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

Wonder Woman at Work: The Mixed Messages Society Tells Young Women

by Lee Desser

On my winding bus ride to work, I often stare out the window and tune into podcasts. This morning I was listening to the TED Radio Hour featuring a session called, “Disruptive Leadership,” in which Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, discusses the lack of women holding leadership roles in companies. Sheryl is well-known for her bestselling book Lean In, which encourages women to step up into senior leadership roles. She discusses the gender bias experienced by women and how girls avoid positions of power in order to avoid being called bossy. The b word.

This brought me back to 2013. At the time I had just finished my master’s in postsecondary administration and was temping at a large, public, research institution. Full disclosure: I was having a really tough time living in one of the most expensive areas of the United States without job security. My goal was to land a full-time position in academic advising or career services. I had been getting called for interviews, but that “permanent” position evaded me. Was it the lack of experience? I had gone straight from college to graduate school. Could it be my age? In meetings with graduate advisers on campus I was the youngest one in the room by at least 10 years. Or maybe—perhaps most disheartening of all—was it me, my personality, my disposition? I wanted feedback. I needed it.

That day eventually came. A director on campus who had been part of a hiring committee for a position for which I had just interviewed was kind and courageous enough to provide me with some honest input. She sat me down in her office and had a few suggestions. Thanks to the rise of long-term e-mail storage and my obsessive cataloging, I wrote her ideas down: “Present an advising example or challenge with a mutually beneficial solution,” she said. “That seems like a no brainer! I can do that,” I thought. “Think deeper about examples and expand.” Will do. Check! Then came the suggestion that haunts me to this day and perhaps speaks to what I considered, at the time, a failure not only in terms of the interview, but of my womanhood: “Present a more welcoming, nurturing side.” Ooh burn.

I remember I cried in her office that day and, as appreciative as I was of the feedback, it hurt really badly. I felt like I had been told all my life that women need to step it up, have to be assertive to get what they want. And then I did that and this happens. For years afterwards, I worked on “lightening up,” “softening” and through facing some challenging times, I think—at least in some ways—it worked.

When I heard Facebook’s Sandberg say that girls don’t want to be called bossy and that they are encouraged to put their hands down, to let boys lead, I remembered this conversation I had with the director. Have I been wasting all this time lightening up when I should have been stepping it up? Sandberg seems to think so.

I realize now that, rather than hearing her feedback as an acknowledgement of my own personal failings as a woman, I should have instead considered alternate opportunities. Why was I so quick to become deeply self-conscious at one suggestion by one well-meaning professional? These mixed messages for women to both assert themselves and also nurture others are confusing and difficult to navigate and yet, happen all of the time. How assertive is too assertive in higher education? What about in student affairs? Is it different? 

Lee Desser

Lee Desser, Career Advisor, University of California, San Diego
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lmdesser

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/

Are Career Fairs Still Worth It?

by Kara Brown

Recently, the NACE Community has been discussing the value of career fairs and the issues surrounding student attendance. Kara Brown, associate director of Career Development at Gwynedd Mercy University had some answers to share.

One of the challenges that career centers have been facing is the lack of attendance at career fairs. Most of us are able to engage employers to attend, and coordinate a great event; however, when student attendance is low we are left feeling disappointed, and scratching our heads as to why students are not showing up. Similar to many other colleges and universities, we [at Gwynedd Mercy University] have planned career fairs that lacked attendance, and we kept asking ourselves, is it worth the time and effort? I would like to believe that the answer is still yes.

Every year our career development center hosts a Nursing and Healthcare Job Fair, and over the past three years attendance has waned. This year, as an office, we decided that we needed to make some changes to see if it would increase student engagement.

First, we changed the timing. Before this year, we had always hosted this specific career fair in the fall, and this year we decided to host the event in the spring. The thinking behind this was that graduating seniors may be more inclined to attend because graduation is right around the corner, and those who were not graduating may be interested in looking into summer positions.

In addition to changing the time in regards to the semester, we asked for nursing faculty feedback on which days and times would best serve the nursing and healthcare students.

Another change that we made was the location. In previous years, the fair was hosted in our version of the student center, but this time we decided to go to the students. So we hosted the event in the nursing and healthcare building on the first and second floor lobbies. This created a situation where students who were walking to class passed the great employers who were in attendance. Then these students would come to the event after class.

While time and location served as important factors, the most significant factor was the level of engagement. My colleague and I advertised the event through multiple e-mail blasts, social media ads, flyers, and through word of mouth. We also invited other local schools to attend to increase attendance and allow employers to see more students. Inviting other schools also opened up opportunities for career centers to build relationships with other schools.

Additionally, we asked some of the nursing faculty if we could present resume/professionalism workshops to their classes, and through these presentations we were able to speak to the importance of attending career fairs. The nursing and healthcare faculty members were excellent partners during this event because they also attended the event to speak to employers, and some faculty who were holding classes during that time allowed their classes to attend the event.

Also, we invited students from other majors to attend because some employers were offering internships in human resources, marketing, and healthcare administration.

Another step of engagement that was important was the one-on-one engagement of students through career counseling sessions, and encouraging them to attend the fair. Our career sessions were booked with resume reviews to prepare for the fair.

Finally, our partnership with our alumni office was very helpful because they relayed information about the fair to all alumni through a newsletter and e-mailed alumni who graduated within the last two years.

After the event, my colleagues and I continued to follow-up with students who attended the fair to get feedback, and encourage continued engagement with the employers they spoke to about job and internship opportunities. Through the combination of all of these factors, this career fair was very successful in regards to student attendance, and the employers were very happy as well. Our office is looking forward to using similar methods for additional career fairs that we host.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at brown.kara@gmercyu.edu.

Kara BrownKara Brown, Associate Director of Career Development, Gwynedd Mercy University
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brownkara
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmercyucareers

Is Online MBTI Training Worth It?

by Lee Desser

I first took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in graduate school, when I was working as a career services graduate assistant at the University of Southern California. It blew my mind. I realized that my friend from college who consistently showed up 15 minutes late to our noon meetings was probably not trying to disrespect me. Woah! Instead, my preference for Judging (J) was clashing with her preference for Perceiving (P). While I appreciate an orderly, scheduled, and systematic world (very J-like), she prefers a spontaneous, flexible, and casual one-typical P! I realized that rather than thinking that she subtly did not like me or value my time, I could have perhaps been more open-minded and adapted those Thursday noon-time lunches where I ate pasta and salad, to inviting her over to lunch for sandwiches or maybe even adapting to her schedule and showing up a few minutes later.

Fast-forward a few years later; I’m a career adviser at a graduate school and wanting further training with the MBTI. I investigated my options and realized that while in-person training generally costs $1,795 ($1,495 in Florida), online training costs $850 plus ~$170 for class materials. After applying for staff development funding from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, a graduate school that’s part of Middlebury College in Vermont, I was ready to move forward! Here are a few pros and cons to the training:

Con #1: Examples are Too Gendered

   Many of the examples are too gendered i.e. there are a lot of female clients who are ENFJ’s and into counseling. For instance, in Module 5 – Presentation 1, this was one of the examples: “Betty is a ‘doer’ and ‘helper’ who struggles with science and becomes a kindergarten teacher. She is a feeler. Al studies aeronautical engineering and physics and works in research and development. He’s a thinker. He becomes a manager and consultant.” This reinforces the idea that women go into helping professions and men go into math and science careers. Is this what they’re trying to show?

 

In the revision I’d love to see a woman studying engineering and a man studying social science. This typical gendering happens in Modules 1, 3, and 8, as well. To their credit, I let GS Consultants (the online trainers) know about this, and they are updating and editing the “stories.”

Con #2: Cost is a Bit High for Limited Length of Program

If I could change one part of this program, I would make it less rigid. I’m guessing someone who prefers Judging created the training! It would be nice to have more time with the material. There is a strict 60-calendar-day time limit, requiring about 45 hours of coursework. Additionally, if a student does not log into the CourseSites system every 14 calendar days, they will not maintain their eligibility in the program. At one point work got crazy and I was taking longer than expected on the final assignment. I e-mailed administration and asked how much longer I had before I was kicked out of the system (three days? four days?) and they couldn’t tell me. They said I would have to remember the last time I logged in. If they are going to take such a tough approach to kick people out of the training if they don’t login at least every two weeks, then I think there should be a way to find out if your time is almost up. Luckily, I was OK and successfully completed the training.

Pro #1: Much More Sophisticated Knowledge of Type Dynamics

One thing I learned in this program that surprised me: I had no idea there was such a thing as the hierarchy of functions of each type.

Essentially, as Myers writes in the seventh edition of Introduction to Myers-Briggs Type, “Type describes 16 dynamic energy systems, not 16 static boxes. Each four-letter type is not the result of adding its four preferences together. It is the interaction of the preferences with one another” (52).

Type is much more complex than it may first appear and having an awareness of type dynamics, dominant functions, auxiliary functions, and hierarchy of type provides greater insight into to an individual and how they might react under stress.

Pro #2: “Steps in Interpreting the MBTI” Worksheet

The most useful sheet I received as part of my training was the “Steps in Interpreting the MBTI.” This document explains a step-by-step process to interpreting the assessment, including how to describe the work of C.G. Jung, the focus on type preferences, and the importance of verifying type. It also includes hints for providing MBTI feedback based on the age of the client and how to work with clients who have slight PCI’s or preferences. After taking the online training, I feel more confident advising a client who has unclear type preferences.

Pro #3: Wonderful Feedback From My Instructor

I really appreciated all of the individual feedback and attention to detail from my instructor. Even though it was an online course I felt more connected to the material from the individualized comments on my various assignments. For instance, he pointed out that I should always capitalize the preferences when using them as nouns, i.e., Extraversion, and that the longer a bar graph is, as in the Judging/Perceiving dichotomy, the respondent is more clear about her preference.

Overall I would recommend the training, though I wish I could have done it in-person. If anyone has completed the in-person training, I’d be curious to hear about your experience! Also, if you have any additional comments or questions, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn.

Lee Desser

Lee Desser, Career and Academic Adviser, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lmdesser

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
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