August 1, 2014 - In This Issue:
Casco Viejo, Panama City--where the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese had its annual conference in July.
As we contemplate the transition back to the academic year, here are some links to tips and models for students' college-to-career transitions: 
From Lindsey Pollak, Millennial Workplace Expert...

Lindsey Pollak reviews the studies on the employer-college prep gap. Then she delves into the five things employers wish millennials learned in college: 
  • communication, 
  • organization, 
  • leadership, 
  • personal finance, and 
  • "street smarts." 

Language educators will recognize "street smarts" as intercultural competence--and that is something that language students are learning in college! 


Students just have to be sure to highlight their "street smarts" in their job search materials, then illustrate that they have those skills by actively using them in the workplace. 

From The Brazen Careerist... 

I have said this to clients in any and every kind of career transition: take 2 hours and build your own website. You'll have to spend more time than that to polish and professionalize it, but WordPress, Blogger, Yola and countless others make it easy to get started quickly.

When asked this ubiquitous interview question, "Do you have experience designing websites?", the answer should always be "Yes!" (with at least one example at the ready). 

Recent grads often have more experience and a higher level of comfort with new technologies than their potential employers.  But they have to actively develop those skills, highlight them in their job search materials, and professionalize them.  

Which brings us to the next topic in the news...digital dirt.
From Careerealism.com...

This careerealism post offers specific suggestions for taking control of your digital presence so that your online profiles will make a good first impression.  

The major takeaway: social media can make or break your career depending on how you use it.  

For young graduates, it's a wasted opportunity if they do not harness technology to advance their fledgling careers.
Try These Tips To Get Students To Make Professional Use of PowerPoint To Enhance Their Presentations
[Sample PowerPoint slide.]
The last two newsletters dealt with student presentations as practice for job interviews.

This month: How to use PowerPoint well--to support and complement presentations. 
Let's start with all the things we hate about PowerPoint when it is used as part of an oral presentation in class:  
  • the entire presentation consists of the presenter reading text-heavy slides out loud,
  • too much "animation"--all the bells & whistles (literally),
  • cheesy clip art that's almost entirely unrelated to the topic,
  • poor & inconsistent formatting (font, size, layout, typos),
  • repetition of information that everyone in the audience already knows.  

Everyone, including students, hates these!  But when it's time to prepare their own presentations, they do what anyone would: default to the only models available. 

Require students to do these five things and you can break that cycle and prepare your students to succeed in professional contexts where clear, clean, organized presentations of information matter.
1- Use PowerPoint to Support Presentations--Not Replace Them!
The presentation must depend on the presenter, who has to be present to provide the audience members with new information that they want or need. PowerPoint must not become THE presentation or replace the presenter. It should be used for visual support with minimal text so that it simply reinforces what the presenter is saying.
2- Open Each Slide with an Assertion in the Form of a Complete Sentence
Do not allow slide headings that consist of a title and a colon. That's not compelling. It won't hook the audience. Instead of this boring, ho-hum slide heading for the present topic: "PowerPoint Presentations:" wouldn't you rather see this: "There Are 5 Simple Steps to Preparing Compelling PowerPoint Presentations"?   
See the PowerPoint slide at the top of this column for another example.

3- Provide Visual Support for the Assertions

This should be photos, tables, graphs, charts--something visually appealing that is directly related to the assertion. Clip art or other generic images don't qualify as visual support.  One compelling alternative is to use a high resolution image as the background for the slide and type text over it (as in the sample slide at the top of this column). If students don't need visual support for their presentations, then encourage them not to use PowerPoint at all. 

4- Provide the Audience with New Information That They Don't Already Have 

Part of the reason so many PowerPoint presentations are so mind-numbing is that they are used to cover topics that the entire audience already knows.  (That and the aforementioned reading out loud from text-filled slides). 

A good presentation doesn't have to contain completely new information. Students might provide examples, applications or illustrations of content that has already been covered in the course. That way students are presenting something new while connecting it to information that they can be sure everyone already has.

5- Plan To Spend at Least 2 Minutes on Each Slide 

If students have been allotted 20 minutes for a presentation, instruct them to prepare no more than 10 PowerPoint slides.  They will run out of time if they have more. And this is something else everyone hates about presentations: ones that run over time.

In future issues of this newsletter:  
How do you write great letters of recommendation and get students to do a lot of the work for you?  
I Offer Career Coaching for Academic Clients
Worried about juggling your writing projects along with all the other responsibilities that will hit you when classes resume in the fall? 
There is still time to get one last article submitted before the hectic first weeks of the new academic year.  

I will work with you to set priorities, establish timelines, and stick to deadlines. Then I will read and comment on articles prior to submission and again after you receive reviewer feedback.
Check out my services for Academic Clients

Considering hosting a job search workshop for your students?

See this link and contact me: darcylear@gmail.com

Darcy Lear, PhD

Standout candidates in competitive job markets


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