship (NEXT) program, which offers one-day of job shadowing in organizations across the country. Throughout all these curated relationship-building opportunities, MSHE students expand and strengthen their network, which helps, in turn, to advance their careers.

One-on-one Career Coaching 

The MSHE program offers students and alumni of the program both programmatic and individual support for career preparation and advancement. MSHE career coach Audra Nelson is available by appointment to assist students and alumni with resumes, cover letters, interview preparation, networking, job search help and general career advising.


The MSHE program offers a wide range of professional development and career preparation workshops for all full- and part-time students. While workshops sometimes change from year to year, these have been offered recently:

Self-Assessment and Goal Setting

Reflection, self-assessment and goal setting are valuable for students as they develop material for their resume, refine their focus, and filter opportunities and well-intentioned advice. This workshop fosters deliberate self-reflection and assessment that will help MSHE students throughout their job search and professional career.


Networking is the most important element of the job search process in higher education. MSHE staff and faculty, internship supervisors and MSHE peers create a network that can help students discover the positions and institutions that are the best fit for them, find a job, and progress in their career. This workshop develops concrete skills and offers practice networking with alumni.

Resume and Cover Letter Writing

Students will need resumes and cover letters as marketing documents for a successful job search. Together, they tell the professional story — the goals students want to help an employer achieve and the skills, experience and values they possess that will help them do so. This workshop offers advice on how to create and tailor resumes for each individual's career goals. 

Intentional Interviewing

Too often, job seekers feel like they are at the mercy of the interviewer, simply responding reactively to questions asked. In this workshop, MSHE students are coached on how to interview intentionally – not as reactive job seekers but as proactive higher education professionals with true stories to tell and insightful questions to ask. In this way, the interview becomes a dialogue, and the student feels more in control of the process toward a “good fit” position.

Decision Making and Negotiating

Once students have a job offer, they must evaluate that offer, determine what if anything to negotiate, and approach the process deliberately to close the deal. This workshop gives students examples and ideas for how to successfully evaluate and negotiate offers to get the best position. 

The First 90 Days 

Transitions are times of vulnerability. If students establish credibility and secure early wins, they will build momentum. If they stumble early on, they can get into a hole that’s hard to climb out of. This workshop offers tips for how to start that new job on the right foot and make a strong impression in the first 90 days.

Contact Us

MS in Higher Education Administration and Policy Program

2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/491-7526