Debrief of #NACE13: Day 1

Sarah MartinA post by Guest Blogger, Sarah Martin, College Relations and Social Media Recruiter, Garmin International
Twitter: @workatgarmin
LinkedIn: had the privilege to attend 3 workshops on Day 1: Setting Standards for the Candidate Experience, Professional Standards for University Relations and Recruiting, and Effectively Utilizing Mobile Technologies. Conferences tend to be information overload, so I’d like to share my quick take-a-ways from each workshop.

Setting Standards for the Candidate Experience:
• Build your own business case with numbers and dollars
• Audit yourself
• It’s critical to seek feedback from your candidates (and not just those you end up hiring)
• Match your medium to your audience
• Be truthful when answering candidate questions
• Deliver what you promise
*Presenter: Gerry Crispin, CareerXroads

Professional Standards for University Relations and Recruiting:
How many of you knew there were URR standards published in 1976? Did you realize those standards were recently updated for the first time?! Thank you #NACE13! The updated standards are currently available through the NACE13 app and will be on the NACE web site within the next couple of weeks. I’m impressed that 40+ individuals came together to “get it right.” This document is sure to help employers across the country assess the current state of their College Recruitment programs, as well as, provide guidance for a lasting, successful future. I’m eager to take a closer look at the details!
*Presenter: Jeff Goodman

Effectively Utilizing Mobile Technologies:
Not surprising: Nearly half of all 18-29 year-olds who access the Internet on their phones, do the majority of their online browsing on their mobile device. Surprising: Many companies utilize text messaging as a successful medium for recruitment. We have a list of avenues in which we intend to reach out to our candidates, but text messaging hasn’t even been on our radar. The numbers don’t lie, though. The case studies presented in this workshop provided insight to several successful campaigns. The biggest take-a-way for me: mobile is where the action is! If you don’t have your hat in the ring, you are missing out on quality candidates. When communicating with candidates through mobile technologies, it’s essential that you are concise, relevant, and professional. We are all aware that we have a very short period of time to make an impression on our candidates… and mobile technology shortens that timeframe even further. Now, time to strategize and get a plan in place.
*Presenters: Lindsay Stanton, Job Search Television Network and Jay Floersch, PeopleScout Inc.

Overall… a very impressive Day 1!

Social Media Bridges the Gap in Communication and Engages Constituents in NYU Wasserman Center’s Award-winning #iamlimitless campaign

Heather TranenA post by Guest Blogger, Heather Tranen
Associate Director, Global Communications & Strategic Outreach, NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development
Twitter: @htranen


What do President Obama, Spike Lee, Macy’s College Recruiting, and Italy have in common? They were all an integral part of NYU Wasserman Center’s  NACE Innovation Excellence Award-winning#iamlimitless global social media student engagement campaign (don’t try saying that ten times fast).

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We were all excited about our big win at the awards ceremony, but I was still nervous about people actually showing up to the presentation the following day. I figured maybe 30 people would show up – half of which would hail from our own institution. When the room filled up and people were lined up outside of the door, I thought maybe everyone would leave once they realized Justin Bieber wasn’t performing.

A few awkward jokes and flubbed video showing later, the crowd still remained to hear myself and Sneh share NYU’s #iamlimitless campaign. No pressure, right?

Nerves aside, it was incredibly exciting to see so many people interested in what our campaign offered students and other constituents. This blog post serves to provide an overview of the campaign and share the resources and best practices you can adopt to create a campaign of your own.

What is #iamlimitless?

Sneh asked the audience.

“I am limitless. Say it out loud. It Feels good, right?”

And it does. #iamlimitless empowers students to tell their career story to their peers through the powerful tool of social media.

Through the #iamlimitless campaign, the Wasserman Center saw a drastic increase in student and employer engagement. Our previous, primarily email and print-centric campaigns left a large portion of the Gen Y student population disconnected from career events and services relevant to their needs. The #iamlimitless campaign bridged the communication gap through a targeted, incentive based initiative. The campaign brought to life the Wasserman’s “limitless” opportunities motto, encouraged students across the globe to tell their global career stories, and morphed the intimidating notion of career development into a friendly, accessible entity. Additionally, the campaign served as a brand building opportunity for employers and local businesses. Organizations ranging from Macy’s to small cafes in the Greenwich Village area sponsored our raffle prizes. At the end of each week of the fall semester, those who   used  #iamlimitless to share their career stories across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram were entered into a raffle and winners were announced via Twitter and Facebook.

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Why Social Media?

There are so many platforms out there, and our students are all over them. To this generation, it’s almost as if things don’t actually happen unless they are filming, photographing, tweeting or status updating it. Gen Y overshares and hyperconsumes content in the online space.

“They take technology for granted. They live through social media. They want the world their way, and they want it now.” – Forbs on Gen Y

As professionals we need to navigate our communication strategies to both speak their language, and teach them the language of the professional world. The #iamlimitless campaign served as a way to engage students in the space they are comfortable with, and then lure them into our office to connect to the tangible resources they need to be successful after college – a bait and switch of sorts.

ROI: Vanity vs. Actionable Metrics

Vanity Metrics: It’s always nice to have a large following and fans to make us feel super important and liked. These vanity metrics are often how supervisors judge whether we are doing a good job. Yes, these are important. However, who are these individuals following or liking us? Are they strangers, or actually connections who are engaging and utilizing our resources?

Actionable Metrics: What really matters is whether our campaign translated into “performance” outcomes. Who retweeted us, who became more aware of our resources and came to the office to utilize them? These are the questions we should all ask when engaging with students in the social media space.

Did it work? You be the judge!

#iamlimitless was used 133% times more than the second highest hashtag used by the Wasserman Center

#iamlimitless was cited over 100 times across the Wasserman Center’s social media platforms

@NYUWasserman was mentioned 150% times more in the campaign launch month of September 2012

@NYUWasserman’s Klout score increased by 10 points!

Participation in events like our career fair and applications for our Funded Internship Award increased exponentially.

We caught the attention of the Washington Square News and an article in support of the campaign was published and disseminated to its 100k subscribers.

NEXT for NYU Wasserman Center and #iamlimitless

The Wasserman Center will launch it’s #iamlimitless Socializer campaign this fall. It will further engage a broader audience by incentivizing students who get the most likes, repins, and retweets on posts that connect their peers to the Wasserman Center’s resources. Stay tuned for the results of it!

DIY Social Media Campaigning

Start Small:  Don’t feel like you need to throw a rager for your first social media party. Think about starting small with a one-time incentive to complement an individual event.

Operate on One Platform: Use one established platform that you are comfortable with before you expand to a multi-platform approach. Our first experience with a campaign was with a Macy’s event hosted using Foursquare specials. Those who checked in during the time of the event were entered into a raffle to win prizes donated by Macy’s.

Build Buzz and Engage All Constituents: Build buzz both online leading up to the launch of your campaign, but also in person by engaging all constituents. We engaged student affairs offices, faculty, alumni and local organizations to help support the campaign.

Provide  Affordable: Incentives: You also don’t have to break the bank. Incentives don’t need to be expensive. Students love swag, but the majority of our incentives were provided by employer sponsorships, or members of the NYU surrounding businesess. You can even think of non-monetary incentives like an informational interview with one of your employer partners.

Track Impact: Using your Facebook page’s admin metrics, Hootsuite clicks, Twitonomy metrics, and Klout score are just a few ways to see what’s working, what needs tweaking, and how effectively your office is engaging with your constituents.

Thanks again to everyone who supported the #iamlimitless campaign, and who came to our presentation and asked insightful questions. Twitter was also ablaze with #iamlimitless chatter. You can check out our Storify for more on what #NACE13 folks had to say about the #iamlimitless presentation! NACE 2013 was such an awesome experience and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s conference! If anyone is interested in continuing the social media conversation, hit me up on Twitter at @HTranen!

ORL to PHL: Luggage, Knowledge, and Appreciation

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

 Despite the tropical storm that made its way up the east coast on Friday, my plane arrived safely back in Philadelphia that afternoon.  What came with me on the flight from Orlando: luggage, knowledge, and appreciation – and I only had to check one of them at the gate, even though I’m sure the knowledge and appreciation weighed more.

In my previous two blog posts, I did my best to offer up what was learned in some of the sessions I attended at the NACE conference this year.  My goal was to bring you there, to save you a seat next to me and the power outlets.  For this last post, I wanted to step back from the sessions and talk a little bit “bigger picture” about the conference itself.  So, pull up a seat one more time and let’s talk.  (As I write this, I am picturing Linda Richman from “Coffee Talk” on Saturday Night Live.  “Placement Surveys are not ‘placement’ and not always ‘surveys’… Discuss.”)

For me, the NACE conference this year was about three things: bravery in uncertainty, solidifying relationships, and planning for randomness.

Bravery in Uncertainty

In my other two posts, covering the future of career services and first destination surveys, I tried to capture not only the content but the essence of those sessions: higher education & career services are changing.  That change of pace is rapid and is continuing to grow due to pressures from many of our constituents.  There are still unanswered questions and uncertain times ahead.  That is, admittedly, nerve-wracking and exciting all at once.

I am choosing to acknowledge both sides of that coin, and in the category of “practicing what I preach,” I am reminded of counseling students who are about to graduate and are not sure what lies ahead for them.  They know they are about to leave a whole world they created for themselves, and they’re not sure how much of it they can take with them.  They know change is coming swiftly, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it.  They take it head on.  And so must we.  At the NACE conference this year, it was clear to see the profession taking this change head on, and I look forward to seeing more of it in the months and years ahead.

Solidifying Relationships

It took place on plane rides, in hotel restaurants, on ottomans in the lobby, at coffee shops – everywhere there were conversations with great people.  If we’re talking MBTI types, I am almost completely an “E” for extravert (pause for stunned response), and so a conference center full of people is energizing for me.  Besides the opportunity to learn in the sessions, the greatest benefit of attending the NACE conference is the opportunity to build relationships with people.  I enjoyed the chance to connect with both career services and recruiting colleagues, new and old.  I remember at last year’s conference, a veteran in the field told me that she’s met not only great colleagues but great friends in this field.  I see why.

For me, the connections weren’t always made in the most “buttoned up” situations.  Some of the most memorable connections I made were over the following: a somewhat problematic yet hilarious story about leaky hotel rooms, the best mobile apps to help you stay in shape, whether you’d consider yourself an appetizer or dessert person (dessert all the way), and more.  By allowing ourselves to get a little more personal, we deepened the relationship.  Building trust and bonding over even silly things can translate to better business and working together.  While of course it’s important to keep things appropriate, I try to keep the personal side in mind throughout the year.  We’re professionals, yes. We have a job to do, absolutely.  But, we’re people, too.

Planning for Randomness

Back to the MBTI talk for a second, I am also quite strongly a “J” for judging.  Not to be mistaken for judgmental, the “J” translates to someone who likes structure and to make decisions.  In fact, my first guest post for the NACE blog was on how I was preparing for the conference.  So, planning ahead is a part of me, and I say this with admiration and respect for all of my “P” for perceiving friends (those who are often described as spontaneous or more flexible).

One thing I should have mentioned in that post is to make plans, but also to allow for something in the moment to change your course.  You just never know whom you’ll bump into at the conference or when a lunch conversation turns into a best practice discussion session.  I’ve heard it said and said it myself: some of the best moments of a conference are those that occur between sessions.  Perhaps there’s a professional lesson nestled in there, too.  Some days, plan for randomness.  Have lunch with someone and don’t fill the agenda.  Have a meeting with yourself and let it be your creative time.  Take a different turn or two in a walk around your building or campus.  That’s at least some of how I’m interpreting it.  Making room for chance.

And so, with empty bags, a retired out of office email auto response, and much gratitude, I say thank you to everyone who organized the NACE conference this year and everyone who was a part of it.  This includes you, blog readers.  Here’s to San Antonio in 2014!

Learning Outcomes Assessment – A Step By Step

Doug Miller

A post by Guest Blogger, Doug Miller, faculty member and New Media Manager at DePaul University.

Douglas Lee Miller – Chicago, IL |

On Twitter: @douglasLmiller

Learning Outcomes Assessment: Step by StepPresenters: Gail Rooney and Julia Panke Makela, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Nothing says real world application like a “step by step” and this one was both useful and inspiring. What follows are brief notes on a much more complete presentation about the deployment of these learning outcomes assessments in a particular context. The hope is that these notes and their brief outline of the constituent parts my inspire you to learn more.

From the presentation:

First, as a framework, it is important to define assessment as a process that is continuous. It tells a story and shares the dual function of providing continuous service and celebrating achievement.

What can we assess? We can assess needs, participation, satisfaction, and learning. There are many different desired outcomes, but learning is at the heart of what we are about in career services.

To be a part of the core function, career services needs to think of themselves as learning partners. -Rooney

Learning outcomes focus on client experiences.

We measure what clients can know, do, demonstrate or feel. How have they changed?

Rooney describes the ALOI cycle

Rooney describes the ALOI cycle

Focus in career services is too often on process and not on the change we want to see happen in our client experience. The purpose of the learning outcomes assessment is to be able to measure the changes we see in the client experience and behavior as a result of interactions with particular learning elements.

The steps below shed light on the path to deploying some learning outcomes assessments and on some of the more important questions an institution my ask while deploying them. They also illustrate the cyclical nature of the process while illustrating the need to assess and revise.

Step 1 – Defining Context

Guiding Questions: Who is the audience? What are the circumstances?

Step 2 – Brainstorming Outcomes

Guiding Questions: What do you want your audience to be able to do, demonstrate, value, or feel?

Step 3a – Writing Outcome Statements

Formula = “Intended learners who take will be able to .”

Step 3b – Writing Outcomes Statements

Useful construct = Blooms Taxonomy

Step 4 – Connect Theory to Practice

Helpful Suggestion: Look for a rubric from the field and place it in your context.

Step 5 – Prioritize Learning Outcomes

Guiding Question: If you had to pick only 3 which would be most helpful? Most important to stakeholders?

Step 6 – Evaluate the Outcomes

Helpful Suggestion: The purpose is to make a judgement. Too often we just use surveys – examine some other tools that may add dimension to the common survey. Look for demonstrable behavior changes.

Step 7 – Reflect on Results and Process

Guiding Questions: What happened that you expected? What took you by surprise?

Step 8 – Use the Assessments

Guiding Questions: What are you going to keep, modify, discontinue, explore?.

Bloggers note: The above steps were presented in a specific context – resume – that made it fairly easy to translate client behavior changes into learning outcomes. This author can imagine more than a few contexts whereby charting the behavior changes would be difficult if not problematic, especially in the areas of so called “soft skill” development. Despite this, there were some healthy and creative suggestions offered up by attendees that included everything from video taping to web analytics.

Finally, the most important advice from Rooney in the session is to start soon, start small, and to start with what you know you do well and build out from there. Making learning outcome assessments work is not easy and requires constant fine tuning – but the end results are by their very nature measurable.

A last reminder of Rooney's mantra as you set to the task of creating your own learning outcomes assessment tools: what did we help our clients to do, demonstrate, value, or feel that was different than from before we interacted with them?

In this case Rooney prompted at least this author's learning to demonstrate the outcomes assessment as a process – specifically to go home and revise my next syllabus before next quarter begins.

For more information see the story below:

The National Career Development Association | Learning Outcomes Assessment Step-By-Step: The Story Behind NCDA’s New Monograph


Fixated on “First Destinations”

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

 That’s my official meditation for today at the NACE conference.  This morning, I attended a session hosted by the NACE First Destination Task Force where we discussed what’s been happening at the association and beyond with our increasingly critical surveys about where our graduates go after they leave our institutions.  With national attention being paid to these data and the numbers in the spotlight more often than ever, there’s no doubt this is a hot topic for career services attendees at the conference.  Here’s a breakdown of the session and some commentary by one of your faithful bloggers.

NACE has already released a position statement about these First Destinations surveys in July 2012, and we kicked off the session with a review of the principles laid out in this statement.  The short version of that is:

  • Post graduate success is the mission of entire institution, not just career services
  • All graduates of institutions should be tracked in these surveys
  • Career services should have central role in collecting this information
  • Outcomes should be inclusive, not just about immediate employment
  • Human subject & institutional research protocols should be observed when collecting information
  • Data may come from various reliable sources
  • Data collection should be on-going, with the final collection efforts completed by 6-9 months from graduation
  • Data should be reported in aggregate and should protect individual confidentiality
  • Outcome data should consider: response rates, academic program breakdown of data, job titles, employers, salary data, further academic study (what program and what institution)

The NACE Task Force is working on a version of a standardized first destination survey which can be used by all institutions.  The Task Force’s plan is to have all institutions be using this survey for the graduating class of 2014.  So, with that in mind, the Task Force needed to do quite a bit more beyond what has been set forth in the position statement.  Namely:

  • There would need to be a core set of questions to be asked universally and consistently
  • There would need to be establish definitions for standard measures (i.e. defining what “full-time employment” really means)
  • There would need to be an agreed upon appropriate time frame for data collection
  • There would need to be suggested response rate requirements to ensure that the data reported is statistically valid and reliable

This is all no small order.  What about entrepreneurs?  What about graduates in the summer, the fall, or schools on different academic calendars?  How can we standardize all of this?  Questions about the intricacies of this are abundant, and rightfully so.

The Task Force was ready to share a bit about where they are in the process, so here’s what was learned.

New Language for First Destination Surveys

  • Perhaps we can lay the “p” word to rest?  The suggestion is to call it “career outcomes” rather than “placement.”
  • Recognizing that information about post graduate career outcomes comes from various sources (not just our surveys), the suggestion is to consider “knowledge rates” rather than “response rates.”  For instance, say a faculty member or employer lets a career services office know a student was hired and reports job title & employer information.  That’s knowledge, not a “response.”
  • When the data collection period ends, we can “close the books.”  Ongoing data collection can and should happen after graduation, and the profession should consider counting early, mid and later in academic year graduates (not just traditional “Spring” grads).  However, knowing that spring graduation is the largest for a majority of institutions, we can consider closing the books six months after that date, which is approximately December 1.  NACE would consider reaching out for information by the end of December, and then could share aggregate data in January to legislators, those involved in public policy, and those in trends reporting.

Suggestions for type and amount of information to collect

  • The Task Force suggested a knowledge rate range between 65% and 85%.  This is to serve as an initial guidepost for us, and should help us find a workable range that is achievable, valid, and reliable.  Over time as we develop this, the suggested knowledge rate range may increase
  • The outcome measures to be provided include information such as (this is not the whole picture here): percentage of graduates employed full-time, those pursuing further study, those still seeking employment, and those not seeking employment.  While information should be collected for graduate and undergraduate students, there should also be separate information for the undergraduate and graduate levels as well
  • For the employment category, examples of information to collect include: job title, employer, salary (both base salary & guaranteed first year compensation, which includes signing bonuses)
  • For the further study category, the name of the academic program and institution name should be collected
  • If a student is working and pursuing further study, it is suggested that the data be categorized by the graduate’s primary pursuit.

A few more dimensions the Task Force is considering:

  • A way to measure a graduate’s satisfaction with their outcome?  Meaning: is this where they wanted to be?
  • For those who are reported as being employed full-time, is the employment related to their degree?
  • For now, the further study category is intended for those who are pursuing a graduate degree.  What about other types of study?  Certification programs?  Those who want to earn another undergraduate degree?

Suffice it to say, there are still many questions about this process yet to be answered.  But, I think I can safely say there is agreement that this is important work which needs doing.  It’s a challenge, no doubt.  Life doesn’t fit into defined categories easily, and so it follows that neither does one’s career plans.  At a time when many want to know, “is college worth it?,” these first destination data points can be key indicators of a piece of the puzzle that is an answer to that question.

LEGO & The Career Architecture Framework

Doug Miller

A post by Guest Blogger, Doug Miller, faculty member and New Media

Douglas Lee Miller – Chicago, IL | On Twitter:@douglasLmiller



Presenters: Anne Scholl-Fiedler and Jim Salvucci, Stevenson University

What is the career architecture model?

It mentors students through a process of learning

1)who they are at their best (personal direction)

2)what they are learning (discipline expertise) and

3)how they will apply their skills (professional know-how.)

Tag line: “dream about your future-design your career.”

The first year seminar is housed in academic units and led by faculty but is heavily facilitated by career services. It culminates in a massive competition amongst teams of freshman students who undertake a project to represent – in LEGO bricks – what career architecture means to them on their own terms.

Functionally, the program begins with the students being given Holland assessments of interest and skills. This guides the faculty in creating teams whose individuals will perform functions related to the idea generation, design, and ultimately the build process of their LEGO creations. Working in three dimensions with elements familiar from childhood, the students soon find themselves involved in a meta-discussion about Career Architecture as a framework.

783 students participated in one year's Lego challenge. The whole process is engineered to reflect the form and structure of the Career Architecture Framework itself, full of learning objectives. The LEGO project itself is judged based on the successfulness of its representation; how well does the plastic physical model represent the three more ephemeral ideological elements of the career architecture framework? That's what they are judged on. Each major's representation is highly unique and specific to their field despite starting from the same point. There is a high degree of symbolism to the lego models much like with something like parade floats.

After the event, a full array of assessments are deployed in person and personalized career architecture plans are developed.

Salvucci's working theory is about the transactional nature of or common interactions with students in higher education as juxtaposed against a more transformational learning model. Both aspects are at play in the interactions and both are necessary but there may be value according to Salvucci in focusing on the transformational nature of a student's exposure to higher education characterizing the transactional as “the descent” vs. “the ascent” – purchase of the transcript vs the birth of an enlightened being.

How, you might ask, is this done from a curriculum development and approval point of view? Salvucci as the Dean works very closely in tandem with Scholl-Fiedler in Career Services.

Most English programs are content driven; fthe challenge is to create measurably attainable graduated skills – like problem solving – but they also tie them to career. They work collaboratively within the divisions to tailor the capstones toward career.

English, psychology, theatre and film-video are all modeled here. All require internships. Many have career track courses.

Psychology has three 1 credit courses on career development.

“Quad stories” was deployed to gather career stories to keep people from thinking careers are linear. Their objective with this tool? “Creating a culture of personal narrative.” Using personal narrative to determine skills and interests.

They have Industry liaisons in their office to help meet those goals

In the end, they see themselves as brokers of knowledge not just spinners of information.

Bloggers thoughts: As an avid fan of LEGO, learning outcomes, ideological frameworks, and personal narrative, I took a host of ideas and inspiration from this fascinating session. The only caveat offered about working so closely with faculty for this amazing strategic construct and series of events echoes common refrains I hear in my own position. “It's great that you have someone at your institution like you – but what if that key component is missing at our school?” Anne Scholl-Fiedler and Jim Salvucci both represent Stevenson University well and it is clear this kind of innovation and freedom could not exist were either of them the type to not be open to collaboration. Salvucci sees the need for collaboration as obvious. My caveat to other schools? Some results may vary.


UNC Chapel Hill’s Innovation in Career Services: Climate, Leadership, and Process!

Heather TranenA post by Guest Blogger, Heather Tranen
Associate Director, Global Communications & Strategic Outreach, NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development
Twitter: @htranen


UNC Chapel Hill never ceases to amaze me. They remain on the cutting edge with social media and innovation, and I am always excited to hear what they have to say. Gary Alan Miller and Katherine Nobles’s workshop shed light on fascinating data about what either fosters or impedes innovation in career services offices. With the increased emphasis on ROI in higher education, it is even more crucial that career services professionals consider the  factors that produce innovation. UNC Chapel Hill took the assessment method that PricewaterhouseCoopers uses, and looked at what makes an organization MORE likely to be innovative.

Climate, Leadership, and Process were the factors considered.

Gary and Katherine showed that 79% of offices who think they are innovative, also feel comfortable taking bold action. The majority also agree or strongly agree that they feel comfortable being bold because leadership supports them. More about leadership in a bit. Not surprisingly, lack of time and lack of budget are reasons that the innovation process was stifled. I highlighted some of the main ideas that came out of the small group discussions that took place throughout the workshop.


Hiring the right people Let’s not mess around with our talent. From the very beginning, make sure that you are hiring people with not only a vision, but an ability to enact their vision and yield concrete results. My favorite interviewing question to ask potential hires is, “Tell me about a time you had an idea, brought it into fruition, and it yielded positive results.” Feel free to steal that.

Freedom – with boundaries and mentoring Young talent often come in bright eyed and bushy tailed – fearless of failure. As managers its important to let them initiate their ideas, but with guidance. Don’t be a dream killer. Rather, ask them questions that force them to see where there might be holes in their ideas. Support them in finding the right strategy. It takes a bit more time, but the long term investment is worthwhile. You never know, it might just result in a NACE Excellence Award.

Talking to outside constituents about their strategies Sharing ideas and best practices is so crucial to success. That’s why I love conferences like NACE. However, even if you can’t swing going to a large conference, simply reaching out to individuals who are doing work you are inspired by is a great way to build your network, and to find out how others overcame challenges you currently face.


The data shared definitely showed that leadership is instrumental in whether or not an office innovates. Those who felt supported, also felt comfortable innovating. It is important as leaders to make sure these ideas are fostered so our offices can continue to grow, and our students are exposed to the most cutting edge resources possible.

During the small group discussion, we brainstormed leadership tactics to create an innovative office.

Provide alternate forms of communication I definitely related to the “introvert’s nightmare” comment during the NACE awards. Introverted staff members might feel awkward bringing up ideas in large meetings. Being open to an email or other online discussion to get the conversation going can generate a wider range of ideas.

Take the time to cultivate new leadership I don’t mean to brag, but my boss is pretty awesome. I have worked for her over the course of five years, starting out as an entry level employee, and now as an Associate Director and senior member of her staff. My ideas have literally never been shot down. As a result, our social media presence has grown exponentially, and the office continues to innovate.

Empathize It gets harder to relate to the day-to-day activities of your staff. Taking the time to see what’s going on with their projects and empathizing with their stress will help them feel supported and cared for within the office.


Gary and Katherine discussed the most utilized resources career services use to innovate. Some of these were pretty surprising.

Top 5 Resources Used 



Career Services

Professional Associations


Top 5 Resources Not Used


Social media

Other service organizations

News media



Entrepreneurship Program Partnerships

Mobile Apps

Kiosks on campus to search jobs

Virtual fairs


“You don’t want to be blind to routine things that we are blind to making things better.”

“Sometimes we might live in the iterative. I can make this better by stapling it on the left side instead of the right.”


Gary’s Recommendation:

10 Faces of Innovation byTom Kelley

My Recommendation

Leadership in Career Services: Voices from the Field by Manny Contomanolis and Trudy Steinfeld

That’s all for this fabulous session! I hope everyone is enjoying the rest of their time at NACE! Stay tuned for my next blog!