The Power of Visual Media in Career Development Services

Today, I had the pleasure of presenting the keynote session at the Missouri Career Development Association‘s (MoCDA) Spring Conference!

This event was scheduled to take place on-site in Columbus, MO, but … in reaction to precautions related to COVID-19 … made a quick switch to an online conference. 

Many thanks for the invitation! And kudos to MoCDA President, Mako Miller, professional development chair, Jonnae Hill, and the entire conference team for the incredible coordination and communication that made the switch seem seamless. 🙂

The conference theme? Using Technology in Career Development – perfect timing, right?

My goals for the session:

  • Bring awareness of the importance of visual media in digital communication efforts – branding, retention of information, engagement
  • Provide an introduction to free tools and graphic design basics
  • Lead a review and critique of infographic examples
  • Brainstorm a list of uses in career development settings
  • Encourage attendees to create original visual media for use with their audiences and contexts.

Presentation slides and resources are posted here. Please take a look and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you might have!

Resources:

Screenshot 2020-03-27 12.31.15

 

How Will You Use Social Media in 2020?

This is an updated version of an article from my Social Media column in the Career Development Network‘s  Newsletter – Volume 38, Number 1.

If you’ve been following this blog over the last several years, you know that there is a lot you can accomplish with social media. You’ve also heard about multiple platforms, from Twitter to LinkedIn, and many ways to participate, from networking to live chats.

social media in 2020

What can you do to improve your social media experience in the New Year? The first step is to take an inventory of what you are using and how you are using it. Then it is important to set goals for the future. Use the following checklist to both review your social use in 2019 and develop a plan for action in 2020.

Audit Past Participation

As you reflect on how and when you’ve used social media over the past year, what comes to mind? Which experiences were the most valuable to you in your career services context? Consider the following activities, and add others you’ve been involved with to the list:

  • Sharing information: You can benefit as both the sender and receiver of resources that are exchanged regularly through social networks.
  • Building and joining communities: If you’ve been active in the past year it’s likely that your accounts have more followers, and that you are following more accounts.
  • Networking with peers: We all stand to benefit from connecting with others who do what we do, and who work with clients and students in our target populations.
  • Participating in events: Social media makes it possible to learn from on-site conference and workshop sessions, even at a distance, by following the event hashtag (#) on social platforms.

Do you want to do more of these things or are there ideas here you have not yet tried? Start thinking about goals (more on that coming up)!

Conduct Profile Maintenance

Your social profiles may be overdue for some housekeeping. It’s not unusual to open a new account with good intentions, only to find it gets left behind when competing priorities overtake your calendar. Start your maintenance with the following steps:

  • List all of the accounts for which you are currently registered.
  • Categorize these according to use: 1) use often, 2) use rarely or never, but want use this year, and 3) use rarely or never, and probably won’t use in the future.
  • Delete those accounts in category 3, and then update the rest.

For the social profiles you use often, or plan to make better use of in the coming year, block some time on your calendar to review and refresh the details of each one. Here are just a few of the items you should include on an annual (or more frequent) maintenance schedule:

  • Update your profile picture. Have you ever met someone at a conference and realized that his/her picture must have been taken many years ago? Make yourself more recognizable by posting something current. [1]
  • Revise your bio or headline. Is your current profile information still relevant? Have you completed a degree or earned a credential that should be included? These bios introduce you to the world, so ensure that all of the pertinent details are in place.
  • Test links. If you profile includes links to a personal or professional website, online portfolio, or other resource, make sure that they are still working.
  • Provide contact information. If you are open to having other users contact you based on your social profiles, include some alternatives (e.g., email, online contact form, phone) and make them available

Review and (Re)set Goals

Are you using your social accounts and networks the way you thought you would when you set them up? Maybe you’ve tried several strategies that aren’t getting the results you planned for. It could be time for a change. What do you want to get out of the experience this year? Your goals might include items such as [2]:

  • Establish a brand for your center or practice
  • Publish updates on a regular basis (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly)
  • Share new types of resources, such as images and video
  • Engage in discussions through live events and/or online forums
  • Promote special events

Create a Task List for 2020

Taking some time to think about what’s working and what’s not, and setting realistic and relevant goals, will help you make the most of your limited social media time. Plan to accomplish several specific tasks in the coming months. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Make a list of the items you routinely share, such as event calendars, marketing materials, pictures, and links, and schedule these items for the coming year, and add something new to the list.
  • Create a roster of people you want to connect with in the New Year and begin making contact with each one through social accounts and communities.

Whether you are using social media as an individual professional or as part of a school career center or other career office, you can enhance your efforts with a little reflection, revision, and action.

References

[1] The Research and Science Behind Finding Your Best Profile Picture from BufferSocial – http://bit.ly/1ODrmVo

[2] Social Media Inventory Checklist: Are Your Social Marketing Efforts Outdated? From Business2Community.com – http://bit.ly/1Ps8OL2

Getting Ready for #NCDAHouston!

It’s hard to believe that the 2019 NCDA Global Career Development Conference is happening next week.

If you are planning to attend, please consider joining us for our session, #112 Share and Share Alike: Peer-Recommended Tech Tools that Bridge the Distance in Career Development, on the schedule for Thursday at 3:30pm.

Thanks to Karol Taylor, who sparked the topic idea with her suggestion to have a roundtable where attendees could share their favorite apps, we have a full session of sharing planned. Deb and I will each share our top 10 tools of the past year, we will introduce our growing Tool Library, and we will let you know about a few other helpful technology collections. But, the exciting part of this session will be the resources suggested by all who attend.

If you aren’t able to be at the conference in person:

  • Watch this blog! We’ll share not only our slide presentation, but also the tools we collect during the session, shortly after the conference.
  • You can also follow the conference hashtag, #NCDAHouston, all week.
  • What tools would you recommend? Add your suggestions here in the comments area. 🙂

 

Featured Resource – The Good Project

Welcome to another “Featured Resource!” Our Tool Library is growing with new categories and items. This month, we focus on the Career category and a site called “The Good Project,” which shares “ideas and tools for a good life.” 🙂

The Good Project promotes excellence, engagement, and ethics in education, preparing people to become good workers and good citizens who contribute to the overall well-being of society.

Developed by a research unit of Harvard Project Zero, this site offers collections of resources curated for educators and practitioners, students, and researchers. From a blog and social feeds (check them out on Twitter and Facebook), to a newsletter and curricula toolkits, you’ll find a range of inspiration from The Good Project. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Course Syllabi: Interested in new ideas for your career course? Browse syllabi from K-12 and college classes across the country, including titles like “Meaningful Work in a Meaningful Life.”
  • Activities: What is Good Work? Answering this question is just one of the sample activities provided by this site, all of which are designed to spark conversation and reflection.
  • Value Sort: Who doesn’t love a card sort? This online version allows you (or your student or client) to drag and drop 30 values to columns ranked by their importance. Print your results at the end.

What do you like about The Good Project? What is your favorite career-related tool? Enjoy your exploration of this and other tool library resources. We look forward to your feedback. 🙂

image source: WildOne, Pixabay

Challenge Your Social Media Status Quo

This is a “reprint” from my Social Media column in the Career Development Network‘s  March-April 2019 Newsletter – Volume 41, Number 2.

This New Year isn’t so new anymore as the months pick up speed and calendars get full. One result is that my motivation for social media fades. I know I need to keep up, but as my time and energy start to wane, social media ends up on the back burner. If you are like me, it may be time to refresh your approach. Luckily, there are a few small steps we can take to get back on track.

social media inspiration

Set Up a Social Media Schedule

Develop a short list of social media tasks you want to accomplish every day, week, month, etc., and add them to your calendar! Social Media Today [1] provides a sample checklist to get you started. Making decisions in advance about what you’ll do and when can take some of the anxiety out of the process.

Create New Content

Sharing what others share is effective, and easy, but mixing in your own original posts is important, too. Constant Contact [2] created a 30-day content challenge with ideas like “Answer a Question”, “Share something funny”, “Give a shout out to another organization,” and many more. Explore the suggestions and add a few to your schedule.

Find Some Inspiration

When is the last time you followed new accounts and hashtags? It may be time to add an influx of creativity to your social media feed. Another Social Media Today resource [3] suggests five tools to find inspiration. One tool, Forecast, can help you find new events, while another, Feedly, helps you find new websites and forums.

What will it take to move you from passive to active with your social media accounts? It’s absolutely okay to take a break from social media (I even recommend it), but don’t stay away too long. Whether you are searching for a job, building a community, or extending the reach of your career office, find a way to jump start your social media efforts.

Resources

[1] Social Media Today. Your Ultimate Social Media Checklist. https://bit.ly/2NpnvEs

[2] Constant Contact. 30 Day Social Media Content Challenge. https://conta.cc/2k21rw8

[3] Social Media Today. 5 Tools for Social Media Content Inspiration. https://bit.ly/2BUHEun