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On the Spot

by Shirley Farrar, Rowan University

One fall stormy day at the Glassboro campus, I was interacting with students in front of the Office of Career Advancement (OCA). I encouraged each student that passed the OCA that day, to take advantage of the on-campus career services we offer. Within 90 minutes, after conversing with over 45 students, I was astonished that more than half were unaware that professional career services were offered at
Rowan University. Although I was standing directly in front of the OCA, I was also caught off guard when most of the students questioned where the office was located on campus. In the midst of this “Twilight Zone” moment, several personal emotions swirled- disbelief, uncertainty, and sadness. I thought to myself, “How is it possible that students did not know the purpose or location of the university’s career services center?”
Startled but appreciative of the student responses and feedback to my questions, I began to dig into the research to determine the national norm for student usage of career services resources. What I found out was alarming! According to the Gallup and Strada 2017 reports, less than 20% of students nationwide in higher education utilize on-campus career centers. This has become a discussion that monopolizes conversations of career counselors, advisors, and other practitioners within the career services field. This is opposite compared to the data from 1988 to 1990 where career services offices
had the highest interview numbers (Pennsylvania State, 1990).

Considering student utilization of the Office of Career Advancement reflected national patterns and trends, it was important for me to address this gap. Thus, the ON THE SPOT campaign was birthed. This model’s tagline “Taking it to the streets” in addition to interactive information on the career website, markets and promotes the purpose of the career center by offering students professional career services on-the-spot in their environment. Students saw me set-up in various colleges on campus, in the student center, at campus events, even in the dorms, peddling career services.

Within two semesters of implementing the ON THE SPOT model, I acquired 1110 student surveys (Farrar, 2018). Over 65% of students indicated that they were made aware of the OCA through ON THE SPOT. In addition, many students stated that they would be more likely to visit the office if more ON THE SPOT set-ups were offered. During the first year, I (along with a few grad interns) engaged with over 1000 students regarding career services. Using professional resume critiques as the primary attractor for students, we took advantage of the opportunity to increase student awareness of all services that the OCA offers.

As I reflect on the data and prepare for the second year of the program, I am reminded of my true purpose. Engaging with students, understanding and meeting their needs, and partnering with them on their college to career journey is my passion. Accordingly, I knew in my heart that the best way to reach
them was to go to them because clearly the majority of the students were not motivated to come to me.

Shirley Farrar is a Career Counselor for the Office of Career Advancement at Rowan University. She has over ten years of community and faith-based advisement experience, a Bachelor degree in Psychology, a Masters in Higher Education in Administration, and a Masters in Counseling in Educational Settings. Shirley has a published thesis entitled Motivations for participation in adult education of predominately African Americans in a religious organization, in addition to an action research thesis entitled On The Spot Career Readiness Awareness. She is currently working on community consultation and education through a New Jersey 501C3 nonprofit organization.

References:

Farrar, Shirley S., “ON THE SPOT Career Service Awareness”, Rowan University, Action Research, (2018). Retrieved from https://s3.amazonaws.com/rowantk20com/fileshighered/-
42fe57407fdb71d151c5165ea6-d3f/-42fe574067832d15148ee84a041-
7fa7/110211ac7ec047bc1634a8dd787178c/1525970649093/On%20The%20Spot%20Career%20Awaren
ess%20Services%20_Shirley%20Farrar%20Final%20Action%20Research%20%2004_26_2018.pdf

Gallup-Purdue Index Great Jobs. Great Lives. The Value of Career Services, Inclusive Experiences and Mentorship for College Graduates (2016). Retrieved
from https://www.luminafoundation.org/files/resources/great-jobs-great-livees-3-2016.pdf

National Association of Colleges and Employers, Career Services Benchmark Survey Report for Colleges and Universities, (2016-17). Retrieved from
http://www.naceweb.org/uploadedfiles/files/2017/publication/executive-summary/2016-17-nacecareer-services-benchmark-report-exec-summary.pdf

Rayman, Jack R., Pennsylvania State University. Contemporary Career Services: Theory Defines Practice. New Directions for Student Services. No 62 (summer 1993). Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/ss.37119936203

Strada-Gallup College Student Survey Crisis of Confidence: Current College Students Do Not Feel prepared for the Workforce (2017). Retrieved from https://news.gallup.com/reports/225161/2017-
strada-gallup-college-student-survey.asp

 

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EACE Virginia

by Mohamed Sesay, Mills College

As a relatively new professional in the field of career services, attending professional development opportunities such as conferences provide invaluable exposure to the different aspect of our field. I was able to engage in meaningful learning and networking with peers within career services and HR/recruiting attending the 2018 EACE conference as the Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship recipient! Being able to learn, brainstorm, debate, bond, and even vent about the work we do was truly a great opportunity, and I would not have had this fabulous experience without the support of EACE!

 

A personal goal of mine for this conference was to branch out and learn more about the HR/recruiter perspective. As the majority of my role is consulting students, having a stronger understanding of the experience people who are on the hiring side will help me engage and educate students on what employers are looking for in talent. Attending the Confessions of Recruiters: an Interactive Panel was a great opportunity to hear first-hand from a diverse range of panelist who hire our students, and they provided invaluable information regarding best practices for their unique organizations. Additionally, engaging with the panelist and learning from the attendees in the room allowed me to understand how other employers and career services staff were managing recruitment in their own setting.

 

Attending the It’s the Law: Trending Issues Impacting Students and University Recruitment session was an additional highlight of the EACE conference because it allowed me to understand how current legislation impact student hiring, and how best to serve students regarding any situations that have legal implications. From reviewing the American Disabilities Act (ADA), Title IX, and a few risk management strategies regarding crafting your own in-house policy, I took away a wealth of knowledge that I will continue to draw on in my career going forward.

 

On a bittersweet note, bonding and spend time with my amazing Binghamton colleagues before moving across the country to start a new role was another highlight of the conference. Being able to Dine for a Cause/Charity, attend the Entertainment Night, and share our thoughts from the different sessions we attended was a great way to spend time together.

 

Attending EACE conference this year was a great professional opportunity, and I was able to walk away with new ideas that will benefit students going forward. Additionally, I am excited to be joining the Grants and Scholarships Committee this upcoming year to select the future recipients of the Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship for the 2019 conference in Hartford, CT.  I know the future receipts will have just of an amazing time too!

Mohamed Sesay is the Assistant Director of Advising, Career, and Global Learning of Mills College. He previously worked as a Career Consultant at Binghamton University.

Coaching Students to Market Their International Experiences

By: Chelsea Keen, Penn State University

Students’ international experiences can be a secret weapon that make them a more marketable job or internship candidate. As career professionals, we have the opportunity to coach students on how to effectively integrate their experiences abroad – whether a semester-long program, an international internship, or a service learning trip – into their job search strategy.

As the world of work becomes increasingly globalized, employers are eager to hire individuals who can demonstrate intercultural communication skills, an appreciation for diversity, and the ability to adapt to new situations. Regardless of a student’s professional area of interest, they can leverage their international experiences by distinguishing themselves as a candidate who is culturally curious and maintains a global worldview.

Unfortunately, students too often mistake demonstrating their intercultural competencies with simply telling an employer about their sightseeing excursions. So how can we, as career professionals, help students to dig deeper and connect the professionally relevant skills they developed abroad to their future career?

Prompt students to reflect on their experiences abroad. A key part of coaching students to ace an interview or build their personal brand is helping them to recognize that they have a distinctively interesting story to tell – and international travel tends to be ripe with interesting stories. Encourage students to reflect on specific experiences that challenged them, changed their outlook, or taught them something new about themselves or the world in which we live. Workshops, individual appointments, and professional development courses are ideal settings for these reflection exercises.

Coach students to identify the skills they developed during those experiences. The stories about students’ time abroad become professionally relevant if, and only if, they can clearly articulate the skills that they developed during these experiences. Career professionals can help students to identify these skills by asking strategic guiding questions: “How did navigating a train station in a foreign country help you develop problem solving skills and the ability to think on your feet? What did your international travels teach you about different social, religious or political customs and becoming more open-minded? What did you learn about adapting to a new style of communication while interacting with a host family – and how will you demonstrate those communication skills in the workplace?”

Empower students to market their skills to future employers. We can support students in becoming more marketable job candidates by encouraging them to internalize and incorporate their intercultural skill set into their job search strategy.

  • Remind students to add study abroad to their resume and LinkedIn profile, and to include bullet points expanding on the cultural or academic value of the experience.
  • Coach students to strategically weave their cross-cultural skills into their elevator pitch.
  • Encourage students to leverage their cultural curiosity during networking opportunities – you never know who has also studied in Brazil, or always wanted to visit Greece.

As career professionals, we can help students use their international experiences to their advantage as they pursue their career goals – and maybe even jet off on a few adventures of our own!

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.  

Recharged and Reengaged in Reston: #EACE18 Recap!

Recharged and Reengaged in Reston: #EACE18 Recap! By Kasey Fausak, Fordham University Last year, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the EACE 2017 Annual Conference at Niagara Falls. This was my first conference at that scale, and I was blown away by the sheer quantity of wonderful new ideas, programs, and techniques being […]

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We’re All in This Together

by Amanda Machonis, Assistant Director, Twardowski Career Development Center, West Chester University

I found out about EACE’s professional development grant for newcomers to attend the 2018 conference the day before the deadline for applications.  Earlier emails had likely slipped through the cracks during the semester, but when I was home at the end of December, I got a reminder.  After finding out I was eligible to apply, I completed the questions that afternoon, sent everything in.  I was planning to attend the conference anyway, but I held off on registering on the off-chance I would receive the grant.

Just over a month later, I got a congratulatory email stating I had indeed been chosen to receive the grant.  I was excited, as were my colleagues when they found out.  Most of them had attended EACE conferences in the past and raved about them.  I registered and began to eagerly await the end of June.

The first highlight of the conference for me happened the first day.  Hearing Jeffrey Selingo kick off the conference was thrilling to me.  I read his book “There is Life After College“ just after I graduated with my master’s and was starting my first position at a community college.  His concept of Sprinters, Wanderers, and Stragglers resonates with me to this day.  The fact that Sprinters are far more likely to have at least one internship in college is not surprising.  The ones that need our help more are the Wanderers and Stragglers, who may not have as many connections as Sprinters and need some help knowing their options.

The other part of the conference I really enjoyed was the newcomers’ breakfast on the second day.  It was great to connect with colleagues who I may not have met otherwise.  Many of us (about 45% of the total attendees) were at the conference for the first time, so the room was full of people and enthusiasm.  I was able to chat with someone whose presentation I saw the previous day and an outgoing member of the board of EACE.

Overall, everyone’s passion for the field was heartening to me.  Supporting students is vital in our profession, and we should also be supporting each other.  At the conference this year, I met many people who could empathize with the challenges of working in higher education, whether their office is housed within student or academic affairs.  I hope to continue connecting with those folks because sometimes the helpers need help too.  We should work to continue the community formed at the conference.

Amanda Machonis is an Assistant Director in the Twardowski Career Development Center at West Chester University in PA.

Practicing What I Preach: EACE 2018 Professional Development Grant

By Cheryl Rotyliano, Ithaca College

My professional career, like many others, has taken different directions over time. I have worked to support undergraduate students with mental health, supported active duty military members relocating to a new duty station, managed a caseload of chronically homeless veterans, calculated GPA’s for a college admissions office, rented apartments, started my own business, and for the past 2 years, I am very happily a Career Coach!

Through this winding road, there is a common theme: I need to help others and I have deep passion for teaching others how to utilize the resources that surround them. As it says in my LinkedIn profile, “I like to lead and coach by example.”

As a Career Coach, or really anyone in a helping profession, I believe practicing what you preach is so important. If I tell a student to have a professional and attractive LinkedIn profile, what message am I sending if mine is plain and outdated? Involvement in professional organizations is something I believe is extremely important for professional development in any field.

If I’m being honest, reading the EACE email with promotion for the Professional Development Grant wasn’t happenstance. I had been paying attention to EACE emails because I was impressed with the quality of information and programs the organization had been producing. Moreover, I always make time to dig online for resources and read new information. When I saw there was an opportunity for a grant, I thought to myself, why wouldn’t I apply for this? Of course, there were many other things on my plate, but in valuing practicing what I preach, I made time because it was a valuable opportunity (and it didn’t require very much time at all considering the benefits.)

The EACE conference was the most valuable conference I’ve attended in my career to date. From beginning to end, it was a welcoming environment that was large enough to be effective with networking, yet small enough to not get completely lost in the shuffle. The conference is a “fit” for many different constituents, which increases the value. I was able to hone in on coaching skills and strategies, learn new programming and event ideas, have conversations about diversity and inclusion, gain perspective from employers and recruiters, and network with other colleges and universities who are implementing a career community model.

In an attempt to vocalize the way the conference made me feel, I would say: inspired by innovation, better educated, and more connected to networks and resources. That’s the elegant way of saying “mind blown.” I am still processing a lot of the information and finding ways my Career Center can utilize these new insights. If I listed all the sessions I enjoyed or got something out of, you’d find a list of all the sessions I attended! With that said, I found my favorites were the sessions regarding career communities/clusters facilitated by professionals at the College of Holy Cross and Rutgers University, a session on employer outreach strategy by Princeton University, and a session about service delivery efficiency practices (VG1) by Stockton University.

I’m excited to become more involved in an EACE committee in the upcoming year. I’ve seen the value first hand, and I want to ensure others have the same opportunity to have a great experience. High-fives all around for a great conference, and continuing to all practice what we preach!

Cheryl Rotyliano is a Career Coach and Community Developer at Ithaca College

Meet Abigail from Ashesi University in Ghana!

Do you want to be spotlighted as an EACE member too? Just fill out the form here!

Abigail Welbeck EACE Member Spotlight July

Squad-Care: Self-Care, But Not Alone

By Ana Clara Blesso and Lisa Famularo, Center for Career Development, University of Connecticut

We believe that #SquadCare is where it’s at.

In the field of higher education especially, there exists a great emphasis on self-care, or activities that deliberately and purposefully support mental, physical, spiritual, professional, or other aspects of wellness in ourselves. There is much to be said for taking time to focus on our wellness, through massages, manicures, vacation, reading for pleasure, enjoying a delicious meal, etc. As we struggle with burnout and taxing situations, however, it can be easy to see how self-care alone might not suffice. Don’t get us wrong – we love a good meal and a pedicure; but to rely solely on ourselves is limiting.

Think of a time when you experienced stress, a difficult life moment, or a professional challenge – you might find that you looked to others for support, advice, and encouragement. In enters squad-care, or collective care: the concept that care is not solely an individual initiative. Instead, it utilizes a network of colleagues, family, friends, and/or allies, to support, encourage, and lift us up during both trying and joyful times.

The benefits and advantages of squad-care can actually be traced back to the world of healthcare. If you think about it, we rely on a variety of different doctors to keep ourselves healthy because their unique areas of expertise go beyond our own; the same idea applies to relying on different members of a squad for different types of support.

Despite its roots in healthcare, we were introduced to the idea of squad-care by Melissa Harris Perry, a writer, professor, and political commentator, who shared a story of how squad-care helped her through a low point in her life (trigger warnings: sexual violence, mental health challenges). Harris Perry argues that it is impossible for us to rely entirely on self-care to support our own well-being; instead, there is no shame in leaning on the mutual and symbiotic relationships we are part of for support when we need it (Harris-Perry, 2017). Other research shows that squad-care can create a community of support that reminds individuals they are not alone in facing challenges (Elizarde-Miller, 2018) and help prevent burnout in the short and long-term (Ilyas & Cordero Velázquez, 2017)

Lisa-Ana-3

Lisa: As a graduate student, I certainly saw the benefits of leaning on my squad. I processed through challenging grad school moments with a cohort-mate, disconnected from class altogether with a friend who lives across the country during monthly FaceTime chats and a visit during Spring Break, and took advantage of a number of professional opportunities thanks to a wonderful sponsor in my assistantship office (thanks, Ana!). As a new professional, leaning on my squad has also been essential in navigating the many transitions that have come with starting a full-time job, both personally and professionally.

Ana: As a more seasoned professional, I find that utilizing a group of friends and colleagues for professional support is also essential. As I work to navigate higher education systems with colleagues at other universities, avoid burnout by engaging with friends outside of the field, and develop a strategic expertise by gathering feedback from those with unique lived experiences, I often find I need others’ voices to help me develop as a strong professional. I can rely on friends and colleagues to help me celebrate victories and to share more vulnerable moments of stress and challenge.

If you are interested in building a squad, you must be thinking: how do I get started? Well, keep in mind that there is no definition of a perfect squad; your ideal squad depends on your individual circumstances and the type(s) of support you may need. However, as you start to build your squad, you may want to consider including some of these individuals:

  • A mentor: finding a trusted individual who can share in your vulnerable moments and add insight based on their professional experiences can be essential in feeling heard and developing insight
  • A sponsor: being thought of for projects, having your name come up during crucial conversations, and being supported for promotions can be imperative – and a sponsor is an individual who will consistently think of you when opportunities arise
  • A friend: connecting with someone who knows you well outside your world of work can be a great way to disconnect, avoid burnout, and develop a strong identity
  • A mentee: mentoring someone often requires you to reflect on your past experiences, which can be helpful in learning from your past and guiding your future goals
  • A colleague: a coworker who makes you feel seen and heard can be crucial for workplace engagement and enjoyment
  • An ally: when adversity strikes, it can be essential to have an individual in your squad who will stand up for you and advocate for causes that are important to you

Finally, you don’t work in higher education without hearing the word “assessment.” But, hear us out – it’s really helpful to evaluate your squad and assess how well it’s supporting you over time.

Consider asking yourself these questions periodically and making adjustments if needed:

  1. Lisa & Ana 2Have goals for each relationship been met?
  2. Are there any relationships that need to change or be adjusted?
  3. Are there any areas I wish were represented differently or more?
  4. Do I feel heard and supported by the members of my squad?
  5. When was the last time I evaluated my squad and its purpose?
  6. What is my biggest need right now? Is it being met?

There’s a famous (and wonderful) African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We believe this sums up squad-care quite nicely; it might take a little time and effort, but the payoff and sense of community can be huge. Who is part of your squad, and how do they support you? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter with #SquadCare!

References:

Elizarde-Miller, T. (2018). When self-care becomes collective care. Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence. Retrieved from: https://www.ocadsv.org/blog/when-self-care-becomes-collective-care

Harris-Perry, M. (2017). How #squadcare saved my life. Elle. Retrieved from: https://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/news/a46797/squad-care-melissa-harris-perry/

Ilyas, M. & Cordero Velásquez, T. (2017). Collective care in human rights funding: A political stand. OpenGlobalRights. Retrieved from: https://www.openglobalrights.org/collective-care-in-human-rights-funding-poli/

Lisa Famularo HeadshotLisa Famularo is a Career Consultant in UConn’s Center for Career Development with a focus on the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS). In this role, Lisa coaches CLAS students and alumni in major and career exploration, professional development, and employment-obtaining strategies. Lisa also works with CLAS faculty, staff, alumni, and employers to develop collaborative programming and identify networking and employment opportunities for CLAS students. Lisa holds a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Student Affairs from UConn and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Ithaca College. Lisa can be found on Twitter at @lisamfamularo.

Ana Clara Blesso HeadshotAna Clara Blesso serves as Assistant Director for Experiential Learning at UConn’s Center for Career Development. In this role, Ana Clara serves as the departmental lead on internship and co-op-related programming, initiatives, and information. Ana Clara teaches the Center’s two internship courses, plans University-wide events related to experiential learning, and partners with fellow UConn offices and teams to develop robust on-campus internships. Prior to her time at UConn, Ana Clara worked as Assistant Director of Fairfield University’s Career Planning Center. She is a National Certified Counselor, an AAUW Salary Negotiation Facilitator, and has a Master of Arts in Counseling from Wake Forest University, where she also serves as an online practitioner instructor for career counseling courses. She can be found on Twitter at @anaclarablesso.

Career Corner: Three Ways to Investigate a Hiring Organization’s Office Culture

By Kent Yuen, Assistant Director of Career Services, New York Institute of Technology

Finding the right match for your next job often go beyond compensation and responsibilities.  An organization’s office culture can play an important role in your decision to accept an offer as well as your level of happiness and productivity.  You should know yourself and what you want in a company when considering an offer.  Uncovering company culture may require more research than reading Glassdoor reviews or taking note of the dress code.  Here are 3 Ways to investigate a hiring organization’s office culture.

Observe Office Interaction
From the moment you arrive for your interview until the time you leave, look around and take note of how employees interact with one another.  If you don’t have the opportunity to walk through the entire office, see if you can take a quick tour with the person who is interviewing you.

Are people talking and laughing with one another, or are they placed firmly at their stations and desks?  Are they discussing work and projects or sharing details about activities outside of the office?

Some companies claim to have a fun work environment because of certain social and entertainment amenities like a ping pong table or video games.  If people are using these features, it’s probably a good sign that the culture is relaxed and fun.  If the ping pong table looks “flat” or for display only, the same can probably be said about the office culture.

Social Events
Do employees wait all year for their holiday party to let loose?  Companies that have an active social atmosphere often hold weekly events such as happy hour in addition to holiday themed parties.

It doesn’t have to just involve partying and drinking.  Companies also hold regular team building outings such as volunteering and charity work through organizations like New York Cares.   A common interest in a sport or exercising can also be the spark that leads to a company softball team or office wide fitness challenges.

These initiatives often promote a positive attitude, productive lifestyle and most importantly employee engagement.

Ask your interviewer about these possibilities and follow up by investigating a company’s social media accounts.

A place for innovation

One common characteristic shared by many successful companies is their level of innovation.  The root of product and service innovation can be found in the level of investment in employees.  You may have an idea that can help the company provide a higher level of efficiency and want to bring it to fruition.  Will management support your work and passion for this project through funding and resources?  A company that invests in their employees is one that values its growth and culture.  Find out if your company fits this mold and ask about recent employee led initiatives.

Taking the next step in your career goes beyond a normal work day.  Office culture plays as much of a role in this as any company characteristic and if you can find one that integrates interaction and innovation in a social environment, you will have a productive and happy environment.

Last year, Ceros opened their new office in New York’s NoMad neighborhood which was described as a “space that is unique in that it was designed and built with many of Ceros’ own employees, and is a true representation of Ceros’ corporate mission to unlock creativity and caters to their unique needs…..born from Creative Director Jack Dixon and CEO Simon Berg, who believe design is at the center of everything, the office is a place of inspiration that facilities a fun and collaborative work environment.”

Kent is an Assistant Director with NYIT and provides career advisement to students and alumni. He holds a B.A. in History from Goucher College & an MBA from Fordham University. He has worked in admissions and advising for Fordham University, NYU-SCPS, NYU-Poly and Goucher College. He enjoys working with students on their career and educational goals. In addition to his experience in higher education, Kent has worked as a Project Manager in the advertising and restaurant industries.

 

 

 

Meet Brandon Sousa from URI! EACE Member Spotlight

Want to be spotlighted as an EACE member too? Just fill out this form here!

Brandon Sousa EACE Member Spotlight June 18

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