What does it take to lead a university career center today?

Attendees at the recent 2010 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Annual Conference & Exposition in Orlando heard the voice of experience answer that question in a presentation co-delivered by Barry Shiflett, director,  Career Management Services, in the College of Business Administration.

Shiflett teamed with long-time colleague Jason Aldrich, director, Career Services, Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, to identify and discuss the core competencies required to lead career centers in the 21st century.

“Experience indicates that the skills required at the director level can be significantly different from those skills that many strong assistant and associate directors possess,” Shiflett said. “As a result, we find that there can also be a steep learning curve for many who make the jump to director.”

What you need to succeed.

According to Shiflett, a core set of skills is essential to advancing to a leadership role in the career development field.

“You need to be action-oriented and comfortable working with senior management,” he said. “You also need to excel at setting priorities, multi-tasking and delivering results.”

Barry Shiflett speaks to a group of students.

Other key traits included possessing the ability to learn on the fly, to think strategically and innovatively and to be able to manage with vision and purpose.

“Keeping the focus on customers is also vital. That’s something we are committed to doing here at Florida International University (FIU),” Shiflett said. “We also rely on NACE surveys to keep us abreast of national recruiting trends and current insights into what employers are seeking in candidates.”

Presentation hits a positive note.

NACE’s follow-up survey gave high marks to the “Career Center Leadership” presentation.

On a scale that ranged from 1 for “not at all satisfied” to 5 for “extremely satisfied,” Shiflett and Aldrich earned a 4.48 for the overall program and a 4.61 for the presenters.

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