Career Coaching Notes: 7 Powerful Questions

Rayna AndersonRayna A. Anderson, Career Advisor at Elon University
Twitter: @Rayna_Anderson
LinkedIn: www.LinkedIn.com/in/RaynaA
Blog: RaynaAnderson.wordpress.com

Considering that our job is not to give answers, but instead is to guide others toward self-discovery, powerful questioning can make all the difference in an advising session. The list below is a short compilation of questions I’ve collected over time, and concludes with my most recent favorite:

  1. What do you daydream about the most?
  2. What have been some of your proudest moments?
  3. If you wrote a book that could improve the world, what would it be about?
  4. If you had to go back to school tomorrow, what would you major in?
  5. What do you want to be known for after you retire?
  6. If you didn’t have to go to class/work tomorrow but still had to work, what type of work would you do?
  7. What excites you?

The last question was taken from The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. In the book, Ferriss states that, “Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase. It is the cure-all.” He argues that most people will never know what they want and that this question is a more precise alternative that reflects the actual objective. If you have any powerful questions that you often use with students or clients, comment and share below!  

Read more from Rayna Anderson.

The Assessment Diaries: Quick and Qualitative

Desalina Allen

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

Some of the assessment activities I have shared take time to develop (like the Pre/Post Dining Etiquette Survey) and/or require staff buy-in, training and socialization (like the Resume Rubrics).  Just last week, I decided super last minute that I wanted to assess a networking presentation for international students…last minute, as in, 20 minutes before the event. This exercise is proof that assessment doesn’t have to take hours and hours of your time—sometimes a quick pre/post writing exercise can give you insight into what needs to be changed about a program.

I need to invoke my earlier reminder that I promised to be honest when sharing my experiences with assessment, and this post is no different.  I’d like to say I was happy with these results, when instead I was disappointed to find that I probably assessed the wrong learning goal. I started with the fact that I wanted students to gain a more nuanced understanding of networking. Here’s what I did:

Twenty minutes before the presentation I grabbed some colorful paper—yellow would be used for my pre-assessment and pink for the post assessment. This color choice was not at all based on any carefully planned and research-supported theory that bright paper makes people happy; in fact, I did it to make sure I could keep the two “surveys” separate.

At the beginning of the event, I asked the students to spend two minutes writing about networking. It could have been their definition of networking or just words that come to mind; grammar and complete sentences not necessary. I then did the same thing at the end of the event.

I could have just looked through and summarized key trends from each sample, but I decided to get fancy, transcribe the text, and enter it into Wordle, a tool that generates word clouds.

Here’s the Pre-Workshop Wordle

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 3.18.09 PM.png

And the Post:

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 3.20.44 PM.png

While the results show that I focused on the importance of relationships, I don’t think I can claim that students gained a more in-depth understanding of networking.  What I did learn is that it seems like students already had a handle on the definition of networking, so perhaps I needed to assess their comfort level actually knowing how to network!

While this wasn’t the most successful assessment attempt, I do think that it can be great when you are trying to compare students’ knowledge of more difficult to assess topics (think professionalism, diversity, self-awareness).

Would you try it?

Read more of Desalina Allen’s blogs on assessment!

NACE Flash Poll: Is “Career” in Your Institution’s Curriculum?

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

One of the latest trends in career services is the establishment of a career or professional development class embedded into curriculum. Courses may be required, optional, for credit or non-credit bearing. With the importance of career outcomes rising for colleges and universities, this is a new possible solution for providing career education to all students.

NACE blog readers, is “career” in your institution’s curriculum? Share your answer in this poll and tell us about your career course in a comment. What do you teach and how do you do it?

For more information on this topic, check out NACE’s Career Course Syllabi.

Am I Mashed Up or Just Fried? A Journey Into Social Recruiting

Chris Carlson
Christopher Carlson, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, Booz Allen Hamilton
Twitter: @cciCarlson
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ccicrc

Reading regular updates on corporate engagement and investment into social media suggests that it is becoming a critical piece of corporate recruiting strategies.  The influence of social recruiting and media on university recruiting continues to evolve.  Many traditional campus recruiting models are being challenged by new paradigms in means of communication.  Our team has been in the process of evolving our social recruiting strategies for university recruiting, and when asked to contribute to the NACE Blog, I thought it would be appropriate to develop a series of blogs designed to share more about my personal journey into social recruiting.

Let me start the series by sharing a personal perspective.  I hate to confess this, but I learned recruiting in a small office back in the day when recruiting was done by putting an advertisement in a local paper and that was pretty much our only strategy.  We opened the envelopes of those who applied and proceeded to review them, and put them into two piles—qualified and not-qualified.  I still remember counting the months and years of experience on each of the qualified resumes with a red pen for review by the hiring manager and the EEO officer. We thought 150 applicants was a lot.

Over the years, I recruited during the introduction of the Internet and job boards. I still am close with some recruiters who were in the chat room of the original OCC, which became Monster. We went from 150 applicants per  job posting to thousands. They came in from all over the world. Technical recruiting exploded, but it was still contained in the confines of job boards and postings. Throughout this whole period, some things remained constant in university recruiting—posting positions, career fairs, on-campus interviews, meeting professors, and student group meetings. Technology advanced a greater ease in posting as we didn’t have to mail a flyer anymore, but still nothing dramatic happened.

Fast forward to now…every student has a smart phone and/or a tablet. Career services staff leverage social media to keep students informed and even trained. There are apps like Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine that allow individuals to communicate instantly and to large numbers of people.  My head whirls sometimes just thinking about it all. Should I be mashing something so I can “mashup?” If I am on Twitter, am I twittering or tweeting, and why am I putting a hashtag in front of everything? Do I have to write in complete sentences?  Who are these people and why do they want to connect with me?

Our team met just over a year ago to review the changing landscape on campuses and within our business. We reviewed our resources, outreach, tools, and historical metrics.  We discussed our challenges and opportunities. We then started to realize that we needed to embrace a remote, social recruiting strategy. We started down that path and are still moving in that direction. Over the coming months I am going to discuss the transition from traditional campus recruiting to embracing this “brave new world.” I will be discussing processes, lessons learned, and best practices.

In true social media fashion, I encourage you to share your stories with me as well. We can mashup together, and I hope you will continue to follow me down my #journey. I will also be presenting at #NACE14 on this topic in more detail.

Everyone Is a Recruiter, best practices on establishing a social recruiting approach that takes into account both internal and external tools and audiences, will be presented by Christopher Carlson and Courtenay Verret, Talent Acquisition Program Associate, American Red Cross.

Read part 2 of Christopher Carlson’s “Journey Into Social Recruiting.”

Discuss, Share Critical Recruiting Issues at Employer Regulatory Summit

Shawn VanDerziel

Guest Blogger Shawn VanDerziel
Vice-President, Human Resources & Administration, The Field Museum
NACE Past President (2009-10)
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/svanderziel

When NACE announced that it was organizing an Employer Regulatory Summit, I immediately knew that I needed to attend.  This powerful event will focus on what’s happening in Washington D.C. and the critical issues that could directly impact the university relations and recruitment profession.

In order for recruiters to exceed in their jobs, we need to think strategically about what’s happening in the world around us and be keenly aware of what’s ahead.  That’s why the issues being covered at the Summit are so important: immigration, STEM, healthcare reform, tax reform, and recruitment of individuals with disabilities.

Once we understand the issues, we can begin to devise world strategies that will advance our recruiting agendas.  The hiring managers we work with will directly benefit from our knowledge as we partner with them to ensure that all obstacles to recruiting and placing top talent are minimized, allowing us to get a leg-up on our competition.

Of the issues being covered, I am particularly interested in hearing more about and engaging in dialogue around immigration reform and STEM graduates.  Having access to qualified talent in the sciences, technology, engineering, and math is of critical importance to my organization.  How we are going to develop future talent in these areas and how we are going to recruit and retain the talent is a national challenge we must solve together.

For me, probably one of the most compelling reasons to attend is the ability to hear from and interact with colleagues from both similar and different industries.  It’s always helpful to me to hear perspectives from colleagues outside of my organization.  I appreciate hearing how others are dealing with similar situations and hearing their fresh ideas.

There is so much we can learn from each other. Let’s all be in one place discussing strategic issues popping in D.C.

I hope to see many of you there.

Get details on the summit and register for the Employer Regulatory Summit at http://www.naceweb.org/events/employer-regulatory-summit.aspx.

The Devil Does Wear Prada

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

One of my favorite movies is the Devil Wears Prada, where Meryl Streep (one of my favorite actresses) plays the role of Miranda Priestly, the editor of a popular fashion magazine. Costarring with Meryl is Anne Hathaway as Andrea Sachs, a frumpy assistant who has no interest in fashion. I like the movie for many reasons, for instance, there is great fashion, a peek at Paris Fashion Week and cameos of fashions’ top designers. However, my love of the movie runs deeper with an appreciation of the career development themes that are evident in the professional image evolution of Anne Hathaway’s character throughout the film.

Initially, Anne Hathaway’s character was resistant to the style culture she found herself in, denying that anything was wrong with her frumpy image as long as she produced good work. However, once she allowed her image to be upgraded by a colleague she realized having a professional image is a part of putting your best foot forward and impacts how others view you in the workplace.

Many of our students are in a need of what I like to call The Devil Does Wear Prada talk. No, I am not implying that they need to purchase designer clothes and become obsessed with their wardrobe. But, I do encourage students to consider their professional image as a part of the career development process. This can be a sensitive issue to bring up with students, nevertheless, it is essential and sets them up for a competitive advantage in a tough labor market. In my career coaching experience with both traditional and non-traditional students, I have had many The Devil Does Wear Prada talks with students including discussions around how to style hair, skirt length, appropriate make-up, faith-based ornaments, tattoos, etc. Each discussion is different and every student must develop an authentic image that makes them feel self-assured and comfortable. Awareness is the first step and includes:

1. Investing in a professional wardrobe that is appropriate to your industry and company;
2. Developing an awareness of what looks good on you and makes you feel confident;
3. Paying attention to the little things: clean nails, shaven beards, polished shoes, etc;
4. Finding a go-to store for purchasing an affordable professional wardrobe whether it’s Target, Banana Republic, or Macys;
5. Wearing a hairstyle that brings out your facial features and frames your face in a complimentary manner.

Finding Meaning in Your Career

20111112_weinberg-048-Edit-web[1]Pamela Weinberg
Website: www.pamelaweinberg.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pamelaweinberg/
Twitter: @pamelaweinberg

I had the pleasure of meeting Marie-Yolaine Eusebe the founder of Community2Community (a nonprofit organization dedicated to rebuilding Haiti) recently and was thoroughly impressed with her drive and commitment to her job. As a career coach, I am always interested in learning more about how people transitioned into the careers they have, and Marie-Yolaine’s story struck me as most interesting. She worked in corporate America with no nonprofit management experience, but when the crisis in Haiti became front-page news, she quit her job and founded C2C. Quite brave and impressive!

I often work with alumni who feel stuck in jobs that pay the bills, but that don’t make them “feel good” about what they are doing. Most of us don’t have the means to leave our jobs and dive into work that would likely be more personally satisfying, but might leave us financially wanting.

Luckily, doing work for a meaningful cause does not have to be an “all or nothing” proposition. Many organizations offer opportunities for interested people to spend their vacation weeks, long weekends, or summer holidays volunteering for their cause. Whether it is collecting donations, helping to build homes, or providing professional expertise, there is always an organization looking for passionate volunteers—whether they can give one day or one year.

Corporations are becoming more and more conscious of this desire to “give back.” Many are involved in supporting nonprofits and encourage their employees to be as well. Some even have paid “volunteer days” off, and offer incentives to employees that volunteer. For example, EY’s Corporate Responsibility Fellows Program appeals to top performers looking for a way to give back to the world through work, while exploring a new country and culture. The Fellows program sends a highly select group to low-income countries for three months at full pay. They use their skills to work with promising local entrepreneurs at a critical point in their business—typically providing help they couldn’t otherwise afford—and help jump-start growth in these emerging markets.

If your company doesn’t have a formalized volunteer program, suggest one. Research has shown that encouraging employee volunteerism is a winning proposition.  According to a United Healthcare Survey released in April 2010, employers who establish formal volunteering programs for their employees benefit in several important and distinct ways. From an employee perspective, current employees who volunteer through their workplace have a more positive feeling toward their employer and report a strengthened bond with co-workers.

For those who are ready to take the plunge into full-time work with “meaning”, check out www.encore.org, a wonderful organization geared to helping those looking for second-act careers that encompass passion and meaning. Though the organization focuses on those near retirement age, it is a valuable resource for career changers of all ages, providing useful information and resources for finding and transitioning into careers that give back.

The bottom line is: everyone has the opportunity to make a difference. Whether you are able to volunteer one hour, one month or one year, it is a proposition guaranteed to add meaning both to your life and to someone else’s. Just do it!

Read more from Pamela Weinberg!