Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
March 20, 2013
by Cameo Hartz
One of the recommendations for career center leaders in Spotlight’s ongoing “Innovating in Times of Change” series is to “understand what innovation is and is not.” I regularly experience the tension identified in this statement. This era of rapid change has made it more challenging to discern when we are being effective and when we are being distracted by novelty, what’s cool, or change for its own sake.
Here are five guiding questions that help me think critically about challenges facing our profession and how to be more effective in my service to students:
- Where and when do I encounter stories of human vulnerability and triumph that inspire me to reflect or motivate me to act differently?
The modern career is customized with little script to follow. I can help students (and their families) think differently about risk and reward, broadening success models and professional growth when the jobs of the future cannot be predicted.
- What simulated activities have been most provocative in fundamentally reshaping a perception or deepening my knowledge of a topic?
Simulations get their value from authentic engagement and a sense of fun or purpose. Facilitating micro experiences that transform students for educational purposes (especially in this era of gamification) seems ideal. I’ve experienced how effective mock interviews can be!
- When is my curiosity and effort piqued around topics I previously found disinteresting?
Students want to spend as little effort on “career” tasks as functionally possible, and I don’t have to change that. I do have to commit to provoking their increased motivation in the process because I know it’s necessary.
- What service models have provided me a better-than-expected experience?
I’ve come to expect service and interactions that are high quality, customized to my needs, and available just when I need them. I can’t fault our students for having the same expectations of me and our center.
- Who shares thoughts that continually prompt me to view familiar topics in new and different ways?
I’m missing the mark if I only look to my immediate colleagues and peer schools, or within my own profession for inspiration. Inspiration is everywhere!
If you’d like to see my growing list of answers to these questions, please feel free to contact me at Cameo.Hartz@duke.edu and I’ll be happy to share. I’d also like to know your guiding questions because I know this list is far from comprehensive.
A strong proponent for career professionals using the online space for education as effectively as counseling and events, Cameo Hartz leads digital strategy and communication for Duke University's career center. See www.cameohartz.com.