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July 2016

How To Structure Effective Career Services, Part 2 of 3

Copy of Copy of DESIGN (5)In part one of the three-part series, I stated there are three distinct functions that need to be carried out to structure highly effective career services; one crosses over into education.

  1. Transformative learning
  2. Coaching
  3. “Selling” fee-free recruitment services

Part one focused on transformative learning, which you can review here.  This posting, Part Two, focuses on coaching; actually a seminar and group coaching program.

Assuming your students have completed a comprehensive job search effectiveness course as part of the curriculum during their tenure at your school, the next phase is conducting a one-month, postgraduate (yes, postgraduate) seminar and group coaching program.

Many job-seekers remain unsuccessful because they can't figure out what to do. Others move forward in a start-and-stop mode, trying first one idea, then another, and often giving up before they see results regardless of what they were taught in the job search or career decision course.

The seminar and group coaching program I have used successfully is based on the Get Hired NOW!™ program developed originally by C.J. Hayden, MCC, and Frank Traditi.  Get Hired NOW! was designed to meet the need for an easy-to-use program that would simplify the job search process, and help job seekers get into action quickly.

This model works because it gives each participant a list of things to do, a calendar for getting them done, and a method of tracking their progress. With a career services professional as their group leader and coach for the one-month program, they also have the accountability, perspective, and support they need to keep going, work smart, and stay on track.

This seminar and group coaching program can be offered in a variety of ways. It begins with an in-class workshop of two and one-half to three hours in length. The program can also be delivered as a teleclass or webinar.  Although, I’ve found the in-class model to be most effective.  In the seminar, the facilitator reviews the basic principles of job search and helps participants see where they may be stuck or lost in their job search. Then the facilitator takes the participants through the step-by-step process of developing a personalized one-month job search program, using the programming toolkit. Each member's program includes a quantifiable job search goal they wish to achieve in the next month, one to three projects they would like to accomplish, and ten specific actions they will take on a daily or weekly basis.

Following the seminar, the facilitator conducts group coaching sessions. From my experience, two 30 to 45-minute sessions per week for four weeks works best. Limit the coaching sessions to no more than ten participants working together with the facilitator in each session.

In the sessions, participants report their progress on implementing the program and achieving their goals. They receive coaching on blocks or obstacles, brainstorm with the facilitator and other participants for possible solutions, and celebrate their wins. At the end of each coaching session, the facilitator gives a job search thought for the day.

In the coaching session, each participant reports not only how well they did in achieving their goals, but what they have learned about themselves and the job search process. Even those who do not reach their targets get significant value from the program, because of the amount of learning that takes place.

Watch for my next post for Part Three, “Selling” fee-free recruitment services, next week.

If you wish to subscribe to my blog posts and get them directly by email, go to www.GamelinAssociates.com and complete the sign-up form.  In this era, creating sustainable growth may require schools to make a fundamental change in approach AND their underlying assumptions.  This blog is a forum for those who wish to learn how to make those changes and add to the discussions.


How to Structure Effective Career Services - Part 1

Copy of Copy of DESIGN (4)There are three distinct functions that need to be carried out to structure highly effective career services; one crosses over into education.

  1. Transformative learning
  2. Coaching
  3. “Selling” fee-free recruitment services

Let’s begin with a transformative learning program; transformative in this case meaning changing habits of mind and points of view.

You just cannot achieve high employment success in all your programs unless your students are putting in as much effort into their job search as you are in securing job orders from potential employers!  The problem is most career schools, and colleges provide their students only with opportunities to learn how to write résumés, answer interview questions, and dress for success.  These are individual skills useful at some stage of the process but are simply not enough to be successful in a 21st-century technology-driven job search.

A 21st-century job search requires self-directed job search and personal marketing skills that are rarely included in school curricula or taught at career and placement centers. So instead of designing an effective job search campaign, the typical graduate begins looking for work by exploring postings on Internet job boards or reading ads in the newspaper, or worse yet simply waits for calls from the career center office; a prescription for extended unemployment and marginal employment success rates.

Students must learn what most have never learned - how to market themselves successfully.  And this requires a transformative approach on day one, not a month before the student graduates.

Students need to learn the three key components of a successful job search:

  1. Identifying the best job search strategies for their personal goals.
  2. Knowing exactly what to do and when to do it.
  3. Staying motivated in the face of frustration and rejection.

These skills need to be learned and EXPERIENCED throughout their entire tenure as students for them to develop a level of confidence few have experienced in their lives.

Watch for my next post for Part Two, Coaching, next Tuesday, July 26.

If you wish to subscribe to my blog posts and get them directly by email, go to www.GamelinAssociates.com and complete the sign-up form.  In this era, creating sustainable growth may require schools to make a fundamental change in approach AND their underlying assumptions.  This blog is a forum for those who wish to learn how to make those changes and add to the discussions.


Seven Tips To Create Higher Student Retention

Copy of Copy of DESIGN (2)I wrote this article nine years ago and came across it in my archives when searching for a relevant subject for a post today.  With a few editorial revisions, it’s as relevant today as it was when I wrote it in 2007.

Student retention is one of the hallmark elements in assessing a career school's effectiveness. The question is how to truly affect high retention rates continuously.

One of the challenges is defining where the problem exists. Most of the effort in finding solutions to retention issues is focused on solving systemic problems. But that's missing the mark in my opinion. The initial focus has to be on getting to know your students. To know how to succeed in the career school business and maintain high retention rates is inseparable from knowing your students. You can't have one without the other.

We have created a checklist for school owners to study and put into action. It's based on information from 9 Lies That Are Holding Your Business Back by Steve Chandler and Sam Beckford. These guidelines have direct application to the career school business, and if applied consistently, may virtually eliminate retention worries (hopefully).

Focus on Your Ideal High-Value Students and Ignore the Rest

  1. You don't want every student in your school. A lot of school owners make a big mistake by thinking that they should try to get any student they can.
  2. Most career schools are capacity businesses. That means you can only accommodate and service a maximum number of enrollments and students effectively. And if you think that squeaking by with a 70% retention and a 70% placement rate is OK for your business, guess again.
  3. Think of a hotel. If a hotel in a busy season has 100 rooms and 90 of those rooms are filled with kids on spring break, it may have to turn away a lot of much better customers because it has reached capacity. A business traveler with an expense account who uses room service and will not steal items from the minibar is a much better customer for the hotel.
  4. Don't waste time and money attracting students that are bad for your school. Think of your best students; the students who never complained about your tuition; the students who believe your instruction and quality of service are excellent; the students who pay their fees on time; the students who were referred to you by other good students or constantly refer business to you. Those are the types of students you need to attract to your school.
  5. From where did your best students come? Whatever the sources, then advertise heavily in those sources.
  6. From where did your worst, most problematic students come?  Whatever the sources, eliminate them.
  7. Poll your best students and ask how they originally found your school. If you're doing a good job, they'll be glad to tell you and help you grow your school.

High retention is a direct result of effective marketing and advertising that recruits students that are good for your school, and admissions policies that promote enrolling those good students.

These students are your greatest assets, and the ones you will retain; the ones that will refer other good students to you; the ones that will help you grow and prosper.

Here's the Gamelin Axiom for Career School Success:

"Enroll only qualified and employable people in quality programs of choice that teach in-demand skills, and market graduates vigorously to employers who need those skills."

If you adopt this axiom as part of your mission and carry out your mission, I venture to say that your retention and placement problems will be solved forever.

If you wish to subscribe to my blog posts and get them directly by email, go to www.GamelinAssociates.com and complete the sign-up form.


Organizing Admissions: The Myths (Post 3 of 3 - The Comparison Game)

Copy of Copy of Copy of DESIGNSeveral years ago, and I mean in the 80s or early 90s, I read an article by Karl M. Mathews, at the time, president of Southwestern Business College in Palos Hills, Illinois.  I can not find a current reference to Mr. Mathews nor Southwestern Business College.  I copied the article but forgot to reference from what publication (sorry publisher), and in the course of rereading old articles for possible relevance today, I came across it again.

The statements in this article are as relevant today as they were several years ago in my opinion, so I thought I’d share them with you.  Would be great reading for those younger members of our profession who may never have had the opportunity to read what I consider foundation material.

This is the last of three posts.  The first myth is The Sacrosanct Lead, the second, Industry Standards, and this, the third, The Comparison Game.  I will certainly appreciate any comments.

Myth #3:  The Comparison Game

“Have you attended a seminar or training session in which the presenter has lost control to an ‘artful dodger,’ by inviting unrestricted audience participation?  I vividly remember one such participant who regaled the group with  his ability to fill all his classes each month and graduate between 98 and 99.5 percent of his starts.  If that wasn't enough, he had never had a no-show or a graduate fail to become employed.  In a matter of minutes, we were forced to change from  hip boots to waders when he went on to describe his [4% default rate].

Everyone - at least I hope everyone - in the audience knew this guy had spread enough fertilizer to cover the south forty.  When pressed for details he was diplomatically evasive and alluded to such meaningful explanations as ‘industry standards’ and ‘hiring the right people.’  His tirade did little to improve the topic at hand, but it did have an impact on the participants’ mood.  For some reason, intelligent, competent people, totally aware that one person was unloading a truck of fertilizer allowed such events to alter their behavior in the strangest ways.  Vanity?  Who knows.

Participants of this workshop represented a wide variety of schools from almost every corner of the nation.  The formal intent of this workshop was to focus on certain techniques to benefit all types of schools.  Our colleague’s little dissertation momentarily derailed the intentions of the workshop.  Not only did he disrupt and cut short and formal presentation, he profoundly affected the informal discussions later on.  Because of one person's action the mood shifted from discussion of the topic at hand to, ‘Well, if he is going to sell his success I’m going to sell mine.’

I have seen people become involved in the comparison game and genuinely become upset.  How can you compare schools in different parts of the nation?  How can you compare schools with different programs of varying lengths?  It’s simple:  you can’t, in most cases.  Schools vary in enrollment needs, geographical settings, length of student tenure and admission requirements.  Schools with short term (9 months or less) programs need to have a high close ratio.  Such programs are in a constant state of turnover and cannot afford a series of small beginning classes.  Schools operating in sparsely populated locales need to generate more leads to reach their desired enrollment.  Bringing in students from vast distances requires a monumental effort.  After all, enticing a student to relocate, at a considerable expense, is no easy task.  The larger the pool of leads the better your chances are of meeting expectations.  Schools with longer terms (over a year and one-half) develop optimum recruiting cycles and are under less pressure to constantly enroll.

By now, it should be apparent that comparisons of admissions numbers result in spurious finding and serve little or no meaningful purpose.

Comments are most welcome.  I hope you have enjoyed and benefitted from these posts as much as I have rereading and writing them.

If you wish to subscribe to Lee Gamelin’s blog posts and get them directly by email, go to www.GamelinAssociates.com and complete the sign-up form.


Organizing Admissions: The Myths (Post 2 of 3 - Industry Standards)

Copy of Copy of DESIGN (1)Organizing Admissions:  The Myths (Post Two of Three - Industry Standards)

Several years ago, and I mean in the 80s or early 90s, I read an article by Karl M. Mathews, at the time, president of Southwestern Business College in Palos Hills, Illinois.  I can not find a current reference to Mr. Mathews nor Southwestern Business College.  I copied the article but forgot to reference from what publication (sorry publisher), and in the course of rereading old articles for possible relevance today, I came across it again.

The statements in this article are as relevant today as they were several years ago in my opinion, so I thought I’d share them with you.  Would be great reading for those younger members of our profession who may never have had the opportunity to read what I consider foundation material.

There will be three posts; this is the second in the series; tomorrow will be the third.  The first myth is The Sacrosanct Lead, the second, Industry Standards, and the third, The Comparison Game.  I will certainly appreciate any comments.

Myth #2:  Industry Standards

“People who allude to “industry standards” also tend to use other vapid statements, such as:  ‘the bottom Line’ and ‘the big picture.’  As is the case of most trendy phrases, the phrase identifies something, but in reality, says nothing.

There are no industry standards.  No twisted little malevolent creature inhabits a mountain top churning out canons of performance expectations.

There are no quality control squads roaming the countryside preparing to descend upon you.  In short, the phrase ‘industry standards’ is about as meaningful as a politician promising never to lie to you.

Each school, or group of schools, should set their standards based on location, curriculum budget and a multitude of other factors.  No central force could, or should, dictate norms that take into account regional and local factor.  The only factor that is relevant is the conditions that surround each school’s locale.

An outsider may be able to assist you in the mechanics of success, but meeting successful expectations is an individual matter.”

Comments are most welcome.

If you wish to subscribe to Lee Gamelin’s blog posts and get them directly by email, go to www.GamelinAssociates.com and complete the sign-up form.


Organizing Admissions: The Myths (Post 1 of 3)

Copy of DESIGN (5)Several years ago, and I mean in the 80s or early 90s, I read an article by Karl M. Mathews, at the time, president at Southwestern Business College in Palos Hills, Illinois.  I can not find a current reference to Mr. Mathews nor to Southwestern Business College.  I copied the article but forgot to reference from what publication (sorry publisher), and in the course of rereading old articles for possible relevance today, I came across it again.

The statements in this article are as relevant today as they were several years ago in my opinion, so I thought I’d share them with you.  Would be great reading for those younger members of our profession who may never have had the opportunity to read what I consider foundation material.

There will be three posts, today, tomorrow and Thursday.  The first myth is The Sacrosanct Lead, the second, Industry Standards, and the third, The Comparison Game.  I will certainly appreciate any comments.  So here goes!

Myth #1:  The Sacrosanct Lead

"Let me preface this by saying that in no way do I wish to state or imply leads are not important.  Leads are important.  Without leads, one cannot enroll students.  But leads are not as important as the actions taken with them.  Also, it should be noted when discussing leads I mean media and list-generated leads.  High school and direct referral leads are more stable in nature and require different treatment.

Leads are a transient statistic.  (In the jargon of the statistician, leads are considered independent variables).  It is difficult, if not impossible, to accurately project the number of leads one can gather at any given time.  Independent variables can be influenced by events sometimes beyond our control.  Sometimes, it matters little if more advertising/marketing dollars are spent.  The best thing one can hope for is to find a pattern, or better yet, several patterns, of reliability.

In most cases [disruptions in the lead-gathering cycle] the causes are subtle and require time to determine the cause.  Unfortunately, the time needed to analyze the causes rob you from capitalizing on the lead’s initial interest.  It now becomes more difficult to work that lead.  Making, or remaking, a first impression, a second or third time is often not successful.

Since leads are independent variables, such numbers are an unreliable base for calculating admissions performance.  Yet, the focal point of most systems and discussions revolves around lead-close ratios.  [...]  Unfortunately, lead tracking usually evolves into an admission performance evaluation system based on the number of leads gathered.  In statistical reality, leads and enrollment have no significant correlation.

Common sense tells us that without the leads enrollments will not occur; but fact tells us that even with leads there are no assurances of enrollment, no is there any predictability as to the number of enrollments.  Leads by themselves only tell us how effective our advertising was.

I realize this commentary - some may call it an attack- on leads, is bordering on heresy.  Just a most of the ancients believed the Earth was the center of all that existed until a few “heretics” eventually proved them wrong, a prevailing tenet of this industry has been that the lead is the center of our admission system and all else revolves around it.  Leads are not the center of our system.  Leads are necessary vehicles to assist us in reaching our goals.  Leads are in independent orbits and are influenced, and influence, the real center of the system, each individual school.”

Comments are most welcome.

If you wish to subscribe to Lee Gamelin’s blog posts and get them directly by email, go to www.GamelinAssociates.com and complete the sign-up form.


A Cancer That Can Kill Your Business

DESIGNA Cancer That Can Kill Your Business

This morning, I read a post written by Don Tinney that applies to all businesses large and small.  I have seen this “cancer” grow in many businesses, first as a training consultant at Dale Carnegie Training to chairing onsite visits for the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET) to working with my clients.  If you detect it in your business, immediate action is required.

“There are interesting parallels between cancer in a human body and cancer in an organization and it all has to do with what’s going on at our core. Just as corrupting cancer cells attack the healthy cells and core functions of the body, something just as cancerous attacks healthy team members and the core of our business.

Serious damage will occur if we don’t detect and treat the cancer early.”

Is the Core of Your Business Healthy?

“Authentic core values, discovered and nurtured, are essential to building a healthy business. Even with so much written about core values, most entrepreneurs don’t fully realize their power or how best to leverage them, so don’t stop reading.

Without paying proper attention to our core health, toxic anti-values can embed and like a fast-moving cancer, metastasize and kill our business. Even second- and third-generation businesses are not immune. So, let’s get serious about this and take steps to take care of your business at its core.

On a practical level, a core value is something you, the business founder, care about deeply. Your core values evoke a strong emotional response when someone does or doesn't care about it like you do. Simply put, if a value doesn’t make you react strongly, it’s not core. If you don't get really angry when it is violated, it’s not core. A core value is something you are ready to go to war over. The opposite of a genuine core value, an anti-value, is something you recognize as hazardous to your core health—you address and remove it quickly.”

Ask yourself this question today.  Are your actions and those of your people in line with your core values?  If not, time for a significant shift.

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