Professional development needs of those new to career services

I’m in the midst of a study on the professional development needs to those new to career services.  I’ll be posting data here as I find interesting things to report.  Here are some details on who took the survey:

I had a total of 121 responses, of whom:

  • 31% have been in the field for 1 year
  • 32% have been in the field for 2 years
  • 20% have been in the field for 3 years
  • 17% have been in the field for 4 years
  • 35% entered career services directly from a degree program
  • 31% entered career services after FEWER than 5 years in another field or industry
  • 35% entered career services after MORE than 5 years in another field or industry

In response to the question “based on what you know today, how prepared were you for your first position in career services?”:

  • 4% responded “not very prepared”
  • 46% responded “somewhat prepared”
  • 40% responded “sufficiently prepared”
  • 9% responded “extremely prepared”

In response to the question “do you have someone you consider a mentor in the field of career services (even if that person is not in your office)?”:

  • 69% responded “yes”
  • 31% responded “no”

The remainder of the survey was qualitative rather than quantitative.  But, I’ll be exploring the qualitative responses through the lenses presented through the delineations above.  I asked them questions about ways career center leaders can better support or improve professional development; about what ways having a mentor has impacted them; about what advice they would give leaders for helping other new professionals coming into the field; and examples of the most meaningful professional development experiences they have had.  I’ll also be doing some follow-up interviews with participants who volunteered to speak in more detail.

So, look for more posts coming soon!


5 more things university career services should be doing

Following up on my previous post, here are a few other thoughts of things university career services center should be considering to maintain relevance and useful services.

Increase distance services. Chat services; appointments via skype and using screen sharing tools; virtual events (not just fairs); video resume reviews; webinars; “bite sized” instructional videos; blackboard/sakai sites; google hangouts and so forth.

Expand self assessment options. Strong Interest Inventory (which I don’t particularly care for) and MBTI are prevalent. Let’s expand to include communication styles, team work styles, leadership styles, innovation styles, etc.

Increase mobility. Be less dependent on a specific office and provide services with more mobility, in more locations, with more flexibility.

Make websites mobile friendly. You can ignore the rest of my thoughts, if needed. But, if you don’t heed this call, you’ll be behind soon – mobile traffic on the web is already more prevalent than from desktop computers.

Audience segmentation. When you talk to everyone, you’re talking to no one. Invest in your marketing by segmenting your audience and speaking to their individual needs, rather than using blasts.

5 things university career services needs to do now

Here is a quickly brainstormed list of what career services pros should be considering doing to maintain relevance into the future. I’ll add more posts like this soon. But, I’d love your thoughts on these and what *else* we need to be doing.

Skill/capacity building sessions. We know what employers need, and we know that students don’t always get them in their studies, and they may or may not be able to get them in internships and other places. We can supplement.

Merging with leadership development and service learning offices. If you’re not *at least* partnering with them now, and possibly considering merging, you should be.

– Taking a more active role in any experiential education requirements your campus may have (on the academic side).

Coordinating a campus-wide experience-building or job shadowing program. Your institution has many, many functions – marketing, HR, finance, fundraising, event planning, governance/legal, program management, research, teaching, and the list goes on. Get students connected to them.

Entrepreneurship support. programming, connecting, training, providing work space. It can come in lots of forms.

Curating on Flipboard

I’ve found that I haven’t had much time to create content lately. But, because I *consume* content at such a fast pace and large volume, I remembered that curation can be just as valuable as creation. So, I’ve started a Flipboard magazine companion to this blog. I have a account that does this, robot-style. But, the Flipboard magazine is hand-selected content.

If you are a Flipboard user, simply search “Service Design, Marketing and Innovation for Higher Education” and you’ll find the magazine that I’ve begun curating there. And if you’re not a Flipboard user, I encourage you to check it out. It’s a very useful and visually-appealing way to consume content from a variety of sources (ever wonder what your twitter or facebook feeds would look like as a magazine?).

I’ll still be creating content here on occasion. But, the Flipboard magazine is more of an ongoing place to read things that line up with this blog philosophically.

See you there!

How to plan your own conference (lessons from #cctg)

It began with a simple tweet.

Last year in North Carolina, Duke Career Center staffer Samara Reynolds created something called C4. I don’t even recall what the four C’s were at this point…. career counselor something colloquium, I believe. I enjoyed that experience and thought it would be a good idea to do something similar, but focus it on career counselors who are interested in technology.

Now, even different blog duties

My office has launched a new website, repleat with two blogs and feature stories. As such, I’ve zeroed out my blogging on other sites and will pretty much be focused on that site for now. Visit us at

Near the end… of the semester

It happens to me every spring. I’m bundled up in a winter stupor, then slowly the temperature starts to rise. Spring break comes and goes. Yellow pine pollen appears on everything, in mass quantities. Then, I start to put these events together: spring time, warm weather, pollen… THE SEMESTER IS ALMOST OVER!

I’m starting to see that “next wave” of students, who absolutely meant to come see me earlier in the semester. But, like me, they’re just now waking from their winter stupor, as well. The good news is that this year internship postings have held strong. Perhaps the employers are waking from a winter stupor of their own.

Before we all know it, we’ll wake up and the semester will be over. It will be summer. Beautiful, hot, empty-campus summer. It does get a bit lonely. But, for career services, it’s summer, not spring, that is the time of renewal, of planning, of strategy. I’m looking forward to that this year.

But, for now, I’d better focus on what’s left of spring before it’s too late!

Crossroads: Personal branding & content marketing

Although it has likely been glaringly obvious to others operating in and around the career realm, I’m only just now seeing the parallels between a lot of what I read about “personal branding” and just good content marketing. I don’t know why I’ve never connected these two topics before.

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