Resume Ramblings: The Objective

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/marcjgoldman Twitter: @MarcGoldmanNYC

Throughout my 20-year career in this business, I have reviewed more than my share of student and alumni resumes.  At the beginning of my career, an objective statement was a fairly common element on resumes and one suggested by many career counselors.  Over the past two decades, I have heard great debate over this brief introductory statement.  And today, it is viewed by some as the appendix (non-vital organ reference) of the resume.  Some counselors and employers opine that it should never be included.  Others say it can still be helpful to the job seeker to kick off their application document.  And of course, the more astute professionals (or fellow alumni of my Psych 101 course at Cornell), will put forth, “It depends.”

Here at Yeshiva University, my team has volleyed this bouncing ball of confusion back and forth many times.  We decided to take it to the street, so to speak, and survey some of our partner employers to solve this elusive mystery once and for all.  What did we learn from this quickie survey of a small sampling of employers?

  • 43 percent responded that they are fine with an objective that is a one-line statement of the targeted goal of the resume
  • 11 percent responded that they are fine with an objective that is a longer statement including specific candidate qualifications
  • 18 percent responded that they are fine with an objective that is more of a detailed summary of the resume
  • 27 percent responded that they did not want to see an objective on a resume at all

Basically, we noted a diversity of opinions in our survey results, which mirror the myriad views on the subject I have encountered over time.  Where do I stand at this point in my career?  No more stalling, Goldman.  Fess up and proclaim to the World Wide Web your thoughts on the objective.  Here goes nothing…

The objective is – wait for it – OPTIONAL.  I have always believed that and still do to this day.  There are situations when it can be helpful and effective for an applicant, and there are times when it is useless and pure fluff.  Here are a few points related to my philosophy on this “important” topic:

1)      An objective can provide a resume with direction when it might not otherwise have a clear one.

2)      An objective can note the target of a career transition when the resume content only details transferable skills from indirectly related experience.

3)      An objective can help the student with extremely limited experience demonstrate a goal in mind to prospective employers.

4)      An objective can provide the introduction you need when a contact is passing along your resume as a referral to another contact and so on and so on.  Did I just date myself with this obscure shampoo commercial reference?

5)      An objective is unnecessary when there is a strong clear theme to one’s resume.

6)      An objective is unnecessary when you are sending a cover letter in which you discuss your intentions as an applicant.  (Alas, the devil’s advocate in me voices the opinion that many employers don’t read the cover letter, so maybe an objective is still needed.  Ah, the cover letter.  A tale for another blog entry!)

7)      IF an objective is used on the resume, please be specific.  I actually saw one recently that I shall paraphrase as the following, “Looking for a position in the working field.”  Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but you get my meaning.

What does all of this signify in the greater job search scheme of things?  Will the objective or absence of one make or break one’s shot at that dream opportunity?  All I can tell you is that the objective is something quite subjective.

New Millennial Attitudes on Technology and Their Future

kevin grubbA post by NACE Ambassador Kevin Grubb
Assistant Director at Villanova University’s Career Center.
Twitter: @kevincgrubb
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingrubb
Blog: “social @ edu”.

Working in the field of college career services and college recruiting fascinates me. There are many reasons why, but one of the foremost is that speaking with college students keeps me on my toes. With every new class comes a new set of trends to consider.

The "New Millennials"

The “New Millennials” are the next to enter higher education. What trends will they bring with them?

For the past several years and in the next several to come, many of the trends center around Millennials. Viacom, parent company of MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and more, recently released some insightful information about the “New Millennials” – the younger set of Millennials, now ages 13-17. As many of them are the college students of tomorrow, I considered reading this as future-minded professional development for myself. Here are my five most interesting facts from the report:

  1. A large majority of New Millennials are worried that the economy of today will have a negative impact on their future. I see anxiety about getting a job in the “real world” in current students frequently, and this finding makes me wonder what concerns and emotions New Millennials will bring to the table.
  2. The percentage of New Millennials who agree that “My parents are like a best friend to me” is up 10 percent (now to 68 percent) since 2010. I am reminded instantly of the “Bring Your Parents to Work” day idea discussed already on the NACE blog.
  3. 70 percent of New Millennials report that “I learn how to do things on YouTube” or “I go to YouTube for DIY videos.” Confession: YouTube helped me learn how to tie a necktie. So, maybe this goes for us “old Millennials,” too. The finding also makes me glad we’ve already been working on our YouTube presence in our office.
  4. 80 percent of New Millennials say that “Sometimes I just need to unplug and enjoy the simple things.” This just makes me happy. I have a group of Millennial friends that I get together with on Sundays for breakfast. All of us are in education, whether primary, secondary, or higher, and we often talk about how we hope students will break from technology from time to time. I hope this continues.
  5. A key finding of the report is that New Millennials are increasingly finding private ways to share things on social media. On the flip side, I read recently that Facebook is now requiring all users to be available in a Facebook search. I hear discontent with Facebook often from students and friends. Will this shift be another notch against the world’s largest social network?

NACE blog readers, what’s your take on Millennials and trends in our work?

Image credit: flickr.com

The Assessment Diaries: 5 Questions to Ask Before Creating a Survey

Desalina Allen

A post by NACE Guest Blogger, Desalina Allen, Senior Assistant Director at NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development
Twitter: @DesalinaAllen
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/desalina

In addition to some of the methods I’ve already mentioned surveys can be a great way to collect both quantitative and qualitative information from students, employers and other key career services stakeholders. There are definitely questions you should ask yourself before deciding that a survey is the right collection method, but I’ll save those for another post.

For now, let’s assume you are dead set on surveying and you just don’t want to end up like this guy:

Image courtesy of GifBin.com

Here are five questions to ask yourself before you start designing and distributing your survey:

What information do I absolutely need to collect? Consider whether you already have access to accurate information on students like major, department and graduation date before asking these questions in your survey.  If you do, you can ask for a student ID and match up the two sets of information.  Many of the online survey software platforms also allow you to upload a list of survey recipients and send each one a customized hyperlink so you don’t need to collect name and contact information. When we survey, we rarely ask for school, major or grad date because we often have this information updated via our Career Services Management System and/or registrar records.  Two or three fewer questions, now that’s exciting.

What is your population? When you review your results or write your report, what is the group that you are trying to describe?  Will it be students who attended a resume seminar (more specifically: a resume seminar on December 13 or any resume seminar throughout the year)? Is it all juniors, or only juniors who have completed summer internships?  Having a clear understanding of  your population, will help you answer the next question which is:

How many responses do I need? Depending on your survey method, budget and population size you may not get responses from everyone.  This is OK – statistics allows you to describe your population without having data from everyone. This chart is really helpful – find the approximate size of your population on the far left column and then find the corresponding number of responses necessary to describe that population.  For example if you are trying to describe a population of 25,000 undergraduate students, you may only need between 700 and 10,000 responses – depending on how certain you want assumptions to be.  You should also be sure that there is not a difference in the group that did and did not respond to your survey.  For example, if all of your responses came from people who attended a particular event, your results may be skewed as these people may differ from the total population.  Finally, do some benchmarking and check past reports to get an idea about the response rate that is considered reasonable.  In the example above, a 40 percent response rate (10,000/25,000) may be acceptable for a student satisfaction survey but not for your annual first destination survey.

How will I collect this information?  Websites like SurveyMonkey offer free accounts and many institutions have licenses for software such as Qualtrics (my platform of choice). Of course there is always the old fashioned paper and pencil method, which is still a very effective way to collect information. Career Service professionals may also check to see if their existing Career Services Manager system offers surveying features (Symplicity’s NACElink system offers this as an add-on).

Will multiple methods be required to achieve the desired number of responses? Using one method of surveying may not be enough to achieve your target response rate or get the information you need.  Consider using a combination of paper forms, online surveying, phone surveying, in-person interviews, and even online research. My fellow NACE guest blogger, Kevin Grubb, mentioned that the new NACE position statement on first destination surveys will now use the term “knowledge rate” instead of response rate as we often collect information from faculty, employers, and even LinkedIn research to gather information about our students career outcomes.

What do you think? Add your thoughts in the comments section!

Coaching Students With Barriers to Employment: Getting to the Truth

Lakeisha MathewsLakeisha M. Mathews, Director, Career and Professional Development Center, University of Baltimore
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/lakeishamathews/
Twitter: @RightResumes_CC

I enjoy coaching students with barriers to employment. Not because they have challenges to accessing the world of work. Rather, I see it as an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life that might otherwise give up on finding their ideal place in the world. Needless to say, I find it interesting and sometimes frustrating that students with barriers often do not share their barrier at the outset of a coaching appointment. I have spent 30 – 45 minutes coaching a student before they disclosed the “real” reason they came to the career center. Examples include the traditional student who wants to be a physician, but does not mention they are failing biology, to the non-traditional student who wants to land a managerial position, but fails to mention that they have held five jobs in the last two years.

With experience I have developed a few strategies to assist students with employment barriers to make the most of the final 10 – 15 minutes of a coaching session when the “real” truth has been revealed:

  1. Asking powerful and direct questions: Asking students clarifying and direct questions helps uncover key information and also allows the student to decipher their real feelings as they explain their own barriers.
  2. Asking why: Disclosure of an employment barrier is not enough to help devise an action plan for moving forward.  Identifying and understanding the root cause of a barrier helps the student take ownership of their employment barriers.  In a safe environment, discussing “why” can also alleviate negative emotions associated with employment barriers such as fear, pride and shame.
  3. Investigating past patterns: Learning what led a student to choose an academic degree program or what career paths their parents chose can uncover unconscious decision-making that negatively impacts future outcomes.
  4. Switching hats: Turning the table and asking the student to become the career coach can force the student to challenge their own beliefs, career decision, and actions.  Instead of providing direction, ask the student what their next steps should be.
  5. Share your own career struggles: Sharing your own academic or career struggles as appropriate, can remind the student that your role is to help and not judge.  Students are more likely to share their barriers with you if they feel the coaching environment is safe.

Unless I can hire a bailiff to swear students in before coaching appointments, I can’t stop them from revealing their “real” career concerns in the last 15 minutes. I can however, make the most of the last 15 minutes by asking the right questions and challenging students to be honest.

Twitter for Job Search: Be the Smartest Candidate in the Room

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A post by NACE Guest Blogger, Pamela Weinberg
Website: www.pamelaweinberg.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pamelaweinberg/
Twitter: @pamelaweinberg

For most job seekers LinkedIn is the “go-to” social media site. (I will talk about LinkedIn in another post.) I have been encouraging students lately to take to Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about the companies and industries they are interested in and to build their personal brands.

Here are some tips you can share with students about using Twitter for the job search:

  • Follow companies where you would like to work. You will have real time information on hiring, expansion, and new product development. And when the time comes for an interview, you will be completely up-to-date on company happenings.
  • Follow industry experts. Not sure who they are? Check out www.listorious.com to see who the top tweeters are in each industry.
  • Retweet relevant posts. Your twitter posts should reflect your career interests and aspirations. A student interested in a marketing position should follow and repost interesting and topical articles about marketing.
  • Search for jobs: Websites such as www.twitjobsearch.com list many positions only found through Twitter. Why? Because employers want to hire those who are social media savvy.
  • Connect Directly: Someone that you follow say something interesting and you want to comment? Go right ahead! It’s a great way to develop relationships with experts in your chosen field. Anyone on Twitter can be sent a direct message by placing the @ before their Twitter handle in the message box.

Want to get started? Tweet me at @PamelaWeinberg!

Expanding the Reach of Our NACE Membership

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University
LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/marcjgoldman
Twitter: @MarcGoldmanNYC

I have always been proud to be an active NACE member, volunteering my time and efforts for the betterment of our profession and the chance to connect with colleagues across the country and the world.  In the past, from a financial standpoint, it has been challenging to share this membership with my team.  I have wanted my staff to feel like a part of our profession on a grander scale and to benefit from such a robust wealth of resources, information, and support as much I have throughout the years.

Until this year, I was a member under our institutional membership status, and one staff member also had an e-membership.  Now, under the new tiered membership system, our member fees increase by only about 50 percent, but this allows FIVE professionals in my office to have full membership instead of TWO!  As soon as I saw the NACE e-mail promotion of this new system, I called NACE to adjust our 2013 membership status, so my team could reap the same rewards from NACE that I have enjoyed for so many years.

The Spotlight online newsletter and extensive survey reports issued by NACE will be shared across our two campuses and members of our team much more easily.  NACE website information, Principles, white papers, best practices, and networking will be easily accessible by members of my team when they choose to research and explore for their own professional development and the improvement of our office.  Member rates for conferences and webinars will also extend to more team members, making the case for their attendance and involvement an easier one to make to upper administration.

There are clear gains in sight for our future with this new model of membership.  My team will be better informed and more involved with a greater sense of commitment to our field and our professional organization.  I have always tried to emphasize a team approach to effectively functioning as a college career center.  In spirit, our staff structure is as flat as we can possibly make it.  I believe NACE has taken a great step forward in making this more feasible than ever before.  Thank you, NACE!

NACE Membership: Making It Personal

Dan BlackDan Black, Americas Director of Recruiting, EY LLP
2013-14 NACE President

LinkedIn: Dan Black
Twitter: @DanBlack_EY
Ernst & Young LLP

Among the items I always carry with me are my car keys, my phone, and a reminder that, every day, I need to personally connect with at least one NACE member. Why? Because I believe in the power of networking and, when a personal relationship develops, it reinforces the strength of the profession.

Empowering members to make personal connections—to people, resources, and professional development opportunities—is central to NACE’s new membership model, which was designed by a task force of NACE members to break down the layered complexity of previous structures and provide expanded benefits to all members. I was proud to be a member of the task force and very excited to see the new model being rolled out.

What does this mean for you? The first key benefit is inclusivity. Under the new model, you can bring more people from your organization into the fold and help them develop their own professional expertise. It promotes the learning, networking, and engagement of staff at all levels of your organization.

The second key benefit of this model is access. You and your staff will have expanded access to “non-benefit” resources. For example, I participate in all of the surveys NACE generates for employers. Under the new membership model and because I am a survey participant, all the members in my organization will now have access to these surveys’ research reports. Being able to operate from the same foundation of information and resources is important to my organization since we strive to attract, engage, and hire top-level candidates as “one team.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re part of a large corporation with a global recruiting presence or you’re a one-person career services office at a small college—you will benefit from NACE’s new membership model. It will give you greater access to the information you need, the development opportunities you want to take advantage of, and the personal connections you want to make.

Make the change today! You don’t have to wait until your scheduled renewal to take advantage of the new structure. Bring membership benefits to more people in your operation right away by contacting the NACE Membership Team at customerservice@naceweb.org or 610.868.1421.