Career Services Programs that Engage Employers

Irene Hillman

Irene Hillman, Manager of Career Development, College of Business, Decosimo Success Center, The University of Tennessee Chattanooga
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/irenehillman

College career fairs can feel like a blur. Hundreds of college students—many of them prepared, but just as many of them unprepared— shuffle in and wander from table to table giving employers their pitch. Employers return the favor and point these young professionals to their websites to apply for positions. It’s a way to build visibility on both sides—company and candidate—but creating a meaningful connection simply isn’t in the cards.

So, how can colleges support the authentic engagement needed for their students to build relationships that will help them launch careers and their employers to gain in-depth access to a targeted and valuable candidate group? Here are some methods being used by the College of Business at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to provide some inspiration.

Take the Freshmen Employer Tour

The Company Tour Program was developed specifically for entering freshmen to help tie them into both the UTC and business community very early on in their college careers. The college develops a schedule of bi-weekly tours for approximately 20 students (lasting one to two hours) into the facilities of the area’s top employers and these students gain access to companies to learn more about the area’s economy, explore potential employers, and network with Chattanooga’s business community in a very familiar and engaging fashion. This encourages students to think about how their degrees can be leveraged and their academic learning can be applied following graduation, motivating them to be better students who are engaged in networking within professional circles of the city.

Invite Employers to Lunch

Through Bridge Luncheons, the College of Business invites businesses seeking a way in which to connect with current students, pending graduates, or alumni to sponsor a business meal. This series brings business students and local or regional organizations together in an intimate setting over a served lunch where candid and interactive dialogue can occur. Typically this is used by companies as a recruiting venue for open positions. Such events are an effective means for companies to spend quality time with multiple candidates at once and serves, in many cases, as a first and simple step in the vetting process. Bridge Luncheons are by invitation only based on the criteria set by the sponsoring companies and students receive e-mails requesting an RSVP if they care to attend. It is also an ideal place to practice business meal etiquette.

Jennifer Johnson, UTC accounting student (Class of 2015), says “The luncheons have given me an opportunity to connect with local businesses and to build relationships with their owners and employees before joining the work force.”

She adds, “I am very thankful that UTC has provided me with the opportunity to participate in these luncheons because they have helped ease my apprehension interacting with potential employers and colleagues.”

As an additional perk beyond assisting students transition from students to professionals, colleges can consider such luncheons as a minor revenue stream since a reasonable flat rate can be charged to companies and remaining funds (after catering and room costs are covered) would be retained to support other career services activities and events.

Pair Students With Professionals

The Business Mentor Program is available to sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate students. Experienced professionals support students who are paired in a mentoring relationship based on common professional interests in order to guide students toward best practices for career success. Valued employers are encouraged to nominate a seasoned professional to the Business Mentor Program. The program provides a great opportunity for professionals to counsel and influence the next generation of business leaders and increase the work force readiness of future recruits. Undergraduates may even engage in the program for academic credit (one credit). The course integrates academic learning with business world application and experiences. Students meet in class for one month to prepare for the mentoring relationship and then pair with mentors for the remaining weeks of the semester.

Use Feedback From the Professionals

The semiannual Resume Week and Mock Interview Week events are another way to help recruiters and students engage in effective networking and develop significant dialogue. During Resume Week, the college seeks out a few dozen professionals (hiring managers or recruiters) whose careers align with the College of Business academic programs and invites them to participate in the event. Students visit the centrally located student lounge with their resumes to give managers and recruiters from participating companies a chance provide their professional opinions through a 15-minute resume review while networking one-on-one with these high-impact business people.

Bios of the volunteers are provided to students so they can plan who they want to meet. We encourage students to dress professionally and bring a business card to make a great first impression on our visitors.

Abdul Hanan Sheikh, UTC human resource management student (Class of 2015),  summarizes the impact that the Resume Review event has had on his career launch: “By attending this event, I received remarkable feedback, which helped me make adjustments to my resume. This event helped me get more engaged in networking effectively. It was a great opportunity for me to make connections with business professionals from around Chattanooga. Furthermore, I believe these events helped me land my first internship last fall and then my summer internship as well, and those positions gave me the experience I needed in HR to feel confident about finding a great job after graduation. So now I have a strong resume and solid experience.”

A month following Resume Week, the college holds a similarly arranged series of events for Mock Interview Week. Not only do students walk away with invaluable advice on developing a robust resume and interviewing successfully, but they get a chance to ask questions about launching their careers to people with realistic answers. And the hope is, as a result, a connection is made and networking flourishes between the student and the professionals with whom they have met.

Engaging with employers need not be an awkward or hurried venture that happens once a semester. When students are provided multiple opportunities for directed networking, relationships can unfold in an enriching manner for our students and our employers!

 

 

The Differences Between Working in Higher Education and Corporate America

kelly d. scottKelly Scott, Campus Recruiter at Liberty Mutual Insurance
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellykonevichscott

I never thought I would do anything other than work in higher education. With a background in educational counseling psychology and a job as a career counselor and assistant director within a career center at a Boston-area university, I had no need to look for a life outside the ivy-covered walls. But then an intriguing opportunity presented itself and I made the leap to corporate America. And I now find myself as a de facto spokesperson for corporate America among my higher education friends and colleagues. The information that most piques their interest is: “What are the differences between working there and here?” And I always tell them, while there are differences, the two worlds aren’t as far apart as you might think.

It’s a different kind of fast paced.

I thought there was only one kind of fast paced, but I was wrong. As an assistant director at a career center, I had a lot to do. There were student appointments, large- and small-scale events to plan and facilitate, workshops, class presentations, semester planning, and ad hoc projects. As a recruiter, it is also fast paced with numerous projects to complete, yearly planning, interviews, and regular meetings with various stakeholders across the organization.

So, what’s the difference then? The difference are the deadlines. I can’t speak for all universities because I’m drawing from personal experience, but overall, I had a lot of autonomy when it came to deadlines. “When do you think you could have that done?” was a question I was frequently fielding as a career counselor. Additionally, it was acceptable to spend a semester or two hammering out a new program or idea and generally the only people you were answering to were those in your department and the students.

Deadlines in corporate America are much less fluid. Many of the decisions and projects that I’m working on directly affect a team in a completely different department or business unit. As a result, deadlines are determined by a group and driven by quarterly business needs and recruiting cycle timelines. This creates a different sense of urgency than what I experienced in the higher education sector. Not better or worse, just different.

The private sector is more formal.

This shouldn’t be a shocker: it’s more formal. Working with college students makes for a much more casual environment than working with business leaders in a Fortune 100 company. The casual nature lends itself to forming deep personal connections with co-workers and, in my opinion, is one of its most appealing attributes of working in at a college or university. It wasn’t uncommon to share personal successes and even heartaches and frustrations with your direct co-workers or even your supervisor. Mind you, you’ve got a bunch of counselors sharing feelings, so it’s probably not that unusual, but when you’re in the mix of it, you don’t realize what was going on until you leave.

There’s not so much sharing in the corporate world. While there is a huge emphasis on respect, integrity and development—and my colleagues are incredibly supportive and caring—the mushy-gushy feeling of my last department is gone. I have a few co-workers that I am thankful to have developed very close friendships with over the last year, but corporate culture doesn’t support oversharing the way education does. Again, neither one is better or worse than the other, but there are recognizable differences.

People move around a lot more in corporate.

My personal experience in higher education is that a lot of people stay put or climb the ladder within their particular function or department. My former boss had been at the university for more than 15 years—almost entirely as a career counselor with notable promotions within her department. Her boss was there just as long and on the same path. Many of my co-workers were self-proclaimed “lifers” and stayed within the academic counseling field in some capacity. You get to know your co-workers really well and they have in-depth knowledge about the organization and the department history.

Corporate works a little differently. Since I started a year ago, multiple people have moved to completely different business units and taken on very different roles. My company puts an emphasis on professional development and growth, so it isn’t surprising that there is a lot of movement. In fact, people are encouraged to explore new opportunities that will challenge their professional growth within the organization. The drawback is that people move around a lot and it seems as though as soon as I think I am getting to know somebody, they get promoted or move on to another part of the organization. Definitely all great things, but it is a stark contrast to what I saw working in higher education.

Both the corporate and higher education cultures have their pros and cons and I think it really all comes down to what you value in work and in your career. There are certainly things I miss about higher education (holiday break) and other things I certainly do not miss (freshman orientation). That said, work values and skills change and develop as we grow professionally. Who knows what the next 10 years will bring, but for those of you wondering, corporate is not as scary as you think and has almost as much free food as you get in higher education.

We Are All Career Services

Michelle Bata

Michelle Bata, Associate Dean and Director of the LEEP Center, Clark University
Twitter: https://twitter.com/michellebata
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michellebata

 

This is my first post for the NACE blog, and I’m going to use this opportunity to share a secret: I’m not in career services. I’m not even in recruiting or career counseling or talent management or any of those areas to which most NACE members belong. Rather, I’m in academic affairs and oversee a center that houses several different offices, one of which is career services.

So why am I here?

To show that one doesn’t have to be in career services to help students identify, work toward, and achieve their professional goals. In fact, career services professionals should be but just a few nodes in a student’s emerging professional network, and it is all of our responsibilities – administrators, faculty, and staff alike – to ensure that our students are prepared for life beyond college.

So how do you get others to recognize that they, too, share this responsibility?

  1. Educate the university community – particularly faculty and staff – on policy, procedure, and resources. Tell them about your online job posting board. Inform them of recruiting practices. Make sure they know about legal issues in letter writing. And do all of this in a way that makes this information relevant to them.  You need to be audience-centric instead of career services-centric.
  2. Recruit key allies from among administration, faculty, and students. Your allies might be deans, faculty chairs, or student leaders, but they’re the ones who take an interest in what you do and care deeply about your students. Take them to lunch, keep them updated, befriend them, and you’ll find you not only have allies, but missionaries.
  3. Make your work visible. Ask if you can present at a forum, assembly, or faculty meeting. Go to staff meetings. Organize your own presentation. In addition to sending out a general invitation, specifically invite key people.  And, make sure to send your presentation around afterwards. Taking initiative to make your work public will create a sense of transparency and accessibility.
  4. Leverage existing relationships from around the university. Are you regularly talking to your alumni office, your community engagement office, your pre-health advisers, or your entrepreneurship instructors? Career services is not the only office on campus with connections to potential employers.  Find out who else has resources and pow-wow to figure out how you can better share them.
  5. Share results and data. Data such as first destination results, internship, and recruiting information is fine – that bird’s-eye view is for your supervisor, senior leadership, and marketing.  But building relationships around the university is going to require that you make your data relevant to your audience.  Consider crafting audience-specific results: pull together outcomes for certain majors or student groups, and include information like employing organizations and job titles.
  6. Follow up.  Let people know how their efforts and connections panned out.  It can be a full-time job, but following up and deeper communication can pay off in dividends.

Through careful communication, relationship building, and education, you will find that what you are really doing is cultivating partnerships and creating a culture of professional awareness and development around campus. And in doing so, you’ll be sending the message that we are all career services.

 

Meet the 2016-17 NACE Board of Directors

Kathleen PowellKathleen I. Powell, NACE President; Associate Vice President for Career Development at William & Mary University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? When I started in the profession, many years ago, I was told you get out of an organization what you put in to it.  So, very early in my career, I pursued opportunities to serve on committees, chair and co-chair, eventually serving on the board at different times in my career.  It was a natural way to be of service to an organization that has a national voice in our profession.
What led you to your career path? This is a funny one. I went to college to be a nurse. Truth of the matter, I really don’t like being around sick people and organic chemistry, carbon bonds, and my interests were not a good fit.  I tried five majors and it was my time as a resident assistant that the director of residence life sat me down and told me about higher education careers. The rest is history!  (P.S.  For all the nurses and chemistry majors out there, thank you!)
What was your very first job?  My very first job was working at a convenience store in high school!  My best friend’s mom managed the store and it was quite the job. Then, during college, in the summers, I worked in an amusement park as a ride hostess—what a blast!  After college, I went to graduate school and landed my first job in career services and NEVER looked back!
Something personal: I enjoy basket weaving and biking. I biked across Iowa and Ohio and that was amazing.  I love to eat and cook and we have two dogs that I adore.  Cooper is a chocolate lab and Tucker is an English black lab.  I enjoy spending time with my husband and children, and life in general!

glen fowlerGlen Fowler, NACE President-Elect; Recruiting & Training Manager at California State Auditor

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I sought increased engagement with the NACE community because it inspires and recharges me!  Through NACE I am able to learn from my peers, and contribute to the profession.  I appreciate NACE’s emphasis on member resources, providing a forum to discuss industry challenges and opportunities, and leading initiatives like the 21st Century Career Services Model and Professional Standards for University Relations & Recruiting—but, and most importantly, I appreciate the opportunity NACE provides me to network and have fun with my peers.
What led you to your career path? My path to recruiting was not intentional.  After completing my master’s degree, I joined the California State Auditor’s office as a performance auditor.  I audited for a number of years, and then joined the executive team where I conducted legislative bill and audit analyses, among other responsibilities.  After several years, the Auditor General offered me the office’s recruiter role.  A year later he asked me to rejoin the executive team.  He sensed my reluctance, and recognized that I’d found a passion for recruiting.  I’d discovered how rewarding it was to find talented folks and support them in their success with our organization.
What was your very first job? My first job was at a golf course where I washed golf carts and picked up range balls.  Keep in mind that in those days, golfers would continue to hit range balls while I was out picking them up.  Occasionally I’d hear one fly past my head—really, I’m not kidding!  Thank goodness for today’s child protection laws.
Something personal: I’m the proud owner of two misbehaving dogs named Molly and Leo.  For instance, we often find our outdoor chair cushions strewn about the back lawn. Just when I’m going to discipline my furry friends for their naughty behavior, they pounce on me and lick me—and all the while their tales are wagging!  Molly’s and Leo’s “wonderful way” keeps everything in perspective for me.

dawn carterDawn Carter, NACE Past-President; Director, Early Careers at Intuit

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? After pursing leadership avenues through the regional associations, I wanted to continue to expand my experience and volunteer leadership voice at a national level.  Through my time in various NACE leadership roles I have had the opportunity to work on and with such amazing people in the field.  Many times I was provided opportunities to learn new things by jumping into a team, taskforce, or committee that was a new topic for me.
What led you to your career path? As I started my career in talent acquisition, I loved the part of my job of that helped folks find their role in the company in a way that tied their passion.  I fell into university recruiting by chance and immediately fell in love. Where else do you have a chance to help students launch their careers.
What was your very first job? My first job out of university was into Marriott’s leadership program. As I transitioned my career from the hospitality industry into human resources, I started as a HR coordinator role and then worked my way up into different roles in university programs and recruiting.
Something personal: Love to travel!  Enjoy traveling to somewhere new and learning about food, art, and cultural differences.

chris carlsonChristopher Carlson, NACE Vice President-Employer; Director of Talent Acquisition and Diversity at Tennessee Valley Authority

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I pursued leadership with NACE for a number of reasons with the foremost being that NACE is about innovation and service.  The opportunity to help serve with other innovators toward a mission that is critical to our nation’s success is what drives me.
What led you to your career path? An inspiring mentor and manager led me into my career path. She was a wonderful woman who taught me the importance of human in human resources.
What was your very first job? My first job was working the Haunted River at Kings Dominion just outside of Richmond, Virginia.  I still know the announcements if you want to hear them.
Something personal: I am an urban hiker.  Drop me in a major city and I can wander for hours.

norma Guerra gaierNorma Guerra Gaier, NACE Vice President-College; Director, Career Services, Texas State University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I was fortunate to have strong professional mentors who inspired and encouraged me to get involved early in my career. That’s all it took—once I served on a committee and met (via phone conferences) colleagues from across the country, I knew that I wanted to serve. Many of the colleagues I met over the years are now life-long friends who continue to inspire and challenge my thinking regarding our work. I am honored to serve our profession through my involvement with NACE, and my hope is that I can serve as a resource for others who seek to learn more about our work and get involved in the career services and university recruitment field.
What lead you to your career path? I have always had a passion for the art of communication, both verbal and written. As a college student, I spent countless hours in the career center creating and perfecting various cover letters and resumes for the different jobs that I interviewed for through the on-campus interviewing program. I found interviewing intriguing and spent much of my time studying the various types of interview styles and questions that I encountered. I got my first job through this process, but more importantly, just a year later, I got my start as a career services professional with the same career center I used as a student.
What was your very first job? As a recent college graduate, my first job was in retail. I was hired as the manager of a brand new sock shop called Something’s Afoot. I was able to help create store design, hire all staff, and create policies for operations and staffing.
Something personal: In my spare time, I enjoy exploring and traveling with my husband, Bill, and teenagers, Jacob and Abbie. We also love our four-legged family members, Roxy (pug), Bella (rat terrier/Chihuahua), and Kramer (Chihuahua).

o ray angleO. Ray Angle, NACE Director-College; Assistant Vice President for Career & Professional Development, Gonzaga University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? NACE has provided the profession with so much content and support over the years that I wanted the chance to give back by serving the NACE membership.
What led you to your career path? I worked in a college career center as an undergrad student and, by chance, discovered career services as a profession.
What was your very first job? I was a newspaper delivery boy starting when I was 11 years old.
Something personal: I’ve been in all 50 states, in 17 countries, and on five continents.

susan brennanSusan Brennan, NACE Director-College; Associate Vice President, University Career Services at Bentley University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I am a passionate career services leader and advocate and excited to share my ideas and energy with wonderful NACE colleagues. I am proud of the groundbreaking work happening in our profession and ready to broaden my perspective, to learn and grow personally and professionally, and to have fun and build new friendships in the process.
What led you to your career path? After graduate school, I worked as a human resources strategy consultant and found myself consistently gravitating toward higher education assignments and clients. Through many soul searching conversations with my personal career advisory board and mentors, I learned about an opportunity to transition to career services and have never looked back!
What was your very first job? After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, I wanted to find a way to combine my passions for education and service with my strengths in marketing and relationship building. Working with the Board of Trustees as a development assistant at the Boston Children’s Museum allowed me to learn the fundamentals of nonprofit management while feeling like I was making a difference in the lives of children and families.
Something personal: I have been married for 23 wonderful years to Mike, who is a lawyer by day and a chef by hobby, requiring me to wake up at 5 a.m. each morning to try to work off the previous evening’s delicious calories! The importance of our work hits home every day, as our son, Jake, just completed sophomore year at Tulane and is interning on Capitol Hill while our son, Dan, is wrapping up junior year of high school and is now embarking on his college search journey.

Christine CruzvergaraChristine Cruzvergara, NACE Director-College; Associate Provost and Executive Director for Career Education, Wellesley College

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? NACE is an organization that has given me a lot in my career. Over the years, I’ve made deep friendships, benchmarked with exceptional colleagues, and grown as a professional. It’s my desire to give back to my colleagues and to serve my profession.
What led you to your career path? I originally thought I’d be a family and marriage counselor but feared that I would get burnt out listening to people’s marital problems for 40 hours a week! My advisers in college encouraged me to think about a career in higher education as a way to use my helping skills in a different context. Along the way, great colleagues and mentors pushed me to realize my potential in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
What was your very first job? My first job was running new student orientation at George Washington University. My first part-time job (at 15) was a waitress in a retirement home.
Something personal: I love travel, tv, skiing, and eating, in no particular order! I especially love doing those things with my husband, Alex and my playful 3-year-old, Andreas.

caroline cunninghamCaroline Cunningham, NACE Director-Employer; Director, University Relations & Diversity Programs, GE Digital

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I have learned so much and made so many wonderful friends throughout my nine years of involvement with NACE that I really wanted to give back.  The future of URR and career services is so dynamic and exciting and I want to be a part of shaping NACE’s strategy to support that.
What led you to your career path? I fell into recruiting. I started out in HR thinking I wanted to be in employee relations and had a former boss suggest that I would be good at recruiting. After a few years on the experienced side, I had an opportunity to assist with university recruiting and found my true passion. I have never looked back.
What was your very first job? Outside of babysitting and doing odd jobs around the neighborhood, I worked as a summer day camp counselor at our local community center.  I had a group of 3- and 4-year-olds for three hours a day and had to keep them entertained with fun and enriching activities.  It was a ton of fun and definitely lead me to a life-long path of being linked to education and supporting future generations in their development.
Something personal: I never played team sports when I was growing up but have two daughters who play competitive soccer. Most of my spare time is spent shuttling them to practice, attending games and tournaments, and volunteering for their teams.  Through my daughter’s experiences I have seen them grow in so many areas— leadership, teamwork, integrity, and perseverance to name a few. Supporting their commitment is truly one of the most rewarding parts of my life as a parent. When I do have a few minutes to myself, you will most likely find me catching the latest and greatest Broadway show, attending a concert, or simply watching The Voice!

 carlena harrisCarlena Harris, NACE Director-Employer; Human Resources Manager, Recruiting Operations, National Instruments

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE?  I’m passionate about sharing what I have learned and experienced to assist individuals, teams, and organizations in reaching their goals.  National Instruments has been a member of NACE for many years and I thought it would be great to serve on behalf of my employer.
What led you to your career path? I was promoted to a software development manager position mid-way in my career, which allowed me to recruit team members for the organization via conferences and university career fairs.  I enjoyed that part of my job, so I decided to prepare for a full–time talent recruiting opportunity.  I joined National Instruments in 2014 as a human resources manager within the University Recruiting Operations team.
What was your very first job? I worked at AstroWorld in Houston, Texas in the games operation department. That job helped me develop my customer service skills.
Something personal:  I’m an active mom of two teenagers, a cyclist, a huge Prince fan, and I love to cook.

Janet LasaterJennifer Lasater, NACE Director-College; Vice President, Employer and Career Services, Kaplan University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE?  I wanted to give back to my profession. I started getting involved by volunteering on committees for NACE and really enjoyed the work and time with others, that led to me exploring additional roles with NACE.
What led you to your career path? I was a resident assistant in college and loved working in student affairs, but I wanted to try a few years in the “real world” after graduating with my B.A. I got involved with recruiting for a staffing company and one of our recruiting sites was a small art/design school. I found that career services was the perfect fit for me because it combined my passion for students along with the motivation of hitting goals in recruiting.
What was your very first job? When I was 14, I worked at a Dairy Queen for a few weeks—not that exciting or glamorous. That was clearly not my career path.
Something personal: My family and I love going on Disney cruises—we’ve been on quite a few now. Our favorites so far have been the Mediterranean and Alaska.

Margaret paulinMargaret Paulin, NACE Director-Employer; Manager, Sector University Relations & Recruiting, Northrop Grumman

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I have had the good fortune to serve on several NACE committees and decided to further serve NACE members by contributing as a board member.
What led you to your career path? My first position in university relations and recruiting started as a six-month rotational assignment. Well beyond those six months now, I moved forward in the profession and never looked back.
What was your very first job?  
I worked at USA cheerleading camps the summer after graduating from college and managed a red brick residence hall at San Jose State University.
Something personal: I have two senior furry children, Sadie and Buddy, which rule our house. Sadie is a chocolate lab that we raised as a puppy and Buddy is an American Bulldog, pit mix—he is a rescue shelter dog. The two complement and keep each other occupied during the day.

pam websterPam Webster, NACE Director-Employer; Assistant Vice President, Talent Acquisition, Enterprise Holdings

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE?  As a leader in Talent Acquisition for Enterprise, I believe it’s important to give back to the profession in a volunteer capacity.  Not only does it help strengthen our brand within the college/university community, but it gives me the opportunity to network and learn from thought leaders in the space.  I have gained lifelong friends along the way which is a bonus!
What led you to your career path?  Getting into recruiting was a little bit of luck and a leap of faith. Enterprise promotes from within and when we started expanding significantly in the late 80s, new positions were created in our field operations. I was a branch manager at the time and had been with the company about four years and my manager (our current CEO, Pam Nicholson) came to me to ask if I would be interested in filling one of the new spots. I have been with Enterprise for 31 years and in some form of talent acquisition for 27 of those years, being one of the pioneers in campus recruiting for Enterprise.
What was your very first job?  My first job was in high school, working at a plant nursery. I was responsible for watering, fertilizing, and transplanting plants as they grew to get them ready for retail sales. Unfortunately my experience did not pay off as I do not have a green thumb and can’t keep most plants alive.
Something personal: I am an avid animal lover and in the past two years after losing two cats who were 17 and 19, I adopted a pit bull mix, Tilly, who was a street dog and in foster care for a year. Last summer, I took in a stray cat I named Coco and her litter of five kittens, that were about three weeks old. When the kittens were 12 weeks old, two of my work colleagues each took one of the kittens, another friend took one, my mom took Coco, and we kept two of the kittens, Jaxon and Princess, and added to our household of now three cats and a dog. I have also spent time volunteering for the Humane Society of Missouri and served on the board for a local horse rescue.

Read the full biographies of NACE’s 2016-17 Board of Directors on NACEWeb.

Practice Interviews and Anxiety

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

A key issue that I have noticed with the majority of practice interviews that I conduct with students is anxiety. Often during a practice interview I observe symptoms of anxiety including: pressured speech, agitation of hands and feet, sweating, increased heartrate, nervous laughter, and sometimes crying. I am quickly able to identify these symptoms because in addition to my career counseling background, I also am trained in clinical mental health counseling.

While interview anxiety can be uncomfortable and difficult to address with students, I have found it to be extremely important to discuss. In some cases, anxiety can be linked to fear, lack of self-confidence, and/or lack of experience. It is important to address these issues head on before the student goes into an interview.

What can career counselors/advisers do to help?

Address it. Whenever we are in an uncomfortable situation we tend to want to ignore it. However, ignoring the anxiety that a student is experiencing in regard to interviewing could potentially continue to worsen the anxiety. Therefore, address the issue with, “I notice that you seem anxious. Tell me about that.”

Actively listen. Listen to what the student is telling you. For example, I had a student explain that they did not feel qualified for the position that they were applying to. So I went through each job requirement, and asked the student to give an example of how they met that requirement. The student felt more confident because they were able to verbally reason why they were qualified for the position.

Encourage practice. For some students, continuing to practice for an interview can help boost their confidence and decrease their anxiety.

Provide anxiety reducing techniques. There are several techniques that anyone can use to reduce anxiety. This may require a bit of research to find which one would work best for your students. While working with students with interview anxiety, I typically recommend that they use the technique of “being present.” I explain to them that while they are sitting in the lobby prior to going in for an interview, they take a few slow deep breaths, and notice what is going on around them. For example, what does the room look like? What do you smell? What are you feeling? I find that this process helps to lower a student’s anxiety by refocusing their attention on to something else.

Refer. There may be situations in which a student’s anxiety is so severe that they may require counseling services. It is important to have a referral process in place with your university’s counseling service in case these kinds of situations were to occur.
After you have conducted a practice interview with a student, make sure that you follow up with that student to find out how the interview went for them. Ask these students, “What went well? What did not go well? Did anything surprise you?” This kind of follow up allows the student to self-evaluate, and also helps to maintain their connection with your career development center.

Liberal Arts and STEM: Happily Ever After?

 

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Pamela Weinberg
Website: www.pamelaweinberg.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pamelaweinberg/
Twitter: @pamelaweinberg
Blogs from Pamela Weinberg.

A recent New York Times headline stopped me cold. It was entitled: “A Rising Call to Foster STEM Fields, and Decrease Liberal Arts Funding.” The article spoke of a handful of state governors who were suggesting that students majoring in liberal arts would not receive state funding for their education and that only those students “educated in fields seen as important to the economy” would benefit from funding.

As a liberal arts major and a career coach who believes in the value of a liberal arts education, this was stunning. Of course teaching students “hard” skills is important. Nobody would argue that teaching undergraduate students how to code is a bad idea. However, there is much evidence that hard skills alone don’t make for a successful employee. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, a study conducted by USC’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism found that “Future leaders must be strong in quantitative, technical, and business skills. But to advance in their careers, they also need to be good strategic thinkers and must have strong social and communications skills.”

The WSJ article made the case for the importance of continuing to offer a liberal arts curriculum to students. The author makes the critical point that liberal arts and STEM needn’t be an “either/or” proposition. A Forbes.com blog speaks of the many smaller college and universities, such as Rochester Institute of Technology, which have created cross-disciplinary or integrated curriculums, that require STEM students to complete a general education program. At the same time, liberal arts schools like Lafayette University are beginning to reform their curriculums to keep them more relevant.

Critics of liberal arts education will make the case that majoring in a liberal arts field doesn’t guarantee a job with high earnings. This is true. No major can guarantee that. However, some of our country’s most successful and well-paid CEOs majored in liberal arts disciplines: Mark Parker, President and CEO of Nike (political science), Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks (communications) and Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company (television and radio)

One of the tenets of a liberal arts education is practicing critical thinking. According to the WSJ article “Technical and business skills can get graduates in the door, but an ability to think critically and communicate effectively can play an equal, if not larger role in determining success.” It would seem then, that students of all majors would benefit from a mix of courses that are STEM based and liberal arts based.
I would love to hear your opinions on this—please let me know how you are advising your liberal arts majors in their career searches.

Career Readiness: Exploring Leadership

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

The effective leader is someone who can communicate rationally, connecting relationally, manage practically and lead directionally and strategically. The head, the heart, the hands and the feet are all effectively engaged in the leadership process.Australian Leadership Foundation

Leadership: Leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others. The individual is able to assess and manage his/her emotions and those of others; use empathetic skills to guide and motivate; and organize, prioritize, and delegate work.Career Readiness for the New College Graduate, A Definition and Competencies, National Association of Colleges and Employers

 

Most of us lead in unique ways everyday but can’t articulate how. And most people, when asked to talk about their leadership, default to examples of being the top person in charge of a team, of a club, of a project. Students I work with often get stressed if they have not been the captain of a varsity team, served as a board member or been the treasurer for a social club, stating I don’t have any leadership experience.  The majority of people I counsel on this topic think first of charismatic or natural born leaders—the rare individuals with big personalities who motivate others through inspiration.

Leadership as defined by NACE’s Career Readiness for the New College Graduate goes beyond the “natural born leader” definition by focusing on the interpersonal, on empathy for guiding and motivating, on emotional intelligence, and on the ability to organize, prioritize, and delegate. The Australian Leadership Foundation draws from ancient Greek philosophers and the ontology of the human in naming four essential areas of effective leadership: Praxis, Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. A quick google search will provide another host of leadership definitions, theories and models, including:

  • Transactional
  • Transformational
  • Servant
  • Free-Rein
  • Autocratic
  • Democratic
  • Supportive
  • Situational
  • Participative

For the visual learner, a google image search will also uncover an array of colorful charts, graphs and diagrams depicting many current leadership models, theories and styles—a bounty of choices to consider when thinking about how to frame one’s own leadership preferences and style.

Google leadership models

 

What kind of leader are you?

While encouraging a student to do the research necessary to develop their own definition of leadership, I usually suggest that they begin with leadership model images that appeal to them. It is relatively easy to then follow the links to read about theories and types of leadership.

Some questions to think about while researching models:

  • Have I held many official leadership positions in my life so far?
  • Do I tend to foster collaboration? How?
  • Do I prefer to do everything myself, or am I able to delegate?
  • Who is my favorite leader?  Why?
  • Can I describe one specific example of my favorite leader’s leadership?
  • Am I the volunteer note-taker who may go unnoticed but who develops an agenda based on group consensus and sends it out by email ten minutes after the meeting?
  • Which of these models resonate with me?
  • Do I insist on my own compelling strategy and sell it?
  • Do I regularly advise and mentor peers?
  • How do I define effective leadership?

The Importance of Team

As team models are integral to leadership models, I also refer students to the Margerison-McCann Team Management Wheel. With its holistic symbol, the circle, it illustrates the varied and equally important roles required in a group to accomplish goals.  And in many leadership models, these team roles are also leadership roles.  The majority of students I work immediately relate to one or more parts of this wheel—Creator/Innovators, Thruster/Organizers, Controller/Inspectors, Linkers, Concluder/Producers—and are quickly able to articulate their unique leadership style.

This model also helps students recognize peers in new ways. They may realize that a group member they are annoyed with who has trailed off at the conclusion of a project was, in fact, extremely active in the idea generation and organizing phase of the project and has already made a vital contribution. They may recognize that a team member who has not made a significant concrete contribution has actually been actively managing group dynamics and keeping communication lines open (The Linkers).  They might newly appreciate the range of roles and types of leadership on their team, including their own.

Recognizing one’s natural leanings and the roles one typically assumes on a team is key to discovering and articulating one’s leadership style. Likewise, understanding the leanings and roles of others is extremely important.  By delving into specifics, by thinking, talking, and writing about them, we unearth a wealth of interesting material for describing leadership.  When we develop our own definition of leadership, we make a frame.  And in that frame, we can see a concrete illustration of our leadership.