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

by Marc Goldman

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

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

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

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

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva UniversityMarc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University
Twitter: @MarcGoldmanNYC
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/marcjgoldman
Blogs from Marc Goldman

Focusing on Diversity on College Campuses

by Tom Borgerding

Last in a series.

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

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

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

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

Career Colloquium for Physics Majors: Using Exploration to Increase Persistence

by Samantha McGurgan

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

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

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

Here’s how we did it:

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

Why did you choose physics?

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

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

Activity:

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

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

Outcomes:

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

“Who else wants to work at ____ ?”

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

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

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

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

Samantha McGurgan

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

The Resume:  Capital R Versus Lowercase r

by Lisa Tandan

Just last week a colleague from another student affairs department came over to talk with us about what we do at the career center at Hofstra University. “I know you do great work with resumes…,” he began. At that point, about 10 of us in the room perked up, all ready to pounce: “We’re more than just resumes!”

It’s a scene that I’ve seen play out across institutions, across state lines. The instant reaction we, in career development, have when we feel defined as “the resume place.” We’re so much more than that!

That noted, last semester I conducted a qualitative study of our student appointments. The first question asked students to fill in what they learned during their one-on-one appointment with a career counselor, with no prompting and no requirement that it be written in a full sentence. The question was open-ended and one word answers were okay. Of the 180 respondents, 99 of them, the largest number by far, included the word “resume.”

I’d like to propose that, when we, in career development, talk about resume, we are talking about a tool. We’re talking about the actual PDF or Word document that contains contact information, action verbs, education, skills, and experience. Resume, to us, is one of the many tools that students need when they graduate, along with the ability to tell their stories, talk about their strengths, and show the career readiness skills employers seek.

But, I think, for those outside our profession, resume means something else. The resume becomes “Resume” with a capital “R” and encompasses all of career development. It’s all the things that, because they’re not in our field, they don’t yet have the terminology to say. Resume MEANS career development to them.

Students talk casually about being able to add something to their resume. We’ve often heard that “This experience will be great for my resume!” When we hear comments like this, I hypothesize the speaker doesn’t mean to limit this great experience to simply writing something on their resume document. While that’s part of it, they also likely mean adding it to their repertoire, to their story, to their life’s accomplishments, to their reasons why someone should select them for a position. It’s much more than just writing something on a piece of paper. It’s making this new experience a part of their career narrative.

If this is so, where do we go from here? Based on the feedback from my qualitative analysis, and the knowledge that most campuses still see career development as “the resume place,” I am wondering if we can take that word and own it. Can we claim it and redefine it for our campuses? Instead of immediately correcting everyone, can we start meeting others where they are and talk about what they mean when they say resume? Is it just the document? Or something more? My money is on something more.

Answer these questions and join the discussion in the NACE Community!

lisa tandanLisa C. Tandan, Director of Career Development and Assessment, Hofstra University
Twitter: @lisatandan
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisatandan/

Auld Lang Syne—Resolutions for 2017

by Marc Goldman

I always enjoy celebrating the holiday season with friends and family. New Year’s Eve has been a tradition in my house since I was a preschooler. Yes, my parents let me stay up late from a very early age, which might explain my night owl tendencies to this day. Once January 1 has come and gone, people discuss their resolutions for the coming year. These goals and commitments might have to do with health and wellness, social lives, hobbies, activism, and even the workplace. And that got me thinking. From a professional standpoint, what are my New Year’s resolutions for 2017?

  1. Follow the data: More and more, our industry is turning to data, big and small, quantitative and qualitative, as a source for strategic planning, decision making, and new ideas. My goal is to use data as a powerful driver for both my office’s programming and employer outreach. In addition, data will help us assess our success in terms of outcomes, resources, attendance, and awareness. And embracing external reports on trends and data will help with messaging and promotion of my team’s mission on and off campus.
  2. No I in TEAM: Half of my staff is new to the career center this academic year, so we have been rebuilding and team building at the same time. This staffing scenario provides great opportunity and enthusiasm, but it presents challenges to the staffers, new and seasoned as well. I need to be more open minded than ever before, while remaining focused on my philosophy and vision of our shared work to ensure that we benefit the students, the reason we are all in it together.
  3. Show me the money: As with many career services offices, funding can be a challenge. Having offices on two campuses only makes that issue more pronounced. I plan to explore fundraising opportunities now that my staffing trials and tribulations have ended (for the present). Whether I develop an employer partner program, fundraising for specific program needs, or both has yet to be decided. But I will be consulting with my advancement colleagues for their input and experience on this one.
  4. Reading is fundamental: While I do spend a good deal of time reading online articles, checking out the occasional blog post, and following many colleagues (and celebs) on Twitter, it is high time I do a bit more of a deep dive into this wonderful world of books. There are a number of titles on my hit list. I just have to start with one. Is there a career services book club out there I can join? Yikes, did I just come up with another idea to implement?
  5. Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!: One of my favorite movies is Rudy, the story of the ultimate sports underdog, whose grit, determination, and positive attitude lead him to some degree of legend status. Rudy’s story reminds me that I need to keep my positive attitude (no laughing, please) regardless of circumstances, challenges, or roadblocks ahead. And in my office and on campus, optimism really can be one of the most powerful motivators and messages to convey.

I will check in with you in January 2018 to let you know how well I end up sticking to my resolutions. What are some of yours? Feel free to let me know on Twitter (@MarcGoldmanNYC). Happy 2017!

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva UniversityMarc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University
Twitter: @MarcGoldmanNYC
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/marcjgoldman
Blogs from Marc Goldman

Rise and Thrive

by Samantha Haimes

Samantha Haimes won the 2016 NACE/Spelman Johnson Rising Star Award.

Last summer was a bit of a personal and professional whirlwind for me. Within two months, I left a job that afforded me growth, opportunity, and some of the best co-workers I could ever imagine, took my dream trip to southern Italy (let’s chat if you need any convincing on taking this trip for yourself), and moved to a new state, 1,700 miles from my friends and family in south Florida. In the midst of all of this, I also achieved one of my biggest professional accomplishments to date: receiving the NACE/Spelman Johnson Rising Star Award at the 2016 NACE Conference & Expo.

Since beginning in career services about six years ago, I have enjoyed learning about the recipient of the Rising Star. Perhaps it is because some of the people I admire most in our field have won this in years past (they know who they are, I gush over their accomplishments and amazing personalities everytime I see them). But I think it is also because there is something really motivating and inspiring to me about professionals getting recognized for strong leadership and contributions to our field, even just a few years into their career.

Contributions to the field… only four to seven years in? It may sound like a tall order, especially if you’re newer to the field. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there have been [many] moments when I’ve questioned myself: Am I significantly contributing to the field?  I am not running my own department or division. I am not single-handedly restructuring an office or offering consulting services to other career centers. Am I making significant contributions?

But what I’ve realized is, there is so much that goes into making positive, impactful, and meaningful contributions to the field career services. Among many things, being a leader in this field also has a lot to do with the way that you carry yourself, your willingness to learn and take risks, the relationships you strive to build, and your ability and openness to reflect.

As I said, I have always enjoyed hearing about what has influenced the path of past recipients, as I’ve tried to apply some of those things to my own professional practice. So when asked to write this blog post, I thought it was only appropriate to share a few tips of my own that I strive for each day.

Ask questions. This is something I actively work on. The Achiever in me loves to get things done, so it can be easy to just start tackling a problem or issue at work without asking critical questions. Newer professionals may sometimes shy away from asking questions as well, concerned that it might appear they lack knowledge, skills, or moreover that they are questioning something inappropriately. However, we have to get past all of this and realize that taking the time to ask well-thought-out questions will actually yield greater results. Not to mention, you will seem that much more engaged in whatever you’re working on in your office and will likely make others feel comfortable to ask questions themselves. One of my mentors taught me a lot of lessons in asking questions. I notice that whenever I ask for her advice or guidance, she doesn’t actually give me the answer. She simply asks me questions until I process things out enough to make my own decision. It’s tricky, but effective!

Become your own advocate. Throughout the earlier years of my career, I had a lot of difficulty asking for things that I wanted. I never wanted to appear selfish and I definitely did not want to inconvenience or bother anyone. This all came from a good place, but can be a debilitating mindset to take on as a professional. Just because you know what you want and ask for it, doesn’t mean you are being selfish—if you ask for it in the right context.

Funny enough, I learned a big lesson in this area when it came to attending the NACE conference. In 2013, the conference was just a few hours from my then-home in Miami and I was dying to go. The trouble was, sending me to the conference would be costly and I knew some key players in my office were already attending. At one point in my career, I would have accepted this as defeat, assumed I couldn’t attend, and felt disappointed as I followed the conference on social media later in the year. But instead, I printed out the conference program, outlined specific goals, and went through each session identifying which I would attend and the direct contributions I could make to the office after attending. I made my “pitch” to the executive director and left his office feeling exhilarated. There was something so energizing about making my case. I almost didn’t even care what the outcome was because at the end of the day, I knew I had done everything I could to try and attend. I reference this example, so many years later, because it was truly a turning point for me. It afforded me a level of professional confidence and maturity that made me realize the importance and impact of advocating for myself. Whenever I find myself feeling intimidated to ask for something, I think of the feeling I had when I left his office (and the subsequent feeling when he approved me to attend later that week) and channel that same energy.

Be genuine. We are lucky to work in a field with some outstanding professionals who are even more amazing people. Getting to know your colleagues as individuals and not just for their roles is an all-around strategy that will help you accomplish more in your work and likely help you enjoy everyday at the office even more. It is so important to stay genuine to who you are. I really believe people can tell the difference between someone who is genuine and someone who is being fake—we’ve all seen it right? I show people the real Samantha, pretty much right up front. I have a lot of energy and passion, I’m upbeat and positive, and dare I say it, am a bit of a raging extrovert. The relationships I’ve built, with colleagues and mentors within my own departments and across the country, are in large part thanks to my willingness to be my genuine self in front of others. Think of someone who you would describe as genuine in your life. Chances are, you likely enjoy their company, trust their judgement, and appreciate their character, confidence, and communication style. If you break each of these things down, aren’t these all qualities we want from the people we work with? Be genuine yourself and you’ll attract others who are genuine.

Practice gratitude. Maybe I am influenced by all of the resolutions of 2017, but I think that gratitude is something we may not always think about when it comes to the workplace. But we have a lot to be thankful for. We work in a field that makes a lasting impact on students’ lives, has consistent national attention, and is filled with inspiring innovators and thought-leaders for us to all look up to. Hopefully you work in an office where the work that you are doing day-to-day is something to be thankful for, along with your colleagues, co-workers, and supervisors. I would advise that whether you are a newer or more seasoned professional, making a conscious effort to practice gratitude in the workplace can be a gamechanger. It is easy to get caught up in the “busy season” and anxiously await for summer and holiday breaks when things slow down. But isn’t the business of it all what makes us thrive? Without students on campus, none of us would have these roles.

In 2016, when I knew there was the potential for some personal and professional change in my life, I made an intentional effort to start each day with a grateful heart. Well, I challenge everyone, including myself, to start each workday with a sincerely grateful mind. When you go into work, and you have a busy day with back-to-back Outlook calendar invites, I guarantee there is still something to be grateful for. Maybe you finally secured a meeting with a faculty member you’ve been trying to get in front of, or perhaps you’re hosting a new program in partnership with a student organization that could lead to something great. Whatever the case may be, adopting this mindset can have a positive lasting impact not only on the work that you produce, but on your professional reputation and brand.

In the end, strive to thrive. You know your role better than anyone, so challenge yourself in this next year to thrive as a career services professional. As I now settle into my new home in Vermont, post conference and post Rising Star, I am consistently striving to thrive as a professional, thrive in relationships I build with both new and existing colleagues, and thrive in my own self-reflection.

The NACE Awards honor members’ outstanding achievements in the career services and HR/staffing professions. Excellence Awards are judged on program needs/objectives, content, design, creativity, innovation, measurable outcomes and ease of replication. Win honors and recognition for yourself, your staff, and your organization. Awards submissions close January 31, 2017. Details: http://www.naceweb.org/about-us/awards.aspx.

Samantha HaimesLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanthaghaimes
Twitter: @sghaimes

Samantha Haimes is a career services professional with a passion for connecting and educating both students and employers. She works in marketing and communications at Middlebury College’s Center for Careers and Internships. Prior to her current position, she was employed at the University of Miami in various roles at the Toppel Career Center, most recently as the Associate Director for Career Readiness. She earned a master of science in higher education from the University of Miami and a bachelor of arts in advertising and public relations from the University of Central Florida. She has also worked at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.