The Resume:  Capital R Versus Lowercase r

by Lisa Tandan

Just last week a colleague from another student affairs department came over to talk with us about what we do at the career center at Hofstra University. “I know you do great work with resumes…,” he began. At that point, about 10 of us in the room perked up, all ready to pounce: “We’re more than just resumes!”

It’s a scene that I’ve seen play out across institutions, across state lines. The instant reaction we, in career development, have when we feel defined as “the resume place.” We’re so much more than that!

That noted, last semester I conducted a qualitative study of our student appointments. The first question asked students to fill in what they learned during their one-on-one appointment with a career counselor, with no prompting and no requirement that it be written in a full sentence. The question was open-ended and one word answers were okay. Of the 180 respondents, 99 of them, the largest number by far, included the word “resume.”

I’d like to propose that, when we, in career development, talk about resume, we are talking about a tool. We’re talking about the actual PDF or Word document that contains contact information, action verbs, education, skills, and experience. Resume, to us, is one of the many tools that students need when they graduate, along with the ability to tell their stories, talk about their strengths, and show the career readiness skills employers seek.

But, I think, for those outside our profession, resume means something else. The resume becomes “Resume” with a capital “R” and encompasses all of career development. It’s all the things that, because they’re not in our field, they don’t yet have the terminology to say. Resume MEANS career development to them.

Students talk casually about being able to add something to their resume. We’ve often heard that “This experience will be great for my resume!” When we hear comments like this, I hypothesize the speaker doesn’t mean to limit this great experience to simply writing something on their resume document. While that’s part of it, they also likely mean adding it to their repertoire, to their story, to their life’s accomplishments, to their reasons why someone should select them for a position. It’s much more than just writing something on a piece of paper. It’s making this new experience a part of their career narrative.

If this is so, where do we go from here? Based on the feedback from my qualitative analysis, and the knowledge that most campuses still see career development as “the resume place,” I am wondering if we can take that word and own it. Can we claim it and redefine it for our campuses? Instead of immediately correcting everyone, can we start meeting others where they are and talk about what they mean when they say resume? Is it just the document? Or something more? My money is on something more.

Answer these questions and join the discussion in the NACE Community!

lisa tandanLisa C. Tandan, Director of Career Development and Assessment, Hofstra University
Twitter: @lisatandan
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisatandan/

Programming and Resources for LGBT Students and Allies

by Kathryn Douglas

I was fortunate to attend the NACE presentation by colleagues from the Northeastern Career Development office on Reach (OUT) LGBTQA+ Career Conference, a collaborative program with career services, institutional diversity and inclusion, and LGBTQ resources that received a 2016 National Association of Colleges and Employers “Excellence in Diversity” AwardReach (OUT), in its third year this academic year, focuses on “the perspectives and concerns of queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, intersex, and asexual students in preparation for co-op, internships, and professional life beyond campus,” and features an evening presentation, one-on-one informational meetings, and a half day of workshops.

I was inspired by the presentation at NACE and the program, and came back to New Haven determined to partner with colleagues on campus to create a two-hour LGBT Career Program open to all students at Yale University.

One of the take-aways from the Northeastern team was to collaborate broadly.  This is important advice for idea generation, locating resources, developing an audience and in effect, uniting student groups, offices, and programs at a de-centralized university.

My goal was to create a dynamic program to provide students with tangible tools to take with them as they enter or re-enter the workforce, and to encourage allies to broaden their understanding of how to be allies as well as the opportunities and challenges LGBT peers encounter in the workplace.  Given the limited time students I work with have, I tried to create a program that was short but impactful, presenting resources that apply broadly to students going into a variety of sectors nationally and internationally, and providing the opportunity for meaningful conversations and networking.

This month, our office was able to successfully collaborate with other career offices, the university office of diversity and inclusion, the LGBTQ staff affinity group, the university LGBT resource office, local community members, and student groups across campus for a two-hour LGBT career program.  Thank you to Northeastern for providing an excellent model!

The LGBT Career Program at Yale this month included:

  • A 20-minute primer on workplace laws and the LGBT Community (national and international laws and protections, or lack of protections) with David Salazar-Austin, attorney, Jackson Lewis PC—a specialist in employment law
  • A 20-minute primer on LGBT workplace affinity groups (what they are, why they are important, how to create one, resources online if working on a small team), presented by the co-chair of the university staff LGBTQ affinity group
  • A moderated leadership panel of alumni and friends covering a range of experience levels, sectors, and identities (developed talking points for panelists that provided structure for talking about individual journeys and helped panelists prepare remarks for common workplace questions and topics)
  • A networking reception with refreshments provided by a local LGBT-owned caterer

Suggested Resources:

KKathryn Douglasathy Douglas, Senior Associate Director Career Development Office, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/douglaskathy
Twitter: @fescdo
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Yale-FES-Career-Development-Office/134339426609741
Website: environment.yale.edu/cdo

Teach Students About Leadership

by Ashley K. Ritter

I teach a class at North Park University about career development for seniors. It amazes me that every time I teach the course, students come in expecting to focus on concrete goals. It’s as though they expect me to say, “Here’s a resume, here’s a cover letter. Now you are prepared for a job.” And who can blame them for this assumption?  In my experience of coaching college and college ready students for about 10 years, I have learned that students feel a strong sense of anxiety about the road to finding a job. They are afraid it will require them to abandon who they actually are and morph into some other professional self, unknown to themselves and unknown to others in their lives. Much of the course, instead, is focused on teaching students how to get in touch with their personal stories, identify what lasting character qualities and strengths it has built in their lives, and finally how to articulate that in the appropriate way to employers and others as a “professional brand.”

We know from the NACE 2016 Job Outlook Data that employers now look to leadership as one of the most sought after attributes in a new hire as well as the “ability to work on a team, communicating, and problem solving.  But what does effective leadership actually look like in the life of a new graduate? What builds the beginning of an effective leader? I would argue that it is more than leading a club or group on campus, though these experiences are essential and important practice. Teaching students to demonstrate and use emotional intelligence is an essential element to building the kind of leadership skills most needed in today’s workplace.

Daniel Goleman (2004) explains in his article, What Makes a Leader, that qualities of self – awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill are imperative. So imperative in fact, that in his study of over 188 companies, these qualities were twice as likely to be correlated to excellent performance as IQ or technical skill (Goleman, 2004, p.2). This is just one reason why the liberal arts, paired with a dose of experiential learning and workplace readiness, is still an important part of what makes candidates work ready.

We must continue to actually teach students what leadership is and how it relates to their own life and career development process. In Becoming a Strategic Leader, Hughes, Colarelli, Beatty, and Dinwoodie (2014) articulate why it is so important that leaders throughout a workplace have the ability to look both internally and externally for answers to organization problems. They write: “It involves an exploration and examination of one’s behavior, values, and identity as a leader and therefore includes potential answers that challenge a person’s sense of self. That is, these are not questions about what one does, but instead are questions about how and who one is (Hughes, et al, 2014, p.40).”

Bringing yourself to work is more important than ever! The authors go on to say, “They (leaders) still seem to fail to turn their perspective inward toward their own behaviors that support the leadership culture and practices they are trying to create in others (Hughes, et al., 2014, p. 41).  Teaching students how to engage in this type of reflection is not just paramount to gain employment but also to remain successful in their careers for years to come.

So that’s why, later today, I will go into class. I will look my students in the eye and ask them who they are, what their stories are, and what the bigger culture or collective picture is of whom they are a part. I will empower them with the courage to seek these answers. And by the end, my students will hopefully have eradicated the image of an “empty self” going to the workplace, but instead, a more whole, full, and confident self will emerge, ready to lead.

References:

Goleman, D. (2004) What Makes a Leader? Harvard Business Review, pp. 1-11.

Hughes, R., Beatty, K. Dinwoodie, D. (2014) Becoming a Strategic Leader. San Francisco, CA: Jossey – Bass.

(2015, November 18) Job Outlook 2016: Attributes Employers Want to See on New College Graduates’ Resumes. Retrieved from http://www.naceweb.org/s11182015/employers-look-for-in-new-hires.aspx

Special thank you to Dr. Christopher Hubbard who recently shared with me some of the materials used in this post.

Ashley RitterAshley Ritter, human resources recruiter, Swedish Covenant Hospital
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ashleykritter
https://twitter.com/AshleyKRitter

 

Dispelling the Engineering Student Myth: What Career Educators Need to Know

by Amy Brierley

As a psychology alumna and career coach with a soft spot for humanities and social sciences students, I have always thought that engineering students have it all (yes, maybe I’ve been a bit jealous). They possess the technical skills sought after in today’s job market. They have options. They are clear on what they want to do with their life. They are all but guaranteed to get a job.

Seven months ago, I transitioned to working exclusively with engineering students at Stanford. In my first few months of individual appointments with students, I was surprised to find that many of their questions have been the same as social sciences and humanities students: What do I want to do? Where will I fit? How do I compare with my peers? Will I get a job that will give me the future I hope for?

I recently led a five-part job search series entitled, Build Your Engineering Job-Search Toolkit. We created this series thinking that many of our engineering students knew what they wanted to do, but weren’t sure how to get there. However, in the first session, Designing Your Job Search, I asked, “how many of you know what you want to do?” I assumed I didn’t even need to ask this because everyone would know – but I was wrong. Of the 23 mostly masters’ students in the room, only a few raised their hands.

In the series, I hosted alumni speakers who shared their job-search experiences. They talked about their own uncertainties, and how they leaned on their mentors and their network to help them clarify their next steps and find opportunities. As I watched these alumni and students interact, I was reminded of the power of connections and mentoring in our work with students. I realized that these engineering students need models of what’s possible for them in the world of work.

How has my experience thus far changed my approach to engineering students? Instead of assuming that a computer science student wants to be a software engineer, or that a mechanical engineering student wants to work in aerospace, I maintain an open mind that they may not have a clue where they see themselves; they may be interested in a non-traditional track or they may want to do something altogether non-technical. I also don’t presuppose that engineering students only need tools for job searching, so I make it a point to ask powerful coaching questions in my meetings with them – even if it’s for a resume review; questions such as, “If in a year from now, life was great, what would it look and feel like?” or “If you had a magic wand, and you could have the internship you want, what would it look like?” Lastly, I recommend that these students reach out to mentors and alumni, and am planning future programs that foster these connections.

So, the next time you interact with an engineering student, remember that they might be feeling more uncertain about the future than you may think.

What has your experience been with engineering students? How are you helping them find what they want to do? I would love to hear!

amy brierleyAmy Brierley, Assistant Dean of Career Education & Associate Director for Career Communities – Engineering & EarthStandford University
Twitter: @amyb_stanford
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brierleyamy

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.

Breaking Away from the Four-Year Career Plan: Implementing a Personalized Career Planning Model

by Amanda Carchedi

This past June, the Center for Career Development (CCD) at the University of Connecticut (UConn) was pleased to receive the 2016 NACE Member’s Choice Award for the program entitled “Breaking Away from the Four-Year Plan: Implementing a Personalized Career Planning Model.” This program, designed by Nancy Bilmes, Amanda Carchedi, Lee Hameroff, and Emily Merritt from the CCD, is a modern resource that provides career development guidance to students while remaining inherently flexible. Working at an institution with more than 30,000 students, the CCD found it critical to provide career guidance that could reach and be applicable to all students. In order to offer structured guidance and action items, and integrate modern techniques for delivery, it was realized that the CCD needed to move away from the traditional, outdated four-year planning model. Piloted within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the UConn Personalized Career Planning Model successfully provides students with an individualized career experience that is customized to their career development needs.

The Original: CLAS Exploration Plan

Our work on Personalized Career Planning has been realized in two stages. First, Emily sought to benefit College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) students by creating and implementing the “Developing a Career Exploration Plan” video and “Next Steps” questionnaire, which helped these students understand the elements of career exploration through a brief Prezi voiceover clip and next steps questionnaire, producing a tailored action plan based on the student’s self-identified career development stages and connecting to resources offered through the CCD.

In its first year of implementation, the CLAS Exploration Plan was piloted with arts and sciences students, as well as introduced to incoming students through career presentations at University Open Houses. One hundred fifty students and alumni used the resource. It was evaluated by requesting informal qualitative feedback from students, and academic advisors who referred students to the resource.  Students said the video helped them learn about resources they were previously unaware of, that they shared the resource with friends, and that it helped motivate them to initiate their next steps. An academic adviser that referred students to the resource said she shared it because it “demystified the concept of vocational development” and helped students develop tangible next steps.

New and Improved: UConn Personal Career Plan

This positive feedback led our department to decide to create a new version of this modernized resource to support all undergraduate students in developing their personalized career plans. We started by creating a new model, the UConn Career Engagement Model, to represent our department’s philosophy of supporting all UConn students in their career exploration, cultivation, and management.

The UConn Personal Career Plan builds off of our new model by guiding students through the career elements of “Reflect & Explore Possibilities,” “Cultivate Career Capital,” and “Manage Career Development.” Students can watch a 90-second introductory video to learn how to start their Personalized Action Plan.

Once watching the “Getting Started” video students can watch one of three clips based on where they are in their personal career development. Currently our webpage gives suggested next steps based on which element they’ve clicked on.

We are in the process of developing a customizable action list where students can identify next steps based on which career element they are within and design their own personal career plan to organize goals and future steps.  This “Action Steps Builder” and the completed UConn Personalized Career Plan will launch in spring 2017 and be promoted to all undergraduate students.

Moving Forward

Once the customizable UConn Personal Career Plan is fully launched, the program will be promoted to academic advisors from all departments as a tool to refer students to the career office. It will ensure that students are coming into the office better prepared to receive personalized coaching and guidance.  The department is committed to integrating the model as a foundation for its counseling, programming, and technology resources and is working to establish a committee to work on the continued expansion and integration of the personalized career planning model and career development process. Ideas for further integration include utilization of the resource during initial counseling appointments to development action plans for subsequent sessions and training of academic advisors to use the resource as a tool for referrals to the CCD.

The Center for Career Development (CCD) at the University of Connecticut (UConn) was awarded the 2016 NACE Member’s Choice Award for the program entitled “Breaking Away from the Four-Year Plan: Implementing a Personalized Career Planning Model.”

NACE is accepting submissions for the 2017 NACE Awards program from December 1, 2016, through January 31, 2017. Finalists for NACE Awards will be notified in the spring, and winners will be announced during the NACE 2017 Conference & Expo in June in Las Vegas.

 

Amanda Carchedi

Amanda Carchedi, University of Connecticut Marketing and Communication Manager, Center for Career Development
Twitter: https://twitter.com/amandalcarchedi
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/amandacarchedi

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.

burpeedemo

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.

done

 

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