Tag Archives: career advice

Career Counseling in the BizCom Classroom

By Janet Mizrahi

I recently read an article about how all faculty, independent of discipline, are being encouraged to integrate career counseling into their curricula. It reminded me about the importance of helping our business communication students connect the dots between their educations and their futures. This is especially important now because students increasingly evaluate the choice of earning a college degree as value proposition that measures the cost compared to the long-term worth of that investment.

As bizcom instructors we may not be able to include career assessment and occupation selection into our curriculum; however, we are in the unique position to include many facets of career guidance that link students’ education to their careers by integrating the strategies below into our teaching practice.

First and foremost is consistently connecting course content and real-life work. Of course, we teach work-related written and oral communication, using case studies and examples from textbooks and perhaps, personal experience. Many of us also teach professionalism across the board—workplace etiquette, meeting behavior, and teamwork. All of this helps cement skills and behaviors that add value to students’ educations and careers as employees and merits conscious repetition throughout the semester.

We should also maintain a regular dialogue about work experiences. While not all students work, many do, and all members of the class benefit from hearing how the learning in the classroom plays out in the workplace. By using class discussions or small group sessions with guided questions that probe students’ work experiences, we can further bring home course learning objectives in a meaningful way.

This leads to the next point: talking about careers often. Doing so demystifies the process and helps students segue from academia to the workforce. In today’s climate, students are especially anxious to learn how the pandemic has affected the world of work, specifically what kinds of work they will be able to find and which industries are hot (and which are not). This situation makes discussions about the opportunities for employment in local industries especially pertinent.

Obviously, bizcom teachers design course activities around the job search as a matter of course. But we must rethink how we do that. The pandemic has changed the face of work, from where employees do their jobs to the creation or demise of entire industries. To nudge our students forward, why not require them to apply for an actual internship or job they find online (they need not send it in, but they should have the experience of responding to an actual job spec) and prepare them with a series of assignments on résumé writing and interviewing skills?

Finally, we can drive home the importance of productive behavior that may start in our classroom but that crosses over to the workplace.

Bizcom instructors hold a unique position to guide students toward rewarding careers. It bears reminding that while no student is forced to visit the career center, all must attend class—where we can be preparing them for their future careers.











The Best Career Advice? Stay Positive… A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way… An E-Mail Free Summer (Well, Almost) for Work-Life Balance

The Best Career Advice? Stay Positive

Suggestions about LinkedIn profiles, networking, and résumés are important, but the most critical piece of career advice is to have unshakable faith in yourself and your ability to meet your goals, says CEO and long-time recruiter Jack Kelly.

Kelly writes in Forbes that when searching for a job or trying to move up within an organization—both of which can be demoralizing experiences—job seekers must believe in themselves. He notes that if self-doubt and fear creep in, those defeatist thoughts must be purged to attain a successful outcome.

Kelly points out that every endeavor has its challenges, including the job search and career advancement, and says occasionally being treated poorly is part of working life. But during those trying times, the secret to moving ahead is to persist in positivity no matter what has happened. He suggests visualizing being seated in the office of one’s dreams, feeling hopeful about the future, and focusing on the end goal despite what the present looks like.

Once job candidates have landed that job or gotten that raise, they should put the bad times in perspective, Kelly suggests. That six-month unemployment  or two years working toward a promotion is but a fleeting moment in a long professional life.

Source: Kelly, J. (2020, October 7). The most important piece of advice no one tells you. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

Whether you are a professor teaching remotely or the CEO of a global organization, a simple human act of kindness is a fundamental strategy that leaders should practice, especially during the pandemic, say Harvard Business School professors Boris Groysberg and Susan Seligson.

Through compassionate listening and conscious validation of people’s fears, leaders can help others who are dealing with the obstacles brought on by the pandemic. The authors note that kindness can be learned the same way muscles strengthen from exercising, and practicing kindness nets results by increasing morale and performance and decreasing stress. Just a few phrases said in earnest can help justifiably anxious students or employees weather this difficult time. Some examples follow.

  1. I hear you.
  2. Are you okay?
  3. What can I do to help?
  4. How are you managing these days?
  5. I’m here for you.
  6. I know you’re doing the best you can.
  7. Thank you.
Groyson, B. & Seligson, S. (2020, November 1). Good leadership is an act of kindness. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from https://hbswk.hbs.edu

An E-Mail Free Summer (Well, Almost) for Work-Life Balance 

Many instructors are e-mail obsessed, manically checking correspondence and not resting until their inboxes are clear. But those are the same instructors who will undoubtedly suffer from burnout, especially if they continue to repeatedly check e-mail and wait for timely responses over the summer break.

One instructor claims to have found a happy solution, outlined here:

  • Establish an away message.
  • Check weekly, not daily.
  • Respond on Mondays only.
  • Remove the e-mail app from your phone.
  • Put away your laptop in the evenings.
  • Delete unnecessary e-mails without responding.
  • Remember the world will keep turning if you do not respond to every e-mail.

Improving the Link Between College and Career

Should the college experience focus solely on academic subjects, teaching students about theories and perspectives, developing literacy and critical thinking? Or would today’s college students be better off honing career-specific skills to groom them for the workplace?

Why not both?

This is the conclusion reached during a roundtable discussion between a panel of experts and sponsored by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The subsequent report, Preparing Students for 21st Century Careers,* gave advice on how collaboration between academic institutions, employers, and civic organizations would best prepare new workers in the coming decades.

The report details the disconnect between skills students think they need to be employable and skills employers demand of new employees. Students want a major that will land them a job upon graduation—employers need workers who are “versatile and resilient” and who will be able to change careers many times over their work lives. However, the problem is that majoring in a career-specific discipline does not adequately prepare students for the demands of the future workplace.

The panel of experts believes colleges can help close this gap by integrating the educational experience with career development by doing the following:

  • Investing in stronger career counseling programs
  • Making career development mandatory
  • Building career skills into coursework
  • Providing faculty development to help instructors update their pedagogy
  • Incorporating problem solving and group projects into course work in conjunction with local organizations or nonprofits.

However, the panel also emphasized the importance of faculty continuing to teach in their disciplines, but in ways that teach students howto learn. In the future, the panel noted, today’s students will likely have several careers, and unless they learn how to learn, they will be at a disadvantage. The panel also emphasized that all graduates, despite their major, need certain skills—project management, information literacy, and computational understanding. These skills should be developed not outsideof the college experience but as part ofit.


  1. Have you taken advantage of career counseling resources on your campus?
  2. Why do you think many employers want new hires who know how to learn rather than graduate with specific knowledge?
  3. Why do you think employers consistently rank communication skills at the top of their “wants” for new hires?

*Download the report using this link.