June 9, 2014 - In This Issue:
Congratulations to all 2014 grads! This is my mother after her 1951 graduation from West Chester University--one of the campuses where I led a job search workshop this year.
In honor of all the graduation ceremonies that have taken place over the past month, most news is related to recent grads.
From The Wall Street Journal... 

Students who major in languages and secure full-time employment rank well against other liberal arts majors. Some issues not covered in the article:
  • the 10% unemployment and 37% underemployment (not requiring a college degree) rates among recent grads. 
  • the salaries recent grads expect.
  • the number of double majors among all those liberal arts majors surveyed.
From Forbes...

The job search to-do list has changed a lot in the past decade. The fact that most of it has to do with technology should help new graduates shine in competitive job markets.

From darcylear.com...
As young graduates prepare for life after graduation, they will have to hone their interview skills. If you're weaving career prep into the curriculum as the column at the right suggests, your students will be ahead of the curve. But now that they've given their final class presentations, it's time to focus on actual interview questions. 
One way to do that is by preparing and practing answers to commonly-asked interview questions. In these YouTube videos, you see the difference between a spontaneous answer to a question you are not prepared for and a practiced answer to a question you are expecting.
These videos illustrate the importance of preparing and practicing before an interview: 
I see on your resume that...Tell me more about that.
What makes you unique? 
Tell me about yourself.
Why should we hire you?
Tell me about a time you failed at something and what you did about it.
What are your weaknesses? 
Tell me about a time you told the truth and it hurt you.
Try This Tip To Get Students to Engage with Their Presentation Topics
Last month, this column covered transforming class presentations into practice for job interviews.

This month: How do you get students to engage with their topic so that it is as important as a job interview would be? 
Students have to feel that they really "own it" when they present in class. The topic should be important to them personally--just as success in a job interview is important to them personally. And students should have a lot at stake in the outcome of a class presentation just as they have a lot of personal stake in the outcome of a professional interview.
In order for the topic to be important to students personally:
Have students choose topics that are related to their professional aspirations. If you're teaching a literature class, urge students to make explicit connections between topics from their pre-professional studies and the texts you're covering in the course. Pre-med students should present on illness or public health issues that arise in literary texts; business students can focus on commerce and economic models.  

Foreign language majors who embrace interdisciplinary work by tying their class presentations to pre-professional studies and future career aspirations will be more engaged with the content. In turn, that will make them more likely to practice and polish their presentations.  

As an added bonus, you'll already be in the loop when students ask you for a letter of recommendation--more on that in a future issue of this newsletter.

In order for students to have a lot at stake in the outcome of a class presentation:
Make practicing and preparing part of the grade by building it into the grading rubric. For example, use these extremes on a Likert scale:
Quality of presentation -
0 - Unprofessional. Reading or reciting from a memorized script.
100 - Completely professional; clearly knows a lot about the subject & can present while sounding natural and unscripted.
Preparation -
0 - No demonstrable relationship between project and course content; does not understand concepts employed. Very little preparation or evidence of having practiced.
100 - Clear understanding of all concepts employed. Evidence of having practiced, but not memorized.
Organization -
0 - Core information is difficult to penetrate. Memorized, recited info does not seem to be intelligible to the presenter him/her self. Visual support is sloppy and/or repeats or duplicates the presenter. No sense of time limit.


100 - Clear, appealing presentation of core information. Excellent visual support that enhances, but does not duplicate or repeat the presenter. Completed within 10 minute time limit.

By combining these two things--interdisciplinary topics that tie students' class presentations to their professional aspirations and grade outcomes that are pegged to preparing for a presentation as if it were a job interview--students will be able to engage with class presentations in the same way they would with job interview preparation.  
Be sure to be explicit with students: tell them that you are designing their course projects in this way specifically so that it will support them in career success.  They will be better equipped to prepare for job interviews than their peers who did not get explicit support in their college courses.

In future issues of this newsletter:  
How do you design PowerPoint presentations that provide visual support without duplicating or repeating the presenters' content?
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
Do you need to jump start some summer writing projects? 
I am available for timeline management and editing. We will work together to organize priorities, establish a timeline, stick to deadlines, and edit writing. It's personal training for your academic projects--whether scholarly articles or new courses you're designing. See details by following this link for Academic Clients

Considering hosting a job search workshop for your students?

I'm scheduling campus visits for fall 2014 now--just added Fort Hays State University in Kansas to the list for September. Let me know if you're interested: darcylear@gmail.com

Please forward this link to colleagues who might be interested in hosting a job search workshop for their students.

Darcy Lear, PhD

Standout candidates in competitive job markets


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