[caption id="attachment_223" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Dinner at the Mirage with the CollegeRecruiter Gang"][/caption]I did attend NACE 2009 (http://www.naceweb.org) and I never wrote a blog post about it. This was my first official conference as "The Intern Queen" and it was great to see fellow bloggers and career coaches/authors at the event. Some of my favorite run-ins were with @heatherhuhman, @gradspotguru, @ysnjen, and Rich Bottner (http://www.internbridge.com). All people who do great work in the internship space. I want to thank the great gang at http://www.collegerecruiter.com (@stevenrothberg) who I attended the event with.
Here are some of my thoughts from NACE 2009. I do have some great videos that I share with http://www.collegerecruiter.com that will be made available at a later date.
1. The recruitment world actually does know how to have a good time in Vegas.
2. You can still sense the barriers between career counselors and career coaches. You can call it a "territory battle" or just a "new mindset" but I still feel a slight uncomfort coming from a majority of career counselors when they speak with career coaches such as myself or other vendors at the event. Many career coaches are using social media to reach students. Career Centers are just starting to break into that area. I think once the Career Centers put themselves where the Career Coaches are (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) the gap will slowly close.
3. The pace of this conference was moderate. The crowds weren&t huge and apparently the turnout was down from last year. This was rumored to be due to school budget cuts and restraints. However, if a school is going to make budget cuts, should the career center be where these cuts are being made ? Shouldn&t the career center, in a terrible economy, an economy where over 63 percent of college seniors are worried about the job market (NACE), be putting funding towards the career center instead of taking it away ?
4. There are jobs. News alert ! Jobs are available. I spoke to every vendor at the NACE conference and tons of employers who attended the event. Guess what ? I found that almost every employer I spoke with had job openings and were currently recruiting college students. There is an on-going conversation among parents and students that there are "no jobs". Perhaps we just aren&t looking in front of us ?
5. College Credit was a hot topic among the few internship sessions I attended. There was major confusion from both employers and schools on the best way to get paperwork filled out, reviews done, and the proper coordination for internship credit. Employers seem frustrated because they deal with so many different schools who all have different policies. Schools seem frustrated with employers who don&t have an organized internship program and system in place. If only there was a way for all of the schools in each state to abide by the same internship guidelines and use the same internship paperwork.....
6. There is no doubt that NACE does a wonderful job of putting on a valuable conference for both career counselors, vendors, and employers. However, the unfortunate news is that there is still quite a gap between student and career service office. For some reason, students still aren&t properly utilizing their career centers. The representatives from the career office come to these conferences and find out about great opportunities. If only the students would frequent the career offices to FIND OUT about these opportunities. This raises the question of what creative things can career centers do to reach more students ? How can we get students to take their career more seriously and fully take advantage of the resources in front of them ? Many career centers have put on speaking events, joined Twitter and Facebook, and constantly have workshops to help reach their students but what else can they do ?