What is Alumni Professional & Personal Enrichment at the MSU Alumni Association?

For those who have wondered why Alumni Career & Business Services made the shift to Alumni Professional & Personal Enrichment, a sampling of our upcoming programming for October paints a clearer picture. For your benefit, we’d like to point out our effort to classify our programming under AlumniLENS. LENS stands for Lifelong Enrichment for Spartans. We’ve described in the past how positioning ourselves exclusively under a career services umbrella limited the reach we had with our base of 500K living alumni. Most only felt the need to intersect with us during times of professional transition. To be more valuable to our alumni, we needed to create opportunities for people to engage and remain connected with MSU and fellow alumni now and into the future…regardless of employment status. Career content is still a big part of our portfolio, but you’ll see we are working hard to build other channels of interest that allow a stronger connection to campus and contribute to well rounded Spartans.

What follows are promotions for:

  • LIVE from MSU – events streamed live from MSU viewers are able to watch from a PC, tablet (Livestream App) or web tv service (Roku)
  • Professional Series webinars – webinars take place the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month and can be viewed on a pc or on a device with the Adobe Connect app
  • MSU Opening Doors – our corporate behind-the-scenes experience that heads to the Kellogg Company in October
  • Spartan Women – a new series we’ve launched that made its debut in Chicago & will travel to new cities in 2015
  • MSU Alumni Association LinkedIn Group – a vibrant community of 51K+ Spartans
  • LENS Online Offerings – a listing of over 150 online courses & certificate programs Spartans worldwide can access

Enjoy! Please click on the links associated with each promo for more information. We’d love to hear what you think of our programming.

LIVE from MSU

Homecoming Livestream

http://go.msu.edu/hc14parade 

Recipe For Health

http://go.msu.edu/r4hrutabaga

Gordon Wood

http://go.msu.edu/jmgordonwood

Richard Cordray

http://go.msu.edu/jmrichardcordray

Professional Series Webinars

alumni.msu.edu/lens

Jeff Ellman

Laura Labovich

 

MSU Opening Doors: The Kellogg Company

Kellogg Open Doors

 http://go.msu.edu/wB5 

This corporate experience will have an MSU 60/50 twist. Kellogg is 31st in the nation for diversity and inclusive hiring practices. This experience will allow 150 participants the opportunity to do the following:

  • Hear from Kellogg’s Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion on how they built this dynamic culture
  • Experience a panel of Spartan alumni working at Kellogg, moderated by Paulette Granberry Russell, with alumni representation from each of Kellogg’s 7 employee resource groups as they share their contribution to the culture, best practices and how MSU prepared them for working in diverse & inclusive settings
  • Enjoy a generous offering of food samplings from around the world during dinner that can be selected from tasting stations
  • Hear from DeBrenna Agbenyiga on MSU’s work with civil rights – past, present & future – with emphasis on current global civil rights issues (that are also argued to be human rights issues) that can be tied back to domestic examples surprising to the audience
  • Part with closing remarks from Paulette Granberry Russell on campus developments in diversity initiatives.

 Spartan Women

 Spartan Women -Chicago

Spartan Women – Chicago

2015 Spartan Women Events:  San Francisco, East Lansing, Detroit, DC, Chicago

MSU Alumni Association LinkedIn Group  

alumni.msu.edu/linkedin (52K Members)

 LinkedIn Group Cover

AlumniLENS Online Learning

 alumni.msu.edu/LENS

LENS Look

Thank you for taking a look! Remember, this is a sampling of what we do. When you visit the LIVE from MSU links, if you click on the ‘events’ tab, you’ll see the archive of past streams. To explore our archive of Professional Series webinars, click on the ‘Recorded Webcasts’ tab above on this blog page.

Lisa Parker – Director of Alumni Professional & Personal Enrichment

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Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.

On A Job Hunt? Go Grocery Shopping!

You’d be surprised what you can learn from a grocery store when it comes to job search strategy. Grocery stores are in the business of selling their environments and individual product offerings . Take a moment to visit your local store and pay close attention to what the store is doing to sell inventory and keep you coming back for more. You might find some ideas that could help you get the attention of your potential buyers…also known as employers.

Here are some general observations I made on a recent shopping trip. As you read through these, think of how they might apply to all aspects of your search. Some speak more to resume strategy, while others may align more with networking, sourcing, interviewing and your overall sales approach.

  • The brand names are typically priced higher than lesser known options. Even if the ingredients are the same, retailers know people are willing to pay more for something they feel familiar with.
  • All expired offerings are pulled from display shelves immediately. It’s a big turn off for buyers to have to dig through outdated merchandise in order to find fresh and usable options.
  • The store is arranged in a way shoppers can intuitively navigate the inventory, whether it’s a quick trip or a longer excursion. Items are grouped together in a logical way so the shopper can make easy decisions of where to look for what he needs.
  • The environment is clean, bright and visually appealing.
  • The basic floor plan for the store is consistent, yet subtle changes are made to featured displays to keep the return shopper from getting bored and to help him notice what is most relevant at the given moment.
  • There is a plan to capture intentional and impulse purchases. Complimentary products are placed near one another. For example, you may find basting brushes on a hook by BBQ sauce or small plastic snack containers hanging by the Cheerios.
  • Pricing is clear. There may be room for negotiation on some items, but there is a reasonable understanding of what the buyer will need to pay to make the purchase.
  • The most in demand items are prominent.
  • Samples of items shoppers may feel more comfortable buying after trying are often available.
  • Products are positioned with the intended audience in mind. For example, cereals for kids are on lower shelves and cereals for adults are up higher.
  • Stores consciously capture as much information from buyers as possible. Many have shopper cards that help identify who customers are and reveal buying habits; information crucial in planning strategy.

Pay close attention to how those in the business of selling go about promoting their products and services. There is depth to the process. Almost every aspect is intentional and built around the customer’s experience, needs and interests versus around what might be convenient or easy for the seller.

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Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.

Commanding Courage

Have you ever tried to command someone to not be afraid? I spent my weekend doing just that with my 8 year old daughter. Gentle nudges to give up being afraid grew into frustrated promises of consequences if she continued to refuse to set her fear aside. Without getting into the details, I’ll shorten the story by saying her health depends on her doing something that scares her. In my mind, getting her over her fear was necessary for her well-being, so I pushed. Early patience evaporated for both of us with each refusal to let the other win. Neither one was willing to budge.

After a timeout for sanity’s sake, my daughter asked me what scares me. I didn’t even need a moment to think. My fear of flying and the tortured thoughts I endure every time I prepare to step on an airplane rolled off my tongue. She’s flown with me and never knew I dreaded the experience. She asked if that was the only thing. I wish. I went on to share my fears relating to an autoimmune disease I have and the side effects of the drugs I need to take to stop my body from attacking itself. She knows there are days mommy doesn’t feel well and sees me swallowing pills all of the time. Honesty seemed fitting.

As I shared my fears with my daughter, it hit me that no one can command me to let go of them. If anyone has that much power over my brain, it’s me, and I haven’t been able to pull it off. Leave it to my scared child to teach me I was attempting to solve the problem from the wrong direction. I was determined to get her over her fear when the best I could offer her was a path to get her through her fear. Who was I to say what she should and shouldn’t fear? Who are any of us to command another to not be afraid?

Letting my daughter have ownership over deciding what scares her allowed us to find a solution. Instead of arguing over whether or not she needed to be afraid, we were able to dedicate our mental resources to finding a way to achieve the goal with fear in the mix. When we hit our goal, the celebration was sweeter because we didn’t minimize the strength it took to get there.

Think about the people in your life who are afraid of things you view to be insignificant. Consider your own fears and how you push through them. Can you find a way to command courage in those you love versus commanding them to not be afraid?

Think about the fears you have that are stopping you from hitting personal or professional goals. Consider that those around you who are telling you not to be afraid likely have other fears they’ve pushed through. Can you replace arguments over what should and shouldn’t be scary with productive conversations that acknowledge fear and invite solutions to lessen its influence?

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Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.

Don’t Tell Me That First!

Ladies and gentlemen, let me share an important nugget of wisdom with you. It’s great that you are willing to compromise in terms of employment opportunities, but don’t make a louder case for your compromises than you do for your ideal career situations when talking with networking contacts. Your loudest message is what will resonate with people. Do you really want your networking contacts more focused on identifying entry level positions or opportunities in other states when what you truly want is something close to home that relates to your developed base of skills and abilities?

I shared a giggle with a nice fellow who made this very mistake. The first thing he said to me was that he was open to opportunities in other states. After talking with him for a while it was clear he is heavily invested in his community and that his most valuable contacts, contacts employers could potentially benefit from, are here in Mid-Michigan. When I asked what he would do if one of his networking sources immediately offered up information on an opportunity in Phoenix he cringed. The truth of the matter is he would take a job in Phoenix if he absolutely had to, but he’d prefer to exhaust all local opportunities first. Makes sense, but his game plan doesn’t support this strategy so far. He now knows he’s got to stop leading with his compromises.

I understand this economy is unique and individuals must show they are open to a variety of situations. Too many job seekers go overboard with this, however. I personally think it’s because job seekers don’t believe suitable opportunities exist “in this economy” so they lower the bar immediately and focus more on settling. The truth of the matter is all sorts of opportunities are out there. Jobs may not be as abundant as in the past, but there are certainly options at all levels and in many fields. Your contacts can help you find them if you prep them properly. Lay out a good strategy for identifying these opportunities and use your networking circle well. Keep key contacts focused on what you truly want. You can handle identifying entry level work on your own. You can involve a limited number of contacts in a search outside of your geographic area when and if it becomes appropriate to do so.

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Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.

Virtually Impaired

When I first got into the world of third party recruiting, the computer wasn’t a big part of the profession. It was 1995. I had a computer for access to the company’s database and to send an occasional email, but that was the extent of my digital reach. Before you take a pass on hearing advice from someone who might as well be admitting she has a pet dinosaur, let me add I was a million dollar producer for my company. That’s right. I closed that many deals in a relationship driven industry without the advantage of online job boards, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and constant email blasts. I also…gasp…read resumes with my very own eyeball scanning for the keywords that mattered.

That was then and this is now, right? Maybe. Maybe not.

It is 2014 and I’ve definitely joined the ranks of those who make good use of email, social media and websites. Though I’m no longer in recruiting, I’m still in a role that relies heavily on relationships. The internet allows me to keep in touch with large numbers of people with minimal effort. That said, the virtual interactions that are the most fruitful are those where I have enough of a relationship with the individual to pick up the phone and call. Most often, those are the individuals I’ve met in person. The same is true for most people, I imagine. That’s why I scratch my head at those looking to connect with me for access to my contacts. Until they have the type of relationship with them where they, too, can pick up the phone in a pinch, they likely won’t experience much of a boost from the addition to their virtual rolodex.

As great as the internet is, it would do many a world of good to give it a time-out for a spell and increase their participation in the flesh and blood world of relationship cultivation. This is especially true for those on a job hunt. Those holed up with their computers chasing leads, firing off connection requests and blasting emails are neglecting the human element. If you can list hundreds of resumes and emails you’ve sent during your search, yet only need two hands to count the number of meaningful interactions you’ve had in person, you’re losing out to those covering less ground in a deeper way. Add to that, you are limiting your options to those known and chased by the masses with little in the way of genuine personal connections to give you an advantage.

I’ll close with a snapshot of an average week for me. Considering my role at Michigan State University, I hear from a lot of people who want my help directly or want me to connect them to someone they believe I have access to. On average, I receive 500+ emails per week, 50 LinkedIn requests,  50 InMails, 40 pieces of mail that are canned messages and…now here is the important part…10 phone calls, 1 piece of personalized mail (we’re talking hand written note card) and 3 requests for an in-person meeting. Of the individuals who contributed to the above stats, who will be the ones I’ll have deeper virtual interactions with over the course of time? For what it’s worth, I can say it will likely be those who called, wrote or met me in person.

Time to go feed my Pteranodon.

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Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.