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How Schools and Employers Can Help Support Students

McMaster University is one of the top post-secondary schools in the country. We had a chance to speak with Tanya Kett, M.Ed., CDP, CPC, a career counsellor at the university. Tanya supports undergraduate students from all Faculties and levels. Part of this support includes addressing students’ concerns, helping them explore their options, discussing their career goals and developing personalized career and further education plans. Her primary focus is equity-deserving students who experience barriers to their career development. Tanya engages students in a collaborative process to navigate their career journey and works with colleagues to develop new programs and services. The department offers individual appointments, drop-ins and group webinars/workshops, both hybrid and in-person. Here at TalentEgg, we wanted to know more about her 19 years in career development and her advice to schools and employers to help students flourish.

Why Career Education/Coaching?

My high school guidance counsellor encouraged me to work as my co-op in our school’s career centre. I learned about all the resources and assessments we had and eventually had class visits from my peers. At that time, I wanted my career to involve helping people navigate their career and education options — but I had no idea what job that was. It wasn’t one of those job titles we know about (i.e., teacher, social worker, lawyer). Years later, during university at McMaster, I discovered the career centre (where I now work!), got involved as a peer mentor and learned about the different roles, such as counsellor, advisor, coach and practitioner. There were so many options! Building connections from that experience and a few other vital contacts along the way were pivotal to my career.

Rewarding Achievements

My achievements are connected to my students and colleagues. When the students I have the privilege of supporting succeed, that is my most outstanding achievement. When they let me know they landed a job, got accepted to their program or had an “aha moment” about their career path, it lets me know I’ve made a positive impact. It reminds me how valuable our work in the career field is for students. Colleagues who support one another and share expertise and resources contribute to students’ success. 

If I had to pick my most outstanding achievement, it would be that I found a career that I love and am passionate about.

Future Goals

I want to carve out more time for professional development. I always have a long list of ideas, such as courses, certificates and conferences to attend, but I tend to focus more on students during the academic year. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for PD. I feel like there is so much to learn about changes in technology and how we deliver service, theoretical approaches to consider, and so many resources to explore.

Commitment to DEI

My commitment is to support students who identify with equity-deserving and diverse groups who may experience barriers to career development. I collaborate with them to identify actionable items, strategize, gather resources and develop a plan to instill a sense of hope, confidence, optimism and self-efficacy so they can realize their career potential. My focus throughout my master’s degree was exploring diverse career development (disability, Indigenous, first-generation and international students) through the lens of student affairs.

Supportive and inclusive employers have the opportunity to create positive and meaningful experiences for students who may need someone to take a chance on them. It is a chance to diversify their team; we all know that diversity adds value.

Pain Points & the Effects of the Pandemic on Students

Students are generally overwhelmed with school and keeping up with other priorities like working, volunteering and extra-curricular opportunities. They often wonder how to be competitive for programs/jobs when they feel they are behind their peers in terms of experiences. The pandemic made it challenging to engage in networking opportunities, such as connecting with professors and employers to foster meaningful conversations. It also took time to adjust to the reliance on technology for academic and work tasks traditionally done in person. Now, everyone is adapting yet again to in-person learning and work environments. They may need to consider more travel time to various in-person appointments and engagements, which didn’t happen as much in the last couple of years.

Transitioning from School-to-Work

In the last two years, our team researched, developed and launched resources to guide students in the transition to work. We now have website content, a downloadable tip sheet, a customizable workshop, and one-on-one support to help students with this transition. During the pandemic, we offered captioned and recorded versions of our live webinars on topics such as virtual interviews, networking and career fairs to equip students with tools to navigate virtual recruitment practices. 

Acknowledging, validating and normalizing student concerns is often a starting point for many conversations about transitioning to work. Several students identify with “imposter syndrome,” where they may not feel capable or confident in the role they landed, creating dissonance between their perceived potential and their actual potential. This can happen for various reasons, including diversity identification; therefore, it is valuable for employers to have inclusive training plans, mentoring (matched to employee) and opportunities to check in throughout the first few weeks to foster belonging in the workplace.

How Employers Can Help Support Students

Students with the opportunity to have a mentor at work often tell me how valuable it is to know they have a point person for questions as they transition to their roles. Transitioning from school to work is a great life experience — be kind, be patient and offer support so that students don’t feel like they always have to ask (sometimes they don’t know it’s okay to ask!). For example, ask every employee during the onboarding process if they have accommodation requests; that way, those with accommodation needs will feel included and supported in the hiring process. It will go a long way in building morale and confidence for new employees, which in turn produces a positive company culture. Leverage the digital expertise of Gen Z as our virtual/hybrid work environments evolve.

Connecting With Top Student Talent

The best way is to diversify what employers may consider a “top” student. It’s not always academic achievements or workplace achievements that make a student a great addition; life experiences also count. Consider the students’ potential — maybe they haven’t had the same opportunities as others yet. 

Take a holistic approach to the application process and ensure it is inclusive and accessible. Some students may be in a program different from their career interests but engaging in self-learning opportunities because they’ve found what they are passionate about well into their undergrad. This demonstrates a commitment to finishing what they started and the initiative to find other learning or experiential opportunities, skills and qualities relevant in the workplace. 

Invest time to train, mentor and foster a culture of inclusion in the workplace not only to attract but also to retain students who may end up as top employees. Some wonderful colleagues across our campus can work with employers to set up company recruitment events, information sessions, coffee chats, etc., and participate in career fairs to get to know our students beyond their application.

Advice For Peer Career Educators

One of my mentors told me many years ago that “career counsellors never stop their career development.” I’ve found that to be true, and it’s advice I pass on to others. New trends, technology and approaches continually shape how we work with our clients. Carve out time for your professional development; watch webinars, read articles, attend conferences, take a course, join professional networks, find a mentor — whatever you find helpful for your practice. Build your network to include a diverse range of contacts.

Final Thoughts

Careers are a journey; they take time to build, grow and develop. It’s essential to choose a direction, not a destination — this leaves more options open for you and optimizes your chances for success. It takes patience, persistence and perseverance. Set goals, build your network and have a parallel plan. These things are all part of building your career resilience. 

You are not alone; You will get there.

Empowering Students with TTi’s Leadership Development Program

Techtronic Industries (TTi) is internationally recognized as a global leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of power tools, outdoor power equipment, hand tools and floor care appliances worldwide. TTi is proud of its history and the vast legacy of tradition and excellence that they have inherited from the brands that make up its company today. If you’re passionate about empowering students, keep reading to learn how TTi achieves this goal through fostering strong values with their Leadership Development Program.

We spoke with Dave Dininio, the Director of Talent Acquisition at TTi, to learn more about how TTi continues to support students and new grads on their career journey.

The Leadership Development Program

We believe exceptional people drive exceptional results, which is why TTi launched the Leadership Development Program. The Leadership Development Program is a comprehensive training program to develop outstanding and extraordinary people for the long term. The Program provides employees with relevant sales and field marketing experience while learning about our customers from a fundamental perspective. Throughout the Program, students and grads will be able to hone different skills such as communication, product knowledge and business acumen. They will execute exciting weekly projects to gain hands-on relevant workplace experience. The Program provides them with all the resources to accelerate their career. At every step of their career, we provide them with a combination of support, guidance and freedom that brings out the best.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at TTi

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to establishing and maintaining a thriving workplace. Diversity is the recognition, appreciation, and acceptance of individual differences inside and outside the organization. Equity is about ensuring fairness and impartiality for everyone, and TTi Canada strives to provide equitable access to opportunities for all candidates and employees. 

Collaborative, encouraging, respectful and polite are how I would describe our inclusive workplace. It is supported by policies that are intended to eliminate any barriers, bias and intolerance to encourage the involvement and contribution of all employees. Diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to TTi Canada because it helps attract top talent. Many students and new grads seek employment in a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization where they are safe and supported. TTi Canada provides that kind of environment.

A Future After TTi’s Leadership Development Program

The Leadership Development Program provides new employees with various career advancement opportunities. An entry-level Field Sales Representative (FSR) or Brand Marketing Representative (BMR) can move into a position with more responsibilities, industry specialization and/or people management, such as Territory Manager, District Supervisor or Trades Site Specialist. The Leadership Development Program is a progressive training program that prepares them for the next level in their career and gives them the skills and knowledge to succeed at any level. The table below highlights potential career path options. 

  • Field Sales Representative
  • Brand Marketing Representative
  • Field Marketing Representative
  • Territory Manager
  • District Supervisor
  • Sales Coordinator
  • Trades Site Specialist
  • Field Sales Manager
  • Key Account Manager
  • Market Manager
  • Senior Trades Site Specialist
  • Regional Sales Manager 
  • Strategic Account Manager
  • District Manager
  • Program Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Divisional Sales Manager
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Assistant Marketing Manager
  • Program Manager
  • Sales operations manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Senior marketing manager
  • Group marketing manager

 

Opportunities for Students and New Grads at TTi

Career centres and schools, if your students or recent alumni are looking to grow their leadership skills, we are constantly recruiting for enthusiastic top talent year-round. We recommend that students and new grads regularly check our Career Site and LinkedIn page for new job postings and information about the company. Moreover, we encourage students and recent grads to join our LinkedIn Group, TTi Canada Careers for Students and New Grads and start a conversation or ask questions.

When students and new grads join TTi Canada, whether in a full-time role or Co-op capacity, we want them to stay with us for the long term. This long-term goal is why we invest a lot in our new employees, ensuring they have the best training, robust support and accessible resources to achieve their goals. Our Leadership Development Program is where it all starts.

Students and grads who join TTi Canada will get to enjoy a diverse set of roles and responsibilities that will allow them to acquire various skills that are valuable and transferrable throughout their careers. They will be allowed to collaborate on real-world projects and opportunities where they can contribute their ideas to gain relevant experience. As employees of TTi Canada, students and grads will have ample opportunity to advance their careers, move up within the company and explore different positions. We pride ourselves on developing people, recognizing talent and promoting from within – all part of our dynamic culture. 

How the Pandemic Has Affected Recruiting

We have to adjust our hiring practices to align with what is happening in the job market. The pandemic has caused a shift in candidate mentality, particularly in compensation and remote work. Candidates demand higher pay, and there are more requests for remote or hybrid work environments. TTi Canada offers an excellent package for our Field Sales Representatives and Brand Marketing Representatives, including an attractive base salary, a company vehicle, great benefits, and an annual performance bonus. We do not offer remote or hybrid work schedules. Our Field Sales Representatives and Brand Marketing Representatives work in our clients’ stores daily.   

Companies are replenishing their staff and ramping up hiring practices, increasing competition for talent. TTi Canada is positioning itself as a preferred employer at campuses by attending career events, partnering with student services departments and driving our employer brand at schools across the country. We openly discuss our great culture, career advancement opportunities and Leadership Development Program to stay ahead of our competition.

What are 5 major hiring trends you see in the future?

✓    Diversity Hiring – Inclusion and diversity offer TTi Canada many benefits, including improved employee happiness, productivity, retention, loyalty, and employer branding. We realize that diversity, equity and inclusion are not just feel-good initiatives but a must for our success.

✓     Speed of Hiring – With increased employer competition in the job market, our hiring processes must be efficient, optimized and technology-driven. We are focused on reducing the time it takes to fill positions. We know that other employers will hire the best talent if we aren’t fast enough.    

✓     Employer Branding and Positioning – Improving our employer brand image to show that we are a highly respected company with strong values and a great culture is key to being the best and being a preferred employer among students and new grads 

✓     Providing the best candidate experience – We ensure students and new grads can apply easily, there is transparency in our hiring process, and people know where they stand and the next step. We’re open to talking about compensation, the demands of the job and our company culture.

✓     Proactive hiring – It’s not enough to post a job these days. Our Recruiters are proactively potential sourcing candidates via LinkedIn and other channels. They hone recruitment efforts, actively search for talent and stay ahead of recruiting trends. These trends include being front and present at campuses by attending career events, conducting information sessions and connecting with students through various channels.

Enforcing Fairness and Equality During the Hiring Process

Fairness and equality during the hiring process are fundamental, so we give each candidate an equal opportunity to showcase their professional background and skill set. We ensure that every candidate is asked the same role-based questions during interviews for consistency and equality. We utilize a matrix system to score various competencies and skills exhibited during the hiring process to ensure a fair comparison of all candidates. Our Managers are provided with hiring training, which includes eliminating bias and stereotyping during the hiring process. Finally, we require the opinions of at least two people when making a hiring decision which mitigates the risk of bias or stereotyping when hiring. 

Final Thoughts

TTi Canada is an excellent place for any student or new graduate to start their career. TTi Canada is where culture meets opportunity, and students and recent grads have the chance to advance their careers and work with intelligent, progressive and like-minded people. It’s an opportunity to support some of the best product brands in the world (RYOBI, MILWAUKEE, RIDGID, HOOVER, DIRT DEVIL) while developing a long-term career and working in a dynamic, forward-thinking culture. 

To learn more about Techtronic Industries and their Leadership Development Program, check out their employer profile on TalentEgg!

Bridging the Gen Z Gap: Understanding how to help recent graduates successfully transition into the workplace

Bridging the Gen Z Gap: Understanding how to help recent graduates successfully transition into the workplace.

Throughout my 15+ years as a recruitment professional, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for helping new grads transition into their first corporate role. A deep desire to help them land their first job was a result of my own experience struggling to find my way in the world.  I want to share the personal wisdom I gained and help them successfully grow their careers through mentoring and coaching support.

What have I observed?

The challenges new graduates face have not really changed from Gen X, but in the last few years, I’ve observed, firsthand, a much larger disadvantage for Gen Z during this major life transition.  Gen Z is often confused as an extension of Millennials, but they are distinctively different.  They are the first generation to never know a world without wifi, social media, and instant gratification.  They were part of a democratic school system and households, where there was no traditional hierarchy of power and consequences, everyone was a winner and there were no losers or failures. Probably the most impactful trend was that they were a generation that was highly overscheduled and constantly stimulated, not allowed to be bored or unhappy. Boredom is critical for imaginative play/thinking, and learning to deal with negative emotion, is an important psychological coping skill.  The absence of learning to manage emotions and stretch brain muscles is likely the root cause for why overall, Gen Z struggles with much higher levels of anxiety and depression. They lack the resiliency to face the world that is run by Millennials, Gen X and Boomers.

What can educators and employers do to help bridge this gap?

First, understand, it is not optional. We must help Gen Z with this transition into the workforce, because having them tough it out (as we might have had to), will lead to a higher level of mental illness, in a generation where mental illness is already significantly higher1 and a future workforce that is not as productive.  Second, seek to understand their perspective and then give them the support and tools to empower them.

For employers, onboarding is important. On-going clarity of your expectations of them, and how they can own their own development and successfully navigate their career, is even more important.  They likely expect that they will be given continuous direction and rewards, and you will drive their career for them – so showing them they own their success and happiness is step one.

For educators, provide insights while they are still in a learning environment, on how to prepare for this critical life transition. Soon-to-be grads are on the brink of one of the most challenging transitions they will face.

So, what is the secret sauce?

Interestingly, the ‘secret sauce’ would likely help all of us be happier, in a world where we all spend less time being present than we should.  To fully accept the present moment as it is, without judgement, is the foundational skill I teach new graduates through learning mindfulness. It is the basis from which all else will follow.  Next, I help guide them in clarifying their purpose and values from which they will decide their goals, and where to focus their attention and talents.  Research reinforces that understanding personal values is paramount for career success; the least committed leaders are those who understand company values,  but not their own.2 So, first, learn to engage fully with the present moment, and then integrate purpose and values into being in all aspects of their job search (interview, personal brand), job performance, and career development.  A natural consequence of mindfulness and purposefulness is happiness – in both our professional and personal lives. Happiness is self derived, rather than an expectation for others to provide.  Moreover, mindfulness helps build resiliency, so that when failures or disappointments happen, they won’t be devastating.

What’s in it for me?

Once Gen Z is thriving and finding the right ‘fit’ in a company and on a purposeful path, we will start to see a big reward ourselves.  They will overperform, as they are driving to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  They will be extremely loyal, and unlike Millennials, will want to stick around for the long haul with your company.  They will give back and want to mentor others recent graduates entering the business.  As you can see, the dividends greatly outweigh the investment.  It really comes down to your willingness to help this generation bridge the gap!


1 American Psychological Association – March 15, 2019, Mental health issues increased significantly in young adults over last decade

2 James M Kouzes and Barry S Posner, The Leadership Challenge 4th edition


 Bio:

Lana Burton is a talent acquisition executive and founder of Be META, an organization that helps Generation Z to recognize and realize their potential.

As a working mother of two, she knows how to connect the intimate needs of others and still make time to do the work that we all need to do within.

Connect with Lana on LinkedIn or via email at Be_META@outlook.com.

The 3 Things Students And Grads Want From Your Career Website

For many students and grads, your campus career website will be their first impression of your company.

So, if you want to hire the best, you need to have an egg-ceptional online presence. You also need to know what job seekers expect from your career site so you can develop a resource that suits their needs. Fortunately, a recent research report from Talent Board has provided some valuable insights on this very topic.

After surveying 100,000 candidates from 200 companies, their findings revealed the top 3 things job seekers want from your career site. Read on to see how your company stacks up!

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