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Posted July 22, 2016 by

8 tips for beginners in career services

Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

Beginning a new career is a challenge, no matter the field.  It is logical, then, to view starting a new job in career services as borderline daunting.  Landing a career where you help others develop their own careers?  Yikes!  But don’t sweat it.  If you’re a newbie to career services, take a deep breath and check out these helpful tips from someone who has recently stood in your shoes.

 

That’s right.  I’m right there with you.  I have logged less than a year in career services – 10 months, actually – and I can tell you that it’s taken each day in those ten months for me to develop a clear picture of how I’d like the services this office provides to look in three years.  I’ve also come to realize that to remain effective and relevant, this office can’t stay the same forever but must change with the times and the students who walk through its doors.  I’ve learned so much in the last 10 months, and I’m content knowing that I have much more to learn and more opportunities to pursue within this office.  That being said, here are eight necessities I’ve embraced in taking on my new role in career services.  Good luck to you, and pay close attention to number one.
1) Get excited! I mean it! Get. Excited. This is an amazing, dynamic field where each day you’ll have clients leaving your office happier than when they arrived and where your colleagues are always looking forward. Hope abounds. Potential is realized. You’re part of one of the most important services a college campus can provide, in my opinion, because you help the future drivers of our economy and leaders of our workforce develop the skills they’ll need to succeed in life beyond college. What an awesome space to occupy!

2) Know your history. If you’re coming into a position previously occupied by another individual, be sure to network with that individual to determine the direction of the career center up to the point of your arrival – including the career center’s current strengths, challenges, and opportunities. Read last year’s annual report as well as those from two-three years prior. Knowing where you’re coming from helps you develop a map for where you’re trying to go.

3) Know your target audience. This is perhaps the key to effective operation of a career center. Whether you serve Millennials, non-traditional students, students of a particular academic background, or any other group, knowledge of your target audience is an integral factor in developing student programming, opportunities, marketing efforts, and career coaching practices. A resource I’ve enjoyed for learning more about Millennials (my primary target audience) is Lindsey Pollak’s book, Becoming the Boss, though I’ve also learned from her presentations at the Kennan Summit 2015 and the NACE Conference keynote address.

It’s important to note that there are more factors in identifying your target audience than generational attributes alone. For example, what percent of your students are first-generation? How many receive financial aid? How many are international students? How many are business majors? How many are from the state in which your institution operates? How have these things influenced your students’ career development thus far? All of these factors and more will help you create a clear picture of the human beings you’re going to help and how best to help them.

4) Inventory your resources. Any good carpenter can tell you what tools he/she has, what they’re used for, and how to access them. The same can be said of any good career services professional. Upon entering your new role, you’ll want to ascertain what tools you already have at your disposal – a website? Social media accounts? Job boards? Support staff? Professional memberships? Established student programming events? How about colleagues in other departments with whom you can potentially collaborate on future planning or programming?

This is something your predecessor can really help you with, but keep in mind that he/she is not your only resource. Support staff is always an EXCELLENT resource, particularly if they’ve been around a while. I am very lucky, for instance, to have come into a position where just 20 feet away sits the kindest, most professional administrative coordinator who has worked for the college for many years. Her knowledge of program and general institutional history comes in handy daily, and she is a wonderful sounding board.

Make yourself a list of resources such as those listed above. Go through existing files on the network drives to which you have access. Once you determine what you have, you’re able to decide what you need.

5) Prepare to partner. Career services professionals absolutely must partner with other departments on campus. Neglecting to do so will prohibit optimization of career center programming. In other words, you’ll be missing out, big time, and as a result, the students you’re hired to serve will as well. Collaboration spreads the workload and allows for use of resources your little office will not have on its own.

Partnering is an expectation and, in my opinion, a gift. Embrace it. And keep in mind that partnering isn’t limited to institutional departments. While it’s great to partner with faculty, for example, to market a career fair to students, it’s also excellent to partner with student organizations to boost participation in career center programming. For example, before that very same career fair, you could partner with Greek Life to host an interactive workshop where students prepare for the fair. You’re effectively providing programming for a large, “captive audience,” while at the same time bolstering attendance for your upcoming fair. Plus, your visible connection with this group will encourage other student organizations to partner with your office, thereby boosting your reach. I could go on and on about partnering. Don’t limit your work to the confines of your office! Get out there, and I can promise you, you’ll be happy and effective!

6) Attend a professional conference. The best ideas are often those you learn from colleagues, but your prospects are limited on campus. Professional conferences, such as the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conference, allow for a meeting of the minds, where career services staff and professionals from the working world can share best practices, trends, and ideas. I attended the NACE conference in June and came home with ideas for events, new partnerships, assessment and reporting techniques, and several new contacts – including employers and other career services professionals with invaluable knowledge and expertise. State and regional-level professional conferences are wonderful resources as well. Look online to find appropriate events for you.

7) Build your network(s). For a career services office to function successfully, the staff must have connections with employers, volunteer services organizations, graduate and professional school reps, other career services professionals – the list goes on. You want to develop a list of contacts you can access and refer to easily throughout your day. If this doesn’t exist upon your arrival, its development will be one of your top three priorities. You’ll refer to this document when you send invitations and save-the-dates for major events, such as career fairs, grad school expos, and student/alumni networking events.

The key to harnessing the power of these connections is getting started. Create a LinkedIn account, if you don’t have one, and begin connecting with company recruiters, career services professionals, and your institution’s alumni group. If you’re like me and are the sole career services professional for your office, consider forming a board of advisors with ten or so alums and professionals whose networks and influence can help you locate campus speakers, boost alumni support of career development efforts, and discover new career opportunities for current students. Remember that your network isn’t limited to you. You have access to your colleagues’ connections as well as the ones you forge yourself. Many times asking for help or advice is the best way to establish a connection, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

8) Keep records and get creative in reporting them. Most career services offices already keep track of how their programming is operating – how many students they reach, what the students are saying about their services, what types of services are used by which students, etc.; but this isn’t enough. Prospective students and their families want to see how your institution’s students are faring in the “real world” before making the financial commitment to attend. Along the same line, prospective donors and business partners like to see the impact of their donations of time and treasure. For these reasons, it’s imperative that career services professionals track current students’ and graduates’ experiential learning achievements and post-grad destinations (their first job or where they go to graduate or professional school) and share that information with other departments on campus. If your office isn’t currently pursuing this data, this is an effort you’ll want to initiate.

Annette Castleberry, Co-Director of Career Services at Lyon College

Annette Castleberry, Co-Director of Career Services at Lyon College

For more great tips for building your career services program, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

About the author, guest writer Annette Castleberry:

Currently Co-Director of Career Services, Annette Castleberry is excited to be promoted to Director of Career Development at Lyon College beginning August 1, 2016.  You can connect with Annette and with the Lyon College Career Center on Facebook or www.lyon.edu.  

 

 

Posted July 06, 2015 by

Pursue a Career as an Interior Decorator

A business woman (possibly an interior decorator,designer or architect) looking through swatches (paint color schemes)

A business woman (possibly an interior decorator,designer or architect) looking through swatches (paint color schemes). Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Interior décor involves being able to use your imagination, creativity and artistic skills. You also require a dedicated approach to your work and the ability to be well organized. The combination of your creative concepts and the knowledge that you have about the profession makes it possible to help your clients create attractive designs that fulfill their needs. (more…)

Posted June 24, 2015 by

Career Prospects for people looking to work in the Travel Industry

Portrait of smiling tour agent with headset consulting client online

Portrait of smiling tour agent with headset consulting client online. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you are thinking about training in the world of travel to fuel your personal thirst for the road and the adventure it brings, there are plenty of opportunities for people with a vast array in background knowledge.

If you have always loved travel and the world of travel is for you, know that the cash demands are rather high, which is probably why you’re not travelling as much as you’d like. There are ways to make money as you travel, as well as other opportunities for professionals trained with various travel-related career paths.

The path you choose will however be up to you. Here are a few choices for careers: (more…)

Posted April 28, 2015 by

Searching for an Internship While Abroad? Tips to Land Current Opportunities

Have you ever thought about landing an internship while abroad?  Interning in another country can not only allow you to gain some work experience in a particular career field, but also learn about a different culture.  In order to make this goal a reality, you must prepare ahead of time.  So, what do you need to know?  Here are some tips to help you get one of the current internship opportunities available during your time abroad. (more…)

Posted April 20, 2015 by

Learn Time Management Skills in your College; you will thank yourself

Education and time management concept - student showing clock

Education and time management concept – student showing clock. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Human beings are creatures who remain busy in doing nothing. Whether, it’s a weekday or a weekend, we remain busy. We are so busy, that one cannot take out time to meet other or have a word with each other.

We do talk to each other but that’s called a chat these days. Now a days, communication is made so easier that one need not to do an extra effort to approach others. Internet has made this world smaller while making us all a little busier. If not doing work, we must be busy in sleeping, busy in chatting, busy in stalking Facebook profiles or may be busy in just surfing the internet. (more…)

Posted February 27, 2015 by

Considerations for Your Next Move (How It Can Affect Your Career)

Deborah Anderson photo

Deborah Anderson

While it is true that it is still pretty early in the school year for most college students, those finals and the last days of the school year are just around the corner. It is easy to plan out how you will address the class requirements, but sometimes the other aspects of life are missed or not given as much attention and you may find yourself “throwing it together” when faced with projects at the end of the year.

One of those areas is the dorm room or suite that you have occupied and that you won’t be needing in the summer. Even if you have already graduated (congratulations!), you may not have found that next place to live, or if you have, you may be wondering if this is your final destination. Speaking from experience, that choice of where to live can sometimes change a few times in life, especially as it relates to jobs! (more…)

Posted February 24, 2015 by

7 Secrets to Helping Your Teen Unlock Their True Academic Potential

Teenage students studying in classroom with teacher

Teenage students studying in classroom with teacher. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When students stand on the threshold of their futures, education is the most important key to their direction. High school studies and all the hard work involved in reaching the ultimate goal of graduation, takes careful planning and learning to identify your teen’s true academic potential. In the final analysis, it’s the student who takes full account of their potential. There are seven secrets to unlocking one’s true academic potential. These include:

. Assess academic strengths and weaknesses
. Stay the course of your academic direction
. Continually review, refresh and update your academic direction
. Compare course of study to career aspirations
. Set reasonable goals
. Study the job market trends
. Plan ahead to avert obstacles (more…)

Posted January 29, 2015 by

4 Quick Ways to Secure Your Career with a Foreign Degree

Study Abroad student looking at Reflecting Pool in the Alhambra Palace

Study abroad student looking at Reflecting Pool in the Alhambra Palace. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

In today’s modern world lots of students are interested to study in a foreign country for a secure future. But it is not an easy thing to study in a new country without perfect planning. When a student plans to move abroad, it is important for him to check out some important factors. If you’re also planning to move to a new country for a prosperous future, then you’re at the right place. Check out the advice shared below to figure out things that need to be done before moving abroad. (more…)

Posted January 29, 2015 by

How to Prepare for the Start of the College Year

Happy female college student. Isolated on white background

Happy female college student. Isolated on white background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Whether you’re a returning student or about to embark on your freshman year of education, how you prepare before the academic year starts can have a big impact on your productivity throughout the term. Below you’ll find three tips for helping you get ready to go back to school. (more…)

Posted January 20, 2015 by

How to Be a Strategic Career Explorer

Mark Skoskiewicz

Mark Skoskiewicz, Founder of MyGuru

Whether you’re concerned with success in high school, college, a job search, or a specific career, it turns out that who you are (your background, skills, talents, etc.) is actually less important than what you do (the strategies you follow, plans you put in place, and effort you expend). Most people don’t necessarily find this intuitively true, but lots of research has been done to back up the point.

Here’s the main point of this article. You need to manage your academic life and professional career like a CEO manages a business: by researching, developing, and implementing strategies. (more…)