With Passion Comes Progress!

by Kathleen Powell

It’s true, I have a passion for numbers, data, member engagement, return on investment, and adding value. As you know, the First-Destination Survey outcomes are currently being collected for the Class of 2016. Why does it matter or should it matter?  Your data makes a difference!  I’ve heard colleagues tell me they can’t submit their data because they don’t have a 65 percent knowledge rate or they won’t have their completed report done. News flash!  NACE wants you to share your data no matter what your knowledge rate may be. And, the deadline to submit your data is now April 30, 2017. Equally important, and exciting, it has never been so easy to do so.  A reporting form has been completed in an Excel template for you to populate your data in aggregate. One and done, almost!

Sharing your first-destination outcomes data makes a difference. It matters to our profession, our deans, our presidents, and our accrediting bodies. Our collective data allows us, as a profession, to track trends and inform our constituents on the value of higher education; and similarly our work. If we have data to support value, we have a place in the public policy debate around higher education; its value, its purpose and its future.

As an adopter to the request for data, you, as a NACE member, are helping to shape national benchmarks. We are better collectively, around data sharing, then we can be individually. Providing your first-destination survey outcomes will allow you to benchmark around majors, salaries, and bonuses, to name a few for your institution.

Think of the many times you’ve been asked for your first-destination outcomes report.  In those requests, how many times have you been asked how it compares nationally, regionally? If we all subscribe to the reporting of our outcomes to our professional association, we all benefit. I can’t think of a better way to support our profession, the work of our association, than to submit your data. Please join me in being an adopter of the first destination outcomes reporting and protocols. You can make a difference, you could be the difference! With passion, does come progress and a report that publically messages out the story of our collective success!

Deadline for reporting your first-destination outcomes is April 30, 2017. Pick up the free reporting form on NACEWeb.

Kathleen Powell

Kathleen Powell, Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs, Executive Director of Career Development, Cohen Career Center, William & Mary
President, National Association of Colleges and Employers
Twitter: @powellka
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kathleenipowell/

The Year of Thinking Critically: NACE Career-Readiness Assessment in Action

by Janet R. Long

While critical thinking skills have long been considered a core measure of student learning, critical thinking increasingly appears in the vocabulary of the co-curricular, and notably in the domain of career services. Not only did critical thinking and problem-solving skills rank as the second highest career-readiness competency in the recently published 2016 Recruiting Benchmark Survey, a NACE survey of employers, but the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report also ranked critical thinking as the number 4 in its Top 10 Skills for 2015 and projected it would catapult to second place by 2020, just behind its first cousin, complex problem-solving!

Here at Widener, where I coordinate student learning outcomes for our career services office, critical thinking is top of mind across campus: it is the designated focus area for assessment across academic and administrative units for the current academic year.

As a career services team, we have embraced this focus by challenging our own critical thinking about ways in which we evaluate student learning and success. Here are a few examples:

  • New Approaches: Looking for a way to jump-start the year—and admittedly, to make assessment less dreaded—we held a pilot “data lab,” inspired by the work of University of Richmond Bonner Center for Civic Engagement Director Dr. Bryan Figura. In a data lab, participants evaluate “artifacts” of student learning.

Typically, the process is organized around a theme to make it more engaging and features rotating stations through which participants first review artifacts independently and then come together to reflect and discuss findings. For example, the University of Richmond used a Harry Potter theme to examine student learning in the realm of civic engagement.

For our own office, we selected student career-related writing for our pilot data lab and created a True Crime/CSI theme that had us literally playing detective while examining crime scene “exhibits” such as resumes, cover letters, and reflection papers. As just one take-away from this process, we decided to revise our resume rubric to make student learning outcomes better align with our critical thinking objective. From a programmatic perspective, we also introduced a longer-format interactive resume clinic in lieu of shorter, presentation-oriented sessions.

  • Rubric Audit: We extended our rubric review to student interviewing to ensure that we were truly collecting data that would inform our learning about student learning. Specifically, we revamped the Interview Content section to help both counselors and employers more explicitly rate how well students connect knowledge, strengths, and experiences to their qualifications and competitiveness for specific opportunities. We piloted the new rubric during a week-long event, Mock Interview Mania, and have already uncovered areas for improvement.
  • New Assessment of Existing Programs: As one example, we added a pre/post-test student self-evaluation for Seekers, the semester-long career exploration program that we facilitate for our liberal arts students at Widener, to an existing student reflection requirement. Several of the Likert-scale items pertain directly to the application of critical thinking skills to career-readiness process steps.
  1. I understand how my personal values may impact my career choices.
  2. I can confidently articulate my major strengths and how they connect to my employment or graduate study goals.
  3. I can confidently describe the skills I have learned through liberal arts coursework in language that a potential employer will understand and value.
  4. I can draw from my campus involvement, service, and leadership experiences to develop an effective “elevator speech.
  5. I know how to locate and navigate resources found in the Career Exploration and Professional Development sections of the Career Services Campus Cruiser Office.
  6. I understand how to network to pursue internships, jobs, or graduate programs in a way that leverages my personal style and strengths.
  7. I am confident in my ability to arrange and conduct an informational interview.
  8. I can list my top five targets for jobs, internships, or graduate programs.
  9. I can confidently and professionally use LinkedIn as a tool to connect with Widener alumni in support of my goals.
  10. I can use my critical thinking skills to confidently respond to challenging interview questions.
  11. Overall, I believe that my liberal arts education is preparing me for life after graduation.
  • Unifying the Units: In the most far-reaching initiative to date, our career services office has actively partnered with our peer units within Academic Support Services, including Counseling, Disability Services, Exploratory Studies, Student Success and Retention, and Tutoring. My colleague Jocelyn Manigo, director of tutoring services, and I were asked to co-chair this initiative, starting with aligning language around critical thinking across the six areas. In an upcoming post, I will elaborate on our process and learning to date.

What kinds of assessment initiatives are you piloting in your own offices? How are you getting colleagues to buy into the process?

Janet LongJanet R. Long is a NACE blog contributor and the career liaison to Widener University’s College of Arts & Sciences. She also coordinates student learning assessment for the career services office and co-chairs assessment for the broader Academic Support Services unit in partnership with Jocelyn Manigo, director of tutoring services.

Auld Lang Syne—Resolutions for 2017

by Marc Goldman

I always enjoy celebrating the holiday season with friends and family. New Year’s Eve has been a tradition in my house since I was a preschooler. Yes, my parents let me stay up late from a very early age, which might explain my night owl tendencies to this day. Once January 1 has come and gone, people discuss their resolutions for the coming year. These goals and commitments might have to do with health and wellness, social lives, hobbies, activism, and even the workplace. And that got me thinking. From a professional standpoint, what are my New Year’s resolutions for 2017?

  1. Follow the data: More and more, our industry is turning to data, big and small, quantitative and qualitative, as a source for strategic planning, decision making, and new ideas. My goal is to use data as a powerful driver for both my office’s programming and employer outreach. In addition, data will help us assess our success in terms of outcomes, resources, attendance, and awareness. And embracing external reports on trends and data will help with messaging and promotion of my team’s mission on and off campus.
  2. No I in TEAM: Half of my staff is new to the career center this academic year, so we have been rebuilding and team building at the same time. This staffing scenario provides great opportunity and enthusiasm, but it presents challenges to the staffers, new and seasoned as well. I need to be more open minded than ever before, while remaining focused on my philosophy and vision of our shared work to ensure that we benefit the students, the reason we are all in it together.
  3. Show me the money: As with many career services offices, funding can be a challenge. Having offices on two campuses only makes that issue more pronounced. I plan to explore fundraising opportunities now that my staffing trials and tribulations have ended (for the present). Whether I develop an employer partner program, fundraising for specific program needs, or both has yet to be decided. But I will be consulting with my advancement colleagues for their input and experience on this one.
  4. Reading is fundamental: While I do spend a good deal of time reading online articles, checking out the occasional blog post, and following many colleagues (and celebs) on Twitter, it is high time I do a bit more of a deep dive into this wonderful world of books. There are a number of titles on my hit list. I just have to start with one. Is there a career services book club out there I can join? Yikes, did I just come up with another idea to implement?
  5. Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!: One of my favorite movies is Rudy, the story of the ultimate sports underdog, whose grit, determination, and positive attitude lead him to some degree of legend status. Rudy’s story reminds me that I need to keep my positive attitude (no laughing, please) regardless of circumstances, challenges, or roadblocks ahead. And in my office and on campus, optimism really can be one of the most powerful motivators and messages to convey.

I will check in with you in January 2018 to let you know how well I end up sticking to my resolutions. What are some of yours? Feel free to let me know on Twitter (@MarcGoldmanNYC). Happy 2017!

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

Getting Ready for the Spring Job Market After Winter Break

by Lisa L. Simmons

Winter break is over at most campuses. Students are returning to classes, and employers are preparing to target them for job and internship openings.

Are your students prepared to engage with employers? The following can help them shake off the winter break cobwebs and RECOVER in time for spring recruiting.

Recruiting System Profile Audit
• Ask students to log into your university recruiting system.
• Have them ensure that their information (GPA, major, graduation date…) is correct.
• Encourage them to complete their profile as thoroughly as possible.

Employment Search Plan
• Ask students to make a list of organizations that are their “Plan A.”
• Encourage students to not limit themselves to the most attractive and in-demand employers where the competition for available positions is substantial. Have them research other organizations that they would also consider. These will be their “Plan B.”
• Ask them to set up search agents on your university recruiting system and other job boards that will help them identify open positions.
• Advise them to research their targeted organizations, the organizations’ industries, and the functional area in which they are interested.

Cover Letter Review
• Encourage them to review their cover letter.
• Advise students to describe what they can do for an organization rather than what they want it to do for them.

Official Transcript Request
• Have students order their latest official transcript from the registrar so they can have it on hand if required by an organization.
• Remind them that they may also need an unofficial transcript in case they must upload it to a system with maximum document size requirements. (Watermarked documents are usually large.)

Visit the Career Center
• Encourage students to touch base with a career coach to review their resume and cover letter, discuss their goals, and iron out their job / internship search plan.
• Provide mock interview (in person or virtual) opportunities so that they will feel comfortable if they are selected for an employer interview.

Expand Network
• If students are not on LinkedIn, ask them to set up an account.
• Advise them that networking can lead to employment.
• Encourage them to look for friends, family, and alumni who are working at their targeted organizations and build a relationship. LinkedIn has a tip sheet that can assist them.

Resume Review
• Have students review their resume
• Tell them to include any experience they may have acquired over break
• Ask them to make any necessary revisions, such as GPA.
• Have students recheck their contact information, and caution them to be responsive to employers, the career center, and employer relations contacts.

Best wishes for a successful spring semester!

(A student version of this blog is available in Grab & Go on NACEWeb.)

Lisa SimmonsLisa L. Simmons, Associate Director, Employer Experience, Wake Forest University
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/llsimmons
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CareerConduit

Rise and Thrive

by Samantha Haimes

Samantha Haimes won the 2016 NACE/Spelman Johnson Rising Star Award.

Last summer was a bit of a personal and professional whirlwind for me. Within two months, I left a job that afforded me growth, opportunity, and some of the best co-workers I could ever imagine, took my dream trip to southern Italy (let’s chat if you need any convincing on taking this trip for yourself), and moved to a new state, 1,700 miles from my friends and family in south Florida. In the midst of all of this, I also achieved one of my biggest professional accomplishments to date: receiving the NACE/Spelman Johnson Rising Star Award at the 2016 NACE Conference & Expo.

Since beginning in career services about six years ago, I have enjoyed learning about the recipient of the Rising Star. Perhaps it is because some of the people I admire most in our field have won this in years past (they know who they are, I gush over their accomplishments and amazing personalities everytime I see them). But I think it is also because there is something really motivating and inspiring to me about professionals getting recognized for strong leadership and contributions to our field, even just a few years into their career.

Contributions to the field… only four to seven years in? It may sound like a tall order, especially if you’re newer to the field. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there have been [many] moments when I’ve questioned myself: Am I significantly contributing to the field?  I am not running my own department or division. I am not single-handedly restructuring an office or offering consulting services to other career centers. Am I making significant contributions?

But what I’ve realized is, there is so much that goes into making positive, impactful, and meaningful contributions to the field career services. Among many things, being a leader in this field also has a lot to do with the way that you carry yourself, your willingness to learn and take risks, the relationships you strive to build, and your ability and openness to reflect.

As I said, I have always enjoyed hearing about what has influenced the path of past recipients, as I’ve tried to apply some of those things to my own professional practice. So when asked to write this blog post, I thought it was only appropriate to share a few tips of my own that I strive for each day.

Ask questions. This is something I actively work on. The Achiever in me loves to get things done, so it can be easy to just start tackling a problem or issue at work without asking critical questions. Newer professionals may sometimes shy away from asking questions as well, concerned that it might appear they lack knowledge, skills, or moreover that they are questioning something inappropriately. However, we have to get past all of this and realize that taking the time to ask well-thought-out questions will actually yield greater results. Not to mention, you will seem that much more engaged in whatever you’re working on in your office and will likely make others feel comfortable to ask questions themselves. One of my mentors taught me a lot of lessons in asking questions. I notice that whenever I ask for her advice or guidance, she doesn’t actually give me the answer. She simply asks me questions until I process things out enough to make my own decision. It’s tricky, but effective!

Become your own advocate. Throughout the earlier years of my career, I had a lot of difficulty asking for things that I wanted. I never wanted to appear selfish and I definitely did not want to inconvenience or bother anyone. This all came from a good place, but can be a debilitating mindset to take on as a professional. Just because you know what you want and ask for it, doesn’t mean you are being selfish—if you ask for it in the right context.

Funny enough, I learned a big lesson in this area when it came to attending the NACE conference. In 2013, the conference was just a few hours from my then-home in Miami and I was dying to go. The trouble was, sending me to the conference would be costly and I knew some key players in my office were already attending. At one point in my career, I would have accepted this as defeat, assumed I couldn’t attend, and felt disappointed as I followed the conference on social media later in the year. But instead, I printed out the conference program, outlined specific goals, and went through each session identifying which I would attend and the direct contributions I could make to the office after attending. I made my “pitch” to the executive director and left his office feeling exhilarated. There was something so energizing about making my case. I almost didn’t even care what the outcome was because at the end of the day, I knew I had done everything I could to try and attend. I reference this example, so many years later, because it was truly a turning point for me. It afforded me a level of professional confidence and maturity that made me realize the importance and impact of advocating for myself. Whenever I find myself feeling intimidated to ask for something, I think of the feeling I had when I left his office (and the subsequent feeling when he approved me to attend later that week) and channel that same energy.

Be genuine. We are lucky to work in a field with some outstanding professionals who are even more amazing people. Getting to know your colleagues as individuals and not just for their roles is an all-around strategy that will help you accomplish more in your work and likely help you enjoy everyday at the office even more. It is so important to stay genuine to who you are. I really believe people can tell the difference between someone who is genuine and someone who is being fake—we’ve all seen it right? I show people the real Samantha, pretty much right up front. I have a lot of energy and passion, I’m upbeat and positive, and dare I say it, am a bit of a raging extrovert. The relationships I’ve built, with colleagues and mentors within my own departments and across the country, are in large part thanks to my willingness to be my genuine self in front of others. Think of someone who you would describe as genuine in your life. Chances are, you likely enjoy their company, trust their judgement, and appreciate their character, confidence, and communication style. If you break each of these things down, aren’t these all qualities we want from the people we work with? Be genuine yourself and you’ll attract others who are genuine.

Practice gratitude. Maybe I am influenced by all of the resolutions of 2017, but I think that gratitude is something we may not always think about when it comes to the workplace. But we have a lot to be thankful for. We work in a field that makes a lasting impact on students’ lives, has consistent national attention, and is filled with inspiring innovators and thought-leaders for us to all look up to. Hopefully you work in an office where the work that you are doing day-to-day is something to be thankful for, along with your colleagues, co-workers, and supervisors. I would advise that whether you are a newer or more seasoned professional, making a conscious effort to practice gratitude in the workplace can be a gamechanger. It is easy to get caught up in the “busy season” and anxiously await for summer and holiday breaks when things slow down. But isn’t the business of it all what makes us thrive? Without students on campus, none of us would have these roles.

In 2016, when I knew there was the potential for some personal and professional change in my life, I made an intentional effort to start each day with a grateful heart. Well, I challenge everyone, including myself, to start each workday with a sincerely grateful mind. When you go into work, and you have a busy day with back-to-back Outlook calendar invites, I guarantee there is still something to be grateful for. Maybe you finally secured a meeting with a faculty member you’ve been trying to get in front of, or perhaps you’re hosting a new program in partnership with a student organization that could lead to something great. Whatever the case may be, adopting this mindset can have a positive lasting impact not only on the work that you produce, but on your professional reputation and brand.

In the end, strive to thrive. You know your role better than anyone, so challenge yourself in this next year to thrive as a career services professional. As I now settle into my new home in Vermont, post conference and post Rising Star, I am consistently striving to thrive as a professional, thrive in relationships I build with both new and existing colleagues, and thrive in my own self-reflection.

The NACE Awards honor members’ outstanding achievements in the career services and HR/staffing professions. Excellence Awards are judged on program needs/objectives, content, design, creativity, innovation, measurable outcomes and ease of replication. Win honors and recognition for yourself, your staff, and your organization. Awards submissions close January 31, 2017. Details: http://www.naceweb.org/about-us/awards.aspx.

Samantha HaimesLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanthaghaimes
Twitter: @sghaimes

Samantha Haimes is a career services professional with a passion for connecting and educating both students and employers. She works in marketing and communications at Middlebury College’s Center for Careers and Internships. Prior to her current position, she was employed at the University of Miami in various roles at the Toppel Career Center, most recently as the Associate Director for Career Readiness. She earned a master of science in higher education from the University of Miami and a bachelor of arts in advertising and public relations from the University of Central Florida. She has also worked at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

3 Tips to Build a Better Talent Community

by Trong Dong

In the world of HR, a “talent community” is no longer an unfamiliar term to recruiters. Why? Because employers want to find the most qualified and fit talent, and talented candidates want to get the best jobs, but candidates do not necessarily find the best job for them at the time they visit an employer’s’ website. A talent community is a medium enabling employers to connect with candidates who don’t see an immediately available opportunity with the company. It’s a hub where candidates can submit their information to a company without committing to a specific position.

Not only do talent communities help employers find candidates who are truly interested in the company, but they also capture the most qualified candidates who may be ideal fits for an organization. Liane Wuthrich, assistant manager at Famous Footwear, said, “A company’s talent community could be your most valuable resource. It saves you time, money, and helps you find not only good employees, but great employees.”

Improving talent communities is a necessary tool for recruiters to hire the most talented candidates for their firms. Here are the three tips to keep in mind to help you build a better talent community.

Think like a marketer

In order to come up with an effective engagement strategy with candidates, employers need to think and act in terms of marketing. They need to ask basic marketing questions such as, “How do I develop four Cs (consumption, curation, creation, and connection) of content marketing?” “Who are my target audience and how can I reach these people?” and “How can I make myself visible so that people can follow me?”

Answering these questions will help talent community builders better develop a top-of-mind brand marketing strategy. This strategy includes having a good content marketing plan that engages talent communities with relevant articles and makes people think about the companies. It also involves an effective segmentation plan that categorizes your target audience into groups based on geography, age, gender, or fields of pursuit (IT, nursing, public relations, etc.) so that you can send relevant and targeted information to each prospect.

Given the heat of social media availability nowadays, it is essential to expand your accessibility on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Social media is an ideal tool for sourcing and advertising, thereby assisting talent communities to attract and encourage candidates to follow their companies.

Encourage referrals

Companies rely on internal referrals to have a successful talent community. A big accounting firm like Ernst & Young set ambitious internal goals to increase the proportion of hiring that come from internal referrals. Larry Nash, director of experienced and executive recruiting at Ernst & Young said, “Although Earnst & Young looks at every résumé, a referral puts them in the express lane.”

The benefits of having internal referrals are promising. The inside perspective of current employees will help referred candidates better understand the company culture and the demands of the position. Thus, it should come as no surprise if referred candidates stay twice as long as others.

The most recent CareerXRoads Source of Hire Report showed that referrals are effective, weighing in at the #1 spot for sources of hires.

Always leverage the long-term value of your community

Having a strong talent community is nice, but maintaining and taking advantage of it over time takes extra effort. In order to exploit the maximum benefits of your talent community and enhance members’ commitment, I recommend the three R’s steps—reduce, reuse, recycle.

  • Reduce: Communicate with members consistently to reduce costs in advertising jobs. Try sharing job opportunities directly with candidates.
  • Reuse: Re-use candidates who have not been hired, but prove potential for the current open positions.
  •  Recycle: Use candidates who are not qualified for one position for other possible positions, thereby keeping them engaged with the community.

I recommend applying these three steps to improve your talent communities and hire the most talented candidates out there. What other methods would you suggest to better talent communities?

Trong DongTrong Dong, CEO/CTO at Rakuna
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tddong
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trongdong

 

 

 

The Impact of Career Services in the University Classroom

by Jane Christianson

As a career adviser in higher education, working with a primarily adult-learner student population, one of my favorite ways to interface with the students is through giving short workshops in on-site classrooms. Not only does it give a larger group of our students initial exposure to campus career services, it also serves as a great way to engage students to further explore the benefits of working with us throughout their undergrad or graduate degree pursuits. It is a privilege to be invited by instructors to address their classes by sharing relevant, career-oriented topics via an informative and interactive classroom presentation.

In order to be invited into the classroom, I have established a rapport with key faculty by reaching out to them at both our quarterly faculty/staff meetings and at our “first night” meetings as each one-month course begins. By letting faculty know the types of useful presentations or mini-workshops I can provide, I have proactively encouraged the possibility of addressing students in their classroom.

With the increasing employer-mandated importance of soft skills in the workplace, career services plays a unique role in instructing and advising students regarding practical, career readiness and research skills within the academic setting.

My primary directive is to assist students and graduates with professional and career development, and it has been truly rewarding to witness the excitement that students express after participating in my classroom career services presentations. Using concise outline-style handouts, short PowerPoint presentations, and active role-playing, I have successfully trained students in general education, prenursing and nursing, teaching, special education, counseling psychology and business degree programs.

Several of my peers have expressed that the typical faculty-invited career services classroom presentation is about 10-15 minutes, so I am especially grateful that I have been engaged for 45-60 minute presentations on an ongoing basis. It has proven to be a fulfilling, collaborative and effective partnership with our campus faculty!

Bringing career services into the classrooms has increased the visibility of our Student Resource Center and has enabled me to establish strong credibility and rapport with the students as well. The payoff is that these classroom presentations have made a positive impact on the students as they have shared their delight in knowing that career services can truly assist them in their career endeavors.

Did I also mention it’s been lots of fun??

jane christiansonJane Christianson, Career Adviser – Fresno/Bakersfield, CA Region National University