Hello, I'm Amy Giaculli. In this introductory presentation, we'll briefly review the specialization. The specialization consists of three courses and a culminating capstone course. In order to get the most out of the specialization, we recommend taking the courses sequentially. The goal of the specialization is to help you create, manage, and communicate a strong career brand for professional growth and career success. A career brand is a perception of someone's work related capabilities and expertise by various audiences, most notably employers. A person's career brand includes two major components, the functional and the emotional. We'll call the functional component, skills, and the emotional component, personal image. Both components are critically important for employability. Here's why. In the post-recession U.S. economy, Americans must often shift jobs, sometimes more than once. That means that jobs have become more competitive, harder to find, and less secure. Having a college degree does not guarantee a successful career. Traditional corporate career ladders have largely disappeared. Career pathways have become non-linear. As a result, career development today is more like a competitive race in a volatile, uncertain, and very ambiguous environment. To succeed in the race and achieve a competitive edge in the job market, one needs to really stand out by demonstrating a winning combination of marketable skills and a powerful personal image. But how can one develop the required marketable skills? What are the critical factors that contribute to career success in the new normal economy? There are many studies emphasizing an increased role of self-management and self-marketing for career development in today's economy. As summarized by Shaffer and Zalewski, theorists and practitioners, both provide the following advice for career builders. Maintain your own employability, develop capabilities to acquire new skills on your own, and be a self-directed learner. Increase your human capital by developing transferable skills, learn how to document and communicate new skills. Engage in self-marketing, be proactive, and develop a positive attitude towards self-improvement. The previously mentioned recommendations are captured in the career brand formula that we use in the specialization. We assume that career growth is enhanced by a strong career brand. A career brand is a combination of marketable skills and personal image. Personal skills and image can be successfully self-managed and self-marketed. You may ask, how can I learn about career development? Do they teach self-management and self-marketing in academia? Can I obtain a formal qualification in that area? The answer to your questions is that many important components of self-management, and self-marketing can indeed be learned in foundational academic courses dealing with psychology, management, marketing, and business strategy. Also, there are academic courses aimed specifically at helping students better understand career development and build necessary skills. For example, this specialization is based on an online course taught at State University of New York's Empire State College. Building on our experience in teaching undergraduate, graduate, and professional development courses, the specialization is designed to provide you with theoretical knowledge, applicable skills and Coursera verified certificates in strategic career self-management, careen brand development, and strategic self-marketing. The Career Development Lab is a unique feature of this specialization. This is a built-in training facility for your ongoing professional development. Every week, you'll be engaged in career development workouts aimed at practicing and strengthening your newly developed skills. The Career Development Lab also functions as self-management information system and an effective tool for self-organization and self-direction. This specialization culminates with the capstone course called Career Total Fitness. It's purpose is to provide a dedicated space for skill building activities, documenting evidence of these skills, peer evaluation and feedback, job market analysis, and 360 degree self-assessments, and other developmental activities. Tangible outcomes of the specialization will include a professional development plan, a personal branding strategy, and a personal SWOT analysis. You will also develop customized metrics and dashboards to monitor your progress in developing employability skills. As a result, you'll learn how to become your own personal coach. By completing this specialization, you will learn how to develop, manage and communicate a strong career brand. In particular, you will gain knowledge and analytical skills for career self-management, create a robust self-management information system, increase your human capital by developing high demand employability skills. Obtain tools and techniques for career brand building, develop a sound career strategy to gain a competitive edge on the job market, organize yourself and engage in ongoing career fitness activities. In the following presentations, during Week One, we'll provide a detailed introduction to courses one, two and three and launch the Career Development Lab. Enjoy your course.