Supporting Students in the Race for Talent

by Heather Tranen
It’s  no secret among college campuses that recruiters are investing in talent earlier and earlier every year. I half expect the big banks will soon reach out to my two-year-old for a milk chat to discuss his advanced color identification skills. As the arms race for talent becomes more competitive and the talent pools become younger, how do career services professionals support their students?

1) Help them with their FOMO (fear of missing out). Niche industries have the capacity to recruit en mass early in the recruiting season. Many students may feel they should forego valuable life experiences such as studying abroad to avoid fear of missing out at home during on-campus recruitment. I meet with a lot of students reconsidering their decision to study abroad. Once I do some digging, beneath the surface of their fears I find only a lukewarm interest in the fields recruiting during their time away. I explain to them that they can still have informational interviews with alumni, do research on potential career interests and organizations, and even participate in some sort of experiential learning opportunity in between classes and traipsing the globe during their semester abroad. Once they become educated on the recruitment process and discover ways to remain productive in their career development while away they feel much more empowered and confident in their decisions.

2) Provide support resources. As students get recruited earlier in the process, it’s important that we adjust our services to meet their needs and to ensure they are prepared for the professional world. To be competitive, it will be crucial that students develop their interviewing and professional skills. This means tailoring programs earlier in their college experiences to cover these topics, create awareness among students of resources, and shed light on different internship opportunities available to them. Networking with alumni can be a valuable experience so offering venues for students to meet alumni in a less intimidating, non-recruiting environment can give them the insight they need to make good decisions during the recruitment process. Sometimes just hearing another person’s story can put students’ minds at ease.

3) Offer up offer advice. Students are making big decisions about their careers early in their college experiences. This can lead to rash decision making without the necessary strategic thinking. It’s important for us as career services professionals to ensure students are making good decisions for themselves. We want to avoid the dreaded reneging, which harms the reputations of both the individual student and the university at large, and foster mature and thoughtful career decisions. Brainstorming the right questions students can ask to get the most information about the potential internship experience helps them to consider which is the right opportunity for them. Additionally, working collaboratively with recruiters to create fair and firm offer guidelines helps us protect our students and  ensure a positive experience for the employers.

Many of us will venture into uncharted territory as we during campus recruitment next semester (conveniently, I will be on maternity leave so…..let me know how that all goes). As with all the changes we experience in higher education, it’s important to be flexible, open-minded, and share best practices with each other.

Heather Tranen
Heather Tranen,
Associate Director, University of Pennsylvania Career ServicesLinkedIn:
Twitter: @htranen

Learning Through Heavy Lifting

by Tenley Halaquist

Recently, I was given the opportunity to attend a unique professional development event. Usually educational trainers attend conferences, webinars, or read articles for professional development, but this time I was expected to learn through a more physical means. The event is called GoRuck Tough. Rucking is a verb meaning “to put weight on your back and go for a walk.”  During the GoRuck Tough, you are expected to carry at least 30 lbs. (if you weigh over 150yes that is me) and hike for 15 to 20 miles over a 10- to 12-hour time span. The event I attended started June 24 at 9 p.m. and went until June 25, 9 a.m. There were 15 of us in the class.

starting with situps


Participants are “welcomed” with a series of exercises, including pushups, butterfly kicks, and burpees.



The event—designed to improve communication skills—started out with a “welcome party” which was pretty much military-style boot camp. We learned different casualty carries, crawls, and did plenty of push-ups, butterfly kicks, and burpees. Our first mission after the welcome party was to carry casualties using the fireman’s carry technique from one destination to the next in a certain time. Unfortunately, as a team we did not complete the mission, therefore we had a punishment exercise. Punishment exercises were expected after all unsuccessful missions.


A burpee demonstration. Burpees are a combination of a squat that kicks into a pushup and ends with the participant standing.


The next mission was to complete 75 pull-ups as a team in an allotted time limit. We completed this task ahead of schedule.

After a nice brisk walk with my crew, we were asked by our cadre (GoRuck leader who is/was a leader in the armed forces and who communicates our missions) to stand aside while he looks for our “friend.” Upon his return, we then had to complete the hardest mission—carry a huge log found next to railroad tracks 2.5 miles through the city of Albany. This was a humbling experience for sure! For those of you who have not had the pleasure of visiting Albany, it is on a hill. We had to carry this huge log up a hill through the middle of the city to get to our destination.

log lifting and carry


The group finds a log by the railroad tracks, then has to lift and carry the log uphill through Albany.



Our next mission was to find a target under the allotted time. Once the target was found (a fountain), we had to get in the fountain and complete water burpees until the cadre was satisfied. Following this activity, we then had another casualty mission. We needed to carry a casualty using a stretcher made of rope to our next destination in a time cap. We completed with flying colors. We then had a similar mission to the last where we needed to carry casualties using the rope stretcher method. Only this time, we had two casualties, the casualties needed to rotate every block, everyone had to be carried at least twice, and communication could not be used. The reason communication was taken away was to mimic silent attack missions in the military where they need to capture a target without anyone knowing. Unfortunately, we did not make it to our destination in time, so we had a punishment exercise (100 burpees).


middle of the night demoThe cadre was explaining the importance of effective communication and was sharing real life examples from his military career because we did not execute our first mission. We then had to perform our punishment exercise: 100 burpees.

We then walked a few miles with no mission and came upon a couple of military monuments. Our cadre talked about each one and gave us time to really look at them. After the last monument, we had one more mission to complete. We needed to carry five casualties using the fireman’s carry to our starting point under a time constraint. The casualties were to never touch the ground. We completed the mission by the skin of our teeth and did not have to complete the grueling “after party.” The “after party” is similar to the “welcome party,” but much worse.

After our group picture, we received our GoRuck Tough patches, hugged each other, and went our separate ways.



Finishing at daylight, group members hug each other and head home.



Our group walked a total of 18 miles. The whole purpose of the event was to work as a team, use effective communication techniques, and strengthen mentality. We learned that communication is crucial in completing tasks and that everyone may not understand the way your communication has been relayed. We constantly had to state and restate what we were doing in different ways to get everyone on board. We also learned that a human body is an incredible thing. Your body can withstand pretty much anything; you just need to train your mind to think the same thing.

Now you are probably wondering how this translates to my career at NACE. We communicate with people every day to make sure our events run smoothly and successfully. To do this, our communication needs to be precise and accurate so that everyone knows what we need done. Perseverance, persistence, and grit are some other qualities emphasized in this training. When one way did not work, we thought of other ways to complete our tasks. At NACE, we always have to think on our feet, keep options available, and keep pushing until we get it right. Again, this was a different professional development opportunity and I am glad I was able to learn so much from it.

Editor’s note: Tenley went on vacation after her GoRuck Tough experience.

Tenley HalaquistTenley Halaquist, M.Ed.
NACE Professional Development Associate


Fewer Trophies, More Responsibility: How Gen Z Will Change Universities and the Workplace

by Lindsey Pollak

Just when we finally feel as though we have a handle on what millennials want in the workplace, along comes Generation Z (those born around the turn of the millennium and later) with its fresh perspective. To follow up on my presentation at NACE in June, I wanted to share some insights that will help savvy career centers and employers adapt as this generation heads toward your offices.

Gen Z Is Entrepreneurial

There is a persistent myth about “entrepreneurial millennials.” The fact is that millennials as a group are not all that entrepreneurial, but their younger siblings are: While 43 percent of college students (i.e., millennials) say they want to be an entrepreneur rather than an employee, 61 percent of high-school students (i.e., Gen Zers) say the same. More than half of Gen Zers say they were encouraged by their parents to seek early employment, and many responded by starting their own companies. They sell crafts on Etsy, build websites for small businesses and rake in cash for clever YouTube videos.

Key Takeaway

In order to attract and retain Gen Z employees, companies need to be cognizant of the need to feed this spirit by offering frequent rotational assignments and early leadership experiences. Universities will need to offer entrepreneurial training along with coaching for entrepreneurial career paths.

Gen Z Is Resourceful

These digital natives have grown up with the ability to answer their own questions — fast. They’ve always had a smartphone in their pocket, so they don’t sit around wondering what time spin class is or what’s trending on Instagram; they just look it up. They are also a generation that hasn’t experienced widespread “helicopter” parenting, since their Gen X parents have a different parenting philosophy than many millennials’ baby boomer parents. According to research, Generation Z places heavy emphasis on being “mature and in control.”

Key Takeaway

Employers need to expect that Gen Z employees might take assignments into their own hands, without waiting for explicit directions. On the one hand, these self-starters may inject a new energy into the workplace; on the other, you might have to make sure there are safeguards in place so they stay on track when needed. For example, make sure they are clear on communication protocols so they don’t just fire off questions to clients if you’d prefer they check with you first.

Gen Z Is Visual

The fewer words the better for the emoticon and Snapchat generation. This cohort responds to images rather than text—think Instagram versus Twitter—and is most at home juggling multiple screens.

Key Takeaway

Recycle your existing employee manuals, recruitment brochures and training materials. If a picture used to be worth 1,000 words, with Generation Z it’s worth ALL the words. This generation expects to absorb your message visually and instantly, and in a wide variety of mediums. (Note: This doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t read books or longer form content; but more visual messages are best when you want to catch their attention.)

Gen Z Is Financially Cautious

Gen Z grew up in the painful aftermath of 9/11 and the financial crisis. Since this group didn’t experience the boom years of peace and prosperity that the millennials did, they have a more similar worldview to Gen X, who came of age during the uncertainty and change of the recessionary 1970s and Cold War 1980s. They are more apt to avoid school debt and be avid savers.

Key Takeaway

Show them the money. Gen Z will be more focused on value vs. cost and perhaps less on passion over profit. Companies will need to offer solid compensation packages and universities will have to justify the cost of high tuition.

Gen Z Fully Embraces Diversity

The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2020, more than half of the nation’s children will be part of a minority race or ethnic group, making Gen Z the first majority non-white generation in American history. But diversity involves much more than race. Gen Z is the first cohort to come of age with same-sex marriage as the law of the land, with our first African-American president and with gender identity as a common conversation.

Key Takeaway

Most members of Gen Z expect diversity. As a group, they tend to have an inclusive perspective about gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. I have high hopes that this more open-minded view of the world means they will be better able to relate to their colleagues, customers, and clients than any generation in the past. Universities and workplaces will have to continue their path of creating more inclusive communities and policies.

Of course, since many in the Gen Z age group are still in their formative years, it’s hard to know exactly how they will evolve. But the more I have learned about general traits held by Gen Z, the more I am encouraged about the spirit and drive they will bring to the workplace.

Lindsey pollak

Lindsey Pollak is a nationally recognized keynote speaker on the subject of millennials in the workplace and the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders.

The Art of Delivering Career Counseling/Advising Virtually

by Kara Brown

University and college career centers all over the country experience challenges reaching their online and satellite campus students. However, these online programs and satellite campuses are incredibly important for students who work full time, are nontraditional, or have other responsibilities that they need to attend to, which makes in-person workshops nearly impossible to attend. While these students are able to gain the knowledge and information that they need to be successful in the classroom, they are missing out on the knowledge and information that they need to be successful in their job search and career development.

While our university is relatively small, we have three satellite campuses and several online programs for our undergraduate and graduate students. We have reached out to these students and requested their feedback about how we can better serve them. The large majority of students explained that they want more access to workshops and presentations because they usually cannot attend on-campus events due to distance or schedules. Our career development center then worked with IT and the satellite campus administration to use Adobe Connect to provide live career development workshops for these students. We are even able to record the workshops so that we can e-mail these workshops to the students who missed them.

Recently, we held our second virtual workshop, and I was given the opportunity to present. Our office decided to present on the topic of resume and cover letter writing. The process of preparing was similar to an in-person workshop or presentation, but it did require e-mailing the link to students and alumni who were interested in attending. Our staff also advertised the event through our social media outlets. Once the evening had arrived, we had more than 60 students and alumni registered for the workshop. This was a huge number in comparison to on-campus workshops that we have held. When the virtual presentation had started there were about 25 students and alumni in the workshop, but this was still a great turnout for us.

Adobe Connect allows the presenter to use live video and audio feed, and I was able to share my computer screen with all of the presenters. Also, workshop attendees can use the chat box to type questions in real time, which is a great function. I have to admit that it felt a bit strange to speak to my computer screen as opposed to actual people, but eventually it felt like any other workshop that I have conducted. Almost minutes after the presentation had concluded, our office received four e-mails from students and alumni requesting services for resume and cover letter reviews. We also sent out a survey requesting feedback, and all of the comments were positive.

While challenges will always exist in trying to reach all of our students, we are excited by the use of technology and software to be able to face these challenges head on. There are a number of positive outcomes to implementing these types of workshops, and we are looking forward to launching more in the future.
If you or your career centers have any questions regarding virtual workshops, feel free to contact me at I would also love to hear feedback about ways that your career centers have successfully reached your online and satellite campus students.
Kara BrownKara Brown, Associate Director of Career Development, Gwynedd Mercy University

Top 5 Reasons to Submit a Workshop Proposal for #NACE17

by Chaim Shapiro

As the college year and the new recruiting cycle get underway,the NACE Conference in June may seem far off in the distant future and a low priority, but that is NOT the case!  The call for workshop proposals for #NACE17 will open this week, so it is time to get cracking!

Why should you bother? Here are the top five reasons to submit a workshop proposal for #NACE17!

Chart the future: As I always like to say, NACE IS the place to become actively involved in charting the future of our profession. People come to the conference to learn the latest ideas, techniques and best practices. GIVING a workshop allows you to be the teacher as opposed to the student and help set the agenda for your colleagues.

Know it better than ever: I like to fancy myself as a thought leader in the use of LinkedIn.  For all the talk and articles and expertise, there is NOTHING that compares to presenting before your colleagues. When you give a workshop, YOU are the expert, there is NOWHERE to hide and you have to be ready to answer some tough questions. Your workshop preparation will ensure that you know your topic better than you EVER have!

Promote Your Employer: I like to joke that I am on the “present or perish” model for conferences. In other words, I love to go to conferences, but I ONLY get to go when I present.The reason is simple; it is a great way to help promote Touro College. When your proposal is accepted, your company/institutions name will be included in the program that is read by THOUSANDS of your colleagues!

Promote Yourself:  I didn’t forget! When you present, YOUR name is also on the program.  Thousands of your colleagues will see your name and equate you with expertise in that subject area.  I can attest that a WORLD of speaking opportunities opened up for me after my first NACE presentation.  Several years ago, I asked the organizer of a conference why she offered me a speaking slot without knowing me or having heard me speak.  Her answer; I saw that you presented at the NACE Conference, so I had NO questions about your ability.

Build your professional network:  I often say that the primary job AFTER a conference presentation is answering ALL of the interactions it generated on Twitter.  When you present, you are front and center.  I have met MANY valuable contacts after my presentations, and I ALWAYS make sure to connect with them on LinkedIn and Twitter so I can continue the relationship.  

So, GET those presentation proposals in!  I have been working on two of my own since June 11!
Chaim ShapiroChaim Shapiro, Director of the Office for Student Success, Touro College
Twitter: @chaimshapiro
Blogs from Chaim Shapiro

Chaim has given two workshops at the NACE Conference & Expo.

Is it Inappropriate for Men to Ask Women Out at Work?

by Lee Desser

Comedian and late night television host, Samantha Bee, brought up something interesting on NPR’s Fresh Air about sexual harassment.

She started off with a couple of news stories of women facing discrimination for avoiding men’s sexual advances at work, and at the end of her segment she said, “Right now I’m actually picturing some guy saying, ‘Ugh! What do I have to do? Stop asking women out at work because it makes them uncomfortable?’ ” To which she replied, “Yes. You are at work.”

I’d always thought of sexual harassment as a habitual offense of great magnitude. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission seems to agree: “…the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).” Yet,  ideally,  shouldn’t a woman  be able to go to work or school and not have to deal with the added pressures of  a man (or anyone) hitting on her? Shouldn’t work or school be a safe zone from sexual advances?

SNL did a skit on workplace relationships titled, “Sexual Harassment and You,” starring Tom Brady (Greg) and Fred Armison (Frank). In short, when the “average-looking” Frank asks a woman out to lunch she shuts him down, scoffing at “the ask,” and presumably calls human resources to report the incident. Then, when the “Adonis-looking” Greg asks the same woman out, she cheerfully agrees and doesn’t seem to mind him cupping her breast.

At the end of the segment, the narrator determines that ultimately, “You can have sex with women at work without losing your job by following a few simple rules: be handsome, be attractive, and don’t be unattractive.”

I realize that people  (including many women) are fiercely divided on this issue. One night I was at a woman’s book club and I  told an anecdote  about how, when I was taking a course at a community college, a man 30+ years my senior asked me if I wanted to “hang out this weekend” and how it made me feel incredibly awkward and uncomfortable.

“How dare he?” I thought. “Now I have to run into him Monday through Friday and avoid his advances. Will he ask again? How will I say no? Why is it that when a woman is nice to a man he assumes that she’s interested in him?” I complained to my girlfriends about this and, to my surprise, not everyone agreed. Some said he had every right to ask; he didn’t know I would say, no. “What about the age difference?” I said. To which one woman replied, “My uncle is 20 years older than my aunt. It happens.” This changed my mind a bit. Maybe it wasn’t so out of line?

If I had to draw a conclusion it would be that asking a woman out only makes  her uncomfortable if  she isn’t interested. Yet, a man  may not know if a woman is interested if he doesn’t ask her out, right?  In the end, Samantha Bee’s  statement at the end of her segment may be the only advice that people can agree on , “…if you must ask a colleague out at least learn to take no for an answer…” What do you think?

Lee DesserLee Desser, career and academic adviser, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey


Collaboration: More Isn’t Always Better

by Kathy Douglas

Collaboration is taking over the workplace. — Rob Cross, Reb Rebele, and Adam Grant

Teamwork, collaboration, stakeholder engagement—these are all buzzwords in job descriptions where interactions with clients and colleagues are integral to getting work done.   “Over the past two decades,” according to Rob Cross, Reb Rebele, and Adam Grant in their article in the Harvard Business Review, Collaborative Overload, “the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50 percent or more.”

What are the implications of this change in the workplace?  Workloads become lopsided — when “20 to 35 percent of value-added collaborations come from only 3 to 5 percent of employees.”  Women bear a disproportionate share of collaborative work. Top collaborators are in demand by colleagues, and tend to burn out fast. Top collaborators are often not recognized by senior management, and studies show that they have the lowest levels of job satisfaction.

As advisers, we encourage students to enter the work force with enthusiasm and to go the extra mile. Take on additional duties, we counsel. Do an extraordinary job.  But according to Cross, Rebele, and Grant, while “a single ‘extra miler’—an employee who frequently contributes beyond the scope of his or her role—can drive team performance more than all the other members combined…this ‘escalating citizenship’…only further fuels the demands placed on top collaborators.”

Should we then be telling our students a different story?  Should students entering the work force in large companies and organizations temper their enthusiasm when it comes to collaboration, and if so, how?

Part of the answer lies in knowing the nature of collaboration and collaborative resources, which Cross, Rebele, and Grant discuss.

Part of it lies in the corollary to the authors’ assertion that: “Leaders must learn to recognize, promote, and efficiently distribute the right kinds of collaborative work.” Namely, employees (and the students we advise) must also learn to recognize their own work, promote themselves, and create effective boundaries to avoid collaborative overload.

I think the message career advisers convey can still insist on doing a great job and expanding one’s role in ways that are in line with one’s talents and interests.  But I think it’s also important for students, before entering the work force, to develop strategies to avoid collaboration overload and the burn out it can generate.

As Cross, Rebele, and Grant aptly note: “Collaboration is indeed the answer to many of today’s most pressing business challenges. But more isn’t always better.”

Kathryn DouglasKathy Douglas, Senior Associate Director Career Development Office, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Twitter: @fescdo