Gen Z Characteristics – What They Really Look Like

by Tom Borgerding

There’s been a lot of talk regarding what Generation Z looks like. In the research we’ve done, speakers we’ve heard, and articles we’ve read, here’s a recap of the most consistent characteristics to be thinking about when recruiting and marketing to Gen Z.

  1. They are Entrepreneurial. They want to have an impact, not just a job. Show them how they can be entrepreneurial in your organization and the impact others have been able to make by following a similar path. They are looking for guidance and a way to make the world a better place.
  2. They are Technology Dependent. Let them get check in with your recruiters, know where they are really at in the application funnel, watch videos on what it’s like to work at your company, and follow you on social media. Also, make it available through their smartphones.
  3. They are Culturally Diverse. The United States is becoming more diverse each year. Gen Z expects the way their friends, family, co-workers, and the world in general to be diverse. This means that your hiring should not consistent of people that look only like you. Highlight and integrate diversity into your website, brochures, presentations, and recruitment staff.
  4. They are Cynical. Overly pushy, offensive, insensitivity in marketing, advertising, slogans, messages, stories, etc. have made them more skeptical and cynical of what they hear and see. Make sure your company is “real,” relatable, and not only showing the good side of working at your company. Additionally, you could expand into “what it’s like to be adulting” at your company.
  5. They are Hyper-Aware. They can “smell” anything that isn’t real and true a mile away. They are sensitive to all the messaging going on around them and if it seems like it could be advertising something that’s too good to be true, they likely won’t respond. An opportunity here is to be very consistent and clear with your brand messaging. Also, get to the point in your branding/recruiting efforts.
  6. They are Private. They expect employers to be completely transparent about all things business, which is why they like websites like Glassdoor.com. At the same time they want to keep their lives private, even from their parents in many cases, by using apps like Snapchat that allow their stories to disappear. They’ve seen and heard too many stories about how a pictures, posts, or conversations have ruined someone.
  7. They are Safety Minded. When was the last time you saw someone in college or below riding a bike without a helmet or in a car without a safety belt? This has engrained them to know this world has risks attached to it. As an employer, it is important to be thinking about how the risk of working at your company can be minimized to help them success and transition into the “real” world well.
  8. They are Multitaskers. They watch Netflix, study, hang out with friends, and text at the same time while thinking it’s natural to do so. They will want to have plenty of work, while being able to immediately communicate with their boss, team, CEO, etc., and expect immediacy for replies and conversations.

What do you do with with this information now? Integrate these eight characteristics into your brand strategy and highlight relevant company characteristics. Make sure what you are saying is true. Highlight, talk about, and engage students in conversations regarding these topics. They want to see that your company will provide them a place for them to excel and that your company isn’t their grandfather or parent’s job.

If you have more questions about these characteristics, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to discuss them with you.

This is the first of five blogs Tom Borgerding has written about marketing and hiring. The next, How to Develop Personas to Better Your Employer Brand/Marketing Efforts, will be published Thursday, August 3.

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

NACE17 Is a Success Because of NACE Members

by Kathleen Powell

Whether or not you attended NACE17, it’s clear NACE members are our greatest asset! The message is clear, the capacity of our association is evident!

Yes, the conference is for the members. But, it’s because of the members we had 99 breakout sessions involving hundreds of you sharing your expertise with colleagues:

  • 60 members engaged with the Innovation Challenge,
  • 30 organizations participated in the Professional Achievement Showcase, and
  • 2,500 members gave of their time and talent to network, benchmark, and yes, dance!

And, due to the capacity of what you all bring to the table, the conference attracted colleagues, nearly 70, from 12 countries including sister organizations in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Turkey, the United Emirates, and the United Kingdom. NACE truly has global expanse and our colleagues from around the world have interest in what we are doing as a profession and an association.

The annual conference doesn’t happen in a silo. Many committees come together to support the efforts of our profession.

The 12-member conference committee, with two co-chairs each representing both sides of NACE—college and employer—along with a board adviser and NACE staff adviser, vetted more than 425 proposals for the conference. It’s no easy task to cull through such talent and interest.

And, did you know committees work year round to bring you the best of contemporary thoughts and best practices? The Revised Principles Launch Task Force came together to determine the way forward for the new Principles for Ethical Professional Practice. Not only did the committee roll out the revised Principles at NACE17, but have developed a webinar for all NACE members to hear the context behind the revisions and how the revisions will impact decision making.

If you have interest in advocacy and what is top of mind for the profession, NACE17 offered a session legislative update from the field (scroll down to“Advisory Committee-Federal Update” on Facebook). The NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition is live on NACEWeb and points to public policy, legislation, and regulations. These are but a few examples of how our members come together to form the association we know as NACE.

One of the many highlights of the conference are the honors and awards that are bestowed on our members for their achievements in the profession. The Honors & Awards Committee, again, all members of NACE, reviewed 155 entries and selected finalists for this year’s eight Excellence Award Winners.

The point is simple. It is the members of our association that create a community of professional practice colleagues. Because of our members, NACE17 offered SmartTalks, Campfire Conversations, Solutions Labs, an Innovation Challenge. Our conference was achievable because of the NACE committees, task forces, mentors, ambassadors, writers, bloggers, presenters, event hosts, vendors, sponsors, and staff. Being one to get it done and the power of WE speaks to the collective work of NACE, our association, supporting our profession,n and the work of the many.

So, thank YOU for all you’ve done to make NACE17 a reality. And, start planning for NACE18, June 5 – 9, 2018, at the Hilton New Orleans in Riverside, Louisiana. The call for proposals is just around the corner. We are a creative bunch and I’m certain the programs won’t disappoint!

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/

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/

Practicing Self-Care at Work

by Tiffany Waddell Tate

If you’re like me, you may often wonder: are we living the values we encourage our students and colleagues to live?  When we are in career coaching sessions, workshops, and meetings charging others to show up with intention, work hard, and also integrate strategies into daily practice to promote wellness… are we living examples of what that looks like?  Part of my role in the career center includes managing an awesome group of student staff who assist with the front-of-house office operations and client engagement strategy.  For some, this is their first job, and they are constantly juggling academic and co-curricular expectations alongside it.  It’s important to me that they each show up with intention each day—but also have a safe space to explore what it means to develop professional competencies and balance multiple expectations even when their days are full, knowing that it will not always work out perfectly, but the goal is to learn and grow along the way.

When one of them asked me recently if I ever “unplug,” I was taken aback by the question.  As a recovering “workaholic” or someone who takes a great deal of ownership and responsibility in seeing projects through (whether for pay, volunteer, or fun!) while being a quality teammate—the concept of self-care seemed a selfish one earlier in my career.  Over time, I learned that not actively addressing it could impact professional outcomes and have negative health implications as well.  Particularly in a profession where interpersonal engagement is a large part of the work, taking care of self ensures your ability to adequately and healthily support others.  As a relatively new mom, I have also been forced to recalibrate how I use literally every hour of the day to ensure that I am fully engaged both professionally and personally.  I have thought a lot about what balance could or should look like in the next phase of my career as I continue to take on more leadership. It’s imperative to take time to consider these things, or burnout is inevitable. For many, that may be easier said that done if you have always been successful juggling many different priorities without a tiny human, partner, or aging parent depending on you at the same time.  As I seek to continue to lead and inspire, how I show up and live my values is critical to how I create space for others to do the same.

Practicing self-care at work is crucial to maximizing productivity, focus, and promoting a culture of overall wellness. Here are a few strategies that I employ in my day to day to actively practice self-care at work:

Water, Water, Everywhere.  I love water. I have found, though, that if i’m not careful—I could go hours or even a whole day without drinking enough of it! When my calendar is stacked with back-to-back meetings and no built-in breaks, I have even been known to forget to eat. Terrible, right? One trick I’ve found is to find a large water bottle or cup (24-36 oz.) and fill it up at the beginning of the day. That way, even if I have limited transition time between coaching sessions or other meetings, my water is handy to sip throughout the day and i’m less likely to dehydrate. I especially love bottles with visible measurements so I can track my overall intake, too.

Take a Lap. What professional hasn’t seen articles on how awful sitting down for hours is for your body? A quick Internet search can provide you with a wealth of knowledge on the health implications of not getting enough movement throughout the day. I have some colleagues who take advantage of walking meetings (meetings on foot while walking around campus), but I have been known to take a quick lap around the main floor of the student union where I work in between meetings as time permits.  It provides a quick energy boost, a change of scenery, and a chance to see more friendly faces that I could go days or even weeks without seeing!

Peaceful Tunes. Prior to sharing an office space with another colleague, I regularly used an Internet radio platform like Pandora or Spotify to play “focus music.” Upbeat, but generally instrumental playlists were great for certain projects or work tasks when I wanted to focus in but still have ambient noise.  Now I pop out into flexible spaces if I need to focus in on a project or e-mail management with music sans headphones, and typically have a white noise machine blowing at all times to eliminate background noise or interruptions.

Phone a Friend. Lunch time is a great time to connect with friends or mentors you don’t have a chance to talk with during peak times in your life when time is simply limited. Scheduling phone or Skype time during lunch break is one way I try to be intentional about staying connected to those close to me, but also hold myself accountable for actually taking a lunch break away from my desk or work. This doesn’t happen often, but it’s always something to look forward to when planned ahead of time.

One and Done. Prioritizing tasks is vital when you want to accomplish a lot with limited time.  Typically, I am very good at this—especially when I have the opportunity to manage my workflow and time as needed. I am also aware that if i’m not careful, e-mail management could quickly become an all day thing!  Rather than multitasking on 500 different individual things, I create action lists and prioritize by what’s most important that day, week, or month.  If a project or meeting requires full attention, I have learned to shut my e-mail down until I’m done working so that I’m not tempted by new message notifications! I find that this increases efficiency and presence in the moment with individuals and projects at hand.

I would love to know what you do to actively practice self-care!  Please share in the comments below.

Tiffany Waddell TateTiffany Waddell Tate, Associate Director for Career Development, Davidson College
Personal blog:
http://www.tiffanywaddell.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/tiffanywaddelltate Twitter: @tiffanyiwaddell

Last Minute Tips for #NACE17 Attendees

Whether you’re new to NACE’s annual conference or this is your 10th time attending, here are things that will make this hectic and fun week easier.

Download the free app and schedule your time. Set up your conference itinerary and use your smartphone or tablet to be your daily guide. The free conference app, sponsored by Altria, offers information on all sessions, plus it links you to NACE’s social media so you can get updates and reminders for conference activities. You’ll find a map of NACE’s space in the Paris Las Vegas and Bally’s Las Vegas to help you find session rooms. To download this app, go to your device’s app store and search for NACE17. Need a little help using the app? Come to a free demonstration, 3 – 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, at NACE Connect in Paris Las Vegas’ Continental Ballroom.

Join your colleagues on social media. Tweet, Instagram, Facebook…share your social media ribbonconference experiences with fellow attendees and with those who couldn’t attend this year. Use hashtags: #NACE17 and #NACEOrg. Look for special Facebook Live sessions this year and add your comments/questions to the feed.

Here’s the weather forecast. The average temperatures in Las Vegas in early June are typically in the mid- to upper-90s during the day and lower 70s at night. (However, bring a light jacket or sweater: session rooms may be chilly.)

Pack your business casual clothing. Business casual is the recommended dress for the event. For women, that means slacks, khakis, or capris, blouses, polo shirts, dresses. Take a look at Pinterest for ideas. For men, khakis, dress pants, dress shirts, polos. Pinterest offers some ideas. Okay, but not necessary: suits. Avoid t-shirts, jean shorts, athletic wear.

Choose your shoes for comfort. Comfortable shoes are key. Hitting the site visits, the expo hall, and concurrent sessions means the potential for a lot of wear and tear on your feet.

Connect with your colleagues (and more) in the NACE Connect area! When you’re not in a concurrent session or listening to a keynote, drop into the NACE Connect area in the expo hall to network with colleagues or recharge your mobile devices. Here are some things you’ll find there:

  • Recharging Lounge
  • TECHBar
  • Mobile App Demo (3-4 p.m. Tuesday, June 6)
  • NACE17 Solution Labs
  • Dinner Sign Ups
  • SMARTtalks

First time at the conference? Don’t miss the first-timers session sponsored by Enterprise. Spend an hour networking over breakfast with other first timers. Get tips from attendees who have navigated the conference before on how to make the most of your conference experience.

Join the Totally ‘80s Dance Party! Pull out your parachute pants. Pump up your jacket with giant shoulder pads. Think big color. Feathered hair. Fingerless gloves. Over-sized tops. Stretchy-stirrup pants. Be totally tubular…at the party, Thursday, June 8, from 9 – 11 p.m., sponsored by Symplicity.

Identify attendees by their badges. Career services professionals wear blue badges; university relations and recruiters, red; business affiliates, purple; expo hall representatives, green, and NACE staff, black.

If the shirt is fuchsia or black, it must be Tuesday. Questions? Need help? NACE staff is easily identifiable by the color of their shirts.

  • Wednesday: Red
  • Thursday: Lime green
  • Friday: Turquois

Update Profile RibbonEveryone wants a ribbon? Of course they do! We have the usual ribbons for folks whocommunity ribbon are speaking, exhibiting, and sponsoring. We’re also offering ribbons to alumni of professional workshops (MLI, RLI) and social media participants (follow me and bloggers). If you’ve updated your profile, we have a special ribbon for you. New this year: NACE Community Member ribbons. Old this year: A wide variety of fun, like Have a NACE Day and NACE Nerd.

And if you can’t attend #NACE17—or you’d like to share some sessions with staff back in the office, NACE will Facebook Live the following sessions (all PDT time):

Tuesday, June 6
1:30 p.m. NACE17 Innovation Challenge

Wednesday, June 7
10:45 a.m. First-Destinations Survey: Class of 2016 Outcomes and Protocol Update
1:30 p.m. Class of 2016: Career Ready or Not?
2:45 p.m. Bridging the Gap With Disability and Career Services to Creative Innovative Strategies //SMARTtalk//
3:15 p.m. Legislative Update for the Field
4:30 p.m. Transforming the Trajectory: African American Males Navigating Career Services //Campfire Conversation//

Thursday, June 8
1:30 p.m. Career Consequences of Unpaid Internships
3 p.m. The NACE Principles and Ethical Practice

Registration is open. Pick up your registration packet. Tuesday, June 6, registration is open from noon until 8:30 p.m.; and 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. An information desk will be open from 7 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Don’t leave your room without these things: Room key, electronic device with the NACE17 app and your schedule loaded, and conference badge (you can’t get into any sessions or events without it). Consider carrying a light sweater. Session rooms may be chilly.Have a great conference!

And, if you’re interested in joining the NACE blog team…ask for Claudia Allen at the registration desk!