#TBT…4 Surefire Ways to Optimize Your Career Center

Val Matta, CareerShift

Think of your career centers as hidden gold mines: Although they’re there at your disposal, few college students are aware of their advantages. A National Association of College and Employers (NACE) survey showed only 36 percent of students frequently take advantage of career center services. What’s more: 27 percent of graduating  seniors who plan on entering the workforce do not make use of their college career centers services. So while many students and young professionals may be aware of their career centers, not all use it as much as they could.

What are some ways to optimize your career center, especially during the job search? Check out these tips:

Find an advisor who understands you

First things first: You have to find a career center advisor who gets you. This is important for a few reasons. First, an advisor who understands your major, your personality, and your career path will be able to steer you in the right direction more efficiently. In addition, when you feel comfortable around these kinds of advisors, you’ll likely be inclined to seek and later take their advice.

Tip: Before you meet with an advisor, research their history and professional background. Then, try to see if your professional interests and values align with theirs, ensuring you find the right match.

Get resume help

About 71.3 percent of those who use career centers take advantage of resume services. Think about it: You have experts at your disposal ready and willing to optimize your application materials. In particular, your resume is usually what a hiring manager or recruiter sees first, so it needs to be at its best.

Tip: The best way to get resume help from a career center to come as prepared as possible. Have a rough draft ready to go, even if you know it may be edited. That way, there’s a solid foundation for you and the advisor to go through.

Practice, practice, practice

The NACE survey also indicated that about 42.8 percent of career services users go there for mock interview sessions. This is great way to learn and understand the best interview methods, such as how to answer questions appropriately or the best ways to follow-up. You may also learn how to dress professionally or how to conduct your body language in a way that shows you’re professional, enthusiastic and eager to get the job.

Tip: Don’t be nervous! Your career center advisor is there to help you. Ask for feedback on what you’re doing right and what you need to improve upon. This way, you’ll get the bad out of the way and be able to emphasize the good.

Find those hidden opportunities

After all your proactive work is complete, it’s time to utilize your career center’s best asset: Hidden job opportunities. Eighty percent of open jobs are never advertised, which means members of your network, including your career center, may be aware of jobs you would never see listed. So it’s vital that you use this resource to your advantage.

Tip: Be sure to jump on those hidden internship and job opportunities. Just because they aren’t advertised, it doesn’t mean others haven’t gotten wind — they may be applying for the positions as well. In addition, if your advisor has a connection or can give you a reference, you may have an easier time getting into the organization.

Visiting your career center is an absolute necessity, whether you just started school or are about to graduate. Be sure to take advantage of this resource and use it to its full potential.

This article was originally published at http://www.businessinsider.com/4-surefire-ways-to-optimize-your-career-center-2013-6 and may be re-published with permission from the author.

 

#TBT…Employee-Crafted Goals Pay Off

Robert Liddell, Saint Leo University

Goal setting and performance management are often cited as supervisors’ least preferred responsibilities. Cascading performance goals down through a large division or organization is a complex undertaking.

Coordinating everyone’s goals around activities that contribute to productivity requires communication, planning, rewards and support.

To create strategic alignment among the organization’s direction, the manager’s performance expectations and an employee’s annual objectives, consider having employees design their own goals. This practice provides rewarding opportunities for employees to assume responsibility for their contributions and development.

In some cases, it makes sense to assign an annual objective to the individuals or small groups most capable of delivering the desired work product. However, companies in which employees have a say in how they make contributions benefit from increased job satisfaction and reduced turnover.

Prepare.

Employees who are aware of top-level objectives and how their department supports those objectives are better prepared for this process. As manager, your first step is to review top-level objectives and understand how your team’s goals contribute. Then, consider what goals need to be delegated.

Next, clarify employees’ key responsibilities and begin to anticipate the goals you might expect them to achieve. Having already set your annual goals and ensured that they fit into the company’s direction, ask employees to do the same.

Prior to a goal-setting meeting with a subordinate, share relevant information and clarify expectations. Define the resources required. As your direct reports draft performance goals, have them include at least one measure for each goal to specify the results expected or the level of performance required.

Review.

Emphasize that employees are writing their goals, but, as their manager, you are responsible for ensuring the relevance of their tasks and how they fit into the organization’s plans.

At a minimum, employees’ goals should represent key responsibilities of their positions. Consider if it is appropriate to delegate a specific goal or pieces of the goal to another employee. Break large goals into smaller components.

Stretch goals should advance your goals and those of the organization. As a manager, you must oversee the efforts of others to produce these results. If their tasks don’t fit into your tasks, you will be wasting effort. Question whether such tasks need to be reassigned to another department or discarded.

Align.

After reviewing the drafts, meet again with each employee to agree on final goals. Those who are part of the goal-setting process are able to articulate how their work directly contributes to annual goals.

As their manager, you will see ultimate rewards such as higher job satisfaction and employee engagement. Managers who consistently achieve this alignment and engagement are often given the opportunity to contribute to strategic initiatives and, perhaps, be rewarded with a promotion and career advancement.

This article was published on July 1, 2013 in HR Magazine and has been reprinted with permission from the author.  

 

 

#TBT…Career Counselors Orchestrating Insight

Tom Broussard, Ph.D.

Insight (what some call the “Aha!” moment) comes to people in many ways, and not necessarily when they learn something new as much as when they see something that they know (or thought they knew) in a new way.  SO, what we try to do is create the conditions under which the individual (in even the smallest of ways) can be led to actually “see” something differently.

Of course, in order to do this the conversation must start with a discussion of seeing and how one learns “to see” anything…especially, how one learns to see things that they have never seen before but which have been right before their eyes all along.

As a precept of (much of) adult learning, adults already know what they need to know.  So effective adult education depends on creating the conditions under which the adult learner is led to see things in a new light.

The parable of the three stone masons is always a useful story:  three masons are approached by a  visitor while they are out cutting stone in the heat of the day.  They each are using a hammer and a  chisel and to all intents and purposes, they are performing identical tasks.  When the first stone mason is asked what he is doing, he replies, “You fool…can’t you see what I am doing?  I am slaving away in the hot sun cutting rocks!”

The second one answers the same question, “I am a stone cutter and this is what I do.  I cut rocks.”  The third one answers, “Why, I am building a cathedral!”  Nothing is different between the stone masons except what they see in their mind’s eye.

We all see things which we take for granted (and have taken for granted for so long) that often we can no longer see them in different (and exciting) ways.  Similar to the masons, work (the act of working) for many people has become narrowly described and discussed simply in terms of “what they do,” not “what they see.”

In today’s globally connected and service-dominated marketplace, more and more of work is defined by how people see a thing and less by the thing itself.   Successful builders of any edifice in this new world are the ones with the vision to see in different ways and help create the conditions under which others may share that new vision—that new way of seeing.

21st century career development (most of which must be self-directed—an even more challenging task!) must focus first on the act of seeing (and our capacity to change how we see things) as a necessary precursor to raising the cathedrals demanded in every modern organizational realm.  While we may all be stone cutters, the “Aha!” moment graces those who learn to see what others are late (or loath) to consider as part of their reality.

In a similar way, career counselors are (or try to be) adept at creating the conditions under which the “Aha!”  moment will be a more likely outcome of the encounter because they focus first on how their client sees anything–the world, themselves, their strengths, their weaknesses, etc. before turning to what they might do in the future.

These “castles in the clouds” rise from our experience, our education and the inner nature of things that construct knowledge as well as constructing cathedrals.  Great career counselors are particularly good at orchestrating what they have seen in the past and integrating it with the future.

 

#TBT…Book Review: Employer Relations and Recruitment: An Essential Part of the Postsecondary Career Services

Book Review: Employer Relations and Recruitment: An Essential Part of the Postsecondary Career Services. Myrna P. Hoover, Janet G. Lentz, and Jeffrey W. Garis. Oklahoma: National Career Development Association, 2013. 14 pp.

Tim Harding, The University of Tampa

Higher Education institutions are under the microscope to demonstrate students’ return on investment for their  attained degrees. Included in that assessment is student success in realizing their career goals. Career Services offices rightfully focus on career education and job search strategies and preparations with their constituent students. The authors of this monograph rightfully remind us of the importance of strategic employer development that results in meaningful partnerships, sponsorships, and effective talent recruitment.

A helpful review of employer relations history and evolution over the past several decades provides a context for developing a comprehensive and effective employer development strategies that aligns with an ever changing world of work and economy that is in flux. A thoughtful treatment is provided for approaches, programs, marketing strategies, event coordination, fundraising, technological support, and program assessment no matter what the number of staff or size of the institution.

In just a few pages, the authors provide not just a approach to employer relations but practical examples that include sample job descriptions, event checklists, report charts, staff performance review forms, employer evaluation examples, miscellaneous printed and electronic ads, and much more that are a part of an information packed Appendix.

The authors stress the importance of having a dynamic program with a final chapter that provides insight into future employment relations issues and trends including topics such as accountability, internships, distance learning, recruiting trends and social media.

This monograph is a must for any new Career Services professional. As a veteran of over 20 years of Career Services experience, I also found it thought provoking and inspiring for new ideas, approaches, and strategies. As I add this book to my library, I am confident that I will often refer to it’s practical resources while developing and assessing an effective employer relations program.

Social Media Contest!

What better way to motivate a Monday than with a contest….

Do you like trivia or are you a competitor at heart?

Look out for our social media contest, on the 10’s, beginning with 40 days prior to the conference.

hmmmmm….

After a long day either driving or flying you could win an extra drink ticket. 

Bringing a guest with you to the beautiful city of St. Augustine? Well answer correctly and you could be the winner of 1 guest ticket to the Golden Gala Banquet.

Do you want to put a little extra cash in your pocket for a VIP tour of Historic Flaggler? Well a free night stay would do that…

And don’t forget about the Twitter challenge during the conference #FloridaACE15  This along could win you a $75 Visa gift card.

Play along and good luck!