#NACE17: “Start Me Up”

by Kathleen Powell

“Oh Sweet Child of Mine,” I want you to “Walk this Way” to the NACE17 Conference & Expo!

“Don’t Stop Believing,” the conference is around the corner and if you’re new to the profession or your first time at the conference, I’ll see you in Vegas!  Ok, even if you’ve been to several conferences, I’m looking forward to seeing you!  “Ain’t Nobody” more excited to see you than me!

So, we’ve all heard, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” “Our Lips Are Sealed.”  You’ll make new connections, or rekindle old ones, attend sessions, connect during breaks and go “Round and Round” with colleagues as we are “Burning Down the House,” ok? (Not really!)

The NACE17 conference will present amazing opportunities.  For some, there may be nervous jitters about what to expect, who will I know, what should I wear, and so forth.  Fear not!  I’m here to assist,  “Time After Time.”

NACE17 will give you plenty of opportunities to network and network you should.  There are no hidden tips or tricks to networking.  “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” and you’re in good company, we all have interests, backgrounds and knowledge to share and striking up a conversation at the conference will come easily.  New faces, fresh ideas, and plenty of time to expand your professional network. “One Things Leads to Another!”

The conference app is your friend!  Use it, “All Night Long.”  Be strategic.  Pick your sessions and go early, the rooms do fill up quickly, but if you can’t get into a presentation, the handouts and/or PowerPoints are in the app and available at MyNACE after the conference.  And, I’d suggest a backup session as an alternate.  There are more than 80 sessions to choose from throughout the conference and I have no doubt you’ll land on sessions of your choice!

You’ll be “Hungry Like the Wolf”, so take advantage of all the breaks and provided meals in the Exhibit Hall.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised by all the excitement, products, vendors, and ways to connect.  “Jump” on the site visits and the Innovation Challenge.  “How Will I Know,” you ask, if  you are participating in site visits and the Innovation Challenge?  “Bust a Move” and go to NACEweb.org and either register or check MyNACE.

With “Every Breath You Take”, don’t be “Too Shy”, because if you’ve not figured it out by now, the 80s are coming to NACE17!  “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” and you’ll be going “Round and Round,” even a “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” will make you think you “Just Can’t Get Enough.” That’s right, you read it here first, Thursday night you’ll be saying, “I Love Rock N’ Roll.”  You’ll be “Walking on Sunshine” after driving your “Little Red Corvette.”  So final words, “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” safe travels to NACE17 because it’s “My Perogative.”

Kathleen PowellKathleen Powell, president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, will be attending #NACE17 in Las Vegas. Look for her…and say hello…”That’s What Friends Are For”!

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/

The Sum of Our Experiences: The Value of Hiring Military Spouses

by Andrea M. Wynne

Whenever most people see someone in uniform with their families or find out that a friend or colleague is married to a service member, the common response is: “Thank you for your service or please thank your spouse.” However, when reviewing resumes and screening for talent, gratitude may not be what comes to mind for many employers. Although there are more partnerships today to assist with this need and a greater understanding of the military lifestyle, there is still a significant amount of work to be done.

As a person who has been a military spouse for more than 20 years, I have personally felt the angst and anxiety of applying for jobs in fear of being dismissed because of frequent moves. The locations for each job, the organizations in which we volunteer and even the universities we attend can often be a dead giveaway about why there are gaps in employment and job changes. Although hiring managers should screen resumes objectively, some will see gaps and moves in a negative way. It is my opinion, that these assumptions unfairly label military spouses and do not take into account that anyone can move at any time and employee loyalty is not what it used to be. In fact, according to research by LinkedIn.com, the Millennial Generation will move jobs up to four times within their first decade out of college. Therefore, even if an employee has no affiliation with the military, they may leave an organization after a very short time.

Additionally, I have had colleagues who are military spouses say that they were passed over for promotions and told that they could not take advantage of professional development courses because employers were more focused on their marital status than on their talents and strengths. Yes, there are laws against blatant discrimination, but what about the conversations and biases that are unseen or are only spoken about behind closed doors? As with most things, the only way to combat such biases is to raise awareness and stereotypes that create the stigma.

In addition to a degree (I have a B.A. in human resources and an M.A. in education), military spouses bring valuable additional skills and experience to an employer’s work force. Below are three reasons why military spouses add value to an organization whether they are employees for two years or 20:

  1. Life Experiences: When a person has traveled domestically or internationally, it often means they have varied experiences that help them connect to others. They have, most likely, met different and diverse people, learned new cultures, and maybe even new languages. If customer service or connection in any form is required in a position, imagine the value that someone who has seen three countries and lived in four states can add.
  2. Flexibility: Remember the three countries and four states? Well, most military families also have to jump through many hoops to get things done for every single move. Furthermore, there is often a great deal of uncertainty surrounding deployments, temporary duty, and even day-to-day schedules of their loved ones. After a lifetime of “hurry up and wait,” military spouses grow to be quite the flexible and understanding group.
  3. Strategic Thinkers: Moving an entire household, finding new schools, doctors, vets, and hairdressers every few years in new states and countries can be quite the challenging task. Military spouses have to draw on their strategic thinking skills to figure out how to keep the family going and how to create a new home in a place they have never been. After a few moves, they begin to find patterns and gaps not only in the services they seek out, but in organizations in which they work. A person who has diversity of thought could be just the innovator a company needs to help them grow and excel.

The overarching message here is not to say that military spouses are better or more skilled than anyone else or that anyone owes us a job. The key take away is that when trying to find that perfect cultural fit or fresh face to help an organization with its mission, the practice of automatically assuming that being married to the military means money lost, is an opportunity lost.

Andrea WynnAndrea M. Wynne, Career Development Specialist and Global Career Development Facilitator, The University of Washington – Tacoma
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreawynnemaed/

 

 

Making Technology Decisions

by Kelli Smith

I love my job. I mean, I genuinely love my job. Knowing our area is making a positive impact on our students every single day is incredibly rewarding. I especially love the constant change we have in our department and the significant growth we have had in our programs and staff. I see it as a challenge and relish in it.

But it is no secret to my staff and close colleagues that my least favorite part of being a director is vendor solicitations. There are emails from vendors every single day. A mentor and former director of mine, Dr. Larry Routh, once said that he thought an essential skill needed for directors in the future is vendor management. He was correct; it is an important part of the job. Some really enjoy this part of our work, and there is no shortage of very interesting products to research and keep a person busy. It is just that I have a zillion other things competing for my attention.

We all need to be astute at deciding on new products and technologies. For me, the following are some of the questions I ask myself when deciding upon new products:

  1. Is this a wise use of budget dollars and really needed? It is important to consider departmental goals and align spending accordingly. Additionally, I have a particular sense of fiduciary responsibility working for a public institution. While none of my operating budget is from state dollars, we do get some student fee money and salaries are supported through the state. Always in the back of my mind is whether my budget choices and use of staff time are ones that stakeholders would generally support. I also look at the ROI. For example, for one product that we are considering to help offload the number of resumes we review in person, I calculated the cost for paying peer assistants (students) to the quoted product cost for the same amount of work. It was roughly the same, if not less expensive to students giving individualized assistance, plus we know the value of providing students with meaningful experience is great. The return on investment for the new product was weak in comparison, but gives me a strong negotiating point with the vendor.
  2. What FTE support will be needed to implement and manage it? While not operating budget dollars, I tend to automatically calculate the FTE time required to manage a new offering. Staff time is precious and scarce. Spending time on implementing a new technology, as well as ongoing staff training and support, takes away from a different priority. So the time it will take for staff and how it fits into our strategic plan is something I tend to automatically weigh early.
  3. Have we sought input from our students, employers, and campus partners, and does it meet our needs? While I truly love the dialogue around disruption and change in our field, my own approach to big technical changes considers many factors, including thoughtful consideration of stakeholders and whether the product meets the needs of campus. We recently explored a new platform for our job and internship posting system. A major consideration is that we manage one of the largest academic internship programs out of a career center in the country, and the program manager created a paperless system for it last year. Along with that program and some other factors, we decided at the time the vendor was not quite ready for us. We also had to consider stakeholders beyond our own program needs. Student input is a major factor for us. It is not the only one but, for us, it weighs a bit more heavily than others. We are fortunate to have a team of 50 student staff that help give us input and we rely upon it pretty heavily for new products. When a new technology also involves our employers, we naturally seek their input, too. And like so many institutions, we have taken the campus-wide approach that “career services is everyone’s business”; as a result, some of our technologies for which we are primary managers have become intertwined with other offices and career centers on campus. We have made collaboration a top priority, so seeking and respecting their input on new technology is also key, now more than ever.
  4. Does this duplicate technology we already have, and if so, is it better? We know we can be really good at adding new tools, especially if it is a hot new product offering. It is important to do an environmental scan of both one’s office and other offerings on campus. For instance, we recently explored software to better connect our students with alumni for mentoring. A different office on campus serving our largest college (liberal arts) already had a contract with a vendor, but we were interested in a newer one that we thought could be better and much less costly. We worked with that office to explore the new product with us, and they fortunately agreed it was a better option for all and that we would eventually be the primary administrator (and they would manage a module just for their college) for the product since we serve all students on campus. In addition to saving money for the campus, our relationship with that office was strengthened.
  5. Is this the right timing? When hired nearly three years ago, I was charged with completely reinventing how we served students, our campus reputation, partnerships, and significantly strengthen our employer services. While I am very fortunate to have an incredibly dedicated and hard-working staff and campus leadership that helped in our successful transformation, leading a culture change takes time. There is a new vendor on the market with great product but I am so glad we did not choose to implement a couple years ago. This is because while that business has been crazy successful, I know several early adopter directors shared they were on the phone with the vendor almost daily with issues in that company’s first year. Back then, I did not have that time while trying to build an office and campus culture. We had also recently switched to a new system that we branded and were so successful in implementing that our b-school career office finally decided to forgo a separate portal and instead let us manage the platform, making it much easier for both our students and employers. So to switch again so quickly would not have been a wise move on our part. We are now in a significantly better place and were much better positioned to make a change.
  6. What is the business model and approach of the vendor? The business model is an important consideration for me. This may be a hangover from surviving the dot-era which many of us recall. Companies with visions that seem to be in it for the long haul get bonus points. Naturally we need to do all we can to also ensure the use of student data is adhering to all applicable laws. Another thing that I have learned in the last year is how much I value the transparency of businesses. There are some well-known vendors on the market that do not have a standard pricing model and are, in part, pricing their product according to (what they think) is the name recognition of the career center’s institution. I do not blame career centers that have benefitted from such a pricing model in the least; I would fully take advantage myself. But I find it surprising that vendors do not realize we are a highly connected field and talk about what we are each paying for contracts. When I realize that a vendor is not being upfront or is quoting us a significantly higher price than my friends at other institutions – whether they have better name recognition or not, larger or smaller, or of the same or differing rankings – it is does sit well. For example, a peer here in New York was recently quoted a price of $25,000 for a product we are really wanting to implement. In my view it could be a game changer. But I also know a colleague at a well-known, larger, and fairly elite public school is paying exactly half of that cost for the same product. It ends up feeling as some centers are subsidizing what other career centers (often with already healthy budgets) are being asked to pay. So while not always a primary factor, transparency is one I consider. Lastly, with regard to approach, customer service is a critical consideration. We recently made a major decision this month and this was a factor that became a tipping point. Remember the concern we had about how our academic internship program would be managed? It was addressed by the vendor without us even being a committed client. The vendor we are moving to responded the same day in multiple instances when we had questions of any kind, and made improvements to their products based on our input with what felt like a quick turnaround.
  7. What is the “why”? I am a fan of Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (2011). If you have not read it or watched his Ted Talk, you may want to. It resonates with me when I am needing to gain support for new initiatives with others across campus. But I also know it is important to consider the “why” for a new technology. My hope is that when making such choice we have addressed the considerations mentioned earlier, such as whether it fits with our strategic plan, and not that we are merely trying to be seen as a “disruptor” or other similar motivation. While I am one that thrives on change and being cutting edge for the sake of our students – and I most certainly do hope we are seen as a positive change agent by our campus – I am also at times just fine with others being the canary in the coal mine with new technologies. One can benefit from the lessons learned from others, and it thoughtful, careful decision-making does not need to be at the expense of being cutting edge.

Wise choices with technology can be game changers for how we serve students better and more efficiently. Our profession is full of some of the most innovative people I know and, while needing to remember my campus context may different, I regularly lean on many for input when making vendor decisions. What other factors do you consider when making such choices?

Kelli Smith Director of University Career Services at the Fleish

Kelli K. Smith, Director of University Career Services, Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development, Binghamton University
Twitter: https://twitter.com/drkelliksmith
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kellikapustkasmith/
More blogs by Kelli Smith

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

Prepare Now for Your Summer Interns

by Mark Broadfoot

Summer interns will be arriving next month, so now is the time to get ready. The time will pass quickly and putting off preparations will keep you from having a great summer. You worked hard in the fall and spring to recruit the “right talent” for the company, so put in the same effort for the internship. One of the biggest complaints heard from interns is companies were not ready for their arrival. The interns show up and the company forgot about their arrival or was scrambling to get things ready. Interns know when companies are prepared. You need to make a solid first impression on your interns. If you are looking to hire some of them at the end, then day one must be strong. Below are some ideas to help you get ready.

Manager Training

    • Encourage your managers to get things ready now.
    • Advise them on how productive this age group can be for them.
    • Formulate a weekly work schedule that will challenge the intern all summer.
    • Communicate to your managers the importance of calling the interns weeks before arrival.

On-Boarding

    • Communicate to the interns the important documents to bring on day one.
    • Categorize items needed to be done on day one. Do not look disorganized as a company.
    • Formulate a day one arrival procedure.
    • Summarize your company’s dress before arrival, allowing time to buy needed clothes.

Orientation

    • Construct a day-one orientation that highlights company culture and values.
    • Organize first-day activities that encourage communication among all interns.
    • Facilitate an overview of company’s communication technology, including Outlook and SMS.
    • Develop an organized meet-and-greet process among managers, with introductions and titles.

Summer Events

    • Arrange all summer activities now with a balanced schedule.
    • Purchase all tickets and make reservations now. Try to keep costs low for students.
    • Determine which managers will attend events and put it on their calendars.

Summer Projects

    • Develop the group projects with run-through prior to interns’ arrival.
    • Organize materials and advise intern managers of time commitments.
    • Evaluate presentation procedures for summers end and provide it to all teams.
    • Persuade interns to brush up on PowerPoint, offering classes or web training if needed.

Summer Wrap-up

    • Develop a summer sendoff process, highlighting learnings.
    • Conduct a resume writing course to teach how to add their new acquired skills.
    • Execute a strong off-boarding process, make the last impression memorable.
    • Spearhead a survey for interns to evaluate the company, managers, and internship.

Students talk. Make sure what they say about your company is positive. This will help with your recruiting in the fall.

Mark Broadfoot
Mark Broadfoot, owner and consultant, UR Consulting, Missouri City, Texas
Twitter: @URRecruitee1
LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/markbroadfoot

Top 5 Tips for the First Day of Your Internship

by Chaim Shapiro

Internship season is about to begin. As most colleges begin to wind down their academic year, companies across the country are getting ready for the influx of interns that will work for them over the summer.

Career services professionals will spend a lot of time over the next few weeks helping their students prepare for their internships. To that end, please feel free to share Top 5 Tips for the First Day of Your Internship with your students!

Internships are an incredible opportunity, and you need to hit the ground running to take full advantage.

1) Understand the Opportunity There are plenty of jokes about interns spending their summer making coffee and wasting their time with busy work. Don’t fall for that misconception. Companies have no need to waste their time or your time, and they don’t need cheap labor.

Companies have internship programs so that they can test drive the talent. They want to see you and how well you work in a professional setting. Take your responsibilities seriously from day one.  A successful internship is the best way into many companies!

2) Recognize that They WANT to Hire You Most interns don’t realize that the company is invested in your success. If you were hired as an intern, that means they believe you have the right skills to make an excellent full-time employee. The human resources professionals who run the internship programs are judged based on their “conversion rate” turning interns into full-time employees.

From the company’s perspective, a higher conversion rate means that the internship program was well recruited and well run. That means they want to hire you. Give them what they want!

3) Know the Company This may seem obvious, but employees tend to be passionate about their company. Make sure you know everything there is to know about the company before you start. Your knowledge and expertise will help you stand out compared to less-prepared interns.

4) Learn Your Role Most companies hire interns to work in a specific subdivision of the company. Learn the mission of that department and your role in it. Success begins with mastering your role and exceeding the expectations for your position. It is much easier to be successful when you know what you are supposed to accomplish.

5) Network, Network, Network! Network as much and as often as you can during your internship. Do not miss a company social or networking event. Attend the company barbecue, networking events, socials, etc. Try to make a positive impression on a large number of people. Your network will be essential for your future success, both at that company and beyond.

Top 5 Tips for the First Day of Your Internship is available through NACEWeb’s Grab & Go. College members are welcome to copy the text and place it on the career center website. A blog for employers on how to prepare for this summer’s interns will be published on Tuesday, April 18.

Chaim ShapiroChaim Shapiro, Director of the Office for Student Success,  Touro College
Website: http://chaimshapiro.com/
Twitter: @chaimshapiro
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chaimshapiro