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Posts from the ‘Topics in Career Services and Recruiting’ Category

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: 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.


The “Toast” of the Town

By Jo-Ann Raines, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Director Student and Alumni Career Development

Collaboration is a tool that career services’ offices use frequently. Working with faculty, other staff departments, students, and employers is a means to promote our message and programs beyond the limits of what our own staff can achieve.  This year Career Development Services (CDS) entered into a unique partnership with a student group that has proved beneficial to both of us.

Last spring we were approached by our newly-revived student chapter of Toastmasters International.  They had an interesting proposal:  in exchange for assisting with their membership fees, the members were willing to work with us in a quasi-ambassador role to spread the good news about our programs and services.  Toastmasters is an organization whose goals closely match one of ours, which is to help our students develop their oral communication skills in an intentional manner. Employers have long said that speaking clearly with purpose and organization is a skill they desire in their employees, including interns and recent grads.  We agreed to the proposal, held training sessions on CDS programs and services for the members, and embarked on initiatives for the fall semester.

The collaboration began with Coffee and Cocoa in the Morning, where the group’s representatives offered free coffee and cocoa to arriving students, staff, and faculty on two mornings in November.  They distributed fliers marketing themselves and our office and answered quick questions.  Toastmasters’ students helped us staff our weekly CDS at the Campus Center information table where we address student inquiries and review resumes.

Three events in quick succession were particularly effective:  the president of the organization acted as a co-host for our yearly Diversity Dining Etiquette event in November.  In addition to the introductory remarks, he led the ice breaker and facilitated the employer panel, including Q and A.  On another occasion, one of the members performed the introduction for John Decker, an alumnus and NASA engineer emeritus who was visiting campus and making class visits.

The final event was a push by Toastmasters to engage students in a free offering to the student body, the Bloomberg Terminal Certification, which gave students training in trading stocks and bonds, resume exposure, interview preparation, and connections with 300,000+ users.  Although already offered through the Martin Tuchman School of Management at NJIT, student usage was not robust.  Toastmasters took on the challenge and arranged for three days sponsored by the organization where students could sign up for stations spots and begin their certification process.  Marketing materials for Toastmasters and CDS were provided and student representatives were available during the day in the Financial Analysis Lab to answer questions about themselves and CDS.  This event boosted student participation in the certification process by more than double from attendance in previous weeks and increased CDS visibility.

We meet with Toastmasters liaisons every other week during the semester and will begin to plan spring activities once the new semester has begun.  We are looking forward to more opportunities for mutual benefit with this engaged group of students.

Jo-Ann R. Raines is the Director of Student and Alumni Development in Career Development Services at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ.  She has been with the university for 28 years in progressively responsible positions in career services.  She currently manages the quality of career advisement and delivery of experiential learning programs and activities for undergraduate and graduate students. Jo-Ann has a BA from St. John’s University in Social Sciences and an MA in Higher and Adult Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. 


The Power of a Network

By Ethan Selinger, Northeastern University

In today’s globalized world, it easy to connect with others, both in-person and online. The ability to create and maintain a professional network, both in-person and online, is vital to professional development and discovering job opportunities. As a career services professional, I believe it is essential that we educate our students on successfully building and utilizing a professional network.

Through my own teaching on the subject, I have found that many students still believe that searching on job boards and applying through company websites is the best method to finding a position. While utilizing a college’s job board and strategically applying online can be useful (especially for finding internships and co-ops), building a professional network can make finding a full-time job (and co-op and internship) much easier.

There are a variety of networking opportunities that are beneficial for students to take advantage of. These include:

  1. Informational Interviews- In my opinion, informational interviews are under utilized by students. I find myself encouraging students more often than not to try setting up and carrying out informational interviews with employers, students with experience in the professional world, etc. Informational interviews are an excellent tool for students to build their network while simultaneously learning more about a company, position, etc. As I tell my students, “people love to talk about themselves.”
  2. LinkedIn- LinkedIn, the professional online networking site, has a variety of available tools and functions that allow people to effectively build a network, especially for students. LinkedIn provides various capabilities that make networking easy for students. For example, searching an institution’s LinkedIn page allows students to filter alumni by their place of employment. If a student is interested in a particular company, finding potential alumni contacts provides an excellent blueprint for creating a new contact(s) in that company, and possibly setting up an informational interview/learning more about opportunities. Furthermore, recruiters do use LinkedIn to find potential candidates. LinkedIn has become a key component of my co-op prep courses, as setting up an engaging, informative profile is vital to both networking and job searching.
  3. Conferences- Being in Boston, I often encourage my students to lookout for potential conference opportunities. Being able to learn and meet potential contacts in their professional field can be vital to both professional development and networking.

These are some brief examples I use to help my students think about and build their professional networks. College members, how do you help your students develop their professional networks? Employer members, how do you encourage students to build their networks?

Ethan Selinger is currently a Cooperative Education (Co-op) Advisor at Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Science.

Making the Most Out of Winter Break

By Jo-Ann Raines, Director, Career Development Services, New Jersey Institute of Technology

After the stress of finishing projects and taking final exams, students look forward to the weeks of semester break and time to relax or travel.  Before they leave for that much-anticipated time off, we can encourage them to be creative and use the break as a strategic interval in the career development process. Some alternatives they can consider:

  • Review and revise the resume—Now that the fall semester has concluded, a review of accomplishments, new gpa, completed projects, major related courses, and extracurricular activities is in order.
  • Update social media—LinkedIn is recognized as a valuable tool for networking and the job search. Students can create a profile or update the existing one.  If students wish to include a photo, encourage them to use a shot that is professional in its setting.
  • Short internships—Taking on a short term internship is a good way to add to overall work experience and can be another source of additional networking contacts. The internship can be full time or part time, depending on the agreement between student and employer.
  • Finding a mentor—Having an experienced person as a guide in the career development process is a great advantage for emerging young professionals. The winter break can be an opportunity to review a list of previous contacts from school, community activities, and previous work experiences to identify a prospective mentor.
  • Information interviewing—After the holiday festivities have died down, students can reach out to a couple of network referrals who can shed some light on what they do and how they came to their careers.
  • Civic engagement—The holiday season offers may occasions to give back to the community. Volunteering has the triple advantage of providing assistance to those in need, adding another dimension to the resume, and supplying another means to build the professional network.
  • Social situations—This is a season for parties, dinners, meeting up with friends and family, and making new acquaintances. When appropriate, sharing short and long term career aspirations can lead to helpful information for future reference.

Students can advance their career development process while classes are not in session and they have more control over their time.  These suggestions are a few that can get them thinking and provide a boost to their career plans.

Jo-Ann Raines is the Director of Student and Alumni Career Development at  New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Extreme Career Fair Planning: Tips for Schools and Employers When Your City Resembles a Snow Globe on the Big Day

By Tiffany J. Franklin, Associate Director, University of Pennsylvania Career Services

After 19 years of coordinating roughly two career fairs per year, I’ve experienced a variety of weather conditions from those crisp fall days that define the season, to sweltering heat, and unrelenting rain storms. As any event planner knows, you must expect the unexpected and adapt accordingly. Rain – no problem! Provide umbrella bags, extra mats, and ensure no one slips. Heat – bring in extra water and fans. Bitter cold – order more coffee and plenty of coat racks. But snow, that’s another story. For me it inspires awe and dread.

My History with Snow

To understand my complicated relationship with snow I must share that I grew up in Atlanta, a place where we were more likely to contend with ice and I can only remember about 5 snowfalls during my whole childhood. In each case, I had about a week off from school due to weather. I still associate that first snowy morning with waiting in line at Kroger at 6am, feeling lucky to have scored a loaf of bread, eggs and milk, as if some French toast making contest had suddenly overtaken suburban Atlanta. To this day, my mom in Florida still calls to ensure I have enough food when snow is forecast. Moving up to Philly during grad school changed my perception of snow. While I still think it’s beautiful, it’s not quite as magical when you must commute in it. And then, it really became interesting this past February.

The past couple of years I’ve worked in a team of three to manage the annual Penn Startup Fair held in February. Planning any event that time of year in the northeast is always a gamble, but my heart sank when I looked at my iPhone weather app 10 days before the event and saw a snowflake for February 9th in the extended forecast. I rationalized it away, thinking of how that forecast is constantly changing, but that was one persistent snowflake that kept taunting me and never budged. I’ve been to a few fairs with light snowfall that did not disrupt anything, but this time felt different. Two days before the event the weather forecasters assured us snow was on the way and it was scheduled for right at morning rush hour.

When things don’t go according to plan

That’s when the well-oiled machine that is our typical career fair planning took a few detours. Since the event was scheduled for 11am to 3pm, my colleagues and I worked on contingency plans to anticipate possible last-minute cancellations from employers traveling in for the day and what we would do with all the food if the university closed. The morning of the startup fair, the snow began falling rapidly at 6am and that’s when the world resembled a snow globe. News of canceled flights and trains poured in my inbox. Later that hour, we learned from the University Weather line that Penn would have a delayed opening of noon. That made things especially tricky because we were not able to access our event space until first thing that morning since there had been an event the night before and employers usually started arriving at 9am. We debated whether to cancel the event, but after numerous calls and emails with my team, our leadership, a few employers, and the caterers, the fair was still on, only slightly delayed. As long as we could safely hold the event, we didn’t want students and the employers who had already traveled here to miss out on connecting.

Thankfully, we had the number of the building manager and got in around 9:30am and quickly arranged everything. By noon, the sun came out and melted a great deal of the morning snow. Despite the chaos of cancelled flights, trains, and snowy conditions, the startup fair proceeded and we had about 75% attendance from both employers and students compared to prior years, which we were grateful for given the unique circumstances.

Tips for navigating your event when weather does not cooperate

As we approach another Philly winter, I’d like to share some tips I learned from this experience for other career services staff and employers attending.

Career Centers

  • Using a Career Fair App makes a big difference. For the past two years, we have used Career Fair+ and it made it easy to send out a push notification to students and employers the morning of the fair with the latest updates and throughout the day.
  • When it looks like bad weather is coming, send preemptive messages the day before. We sent students messages via Facebook, Twitter, the Career Fair+ app, and through our website and newsletters letting everyone know about the weather forecast and that the university would be open unless the university MELT line said otherwise. For employers, we sent individual emails to the person who registered for the fair and all potential attendees.
  • This past summer we launched Handshake, so that’s another great tool for quick notifications to students and employers.
  • The day of the fair we sent a newsletter emails and app push notifications letting students know the event would proceed.
  • When bad weather is forecast, call caterers a few days before the event to explore options. We were able to reduce our food order by 20% since it was 2 days before the fair and we had a system of backup vouchers from the building food court in case the snow never materialized and we ran short.
  • Ask the contact at your venue for all the numbers of their staff and about their weather contingency plan. Our main contact was not able to make it in, but having the building manager’s number really helped.
  • See about mats and extra salt or sand for entrances to ensure the safety of everyone with ice and snow.
  • Check with UPS and FedEx to confirm if shipments are still being picked up in the weather.
  • Have the cell phone numbers of your who career fair planning team, your leadership team, and any student volunteers. Have a sense of where people are coming from geographically and which ones might not be able to make it in to the university in the case of bad weather. Have backups lined up who live closer.
  • Email yourself important contact sheets so you can access them from home if the university is closed and you need to reach out to employers with instructions.
  • For employers who can’t make it due to snow, we collected resumes on their tables.


  • Always provide your name, email, and phone to the organizers of a fair, even if you are a last-minute substitution. Oftentimes the person filling out the fair registration will write TBD when it comes to extra reps. In the example above, we had worked hard the week before the fair to get contact info from all projected attendees. At the time, we did this to check about head counts for catering and food allergies, but it became a crucial detail the morning of the storm to let all employers know about the delayed opening.
  • Check to see if a university has a weather line with the latest closing info.
  • See if the city having the event has snow emergency routes. Philadelphia does and some of the major streets that usually allow parking do not during snow emergencies so the ploughs can clear everything. Parking in wrong place could get you towed. See if there’s a weather text notification system for that city with info and maps.
  • Make sure you have the contact info of the fair organizers. It should be on the invitation, confirmation, and every email about the fair.
  • See if the event has an app associated with it – that’s a great real-time way to learn more and usually where the latest updates are listed.


Fortunately, it took almost 20 years for me to experience this snow craziness. While I don’t relish the thought of another snowfall during an event, I now have a better idea about where to begin. Even if you live in warmer climates that don’t see much snow, it’s always a good idea to have contingency plans in place that focus on communication and safety for everyone. Hope your events go well and you will never have to use those contingency plans.

Tiffany Franklin joined the University of Pennsylvania Career Services team in 2014 as Associate Director and provides career and internship guidance to engineering students and alumni. Prior to coming to Penn, Tiffany served as a recruiter on the technology team of an international staffing company and submitted candidates to top companies in Silicon Valley. From 2006 to 2013, Tiffany worked at Vanderbilt University in the Center for Student and Professional Development. In that role, she coached Arts, Media and Communications students, coordinated the Vandy-in-Hollywood summer internship program and traveled throughout the country meeting with engineering alumni. Tiffany launched her career in 1998 at Drexel University, where she advised students on all aspects of their co-op and job searches. She is dedicated to helping students explore career options, craft resumes/cover letters that effectively highlight their experience and tell their professional story in a way that resonates with recruiters.  Tiffany earned her M.S.Ed. in Psychological Services from Penn’s Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Psychology from Vanderbilt University.

Creating Mutually Beneficial Partners Between Colleges and Employers

By Ethan Selinger, Northeastern University, College of Computer and Information Science

In my brief time as a career services professional, I have worked in employer relations at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, and currently work as a Cooperative Education (Co-op) Advisor at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. A critical component of these positions is employer relations; creating meaningful partnerships between school and employer. After all, the employer/college partnership is the lifeblood of experiential opportunities for students. It is vital that colleges create meaningful partnerships with employers to create internship, co-op, and potential full and part-time time opportunities for students; likewise, connecting with colleges can provide access to a talent pool of newly trained and eager young professionals for employers to both hire for short term (internship/co-op) or full time employment. With work so important to the experiences of students and employers, I oftentimes wonder and reflect on how people and institutions (including myself of course) can continue to improve both the quality and quantity of employer relationships.

Through my short-time as a career services professional, I have found the following practices create the best chance of a successful partnership between colleges and employers, and do my best to implement these in my work.

Research the Company
It is vital that a company’s industry, mission, and opportunities reflect the needs of students, and that the institution’s programs of study match employer needs. Researching a company before reaching out (or if a representative reaches out) is essential in creating a mutually beneficial partnership.

Understand a relationship must be mutually beneficial to both the school and employer
It sounds obvious, but working in college career services (at least in my experience), it’s possible to become so focused on creating opportunities for students and the institution that it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that employer relations is a two-way street- a mutually beneficial relationship between an institution and an employer relies on the needs of both parties being effectively met. One of the greatest aspects of being involved with EACE is the ability to work hand in hand with employer members and gain perspective.

Create a Welcoming Environment
From an initial phone call, to use of database’s, to on-campus events, it is the job of career services professionals to create a welcoming environment for employers. It shouldn’t be difficult for an employer to work with an institution; many companies and talent acquisition specialists work with large numbers of institutions. In my experience, the more difficult it is for an employer to connect with an institution, the better the chance of losing that relationship. The process should be as streamlined as effectively as possible to create talent pipelines; be mindful of recruiting cycles, user friendly technology (i.e. job boards), and time-friendly events.

Studies show that networking is by far the greatest method to finding a job. I make sure to tell my students this all the time in their co-op search. Network network network! I feel the same about creating partnerships with employers. Leaving the confines of the campus is essential. Taking advantage of networking events (such as conferences) as a college representative is vital to meeting new employers. EACE offers events and opportunities throughout the year to connect employers and institutions!

Be Mindful of Employment Trends and Changes
It’s the 21st century, and industry needs constantly shift. Creating mutually beneficial partnerships relies on an institution’s ability to prepare students for the changing needs of employers. Even though career services alone (at least as far as I know) cannot change curriculums throughout an institution, it is still important to understand trends and changes. I’m trying to make it a habit to read up on trends, continually connect with my employer contacts (in and outside of EACE) and take advantage of yearly trends conferences in the Boston area to stay informed.

I want to pose these questions for thought from both college and employer members: What are your best practices for creating mutually beneficial partnerships? What are your thoughts for continued improvement?

Ethan Selinger is currently a Cooperative Education (Co-op) Advisor at Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Science.

Social Media: Surviving the Summer

The summer months aren’t the only thing that can bring on a drought. Career Center’s social media accounts can become stagnant during the months of June, July and August causing social media managers to scramble for gripping content to stay relevant. We’re all guilty of returning to the well of insignificant posts; the career articles from the Wall Street Journal, the random photo of the campus landscape and even “hey we’re are open all summer” update. Let’s face it, when the career center is fully functional, your marketing is driven by what is going on within the office whether is it large scale career events, guest speakers, workshops, etc; your hands are tied to help elevate each of those. Instead of seeing the summer as a disadvantage, I approached this as an opportunity to be creative and introduced Facebook Live to the Brandeis University Hiatt Career Center page.

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Time-worthy Training

As a premier conference, EACE gives its members a chance to tap into the wisdom of like-minded professionals. That’s what makes attending the EACE conference so inspiring. It fortifies attendees with innovative ways to successfully propel each student through his or her own, unique career planning journey. The EACE conference is produced by industry experts who are dedicated to helping career development professionals reach their full potential.

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Do You Want Transactions or Relationships?

There are times when you log on to your target schools’ career management platform and ample students who meet your selection criteria apply with the simple act of submitting a job posting. This response may spoil you into believing you will generate an equally bountiful response with the same amount of effort for new or upcoming positions. College students are a transient group, they move around and this year’s freshman will be next year’s sophomores who will one day be juniors, who ultimately become the seniors may be your new hires. With this constantly shifting landscape of your candidate pool it is important for you to decide whether you want genuine relationships with the schools from where you recruit or whether you prefer transactional interactions?

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Career Services on a Different Continent

In January 2015, I took the business trip of a lifetime. Thanks to a grant from the Office of International Affairs at the University of Maryland, I hopped a plane for a short, 21 hour flight to Singapore where I spent a few days visiting colleagues at the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. From there, I flew to Hong Kong, where I spent about a week meeting with faculty and staff at the University of Hong Kong. Though my grant proposal focused on the role of liberal arts career development in Asia, my observations also touched more broadly on the role of career development and internships on the other side of the world. Here are a few key take-a-ways from my journey:

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