Lifelong Career Services for Students and Alumni of Northwood University
You told us in the alumni survey it is important to get the support you need in all stages of your career. From being an undeclared student in search of a major, to landing the next big promotion that will see you off into retirement, a huge portion of the value of an NU degree comes from knowing insight is available to you for the murkier questions of career advancement.
Christopher Deming, Associate Alumni Director, recently sat down with our Career Services Directors to explore some of the changes and improvements at NU system wide.
Beth K. Bryce, MS, CMCC
Director of Career Services
Certified Motivational Career Coach
Northwood University Adult Degree Program & DeVos Graduate School of Management
Chris: As an alumnus, how does it feel to be back working for your alma mater?
Beth: Thrilled and honored! The same feelings of excitement and hope have resurfaced from 20 years ago when I was a student walking on the Florida campus grounds for the first time. Northwood was instrumental in preparing me to be a successful leader and later as an entrepreneur establishing my own career coaching company. Truly, it feels like I’ve come back home to share my expertise and similarly prepare and motivate others to pursue their dreams.
What professional experience do you bring to drive positive change at NU as a whole?
I bring a unique perspective with a finance management background leading teams that span 20 years for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits in various industries. On average, I’ve switched companies, jobs, careers, or industries every two years. As a result, I’ve worked through downsizings, expansions, new product development, audits and mergers on teams with talented, diverse people across departments from marketing, finance, human resources, and operations to information technology, sales and engineering. When it comes to strategic planning and change management either in business or with people, there probably isn’t a challenging situation I have yet to lead or witness and ultimately weather. It’s amazing what a small group of committed people can accomplish together for the betterment of an organization or a community. On an even smaller scale, that group can be just as effective with two people; the mentor and the mentee.
Career services is an integral part of alumni value. What specifically do you hope to transform in the department?
The traditional career services model, a counselor working independently with just the students that show up in desperate need, hosting events and helping them network is in the process of being transformed in the industry.
Career services is no longer just about resume review and getting an interview, but engaging faculty, parents, alumni and employers to build a network of “influencers” to provide help along the way. Also, I believe it’s important for our students from day one to provide personal and career development to build a lifetime of employability. This would include career coaching and executive leadership coaching for our alumni as well to help them navigate the many career transitions we go through in the course of our careers.
Short-term we need to work on our data-gathering and get better at tracking and reporting our graduates’ career outcomes. Another project will be centralizing our career website into a one-stop shop with a slew of career resources, virtual workshops and podcasts to reach our students and alumni from anywhere in the world at any time. Ultimately this will allow us more time to focus on building critical relationships and coaching our students and alumni to a purposeful and successful career, most importantly for themselves, their families and their communities. In the Super Bowl of life, I’m excited to be a coach on the Northwood team.
Midge Reichert, MS, PHR
Director of Career Services
Northwood University Florida
Chris: What are you most proud of when you think of working in career services?
Midge: We are very proud of the reputation Northwood students have with our employers, both locally, and throughout the Southeast. Florida Career Services is working on establishing solid partnerships with employers through on-campus visits, workshop engagement, etc. This year will be an exciting one for Career Services!
As a student, sometimes it’s easy to feel lost. Does career services provide guidance?
The Career Services department at Northwood University’s Florida campus is gearing up to take career planning to another level. By using personality and interest assessments to assist students in creating their career paths, we are responding to requests by students for information of this type. I am a certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) practitioner and plan on using this highly reputable tool much as I do with my consulting clients to help guide students toward creating careers based on personality “fit” and what they are passionate about.
It’s not difficult to notice the surge in activity in social media, especially related to careers. What is NU doing to prepare students for this new opportunity?
Social media has become a tool to be used in branding yourself in today’s workforce. Last semester, I assigned students the task of creating a LinkedIn profile. The results were astounding! Students learned to understand the impact LinkedIn can have on a career, and in a recent study, 60% of recruiters indicated they use LinkedIn in their recruiting efforts. Students requested workshops on how to set up and further utilize LinkedIn for this coming semester. I intend to set up these workshops as additional learning events for students, campus-wide.
Celeste Lindell, MBA
Director of Career Services
Northwood University Texas
Chris: What action do you think is most important as people pursue a good job and start a career?
Celeste: I believe one of the most critical undertakings when searching for a good well-paying job is establishing one or more networking groups. This is true for students who are currently enrolled in classes, as well as alumni who are looking for a new position or making a change in their career. This vital step is supported by our efforts on campus to connect our students with industry contacts and each other through workshops, presentations and other networking events. We are excited about our calendar of planned events for the new academic year and hope that many of our students will take advantage of these activities.
How do you make connections with local companies to locate job opportunities for our students and alumni?
With over 20 years of professional sales and marketing experience in the hospitality field working for companies such as NBC/Universal (a division of General Electric) and Sea World, I have interacted with corporations and individuals to build partnerships to find common “wins” that are mutually beneficial. I am able to utilize this skill as a member of DallasHR, a chapter of SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management). This professional organization represents about 2,000 local representatives who are in or support the human resource field. Interacting with these types of groups allows me to establish and maintain relationships with prospective employers to encourage the hiring of students for full-time positions, internships, and summer placements.
What tools does Northwood offer to its students and alumni?
While we receive great feedback from our communications about job openings through Facebook and LinkedIn, we would like to see more students visit our career services page on the www.northwood.edu website. There are many tools available to students and alumni that can assist them, from job assessments and job searches to practice interview questions.
Greg Stiffler, MA
Director of Career Services
Northwood University Michigan
Chris: What experience do you have in this capacity?
Greg: There are a lot of similarities between admissions and career services. For 13 years I have been working with students to find the best situation and the best fit to meet their career goals. The only difference now is I will be helping students at the end of their undergraduate college journey instead of the beginning.
Anything new in career services that you would bring?
I would like to be able to expand the focus of the role to work more with employers; to educate them on how NU prepares students for the real world and what the student will do for the company.
What do you like best about working with college students?
I love watching students mature and gain confidence in themselves and their abilities during the college years. The growth that takes place in these four short years is astonishing.
– Christopher Deming