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Thinking about Strengths in the Workplace

by Philip Wilkerson, George Mason University

We say we encourage strengths in the workplace, but do we really adhere to this philosophy in practice? Only 32% of U.S. workers have reported that they can do what they do best every day at work.[1] I work at George Mason University (GMU), and I will go on record and say, “yes it does happen here.” I get to use my strengths most of the time. It would be unrealistic to believe that I get to do what I do best 100% of the time, but I believe that over half of my time is used in ways that utilize my strengths.

At GMU we strongly encourage the community to take the CliftonStrengths assessment. This commitment is so strong that it is offered for FREE for anyone who is affiliated with the University. To date 23,641 faculty, staff, and students have taken the assessment.

People at Mason wear their strengths like a badge of honor. We end our email signatures with our top five strengths. We rock t-shirts. We discuss strengths in our first meetings with new community members. We use our strengths to build hashtags on twitter. I recently organized a meeting of Woos during Strengths Appreciation Day. We used the hashtag #WOOOOOTANG for our photo.

wooo tang

For us, this is a relatively normal part of the way we work as a community. I recently interviewed Dr. Beth Cabrera on my podcast, Positive Philter. Dr. Cabrera is a senior scholar at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. She shared that strengths allow us to move away from a deficit perspective. In other words, if we know that the extroverted Woo in our office enjoys going out and meeting with new people, then we should honor that strength and position them in places where they can do outreach. We should allow the individual the space to engage their strengths, while also learning new skills. When we do performance reviews, it’s easier to focus on what the individual is doing wrong or what needs to be fixed. When we use a strengths-focused evaluation, we can use a lens of continuous improvement of ones strengths.

 

career services

If you are interested in discussing how strengths apply to the world of work, please join me on twitter for a #EACE twitter Chat on Tuesday June 11th at noon. We will discuss the simple ways we incorporate strengths into our daily lives. Please mark your calendar and join us.

 

Philip Wilkerson  is a higher educational professional with a diverse background in career preparation, academic strategies, admissions, recruitment with nearly 10 years in the field. He has been described as a peer influencer and an emerging leader who is always eager to learn and soak up best practices on how to combine positivity and well-being with professionalism. He tries his best to help students find the intersection between chasing their dreams and making a living.

Top Five Strengths: WOO | Positivity | Empathy | Communication | Developer

 

[1] Reflects % reporting they have “opportunity to do what they do best every day at work”; from Gallup 2007 global database, referenced on p. 12 in Strengths Bad Leadership, Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, Gallup Inc., 2008.

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Ask a Recruiter: Michael DiStanisloa, Chubb

The goal of this series is to have recruiters share their expertise and advice on the internship and job search process so that career development professionals can better address students’ concerns.

Michael DiStanisloa, HR Generalist at Chubb

How much weight do you place on cover letters in the application process?

Very little, unless the job they are applying for does not necessarily correlate with their background and experience. A cover letter should be used to explain specific knowledge and skill sets that aren’t clear in the resume.

What’s your advice to students who are juggling multiple offers?

Follow your passion. Do not take a job because of the salary only. Make sure you are entering a role or field that you like or are passionate about which will make you enjoy work that much more.

What’s your recommendation to students on handling the salary negotiation process?

Please feel free to ask questions. Ask about starting salary, salary ranges, where your experience can get you in the company.

What do you want to hear when you ask a student, “Tell me about yourself”?

A mix of personal and professional information. Try not to overshare, but be yourself. As long as you are authentic, the interview will go smoothly.

What are immediate things that would put a student candidate in your “no” pile?    

Overconfidence. There is nothing wrong with knowing your worth and explaining all of the things you can bring to the table. But understand the difference between confidence and cockiness.

How should students answer the question, “Tell me about a weakness you have”?     

This is a question that stumps a lot of individuals during an interview. I, personally, try not to go this route. But if asked, please be honest and let the interviewer know that you are working on this specific weakness. Also provide examples how how you are working towards becoming better.

How do you recommend students talk about negative work experiences, such as they worked for a boss they did not get along with well?              

Try not to go into too much detail about the issue. You can definitely discuss differences but please do not slander anyone during an interview. Be as professional as you possibly can and make sure to highlight all of the positive things that also happened during your time with the company, manager, and/or coworkers.

How do you feel about objective statements on student resumes?         

They are perfectly fine to add into a summary if you know for sure what you want to do. I would not blame a graduating student if they had no idea what they wanted to do for the rest of their life. That is a tough decision that will be figured out in time. If you already know, great! But if you don’t, please don’t feel bad sharing that information.

What are some things that really impress you during an interview with a student?    

I am mostly impressed with confidence, internships that have taught them corporate values, and being able to speak on a company’s history and why you would be able to fit into our culture.

 

 

Connecting Classroom Instruction and Career Services: A Collaborative Approach

By Patrick Massaro, Rowan University

Within the higher education setting, trends come and go, but a common phrase that has permeated this landscape is, “Meet students where they are.” Upon first glance, this ideal can be perceived as a static concept. However, further, inspection reveals a multi-dimensional nature of student engagement that considers participant learning style, current educational practices, and issues inherent to navigating the sophisticated system of higher education. Attempting to identify students’ underlying career needs within this intersection can be a daunting task for any professional.

In recognizing similar concerns regarding Rowan University’s Counseling in Educational Setting students, a new plan of action for serving this major was enacted. Since 2017, members of Rowan University’s Office of Career Advancement facilitated annual workshops for the Counseling in Educational Setting master’s degree program. Students pursuing this degree have primary career aspirations of becoming School Counselors, Academic Advisers, Career Counselors, or Licensed Professional Counselors.

While initial workshops concentrated on traditional topics such as professional branding, resume writing, and interviewing, research on the career preparation for counseling students and program coordinators revealed new areas of need. Specifically, holders of this degree requested instruction on facilitating and interpreting career assessments. Blount, Bjornsen, and Moore (2018) identified this skill set as paramount to increasing a sense of internal self-awareness. Further, Lara, Kline, and Paulson’s (2011) study revealed that although counseling students learn about career counseling interventions, they often do not feel confident actualizing these skills. Both of these studies provided ample insight for the future direction of the workshops.

Upon gathering additional research, specific need areas for the participants were identified, and the learning outcomes of the workshops were modified. As an outcome of analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of career assessments that were easily accessible, the Focus 2 was selected considering its prevalent use among the primary, secondary, and postsecondary settings that employ these graduates. There was also an intentional focus on skills development which was framed by NACE Career Competencies. Particularly, NACE’s Career Competency definition of critical thinking/problem solving, teamwork/collaboration, and professionalism/work ethic established key takeaways for instruction. This included having students comprehend the meaning of their own Focus 2 results and recognizing how this tool can be applied in their future counseling practices.

Reinforcing career competencies were also induced through individual student reflections. Ziomek-Daigle (2017) highlighted how reflections serve as a seminal practice for attaining an increased level of consciousness and learning outputs. As such, students were tasked to reflect on the grade levels they work with and how the career assessments can be used with their student populations.

As new generational cohorts shape the higher education landscape, it is critical to evaluate our services for these populations. Similar to how students’ complete career assessments to recognize their own personal values, higher education professionals must also analyze our engagement with current academic programs. Actively pursuing partnerships between academic and student affairs, while also researching best practices for specific majors can provide a greater contribution than any one group could present on their own. While these interventions can be small or large in application, completing these actions put us one step closer to, “Meeting students where they are.”

Patrick Massaro serves as a Career Counselor in Rowan University’s Office of Career Advancement. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Counseling in the Educational Setting from Rowan University and is a National Certified Counselor (NCC).

References:

Blount, A. J., Bjornsen, A. L., & Moore, M. M. (2018). Work Values, Occupational Engagement, and Professional Quality of Life in Counselors in-Training: Assessments in a Constructivist-Based Career Counseling Course. Professional Counselor, 8(1), 60–72. https://doi-org.ezproxy.rowan.edu/10.15241/ajb.8.1.60

Lara, T. M., Kline, W. B., & Paulson, D. (2011). Attitudes Regarding Career Counseling: Perceptions and Experiences of Counselors- in-Training. Career Development Quarterly, 59(5), 428–440. https://doi-org.ezproxy.rowan.edu/10.1002/j.2161-0045.2011.tb00969.x

National Association of College and Employers (2015). Career Readiness Defined. Retrieved from http://www.naceweb.org/career-readiness/competencies/career-readiness-defined/

Ziomek-Daigle, J. (2017). Using Reflective Writing Practices to Articulate Student Learning in Counselor Education. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 12(2), 262–270. https://doi-org.ezproxy.rowan.edu/10.1080/15401383.2016.1187581

 

 

Encouraging Skill Development for Study Abroad Students

By Chelsea Keen, Penn State University  

Students often can’t wait to study abroad to visit famous sites, eat delicious food, and post their adventures on Instagram. For many undergraduates, developing professionally-relevant skills is often not a top priority.

This is where we come in.

As career development professionals, we can encourage students to maximize the career benefits of studying abroad. By offering effective insights and tools, we help students seamlessly integrate professional skill development into their international experience.

Below you’ll find strategies I have implemented in my role as a career coach and global experiences coordinator at Penn State to encourage skill development before, during, and after study abroad.

Before Study Abroad: Before students jet off to faraway lands, prime them to develop professional skills abroad through pre-departure workshops. Penn State’s “Put Your Study Abroad to Work” workshop is both informational and practical; I find it valuable to educate students about NACE’s career-readiness competencies – highlighting global and intercultural fluency – and then providing tangible examples of how to develop those skills abroad.

This workshop sparks students’ realization that they can grow naturally through their everyday experiences abroad. For example, they can improve their interpersonal communication skills by living in a homestay, build problem-solving skills by navigating a foreign transportation system, and enhance their ability to adapt by embracing local customs and culture.

During Study Abroad: While students are overseas, I share monthly newsletters with quick, relevant tips for how they can develop professional skills in their daily interactions. More importantly, I encourage them to reflect on and document those experiences; I suggest keeping a Google document with bullet points as a brief inventory of their experiences abroad. This will serve students as they prepare for future interviews and when they simply want to take a stroll down memory lane. It also helps to remind students to set up a virtual appointment if they want to work on their resume or job search from afar.

After Study Abroad: I love inviting students in for career coaching sessions right after they return from their time abroad because the experience is still so fresh in their minds. It is the perfect time to prompt them to reflect on their skill development by asking strategic interview-style questions, such as:

  • Tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge abroad – how can you demonstrate the same problem-solving skills, adaptability, or resiliency to tackle difficult situations in the future?
  • What did you learn about other cultures’ communication styles? Describe what it was like to communicate with people from a different background and how this skill can be beneficial in the workplace.

 

By responding to these questions, students learn to articulate the professionally-relevant skills they developed during their experience abroad.

Overall, by engaging with students before, during, and after they study abroad, career development professionals can help students to truly maximize their international experiences.

Chelsea Keen, M.Ed., is a career coach at Penn State University, specializing in promoting professional development through international experiences. She is passionate about empowering students to identify and articulate the valuable, unique skills they bring to the table.  

 

Three Simple Steps to Becoming a Learning Leader at Work.

By Hawley Kane, Head of Organizational Talent and Leadership Development, Saba Software

Have you watched a TED talk lately? Chances are, you’ve clicked one of the popular videos on your LinkedIn or Twitter feed. The TED slogan is “ideas worth spreading.” By sharing an insightful talk about love letters to strangers, neuroscience or the “power pose,” we teach others.

Establishing yourself as a learning leader within your higher-ed organization can start with small steps such as sharing a TED talk, blog post or relevant podcast. Why should we do this? I’d like you to consider that creating a leader-driven learning culture within a higher education institution is a professional responsibility for learning leaders. We should always keep learning—and sharing that learning—whether through off-site trainings, conferences with big-name headliners or free webinars from thought leaders in the industry.

As higher-ed professionals, we should not miss out on development opportunities simply because we’re already in the workforce! We should also proactively seek out opportunities that will help us achieve our career goals. The 2018 Brandon Hall Group report, “The Learning and Performance Link: Making the Connection” found that high-performing organizations develop learning environments that are engaging, accessible, impactful, scalable and relevant. One way organizations can create this type of experience is by delivering personalized learning.

So when you’re ready to take additional steps (and I think you should!), here are three unique ways to position yourself as a learning leader in your higher-ed organization.
Becoming a learning leader: what it’s not
Lucky for all of us, becoming a learning leader isn’t about laboring for weeks over an unwieldy PowerPoint or scheduling multiple meetings with colleagues far and wide. In a large part, what I’m talking about is promoting a culture of learning and sharing. When you enable your people and teams to build new skills and perform at higher levels, you position yourself as a learning leader.

 

  1. Become friends with microlearning

We’ve all done it: we travel to a conference and take great notes, only to shove them into our notebooks when we get back, never to look at them again. The next time you listen to a keynote and think, “I need to tell my team all of this good stuff,” commit to writing a short blog post sharing your learning. Write it in the hotel room or on the plane back home while your thoughts (and enthusiasm) are still fresh.

 

When you get back, share your blog on your own learning management system (LMS), Slack channel or company intranet so that your colleagues can read it and learn anytime, anywhere. Why not submit the post to your internal newsletter or revamp it for an industry magazine? You could also ask for ten minutes at the end of a team meeting to share your findings, which will position you as a leader and allow you to practice presentation skills. The sky’s the limit when it comes to microlearning.

2. Go for a one-to-one or one-to-many approach

If I lost you on my first point, don’t worry. So, writing blog posts and speaking to large groups aren’t your favorite things. It’s okay! Remember to teach to your strengths. Consider hosting a lunch-and-learn and inviting colleagues you think would most benefit from your recap.

Another way to share learning in a more one-on-one manner is to sign up for your organization’s mentorship program. There’s no doubt there is a colleague down the hall (or in another location) who could benefit from your new knowledge. If you want to become known as a learning leader, experiment with different methods, always playing to your strengths.

3. Share information strategically

If you’re lucky, your LMS will allow you to create learning playlists where you can organize and then share content for a particular topic. One-on-one meetings are another excellent place to share information, whether you are a manager or an employee. Remember to make accessing the content you share easy and painless. (Watch how the learning staff at Cornell University made user-friendliness a top priority for their learners.)

 

Back to those TED talks—some people learn better by watching video. So consider the recipient when sharing information. If you know someone loves words and is a great writer, send them links to articles or tag them when you publish a new post. It doesn’t matter how you share the information, the important thing is that it gets to the people who need it most or who can use it to improve their performance and drive business success.

 

The world is yours—get going!
We all know the days of structured corporate learning is morphing into self-directed informal learning. Take advantage of this trend in leadership development to position yourself as a learning leader. With new technology and digital tools, it’s even easier than ever to proactively seek out opportunities to increase your knowledge. And once you have that knowledge, make a plan to share it using some of these tips. Before long, you will have established yourself as a learning leader in your organization.

 

Hawley is head of Organizational Talent and Leadership Development at Saba Software. As the OD leader at a talent management provider, she has the unique opportunity to marry Saba’s ongoing performance, continuous learning and career development strategies with the company’s own cloud solutions and services. Hawley is responsible for global initiatives ranging from onboarding to performance management training and leader development, as well as Saba’s people and team-driven development programs. Before her L&D leadership role, Hawley served as principal product manager at Halogen Software, prior to the company’s acquisition by Saba in 2017. Nearly a decade of experience in working with hundreds of HR and learning leaders to translate their business and user needs into product capabilities has provided her with distinctive insight into her current role.

 

 

Ask a Recruiter Series: Kate Mulvey, USLI

The goal of this series is to have recruiters share their expertise and advice on the internship and job search process so that career development professionals can better address students’ concerns.

KateMulvey - Kate Mulvey

  • Kate Mulvey
  • College Student Program – Team Leader
  • USLI: Wayne (Pa- Home office); Oakbrook (IL); Austin (TX); Mission Viejo (CA); San Ramon (CA); Toronto (Canada)

What should students know about your company when asked about it in an interview?

They should have high-level knowledge of what our company does and what our core values are. We look to hire people that match these values.

What’s your advice to students who are juggling multiple offers?

Make sure they are interviewing the other organizations too. They should choose the opportunity that feels right to them. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

What do you want to hear when you ask a student, “tell me about yourself”?

I am looking to get to know them; and find out who they are since they probably don’t have a lot, if any, professional experience. I’d also like them to share any of their life experiences and how those experiences transfer to a work setting. Students should also be prepared to expand on their responses. And, real-life examples go a long way.

What are the immediate things that would put a student candidate in your “no” pile?

Low energy, lack of effort during the interview, disrespectful

How should students be answering the question, “tell me about a weakness you have”?

We all have weaknesses, so what I’m really looking for is their transparency in their response, and not them trying to mask a flaw. I’m more inclined to respond better to someone who can share a vulnerability than someone who tries to hide one.

How do you recommend students talk about negative work experiences, such as they worked for a boss they did not get along with well?

It’s all in the delivery. What was the issue, how did you respond and handle the situation to make it better, and what did you take away from it that now makes you a better person? Negative things happen, but the delivery can have a positive undertone. Blaming someone else entirely for the situation does not go over well.

What are some things that really impress you during an interview with a student?

Good energy, conversational, positive attitude, candor, respectful, prepared


 

If you are an EACE member recruiter or someone who works in recruiting, please share your expertise and we’ll feature you on our blog! Fill out our form here.


 

2019 Board Elections are Open!

2019 Board Elections are Open!

As an EACE member, identifying and promoting leaders among us to serve on the EACE Board of Directors is our duty and responsibility. The future success of our organization is dependent on those who guide our association and make critical decisions on our behalf. All members are asked to vote in the annual elections.

Click on the board positions to review role descriptions and responsibilities and the candidate’s name to review their qualifications and interest in serving. You may check a candidate’s EACE service history by searching the online membership directory and reviewing their public profile.


Open Executive Committee Positions:

Open Non-Executive Committee Positions:
President-Elect
3-year term
Director, Finance
2-year term
Director, Diversity & Inclusion
2-year term
Director, PR & Communications
2-year term
Robbin Beauchamp, Wentworth Institute of Technology Ali Joyce,
Northeastern University
Darlene Johnson,
Hofstra University
Jocelyn Coalter,
St. John’s University
Jennifer Rossi Long,
West Chester University
Dr. Alicia Monroe,
Rowan University
 

The deadline to submit your vote is Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 12:00 PM EDT.
Questions regarding the 2019 Elections should be directed to Nominations Sub-Committee Chair, Stacy McClelland at stacy.r.mcclelland@ehi.com.

ON THE SPOT Campaign Program: “Nihil novi sub sole”

by Shirley Farrar, Rowan University

One of my colleagues requested clarity of the ON THE SPOT (OTS) program’s purpose in order to market our annual barbecue to participating employers. The Office of Career Advancement (OCA), a.k.a. “Career Hub,” has been offering professional career services since 1992. However, nationally less than 11% of university students utilize their Career Centers. The purpose of OTS is to provide awareness through our resume critiques, workshops, and annual barbecue. Each is part of our program’s marketing strategy, particularly, our end-of-the-year annual barbecue where we market the OCA Career Services to students and alumni by (1) showing our appreciation from the OCA department staff with food, prizes, fellowship, & fun, and (2) to bring awareness of the available career services located at the Glassboro, NJ campus, to increase new student participation.

In this blog post, I’d like to celebrate a past female keynote speaker and president of NACADA, Betsy McCalla-Wriggins, who was instrumental to Rowan University’s Career Center, or Career Hub. Mrs. Wriggins was the prior Director Emeritus of Rowan’s Career Hub, which was previously called “Career and Academic Planning Center” in 1992. She was the driving force who initiated the creation of the Glassboro, NJ career center we now know and utilize. This resource started as an all-inclusive Advising and Career Counseling Center just 27 years ago. The recently named Office of Career Advancement (OCA) has had more than five names since Betsy was the Director. Its staff has always been dedicated to helping current students attain positive career outcomes during their four-year degree programs as well as alumni with their lives after graduation.

There is an old Latin phrase “nihil novi sub sole,” which means there is nothing new under the sun. If you wait long enough, ideas are revisited or improved. This concept is important, especially if we have ideas or services that provide positive and significant improvement for individual’s career wellness. I’m certain the 1992 Career Center staff was dedicated and marketed their services to students. In the last two blogs, I discussed the process of the ON THE SPOT (OTS) campaign program. In November 2018, I was led to continue expanding the ON THE SPOT vision, to make students and alumni, aware of the career services offered by the Office of Career Advancement. Since the pilot implementation of this campaign in fall 2016, my program began acquiring surveys and providing resume critiques across the campus first in one location, the Chamberlain Student Center, and has since expanded upon our services within seven academic buildings.

Similar to Betsy’s initial program, our current OCA staff is focused on listening to our students, supporting their career goals, reflecting on the outcome of their 4-year plan, helping student and alumni acquire internships and employment opportunities, showing them that we care about their current and future well-being, and providing meaningful resources to help their life-long vision (Burton and McCalla-Wriggins, 2009). Providing professional career services has always been beneficial to student success. Other than separating advising and career counseling from the same department, “nihil novi sub sole,” there is nothing new under the sun. With our small staff of six addressing career-readiness and our new Feb. 2019 staff addition, plus three implementing employer relations, we remain dedicated. It is uncertain what new changes are on the horizon.

After speaking with my mentors on OTS “Next Steps,” they have encouraged me to reach out to additional departments, staff, faculty, and student groups. In one particular “networking” opportunity and an email discussing Best Practices, there have been new campus partnerships with possibilities starting in summer 2019. Just recently for the spring semester, we have partnered with the College of Education’s undergraduate majors in order to bridge academic and professional development. In addition, opportunities are in development to provide syllabi seminar career-readiness workshops to all our graduate level students in the Higher Education program. This is particularly exciting to me because one of my master’s degrees is in Higher Education in Administration, and my second master’s is in Counseling in Educational Settings.

It is the beginning of 2019 and I’m ready to unleash my time management skills, as opportunities and projects continue to take on a life of their own. As I reach out across the Glassboro campus, I am not alone at the OCA at Rowan University. Our efforts within the past three years have increased student’s participation at the OCA approximately between 3-5% of our 14-18,000 students, even though NACE 2017 reports nationally that career centers at the university level are underutilized by less than 11% of the campus population. National numbers may be affected by whether the campus career center is combined with academic advising; ours is not integrated. However, whether we are centralized through assisting all students or decentralized and “don’t confer credits nor work for specific departments” (NACE, 2017), we remain the university’s Career Hub. It remains our responsibility as staff, faculty, career counselors, advisors, mentors, and administrators since 1992 to increase student participation at the career center. This is particularly important, because students are more likely to be successful if they visit their campus career centers (GALLUP, 2017). The OTS will continue to market OCA’s career services, and I’m certain there will be plenty to blog about.

RESOURCES: Betsy McCalla-Wriggins presentation: http://nacada.rutgers.edu/schedule.html. Burton, D. N., & McCalla-Wriggins, B. (in press, 2009). Integrated career and academic advising programs. In K. Hughey, D. N. Burton, J. Damminger, & B. McCalla-Wriggins (Eds.)The Handbook of Career Advising. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 

Women of Color in Career Services: Research Findings and Recommendations for Practitioners

By Espie Santiago, CollegeNET & Larry Jackson, Northwestern University

Women of color (WOC) represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. workforce (Catalyst, 2018). Additional research from Catalyst (2018) and recent articles from USA Today (2017) and Forbes (2015) discuss the employment landscape and woes for WOC. Yet, little research has addressed the professional aspirations and challenges of WOC in higher education, let alone career services. According to statistics that were collected from NACE for a recent study/presentation, WOC are the least likely to attain senior leadership roles compared to white men and women, and men of color.

 These findings prompted us to investigate the barriers impacting career advancement for WOC in career services, especially since their presence is expected to increase within the field. We spearheaded a study interviewing 15 WOC staff and 21 senior administrators within career services across 30 U.S. institutions. A majority of the participants represented centralized career services offices at four-year institutions with a relatively equal representation of private and public institutions. In addition to collecting demographic information (e.g., gender, ethnicity), respondents shared their work history and challenges they experienced throughout their career. Participants were also asked to give their perceptions on issues impacting WOC in the workplace and to provide suggestions on how the career services field could offer better support. From these discussions, three key findings emerged to bring greater insight to this topic:

 

  1. WOC staff in career services experience similar challenges as WOC in other industries. Implicit/explicit bias, stereotyping, and tokenism were frequently reported throughout the study, just as these practices have been reported by WOC in other fields by various sources and articles. These negative experiences left lasting impressions on WOC staff within career services resulting in self-image concerns, including imposter syndrome. Some felt the need to minimize their identities to be accepted by colleagues and managers, while questioning their self-efficacy within the workplace.
  2. WOC staff report having many professional strengths beneficial to senior roles within career services. Strong management skills, along with being strategic, inclusive, passionate and relational, were common attributes cited during the interviews. Additionally, having a strong work ethic stood out as one of their greatest characteristics. Yet, WOC believed the latter quality commonly got overlooked by colleagues.
  3. There is a disparity between the obstacles white administrators faced with advancing their careers compared to people of color (POC) in senior administrator positions.   

One-third of the senior administrators interviewed identified as white/Caucasian. When asked about the challenges they experienced with career advancement, many reported that the application process was their greatest hurdle. Concerns over educational requirements, sufficient professional experience, and position availability delayed their ascension to senior level roles. This discovery demonstrated a stark contrast from POC who had to face stereotyping and imposter syndrome along with navigating application requirements.

With these findings revealed, it is important to consider, “What can the career services field do to better support WOC in their professional ambitions?” Below are recommendations to assist staff, administrators, and institutions with creating a more inclusive space for WOC to succeed in their vocational goals:

  1. Provide encouragement and professional support regarding career aspirations. Strive to understand the experiences, goals, and apprehensions of WOC. Verbally affirm their strengths, articulating how they have been an asset to the work of the office, institution, and field. Additionally, support opportunities for WOC to undertake additional projects or responsibilities within or outside the office to enhance their skills. Permitting WOC to have an outlet to grow their skills and experiences shows that you have confidence in their abilities to make a meaningful impact in the workplace.
  2. Establish a mentorship ecosystem. Connect WOC to experienced leaders within higher education to provide greater exposure and knowledge of the administrative landscape and strengthen their professional network. Many WOC staff from the study reported having difficulty with finding professional mentors on their own. Therefore, it is essential that experienced leaders take an active role in introducing WOC to colleagues within the field so they become more informed, visible, and connected as they pursue advancement opportunities.
  3. Actively engage in dismantling systemic barriers within career services to create pathways for career advancement. Vocalize opposition to policies and practices that limit inclusion and equity for WOC within the workplace. Evaluate and enhance the recruitment of WOC into our field and senior roles.

 

Supporting WOC will be an ongoing conversation as the U.S. workforce becomes more diverse. Yet, with enough knowledge, passion, and purpose to initiate change, we are confident that the career services profession can be a leading force in creating opportunities for WOC to thrive professionally and shine brightly within the field.

References:

Guynn, J. (2017, April 27) Here’s Why Women, Blacks and Hispanics are Leaving Tech. USA Today. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/04/27/toxic-workplaces-technology-women-minorities-retention/100977038/

Quick Take: Women of Color in the United States (2018). Retrieved from https://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-color-united-states-0

Travis, D.J., & Thorpe-Moscon, J. (2018) Day-to-day Experiences of Emotional Tax Among Women and Men of Color in the Workplace. Retrieved from https://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/day-day-experiences-emotional-tax-among-women-and-men-color-workplace

Tulshyan, R. (2015, Feb. 10) Speaking Up as a Woman of Color at Work. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/ruchikatulshyan/2015/02/10/speaking-up-as-a-woman-of-color-at-work/#55530dbe2ea3

BIO’s

Larry Jackson – Assistant Director for Student Career Advising, Northwestern Career Advancement

Larry Jackson is a career adviser at Northwestern Career Advancement. Throughout his time at Northwestern, Larry has contributed to numerous initiatives on-campus to create inclusive spaces for staff and students within different affinity groups. Larry is actively involved in the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) and the Hire Big 10+ Consortium through leadership positions and committee work. Larry is also a NACE/Spelman Johnson Rising Star Award Winner and has presented at Midwest ACE and NASPA regional and national conferences.

Espie Santiago, Director of Employer Relationships, CollegeNET

Espie is passionate about developing an inclusive leadership pipeline for the career services profession. After fifteen years in career education at Stanford University, she joined CollegeNET as Director of Employer Relationships for StandOut®, a video recruitment platform. At Stanford, Espie was Assistant Dean of Career Ventures, overseeing recruiting programs, and Assistant Dean of Career Communities, leading career coaches. She served as NACE 2016-2017 Inclusion Awareness Committee co-chair. Her presentations include, “Women of Color in Career Services – Creating Pathways for Career Advancement” (Midwest ACE 2018) and “Navigating the Culture of Whiteness & Patriarchy: Women of Color in Higher Education Leadership” (NASPA: 2018).

 

Meet Cheresa Fewell – EACE Member Spotlight

Cheresa Fewell

Career and Internship Advisor, St. John’s University, Fewellc@stjohns.edu

Cheresa Fewell

Where are you originally from and where do you live now?

Queens, NY

Outside of work, what are some of your favorite things to do?

I enjoy watching football and basketball when they are in season, cooking, trying and finding new restaurants, going to the beach, and catching up with friends.

Why do you do what you do?

I enjoy helping individuals to find their career or job based on their passion and desire. Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Sometimes I like to call myself the job whisperer.

What is your educational background?

AA in Psychology, BA in Psychology, & MS in Human Resource Management

What was your first job?

For my first job in my career, I was a Work Readiness Instructor/Youth Advocate at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation.

What is the best advice you ever received?

When there is no path, go and create one!

For someone starting in your field, what advice would you give?

Take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to you, that will allow you to succeed in this business.

What is something that might surprise us about you?

I like would like to race cars one day; I have a need for speed. LOL

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