How I’m Getting Ready for NACE 2013

kevin grubbA post by NACE Guest Blogger, Kevin Grubb.
Assistant Director at Villanova University’s Career Center.
Twitter: @kevincgrubb
Blog: “social @ edu”.


It’s officially Spring in Pennsylvania. I can tell because of the things you’d expect to notice in Spring: the sun is shining, the trees are blooming, and it’s still light outside even when I’m eating dinner.  But, I can also tell because all over campus at Villanova, backpacks are overflowing, notes are being taken at furious pace, and laptops are needing charge at all hours of the day.  I’ve been there myself, and I’d know this look anywhere: it’s finals season, for sure.

As I start to think ahead to a quieter campus after the academic year concludes, I can’t help but get excited about one of the high points of summer: the NACE 2013 conference.  I’ve been fortunate to attend the NACE conference twice since my start in the field of career services, and I’m looking forward to making the third time the charm.

It’s an honor to be a guest blogger for the NACE conference this year, and I solemnly swear to do my best to provide valuable tips, notes, and ideas I learn in my posts.  In the spirit of that, I thought I’d kick things off by sharing some of the ways I’m preparing myself for the trip this year.  To start, I offer you NACE’s conference website (pictured below), which is full of info to help you get moving.

The NACE 2013 Conference home page

The NACE 2013 Conference home page

And here are some of my specific to dos (some completed, some yet to be done):

  • Tweeted that I’ll be attending the conference and used #NACE13 to see who else might be going in my network (and to see who I might meet in person!)
  • I already looked the conference schedule of events to make sure I booked my flights accordingly, but I’m looking again now to familiarize myself with everything
  • Read up on the keynote speakers – after watching his video, I am particularly excited for Jeremy Gutsche, but to be honest they all look interesting
  • Begin to determine who I’d like to visit in the Exhibitors area at the conference.  I’ve gotten to meet some people I’ve only spoken with on the phone and learn about some really useful products at the NACE conference.  But, just like I tell students about career fairs, it’s important to have an idea of who I really want to see so I don’t get overwhelmed in the room.
  • Review the list of conference Workshops and pick some of my favorites, specifically the “must haves.”  Sometimes, I pick workshops because they are directly related to my role or work in the office, and sometimes I pick one or two because they will stretch me professionally.  At the conference, I like to have a mix of being both a conversation contributor and an observer in awe.  Picking the right workshops is a strategic move for me.
  • Look up something fun to do in Orlando!  I always have fun while I’m at the conference, and looking up some evening activities will make it even more enjoyable.  It’s not quite a “vacation,” but maybe something in between.  A “vayconference” perhaps?

So, that’s where I’ve started.  How are you preparing for NACE 13?  I’d be interested to hear your tips, too.

6 thoughts on “How I’m Getting Ready for NACE 2013

  1. Kevin,
    I look forward to following your coverage. I spent many years as a recruiter and coaching executives. It is shocking to compare the investment companies make when hiring mid to senior level executives to the way some companies recruit entry level talent. Although the cost per entry level hire can be anywhere between 3K to 5K, the strategy is geared to fill vacancies and empty seats but not necessarily to help build high performing cultures, create life long clients, or increase levels of happiness and satisfaction. One of my hopes from #NACE13 is to meet career services leaders and recruiters who are willing to challenge the current college recruiting paradigm. If we help companies make upfront investments selecting the right talent and also help students find a calling rather than a job, the ROI for everybody will be maximized. Thanks for the great tips.

    • Glad you liked the tips and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Personally, I think you’ll find what you’re looking for at the conference this summer. The conference is a showcase of ideas that are helping move the professions of career services and college recruiting forward. I’ve always been inspired to make a change in my work after attending – whether the inspiration came from a specific session, a keynote speaker, or just a casual talk with colleagues over lunch. Even the unplanned moments at the conference can be meaningful!

  2. I always try to list a few things ahead of time that I hope to learn. By identifying a few issues I have faced this past year, I find that my focus for the conference becomes much more sharp. I used to attend professional conference and NACE in particular just expecting to show up and be inspired. That happens without a doubt, but any attendee much be willing and prepared to be apart of the learning and growth process of each one of the attendees and the profession at large. You will be amazed with the difference in your experience. See you in Orlando.

  3. Pingback: ORL to PHL: Luggage, Knowledge, and Appreciation | The NACE Blog

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