Help me brainstorm presentation ideas for higher ed job interview
June 28, 2013 4:49 PM   Subscribe

I have to give a 10-minute presentation as part of a job interview for a career advisor and instructor position in the career services office of the business school at a large public university. I'm having trouble coming up with ideas, and would love some help brainstorming. Details inside.

I've been asked to present for 10 minutes. These are the guidelines:

You’ve been asked to speak to a classroom of first semester sophomores. This is the second week of the required career course. There are over 250 students in a large auditorium. Your job is to get them motivated about engaging in career related activities. A small percentage of them are already working with the career center, but, this is a required course and most of them would rather not be there. What is your approach and how do get their attention?

I can use laptop/projector. I'm not sure if there will be speakers, but this will be to a small group in a conference room so I could potentially use my laptop speakers.

Metafilter, would you please help me brainstorm some ideas?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
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posted by xingcat at 4:52 PM on June 28, 2013

The importance of motivation and grit

The balance of following skills vs passion

What *not* to do on a resume, job interview, etc. - turning it around let's you make use of a lot of the amusing examples you find online
posted by bizzyb at 5:20 PM on June 28, 2013

So, your (imaginary) audience is first-semester sophomores? I think xingcat's topics might be thinking too far ahead for them. They still have almost three years and 75% of their college education standing between them and graduation; in the eyes of a nineteen-year-old, that looks like a long time before they have to face the "real world" and think about getting a "real job."

You might do better to focus on things they can be doing or thinking about now that will not feel like a big chore but that will help them down the line. "How (and why) to get a summer internship" or "Things to think about when choosing electives" might feel more relevant to first-semester sophomores. The ideal presentation would help them get ready to make the mental leap from thinking about themselves as college students to thinking about themselves as job candidates and, eventually, business leaders.
posted by Orinda at 7:20 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Maybe some basics about how to not leave a bunch of embarrassing stuff all over social media that will really come back to haunt you when you go looking for a job in a few years?
posted by pantarei70 at 7:42 PM on June 28, 2013

Engage the students with some out of seat, physical, workshops:

- Voice awareness - bring in a speech therapist and have them work on their projection
- Posture - bring in an acting coach and have them work on their body language
- Dressing for the office - bring in a stylist and have them review tips on looking polished
posted by gillianr at 8:22 PM on June 28, 2013

Appropriate fun with social media.
Social Excellence.
Or look for an innovative topic on the Fast Company Website about jobs, innovation, entrepreneurship, etc.
posted by MultiFaceted at 8:22 PM on June 28, 2013

Personally, I never was super interested in career services at my school because I couldn't figure out what they could concretely offer me that I couldn't get elsewhere (e.g. the internet). Things that might have changed my mind (in order of importance):

1) Hard numbers: How many people have gotten jobs thanks to career activities? How many of those jobs were candidate's first choices/second choices?

Basically, is there concrete evidence that students who do such activities are generally better off than those who don't (and is that benefit greater when they start working with them earlier, e.g. Sophomore as oppossed to Senior year)?

2) Specific events/programs being offered that would provide unique experiences: e.g.:
A) "Shadow" programs (matching students with alumni working in the student's field of interest for a day, allowing them to see what the work is like)
B) Mentorship programs
C) One-on-one interviewing sessions (especially with people who know what job interviews in student's field of interest will be like)
D) Internships (particularly ones that lead to future job offers)

3) Specific materials being offered to help with career choices, e.g. A "book of skills" showing how each degree is developing skills that can be useful in various careers (this degree teaches you x,y,z; then in the back, list jobs that place a premium on x,y,z).

I think the takeaway is that you should assume students are coming at this with a "what's in it for me" mentality, and seek to answer them accordingly - "this is what's in it for you if you get involved!"
posted by Sakura3210 at 9:40 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Plenty of ideas here about what to talk about, but keep in mind you're also being graded by a hiring committee, for a job in the career services department. This is an important opportunity for you to communicate with them, in a premeditated fashion.

I think you should focus on communicating:
1. What you know about the career department's services.
2. The needs of business school students.
3. The interests of business students.
4. Your communication ability.
5. Your expertise in technology.

I think you should use Prezi, to tell a (fictional) story about a student you know, and how early preparation put her one step ahead of the competition. Of course you mention the services you offer, alongside other resources like Linked-In, and good old fashioned research. Business students are generally more career oriented than your arts, humanities or science students.
posted by pwnguin at 10:28 PM on June 28, 2013

One of my favorite presentations I did was on creativity in the workplace. The nature of the topic makes it perfect for bright colors, fun graphics and humor, which could be great for getting bored students to perk up and engage.

There are lots of resources on the topic. A couple I remember using:

The Naked Cartoonist

Creative Whack Pack
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:21 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

The interviewers want to know if you can engage a group of bored students in 10 minutes. The goal would be to get them jazzed for career services. The content is important, but your energy level and creativity with this are more important. They want to see your dog and pony show.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:08 AM on June 29, 2013

Also 10 minutes is short!
posted by bluedaisy at 9:09 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I work in a career center. I'd do something like "two things every sophomore should know, but doesn't about their career.....and how the xxxx career center can help."

And then I'd do at least one interactive think pair share activity.

Sophomores often aren't interested in career services because they have no idea as a sophomore why or how they should use the services when graduation seems a long way off.

The two things I think they should know is how important it is to accurately assess what stage you are in in your career/what current issues or challenges you are facing, etc. because if you can do that, then at any stage in your career you respond strategically (for example, do they feel totally lost in finding a career path? Do they think they know what they want to do but don't know how to make it happen? Do they not know how to interview, or write a resume? Do they want to learn how to network effectively? Every student on that room is facing their own issue, so every student needs to come up with their own game plan.) The second thing is how to know what to do - how to access the resources and opportunities that being at a univeristy affords matter what the issue is.(Which is about how to skillfully respond)

So I'd do something like spend two minutes laying out the stages of career development. (self assessment, career exploration, job/internship search stategies and professional success skills). I'd have them pair up to talk with each other and take a minute each to self identfy what stage they are in. I'd then take about two minutes to highlight what services we offer/how we can help them at each stage...telling them about the mbti, or a networking workshop, or counseling appointments, etc...., and end by having them think pair share again about one thing, one step, they we're going to take based on what they had just learned. That could be anything from make an (I feel lost because no one in my family ever went to college before) appointment with a counselor, or a (I absolutely want to go into management consulting) look at the career calendar to see about upcoming events, or think about finding a mentor,etc.

I think this approach focuses on what I think the best career centers do: more than just offering services, career centers are part of the educational mission of an institution, in that they educate students about how to take navigate their own careers effectively (by teaching them a framework, how to assess their career situation, explaining how to access resources based on their own issues and their own plan, and supporting them as they do). In short, how to take charge of their own career, to the point that by the time they graduate they shouldn't need a career center, because they are savvy enough to chart their own path.
posted by anitanita at 10:37 AM on June 29, 2013

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