What to Expect at NACE15 if You’re a First-Timer

Debbie BolesDebbie Boles, Assistant Director, University of Oklahoma Career Services
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/dboles/
Twitter: @breboles

In 2014, I attended my first NACE Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Although I have been working in higher education for 20+ years, it was my first year as a NACE member. As I prepare to attend the 2015 NACE Conference & Expo, I thought it might be nice to share some things that helped me at last year’s conference.

Remember: The conference will be what you make of it. If you take the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and gather ideas to bring back to the office, then that is what will happen.

Preparation: Promotional Materials, Maps, and Apps

When conference information is sent through the mail, I keep it handy to help me get organized. The registration information booklet for the 2015 NACE Conference & Expo includes a folded handout that provides key information regarding keynote speakers, great ideas in 15-minute SMARTtalks sessions, and new events that capture the latest innovations. It is important to read the brochures, access the online resources, and research the large variety of concurrent sessions.

Then, download the NACE15 Conference app to your phone. (You’ll find it in your app store. Search for NACE15.)

I learn as much as I can prior to the event in order to decide what I want to attend and to help me build a roadmap for my journey.

Determine which sessions are important for you to attend. Get to know the conference layout (there’s a conference map in the program and on the NACE15 app) so you can find your way around between sessions, but also because a session may change locations or be cancelled. Check the app often for updates. Each time you leave your room, check that you’re carrying your schedule, room key, and name tag. Do not leave your room without your map and your app.

Remember, be flexible and prepared, and have a backup plan.

Participation: Divide and Conquer

If this is your first NACE Conference, plan to attend the newcomers’ session and try to arrive early. If you are traveling with other newcomers or experienced conference attendees, divide up to meet new people.

If you are traveling with other staff from your office, divide the sessions and attend different sessions. Determine what is most important for you to attend, then spread out and cover more ground. Be prepared to report back to your group. Do not try to do everything.

Are you competitive?  Do you like to participate and win prizes?  Be your own private investigator.  Search within your conference information to find interesting challenges that take you outside your comfort zone.  If you are nervous, you will find comfort in numbers because you are not the only one that is doing something for the first time.  Take a chance, learn from others, and have fun while doing it.

Resources: What to Bring, Where to Go, What to Know

What is your learning style? Do you prefer to read about something or would you like to be able to see it, access it, and learn by doing?

Throughout the conference, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to see the latest career-related products and services in the Expo Hall. Take advantage of this! Pick up a brochure, watch a demonstration, or meet the people that work behind the scenes. The Expo Hall provides an interesting environment that combines rows of vendors with chances to win prizes, as well as a place to get a snack or eat a meal.

When attending sessions, ask questions. Introduce yourself to the presenters and other participants. Ask for a business card, website, or e-mail address, and when you return home, be sure you use this information to keep in touch.

Other Tips for First-Timers

Bring an umbrella, light jacket, and sunscreen. Remember phone chargers, medication, and comfortable shoes.

And finally, have some fun! Find a balance between doing everything and wishing you would have done more. Take a break every once in a while to meet new people. Think about what makes you more comfortable and then do something nice for someone else.

Make the most of your time and remember to drink lots of water. Hope to see you there.

Who to Meet at NACE15

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

Hello, intrepid NACE Blog readers. It’s been quite a busy academic year for me, but after some friendly reminding on the part of Claudia Allen, I’m back and ready to write or, more appropriately noted, type. I cannot believe it’s been almost a year since our last NACE conference in San Antonio, TX. Yee haw! I am still having trouble getting the hayDan Black and Fred Burke, NACE14 and sawdust out of my boots. And the vivid memory of Fred Burke and Dan Black all cowboy-like lingers, for better or worse. It is now time to turn our attention to the West Coast and our return to Anaheim. I recall celebrating NACE’s big 50th anniversary the last time we met in Anaheim. Members dressed to the nines in tuxes and gowns for the red carpet soiree, and much fun was had by all. Once again, we will find ourselves facing the moral dilemma of attending another training or information session versus “networking” poolside in the California sun. Regardless of how you spend your time at the conference, it is always important to keep in mind whom you should try to meet while there. Feel free to reference my blog post from last year regarding this topic. But if you prefer only to look toward the future and not relive the past, then read on here about the key people to find and connect with at NACE15!

One of your awesome conference co-chairs is a great friend and colleague of mine, Brian Guerrero, currently at UCLA. I have known him since he was a wee lad of 12 or Brian Guererroso, when he applied to be a career counselor at the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development. Brian is one of the classiest cats around, quite informed and educated in our field and genuinely caring and supportive toward others in his circle and Caroline Cunninghambeyond. I know if his clarity of vision and infectious enthusiasm are involved in this year’s conference, then we are in for a treat. Say hi to him, thank him, and have him introduce you to his co-chair, Caroline Cunningham, and members of the conference committee!

When you first arrive at the conference center, you will be greeted by many wonderful NACE staffers, sporting polos in one color or another. Which one will it be when you get there? Only the fates can decide! Anyway, if you ever have thought to yourself, “Self, I Cecelia Naderreally want to volunteer my time and be more involved in NACE,” then you need to track down Cecelia Nader! Cecelia is the volunteer guru, as I like to call her, and can certainly steer you in various directions toward using your strengths and taking on exciting challenges, all in the name of good will for the professional association. And don’t worry, you will never be a bother. If she can put up with me, she can handle most people with ease.

Atrudy wonderful Marriott employee should be on your go-to list. How many Marriotts have I stayed in due to NACE conferences? Man, I should have become a Marriott Rewards member years ago! How great have these stays been? Of course, they have varied from location to location, but mostly, the staffs have handled our throngs and accompanying needs, whims, and complaints incredibly well. You might even learn something about the hospitality industry or make a new connection for your school or recruiting staff. The possibilities are…to quote the “Chief” herself, Trudy Steinfeld…limitless!

O. Ray AngleWhether you are a NACE newbie yourself or a member of the Academy of Fellows (That’s you now, O. Ray Angle Shawn VanDerzieland Shawn VanDerziel!), please welcome and embrace first-time conference attendees. The annual conference can be overwhelming and confusing at times. There are so many names and faces, and people try their best to avoid that awkward squinting and staring at the print on name badges to acquaint themselves. Be the good Samaritan, introduce yourself, and offer a helping hand to the rookies.

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University

Me! Yes, you can read my blog post from last year to learn about me, but I will once again offer up my openness to meeting new colleagues. Feel free to say hi, ask about my work with the Leadership Advancement Program committee this year, or note how I have chilled a bit on my ribbon obsession! I look forward to seeing you all in Anaheim in June! Oh yeah, make sure to encourage me to keep the blogging momentum going. Claudia Allen would really appreciate it. (Editor’s note: Yes, she would.)

Get Ready. Get Set. Get Packing!

Caroline CunninghamCaroline Cunningham, Recruiting Team Lead for Enterprise Hiring at Chevron Corporation and co-chair of the NACE 2015 Conference Committee
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/caroline-miller-cunningham/3/30b/769

I can’t believe NACE 2015 will be my eighth NACE conference! Over the years, I have traveled to some pretty fun places like New Orleans, Orlando, Dallas, and Las Vegas—twice! Between my travels to the NACE conference, and many years of campus and conference recruiting trips, I have learned a few dos and don’ts about packing that I hope will be helpful for you as you get ready to come to Anaheim.

1. When packing your clothes, try these things to keep them from getting creased in your suitcase:

  • Roll Your Clothes: Backpackers swear by this method. Rolling works well with pants, skirts, and sport shirts. Lay the item face down, fold back the sleeves, and roll from the bottom up.
  • Fold Clothes Together: Take two or more garments—for example trousers—and lay half of one pair on top of the other. Fold the one on the bottom over the pair on the top. Then take the other and fold it over the top. This gives each pair some cushion where you’ve folded, so it’s less likely either will crease or wrinkle in the folds.

2. Most hotels provide basic toiletries like shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, and disposable razors. Lighten your load by calling ahead to see what will be provided.

3. Bring clothes in neutral colors that you can mix and match, and only pack shoes that can be worn with multiple outfits. Believe me, a pair of black pants and a pair of black flats go a long way!

4. Check the weather at your destination before you leave and pack accordingly. If the weather deviates significantly from the forecast, you can always buy a sweater or rain poncho and keep it as a souvenir. Temperatures average in the low 80s in June in Anaheim, but the conference rooms can be chilly, so pack a light sweater or wrap.

5. Bring a few laundry pods. These are one of the greatest inventions for travelers. I always pack a few of these in my suitcase in case I spill or need to quickly wash a T-shirt or blouse.

6. Use zipper storage bags. These are great for organizing socks and undergarments or packing individual outfits in your suitcase. I always tuck a few extra in my suitcase as well for a wet bathing suit or those souvenir soaps I want to bring home.

7. If you have a tablet or small laptop, bring it. Last year, I took notes on my iPad during several of the sessions and was so glad to have it with me.

8. Other items you might want to pack include a stretchy exercise band for a quick in-room workout, a baseball hat and flip flops to run down and get coffee first thing before you shower, an umbrella (though in California lately those are rarely used), and a neck or back pillow for the plane.

Lastly, I can’t tell you how worthwhile it has been for me to invest in a really good carry-on size suitcase.  I opted for a lightweight polycarbonate case with four way spinners and an external pocket for my laptop.  This thing is tough as nails and can hold a surprising amount of stuff.  The bonus is not having to check my luggage.

Happy packing and see you in Anaheim!

Networking Advice With a Cucumber Sandwich

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Pamela Weinberg
Website: www.pamelaweinberg.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pamelaweinberg/
Twitter: @pamelaweinberg
Blogs from Pamela Weinberg.

I had the pleasure of attending a tea at the elegant Carlyle Hotel in New York City recently. The invitation came from LaGuardia Community College’s (LAGCC) President’s Society and the evening was sponsored by a benefactor of the school who had the excellent idea to expose the LAGCC students to aspects of life that were typically unavailable to them until now. The attendees were a mixture of LAGCC honor students and working professionals in a variety of fields. The evening was designed to give these students (most of whom are the first in their families to attend college) the opportunity to network and practice their social skills with professionals in a beautiful setting. In addition, a guest speaker, Gregory Mosher, spoke to the group about his career trajectory.

I had intended to write a blog post extolling the many benefits of hosting such a networking event for students. And there are many. But I hadn’t anticipated that the talented guest speaker would give the students such creative and interesting networking advice, so I’ve decided to share that as well.

For a theater lover like myself, hearing that Gregory Mosher was going to speak at the tea was exciting. Mosher has been involved in the theater since the 1960s and has won every theater award imaginable. He was the director of Lincoln Center Theater, and has directed dozens of plays including “Six Degrees of Separation,” “Hurly Burly,” and “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

Mosher won the students over immediately with his humble and honest confession that he was never much of a student, and that he really had no idea what he wanted to do with his life as a student and a young adult.

He told the audience that he stumbled through school (many schools actually) and had no real career calling. A friend invited him to a theater performance and rather than saying no, he said yes—and was forever hooked on the theater. This was the first piece of advice he imparted to the students: Say yes to new opportunities—even if those opportunities sound a little scary or are out of your comfort zone. Saying yes allows you to explore new options, new fields, and to meet new people—opening up all sorts of new possibilities.

Mosher also advised the students to “put it out there.” He encouraged students to speak to as many people as possible about their passions, interests, and ambitions. Whether it is an internship, an informational interview, or a mentor, he advised the students to let their friends, professors, employers, and family members know what they want, because by putting that message out into the world, results will come. I love this advice, and have seen it work time after time.

Finally, Mosher told the group about a fascinating phenomenon called the “Three Degrees of Influence,” which is a proven theory about the mechanics and importance of human networking. Nicholas Christakis, a sociologist at Harvard University, and James Fowler, a political scientist at the University of California, wrote about this theory in their book, “Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our LivesHow Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do.” The researchers found that our community and social network are like a honeycomb in which people influence one another. The remarkable finding is that we are not only impacted by our friends, but by our friends’ friends as well. Mosher told that group that by surrounding ourselves with a positive, strong network, we are both contributors to and recipients of that positivity, and will benefit accordingly.

After Mosher finished his talk, the room was abuzz with chatter. The students were palpably inspired by his advice and were circulating the room, speaking to each other and the working professionals with a strong sense of purpose. Business cards were exchanged and promises of keeping in touch were made.

So what has happened two weeks post-event? I have a lunch date with a student who wants to speak to me about her career plans and two students contacted me asking me to review their LinkedIn profiles (as a career coach, that’s an offer I often make). I am glad to see that the students were already putting some of Mosher’s excellent advice to use, and hope that they continue to do so.

Please share your student networking tips here!

Dear Students, Don’t “Hey” Me

Smedstad-HeadshotShannon Smedstad, Employment Brand Director, Global Communications & Engagement Team, CEB
Twitter: @shannonsmedstad
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/shannonsmedstad
Blogs from Shannon Smedstad.

I can recall my mother telling me, “Don’t ‘hey’ me,” when I was a teenager. This was her go-to response after I would start a statement or question with “Hey, Mom.” To her, it was too casual. “Hey” was something you said to your friends, not to your parents. Or it was something horses eat.

Many years later, I find myself thinking the same thing when college students begin job-related messages using the word “Hey.” During my time as a campus recruiter, I recall receiving too many e-mails beginning with “Hey, Shannon.” Now, in my work in employment branding and social media, I still receive the occasional, “Hey.” Recently, I received and responded to a direct message via Facebook that read:

“Hey. I’m an undergraduate management student. Looking for summer internship. How do I approach it?”

What I wanted to say was, “Let’s start the conversation by being a bit more professional, as this will help you greatly during the job-search and interview process.” But alas, I didn’t.

Are students too casual when writing to or engaging with recruiters? Is it OK to be casual or is this a pet peeve that we can collectively nip in the bud? My hope is for the latter. My simple request is that career center staff (and professors and parents) will coach their students not to address company representatives or people with corporate social media using “Hey.”

Job Seeker Tip! Don’t address your e-mails and cover letters with “Hey, Recruiter.” Be more professional. Up your game. #careeradvice

Job Search Tip of the Day: Do not begin e-mails, cover letters, and conversations with recruiters or hiring managers using “Hey.” It’s way too casual. Throughout your job search strive to be friendly, conversational, and professional.

Maybe this bit of advice is something that is shared during Job-Search 101 sessions or mock-interview days. Or, maybe I’m just getting old.

What do you think? Is it OK to address a recruiter with “Hey?” Share your thoughts in the comments.

Submit Your Accomplishments for a NACE Award Today!

Brian ProzellerBrian Prozeller, Manager, Campus Recruitment, Liberty Mutual Insurance
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/brian-prozeller/8/796/12b

In the dynamic fast-paced world of campus recruiting, it is hard to slow down, breathe, and take a look back. As I reflect on the topic of honors and awards, I remember how much was accomplished at Liberty Mutual Insurance in a short year.

Insurance is a bottom line business, and sometimes we are forced to answer the question, “What have you (the employee) done for me (the company) lately?” The answer is A LOT! But, do we take the time catalog, reflect, and recognize that work? Not always.

Great institutions understand the importance of regularly recognizing staff. Regular, genuine recognition strengthens relationships, creates a positive work environment, and motivates teams and individuals to innovate, take risks, and perform well.

Much like the blogger extraordinaire before me, Marc Goldman, I never thought the fields of career services and campus recruiting would have its own awards program, but we do. NACE understands the power of recognizing teams, individuals, and organizations. It culminates in the Honors and Awards ceremony during the annual NACE 2015 Conference in Anaheim!).

As a proud member of this year’s Honors and Awards committee, I encourage NACE members to take a minute and think about all you have accomplished. The process of submitting for an award may take time, but it might also help you recognize a tremendous team effort, an individual success, or a simple WIN, and who doesn’t like wins? At Liberty Mutual, we’ve tried to make submitting for an award an annual occurrence, and regardless of the result, it always brings us together.

Celebrate accomplishments with us and submit for an award before the January 31 deadline. Visit the NACE website (http://www.naceweb.org/about-us/awards.aspx) today!

Special thanks to this year’s Honors and Awards Committee and to our fearless leaders, Megan Murden and Leslie Stevenson.

Separating Millennial Myths From Reality

Smedstad-HeadshotShannon Smedstad, employment brand director, Global Communications & Engagement Team, CEB
Twitter: @shannonsmedstad
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/shannonsmedstad
Blogs from Shannon Smedstad.

As organizations manage employee populations with increasing numbers of retirement-eligible workers, they are investing in hiring the future of the work force. In doing so, most everyone has realized that there’s one group that is particularly important—Millennials.

The competition for this demographic is stiff. Although Millennials participate in the same number of job interviews as candidates from other generations, they receive 12.5 percent more offers. Organizations are using a variety of tactics to attract and recruit the Millennial generation, but how can they sort the Millennial myths from reality?

Understanding the Millennial generation and their preferences is key. CEB recently researched the ways that Millennials undertake a job search and found a few ways that they differ from other generations, and some ways in which they aren’t different at all.
To attract and retain top talent from this generation, there are a few strategies that organizations should implement in their recruiting processes.

1. Use social media – but don’t overestimate it
Unsurprisingly, Millennials are more likely than any generation before them to use social media to learn about organizations. However, fewer than a third actually trust the information they receive through social channels. Job seekers across all generations place the most trust in friends and family when looking for jobs, so traditional channels such as referral programs and careers websites are still a decisive factor.

 2. Tell, don’t sell
Millennials spend less than half as much time as other generations learning about organizations before deciding whether to apply. To give this generation the information they need to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to apply, an organization’s employment brand needs to stand out by using messages that are consultative, not overly promotional.

 3. Emphasize career and personal development
Where their parents prized stability, the younger generation seeks new and varied opportunities—Millennials value career and individual development more than other generations. Because of this, they need to see the potential to learn quickly and make a difference as soon as they start a new role.

However, the top two most important factors in attracting candidates are the same across generations: compensation and work-life balance. As such, organizations should not overlook those attributes in their employment value proposition, but should actively seek ways to include the factors that matter to Millennials.

4. Optimize career websites for mobile devices
Millennials are more likely than other generations to use mobile devices to learn about employers. While the number of people looking at jobs and prospective employers on their smartphones and tablets will continue to grow, two-thirds of companies have yet to optimize their career sites for mobile devices. Ensure that information is easily available to candidates where they are looking for it.

The Bottom Line
Millennials are an important generation for organizations today—they are already quickly rising to be future leaders. While businesses have to compete more for Millennials’ interest than other generations, attracting top talent isn’t impossible. By understanding their preferences, organizations can successfully recruiting the Millennial talent they are looking for.