It’s That Time of Year Again…BACK TO SCHOOL!

by Marc Goldman

The dog days of summer are a thing of the past. August is no longer about taking that family vacation or catching some remaining rays at the beach. Okay, maybe for some people that is still the way of the world. But for many career services professionals, it is about the start of the fall semester, and there is no rest for the weary. Many career office staffs no longer notice the difference between the summertime and the academic year outside of warmer weather and a more casual dress code. Even if things calm down due to a decrease in student and/or employer presence, summer months mean gearing up for fall. And August? It’s crunch time!

What are some of the things I tackle individually or with my team in August as we look towards wrapping up the summer and starting another exciting academic year? Here are some highlights:

  1. Program Planning and Scheduling – With job fairs, on-campus interviewing, information sessions, networking nights, workshops, and panels on the docket for fall, we need to sort out the what, when, where, who, and how of all of our programming for fall. This is far from a simple task at any college, but across two campuses with students already facing the rigors of a dual curriculum (religious and secular learning) and all the activities and involvements of undergraduates, scheduling can be a puzzle to say the least. And let us not forget the other offices, academic departments, and student organizations scheduling events for the same times.
  2. Forging and Re-forging Collaborations – During the academic year, time can rapidly fly by, and you realize you never had those key meetings with colleagues and stakeholders you were hoping to have. Or you need to debrief and regroup with internal and external collaborators with the goal of new ideas and continued successes for the coming year. There may even be staffing changes throughout the institution that you want to get caught up on to establish connections for moving forward before things go full steam ahead.
  3. Employer Outreach – Since on-campus recruiting seems to start earlier every year, August (if not all summer) is spent coordinating employer dates, logistics, and participation. Of course, employers are on their own summer timetables, so there can be some challenges in making contact, setting up meetings, and confirming involvement. The term “stalker” would be inappropriate here, but “persistence” on the part of my team is certainly Job #1.
  4. Annual Report  August is typically a time I reserve for reflection on the year that was, and accordingly, my directors and I begin to compile our annual report to present to my direct supervisor and the college administration. It is always fulfilling to be able to look back at all we have accomplished in a single academic year, knowing that at the heart of it is a group effort to help students achieve their goals.
  5. Performance Evaluations – Something that staff might not look forward to about this time of year is the annual performance review process. While people find this process to be a bit intimidating, and others view it as less than crucial due to constant feedback loops on the team, it is a part of the institutional human resources establishment. I try to ensure that it is a positive and productive experience, more about looking forward to the new year than gazing back at the one already in the books.
  6. Suit and Tie Drive – Many career centers offer suit closets or the like for students who need to borrow an interview suit for a variety of reasons or just in a pinch. We wanted to offer a similar service to our students who might be in need of proper job search attire, but we did not want to expend the bandwidth or physical space to handle this all year. Instead, this summer, we did our first Suit & Tie Drive, accepting donations from the campus community. When the students return, we will offer free suits, jackets, shirts, and ties to those who need them. Any items not taken by a student will be donated to an external clothing drive in NYC. We are very enthusiastic to see how this turns out.
  7. Credit Internship Papers – Toward the end of August, our business school students will complete their summer internship experiences. A number of them have done these internships for academic credit. Since our office administers the business school credit internship program, we get to grade the students’ experiential papers. This provides insights into how our students spent their summers, which employers are prime to contact for further development, and allows us to serve as grammar, spelling, and content sticklers for a brief, shining moment.
  8. My Second Career as a Voiceover Artist – In an effort to scale some of our offerings and increase accessibility to students, my team is moving more content online. We already have a fairly robust website of information and resources, but the new goal is to integrate more seamlessly with the academic enterprise at our institution, so we are putting video content and PowerPoint decks on Canvas. This has given me the chance to bring my voice talents to the masses. It is not quite having my own morning radio show, but it’s a start.

I hope everyone has (had?) a glorious end to their summer season, and I genuinely wish you all, my colleagues far and wide, an amazing fall semester!

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

Focusing on Diversity on College Campuses

by Tom Borgerding

Last in a series.

Expanding the diversity at a company can look like a challenge at times, especially when looking for college students. It’s not as easy as showing up for a career fair or hosting an information sessions. Below are a list of five ways to expand your diversity recruiting efforts on college campuses.

  1. Career Services: The offices of career services are set up to help employers connect with and find students who are a match for available careers. Take the time to speak with the employer relations staff within the career center. This may sound like a simple solution but employers rarely spend the time to ask the career services staff what they think are the best recruiting opportunities. The staff is most familiar with the different options available on their campus through career services as well as having relationships with students who fit the profiles you are looking to reach. Slow down, ask questions, and get involved. A single job posting is rarely enough effort to reach the best students. Career services typically offer mentoring programs, resume reviews, mock interviews, and other training to help students. Employers are encouraged to be part of those efforts. Ask and then take the next step to engage.
  2. Diversity, Inclusion, Equity Departments: Most medium and large universities will have an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which will include diversity, LGBTQ, and many other subgroups. These departments have separate events that are not tied to the career centers. Look at sponsoring and having recruiters available at those events. While there, develop long-term relationships with these departments. They are uniquely setup to engage and connect with the diversity groups on their campuses. Offer mentorship programs to students who fit your target audience. Offer information about careers in the industry your company lives as many college students (not just diverse candidates) are exploring which career paths to pursue including up until they graduate.
  3. Student Life: The Office of Student Life (or similar titles) houses many student-run organizations, up to hundreds of them on a single campus. They approve the groups each year or semester. Fraternities, sororities, clubs, and associations fall into this category. Reach out to Student Life to find out which student groups may be a fit for you: women in business, student government, Hispanic students, African-American students, religious groups, Native American students, female students, non-U.S. citizens, etc. Serve as a mentor to specific student groups that fit the target candidates you wish to reach.
  4. Leadership: Many campuses also have an Office of Leadership and Development. The students involved with this office are those who are stepping out and being trained in leadership skills they would not have had access to prior to college. Again, you have the opportunity to provide speakers for retreats or specialty topics these students want to learn. Diversity training and inclusion can be part of the leadership messages they hear.
  5. Your Careers Website: Make sure you speak to diversity topics on the careers pages of your employer’s website. Speak to the specific topics that students of diversity care about, topics such as the diversity groups available at your company and how to get involved, what each group is designed to do, support available, etc. Let this be a jumping-off point for students to dive in deep into the transition from hundreds of options for engagement and support that exist on campus to an employer setting and the fact that they can still be connected and supported while at your company. Develop videos for the diversity groups available at your company. Show pictures of current diverse employees. Don’t make the assumption that if you list that you have diversity groups at your company be the only way students can find employees who are relatable to their interests.

Diversity doesn’t and shouldn’t be a scary endeavor. Use the departments on campus who are there to support students of diversity and engage not as a bypasser for each but get involved beyond the job posting. Mentor, sponsor and engage the offices and groups listed above. You’ll find new ways to stand out as an employer by doing so and in the end find more qualified students to fill your hiring needs.

Tom BorgerdingTom Borgerding, President/CEO, Campus Media Group, Inc.
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/borgerding
Twitter: @mytasca, @Campus_Media

Career Colloquium for Physics Majors: Using Exploration to Increase Persistence

by Samantha McGurgan

As career counselor for the [California Polytechnic State University] College of Science and Math, I noticed a consistent theme in my appointments with physics majors. They like physics, are good at physics, but have no idea how it relates to their future career paths. This lack of a lock-step career path leaves many students feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and directionless. Many times my first touch point with them is when they are in my office for a change of major appointment, seeking information about policy. They feel disconnected and isolated. They worry about how a degree in physics will help them in the future. And they want to switch to a more direct-to-career major, like engineering or business.

Change of major appointments are a great opportunity for career intervention. More often than not, after posing a few strategic counseling questions, it’s revealed that the inability to envision a clear career path is the issue. But what about the students that aren’t coming in?

When a physics faculty member shared with me that she was seeing similar themes in the classroom, we decided that together we could solve this problem. Combining her industry expertise and my career development knowledge, we crafted an exploration workshop embedded within the existing quarterly Physics Colloquium, designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore careers related to their major, identify areas of interest, and the means of connecting to alumni professionals in industry.

Here’s how we did it:

The 60-minute Career Colloquium workshop began with a think-pair-share discussion based on this prompt:

Why did you choose physics?

Students shared their answers with the larger group after a brief brainstorm, which we captured on the white board. The opportunity to process, share, and reflect on common interests served not only to create connection among participants, but also to remind them that they chose their major because it is interesting, uses critical thinking talent, and allows them to follow their intellectual curiosity since it is so broad (and to see that their peers did the same).

A brief lecture followed, detailing data from our university’s Graduate Status Report and the American Institute of Physics Career Pathways Project’s Careers Toolbox for Undergraduate Physics and their Mentors, and an overview/demo of each search tool to be used in the activity.

Activity:

We gave each student a stack of sticky notes, color coded to match the categories below, with instruction to write down their findings on them (1 item per note):

  1. Identify three fields of interest that relate to physics using “What Can I Do with My Major?” website
  2. Identify three job titles of interest that relate to your major using O*NET Online
  3. Identify three professional alumni to reach out to for an informational interview using the LinkedIn alumni tool

Outcomes:

Once they had filled out all nine sticky notes, they arranged them on the whiteboard, separated by color category, then clustered together by likeness. Without prompting, they quietly gathered together to evaluate their findings. And then:

“Who else wants to work at ____ ?”

“I’d never heard of ____ before. Can you tell me more about that company?”

“Who wants to meet _____? I know her—let me give you her e-mail.”

Our students left the workshop feeling inspired, motivated, and validated that they had made a positive career decision when choosing to study physics. Most importantly, they left with tools to further their exploration and a means to connect with professionals going forward.

Our dream is to provide a workshop like this for all science and math majors. How have you encouraged science majors to explore careers within their major?

Samantha McGurgan

Samantha McGurgan, Career Counselor, California Polytechnic State University, Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanthamcgurgan/

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/