NACE15 Revisited: Putting Learning Into Action

joe hayesJoe Hayes, Assistant Director, Employer Relations & Internships, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Twitter: @_JosephHayes
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/josephhayes1

You know a conference was beneficial when your return flight home is delayed several hours and a 4 a.m. arrival doesn’t feel that bad. Perhaps the long delay was a needed blessing in that it forced reflection on all things learned at NACE15. I’d almost go as far to say “thank you” unidentified airline for the delay, but those would be words uttered by no one ever.

The 2015 NACE Conference provided many nuggets of information that I hope (and some I have already begun) to implement into our work—ultimately benefiting the student-employer relationship.

COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere
First, Lindsey Pollak’s keynote was inspiring. There could honestly be an entire blog on this alone. From the Millennial shift from traditional employment to “tours of duty,” and the basic skills that need to be taught (the handshake, how to answer a phone, and interesting items such as “how to fail” and “how to resign.”)—Ms. Pollak was the right speaker at the right time to kick off the first full day at NACE.

A quick takeaway and action item from Ms. Pollak’s talk centered on how to connect with the largest work force in America—Millennials. Here, Ms. Pollak described COPE, “create one, publish everywhere.” This mantra illustrates the importance of connecting with students in a manner that best resonates with them—which to Millennials, can be everything and anything. For example, in career services we often create professional development trainings for students. Following the COPE method, we will continue to host training events, but will look to make it more lasting. This may include not only having the event, but live tweeting from it, streaming the event live, recording and re-using it on our website, pushing it out via audio recording, publishing the text translation, featuring it in a future newsletter, and so forth. In other words, use technology to the fullest to target those that may prefer to get their information in various formats.

Customization
In addition to COPE, and in similar fashion, customization toward the user/student was a central theme of NACE15. In other words, asking your target audience for feedback and customizing it toward them can and will be critical for success.

On my first day back from NACE, our office, the Academic and Career Development Center, was looking to further increase student usage of our office-run job and internship listing system—UNO Career Connect. One suggestion was whether our current branding was customized in messaging to students. We examined the listing system tag line—“UNO Career Connect: Connecting UNO to Career Opportunities” versus a shortened alternative title.

Following the theme of customization, we ran short focus groups around campus—asking students, faculty and staff what best resonated with them. To our surprise, nearly 80 percent of faculty and staff supported the former and nearly 80 percent of students (the intended audience) supported the latter—with feedback from students stating, “Say what it is,” and “Less is more.” This complete opposite feedback is making us rethink how we target to and get buy-in from students, and ensure our services are customized.

NACE15 left a positive impression and provided many lasting takeaways that can easily and effectively be implemented in our daily work. Now if only NACE could help solve airline delays!

Redefining Professional Development for Career Advisers

Ross WadeRoss Wade, Assistant Director, Duke University Career Center
Personal blog: http://mrrosswade.wordpress.com/
LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosswade
Twitter: @rrwade
Blogs from Ross Wade.

Does professional development for career services staff need an update? Is the model of “go to a conference or do an assessment training” still as relevant as career services is changing so much and so quickly? What can we do to grow as professionals, connect more with employers and alumni, and gain credibility with our students and other stakeholders? I think it is time to consider redefining what professional development for career services staff means, and how it is done. I’m not talking about ditching annual conferences, they are of great value, what I’m saying is I think it is time to add a few more options.

In July of 2014, Farouk Dey and Christine Y. Cruzvergara, co-authored an article called “10 Future Trends in College Career Services.” Number 10 in their inspiring and thought provoking piece, “New Breed of Professionals,” resonated with me—especially the statement, “To be successful, career center staff must become agile content experts and network catalysts who will lead communities and develop meaningful connections among their constituents.” In my experience, in order to gain credibility with students, having experience in the field in which I advise (media, arts, and entertainment) is very important. When I tell students that I’ve worked in documentary and digital media, and know of some great companies that could be a good fit for them (based on my personal experience) I get student buy-in very quickly.

My ideas for tweaking career services staff professional development options involve creating opportunities for gaining industry experience; generating and growing relationships with employers, alumni, faculty, and staff; and serve as a means for staff to gain some “street cred” (with students, employers, and faculty).

The concept of career staff having the option to do some form of industry internship during the summer is very exciting to me. The internship doesn’t have to be full-time; it could be eight to 10 hours a week over four to six weeks. The internship could be hands-on, or more observational and include informational interviews. Regardless of the specifics, this experience would give staff a chance to understand industry skills and trends as well as positions and roles within specific industries and companies, and the chance to connect with experts and HR professionals.

For example, there is a wonderful art start-up in my area connecting artists to consumers via social media and storytelling—I’d love to intern there, creating content, connecting with artists, and growing the art scene in my community. Think of all the connections I’d make and skills I’d learn. My improved knowledge of this industry and number of contacts in art I’d make would generate credibility with faculty and students.

Approaching employers with the idea of hiring an “adult”/career staff intern may at first raise some eyebrows, but just as we tell our students, if one creates a pitch and plan (with a timeline, tasks, and goals), that is brand new or a modified version of an existing internship program, what could we lose? Don’t want to intern at company? Try an internship at another office at your institution.

For example, it would be a great opportunity to intern with the communications office at my home institution, or in the multicultural center. Think of the new connections to be made and opportunities to find points for future collaboration! Is research your thing? Approach a faculty member focused on an industry or topic of relevance to career development, and pitch a research idea. Spend 10 or so hours a week during the summer researching and writing. Career staff doing research with faculty – whaaaat?! It may sound crazy, but I think it is a wonderful idea, and I bet it is already happening at institutions across the country.

Other benefits include staff cross training opportunities after the internship or research is completed, heightened staff engagement and excitement, and great content (e.g. photos, blog posts, interviews with professionals) to share across campus via social media to generate interest in career services. What ideas do you have? I’d love to get employer thoughts on this. How would you redefine professional development for career services staff?

#NACE15: What Did You Do?

Busy days. Keynotes. Concurrent sessions. Expo Hall. Refreshment breaks. Innovation Labs and Campfire Conversations. Meet ups. Insight Labs. Reunions with friends and colleagues. Networking. International attendees.

Here are some of the highlights from the NACE 2015 Conference & Expo in Anaheim, California.

nace15-first timerMore than 500 wear the first-time attendees ribbon.

 

 

 

 

nace15-jerry housernace15-trudyJerry Houser, associate dean/director Career Services at Willamette University, wins the Chevron Award. Trudy Steinfeld, assistant vice president and executive director of Career Development at New York University, is named to the NACE Academy of Fellows.

The conference opens on Tuesday with a drumbeat. Then, keynote Maulik Pancholy shares his personal journey to embrace his heritage.

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Lindsey speaksLindsey Pollak, keynote speaker and Millennial workplace consultant, draws a standing-room-only crowd on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

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Deputy Under Secretary of Education Jamienne Studley addresses critical issues in higher education in the Thursday keynote for another standing-room-only crowd.

 

 

 

 

 

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Keynote Bradley Snyder, military vet and Paralympian, shares insights into meeting challenges on Friday.

 

 

 

 

New for 2015: Innovation Labs, Campfire Conversations, Insight Labs draw crowds of attendees for extended dialog on professional topics and issues. (Click on pictures to make them bigger.)

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Highlights from the First-Destination Survey of the Class of 2014 results were delivered by Edwin Koc, NACE director of research, public policy, and legislative affairs, and Manny Contomanolis, chair NACE’s First-Destination Survey Team. (You can read the final results on NACEWeb.)

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Professionals in career services and university recruiting share tips, trends, and best practices in 80 concurrent sessions over two-and-a-half days. (Handouts are available to full conference registrants through MyNACE.)

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The Expo Hall attracted attendees looking for the latest information, products, and services for career services and recruiting professionals.

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Kate Brooks, executive director, Office of Personal and Career Development, Wake Forest University, and Alastair Dawe, head of U.S. operations for Explore Horizons, check on their offices between sessions.

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The Thursday night “Surf City USA” celebration featured music, dancing, and refreshments.

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Awards were announced throughout the week with an Innovation Showcase on Thursday featuring winners and finalists with their top-notch programs and best practices.

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Award Winners:

Mentor of the Year Award: Brian Guerrero, University of California – Los Angeles
Volunteer Meritorious Service Award: Chaim Shapiro, Touro College 
Member’s Choice Award: Denise Hopkins,  Kathryn Hutchinson, Michelle Kyriakides, Joni O’Hagan, and the Career Services Team at SJU
NACE/DirectEmployers Catalyst Award:
Jill Miller, Novo Nordisk Inc. 
NACE/Spelman Johnson Group Rising Star Award Winner: Kevin Grubb, Villanova University

See you in 2016 in Chicago, June 7 – 10, 2016!

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Innovation Labs Pull Standing Room Only Crowds

 

image6“Sparking insight and innovation”–the theme for NACE15–came to life at today’s Innovation Labs, a new offering for NACE’s yearly conference.

NACE15 attendees looking for information on recruiting, data collection, salary negotiation, student success, and new technology packed two ballrooms.

Attendees sat in chairs and on the floor, and stood three-rows deep along the walls.

Innovation Labs sparked animated conversations among attendees and with presenters. Attendees had to lean in to hear what everyone was saying because there were so many discussions going on.

Thanks to the interactivity of the labs, presenters and attendees alike shared the excitement and energy.

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Highlights From the #NACE15 App

Everything you need to navigate the NACE 2015 Conference & Expo like an expert is at your fingertips with the NACE app.

(You can download the app for free by going to your device’s app store and searching for NACE15. Plus, every time you open the app, it will update with any changes or additions to the conference schedule.)

Here are some of the tools you’ll want to use:

Connect: This tool will help you connect and network with any conference attendees and get their contact information effortlessly. First, click on Connect and set up a virtual business card. (You can set up more than one card. Use different information on your card depending on who will see it. When you make a connection through the app, you’ll choose which card to share.)

Look through the attendee list (in the connect area). Click the + next to a person’s name and then choose the card you want to share. After you’ve selected the card by clicking on it, you’ll slide the card up the screen to the person you’ve chosen to share you information with. That person will then accept (or reject) your connection. Once connected, you’ll see their contact information and they will show up on top of the general attendee list as “connected attendees.”

You can tap the “edit note” bar on the card of anyone you’ve connected with and add notes about where you met or how you will get back in touch with the person.

Also, your contacts will show on your scheduled events. For example, when you view the MLI Meetup, you’ll see contacts that are attending.

Your connections through the app can be edited up to two weeks after the conference ends. The contacts and information saved will be available to you until 12/17/2015.

Three little bars or buttons in the upper right corner of the screen: What you get when you tap these depends on the device you are using. On the iPad, you can access to your virtual business card and connections, check for conference updates, share the “help” guide, and turn push messages on and off. On an android phone, the three buttons offer a link to searching the “help” guide and checking for conference updates.

Schedule: This is the first link on the left side—and it offers a lot of information. Plus, here’s where you’ll populate the “My Schedule” to personalize your conference experience.

Click on the name of the event and you’ll get a map that shows where the event is being held and a short description of the event. You’ll also see a button—Add to My Schedule—at the bottom of the page. Click that + and it will be added to your personal schedule. Then, when you’re at the conference, you can use the My Schedule tab to view your personal schedule.

Social: Keep up with announcements, event reminders, and general chat going on during the conference. Use to Social tab on the nav bar to get direct links to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the NACE blog.

Maps: Never get lost at the conference. Detailed maps of the Marriott floor plan and the Hilton Anaheim Ballroom are included. Use your fingers to make either map bigger or smaller.

To-Do: While you’re scheduling your concurrent sessions, you may want to add a list of the exhibitors you want to see. Click on To-Do and the “Add New” button at the bottom of the page. Click the + and add the name of an exhibitor. You can update any note you put in the to-do list.

General Info: Quickly identify your colleagues by their profession using the badge colors. Career services practitioners will be sporting blue badges, university relations and recruiting professionals wear red badges. Need help? NACE staff have black badges (and shirts with the NACE logo).

Attendees: Trying to locate friends and colleagues. Click on this part of the nav bar and search for friends by name.

If you get stuck when using the NACE15 app, there’s online help at https://support.guidebook.com/hc/en-us/articles/202891364-Using-the-Guidebook-App-for-end-users-.

Make Your Conferencing Easy

Whether you’re new to NACE’s annual conference or this is your 10th time attending, here are things that will make this hectic and fun week easier.

Download the app and schedule your time. Set up your itinerary and use your#NACE15 app smartphone or tablet to be your daily guide. The conference app offers information on all workshops and sessions, plus it links you to NACE’s social media so you can get updates and reminders for conference activities. (Go to your device’s app store and search for NACE15. The app is free.)

Weather Forecast: The average temperatures in the Anaheim area in early June are typically in the mid- to upper-70s.

shoesChoose your shoes for comfort. Business casual is the recommended dress for the event, but comfortable shoes are key. While all conference events are within a short walking distance, going to workshops, visiting the exhibit hall, and hitting the general sessions means the potential for a lot of wear and tear on your feet. Wear your most comfortable shoes.

Drop into the TECHbar in the Expo Hall to get quick demonstrations of how to use apps that will help you to be more productive. Look for “TechBytes,” special presentations on tech topics. (Sponsored by Macy’s.)gapingvoid

Recharging Lounge: Recharge your electronic devices while you recharge yourself by looking at artwork from gapingvoid.com. (See more from gapingvoid.com in booth 304.)

Picture this in the Headshot Lounge: Need a professional photo for your social media profile? Folks from University Photo will take your picture.

Tenley HalaquistIf the shirt is turquoise, it must be Tuesday. Questions? Need help? NACE staff is easily identifiable by the color of their shirts.

  • Wednesday, staff will wear emerald green.
  • Thursday, the shirt is red.
  • Friday, staff will be wearing light blue shirts.

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Registration is open. Pick up your registration packet. Tuesday, June 2, registration is open from noon until 8:30 p.m. in the Platinum Ballroom; and 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. An information desk will be open from 7 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Get free Wi-Fi in the NACE space at the conference. Password: NACE15.

Toss in a card and win a prize. Look for entry forms in your registration packet to enter prize drawings—and drop them off each day at Booth 136 in the Expo Hall to win.

Campfire Conversations Join one of 10 brainstorming-the-issues sessions with your colleagues from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, in Grand Ballroom J-H. (See page 34 of the program for a list of conversation topics and facilitators.)NACE15PartyAd

Bring your Bermuda shorts and your favorite beach shirt. Surf City USA, a Thursday evening celebration, features a live band and relaxed networking.

Don’t Leave Your Room Without: Room key, electronic device with the NACE15 app and your schedule loaded, and conference badge (you can’t get into any sessions or events without it). Consider carrying a light sweater in case session rooms are chilly.

 

NACE15 Networking Tips

Chaim ShapiroChaim Shapiro
Website: http://chaimshapiro.com/
Twitter: @chaimshapiro
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chaimshapiro
Blogs from Chaim Shapiro.

We are almost there! NACE15 is so close that I can almost taste the salt-water air in Southern California.

The NACE Conference is the best time of the year for networking. All the leading professionals, both on the college and the employer side, will be in one place. Here are five tips to maximize your networking opportunities at NACE15.

  1. Start Tweeting using the official #NACE15 hashtag. Conference-related conversations have already begun. Get involved and show your expertise! The correct, official hashtag is #NACE15. Make sure to use that hashtag for all your Tweets so everyone can see them.
  2. Download the NACE15 attendees list and connect on LinkedIn. After you register for the NACE Conference, you can see the attendee list under “Events” on the “MyNACE” tab. I recommend downloading the list to a PDF so you can study it carefully. Make a list of your must-meet and network folks from that list and send them a personalized connection request mentioning that you would like to connect and meet with them at NACE15. Feel free to connect with me: www.linkedin.com/in/chaimshapiro
  3. Engage the NACE leadership. I learned very quickly at my first conference five years ago that the NACE leadership is very accessible and open to engaging with NACE members. Make a list of the NACE Board Members and former presidents and introduce yourself at the conference.
  4. Reach out to workshop presenters. I always make a list of the workshop sessions I plan to attend. Create that list and e-mail the presenters of those workshops to tell them that you are looking forward to their presentation. Make sure you introduce yourself and thank them after their presentation.
  5. The old standby—meet for coffee! Nothing beats a face-to-face! Choose the top five folks you must meet and invite them to coffee. I am a bit biased here, because my favorite coffee shop (The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf) is an eight-minute walk from the conference hotel.

I look forward to seeing you at NACE15—and yes, I’d love to meet for coffee!

Chaim Shapiro will facilitate “Social Media Best Practices,” cone of the campfire conversations, 4:30 – 5:15 p.m., Thursday, June 4, Grand Ballroom J-H.