Marketing Your Leadership Skills

From a presentation by Ryan Mooney, Assistant Director of Career Development at Chestnut Hill College:

 

In today’s job market, understanding and marketing your own transferable skills is essential for nailing an interview or writing a great cover letter. So what are transferable skills exactly? Transferable skills are skills that you can acquire in any setting (sports team, club/organization, classroom) that can be applied and used in different settings. For example, if you are the president of SGA and use things like communication and organization on a regular basis, you can take those skills and use them in an arrange of fields like Public Relations, Event Planning etc. . Communication and organization are two examples of transferable skills that you may learn here and use in life beyond CHC.

So now you may be wondering how do you know what skills you’ve gained. There are a few easy ways to develop a list of skills/experiences that you can take with you on job interviews and put on resumes and cover letters. 1) Take a Transferable Skills Inventory Assessment (One example: http://www.sc.edu/career/Pdf/identifytransferableskills.pdf). It is important to not only think of the skills you possess, but also examples of how you’ve used that skill. 2) Think about your job functions for each of the roles you play on campus. Do you…organize meetings? Delegate or assign duties? Manage a budget? Plan events? Collaborate with a committee? Advertise for upcoming events? Each of these tasks may be excellent talking points for cover letters and interviews.

It is never too early or too late to start thinking about and developing your transferable skills! Visit the Career Development Office (St. Joseph Hall 350) or check out their Blackboard site for tons of great resources!

 

Clubs and Organizations: Top Ten Ways to THANK members and keep them MOTIVATED!

From Club Council, February 11th, 2013:

Members are the backbone of any student organization and as such, from time to time, may need extra motivation to stay active and involved. Below are a few tips to keep members excited and motivated:

1) CANCEL a meeting. Give the group time off for good behavior

2) Write a handwritten note to members thanking them for their service.

3) Tie a note to a candy bar and write a note saying something like “sweet job.”

4) Have an end of the semester banquet, pizza party or ice cream social.

5) Put together a slideshow of the year’s events and show it at one of your last meetings.

6) Have a special appreciation day or week for your members.

7) Remind your advisor of jobs that are being done well…ask them to drop a note or email to the person doing such a great job.

8) Post a HUGE thank you in a public area to thank your committee or council for special efforts.

9) Know everyone by name and call them by name!

10) Be creative and think outside of the box. What is your club’s goal or interest? Give prizes or gifts based on the club’s interest.

 

Club/Organization Budgeting 101

Christmas break is perfect for rest and relaxation, but it is also a great time to plan for your club’s spring events and activities. Part of the planning process is creating a budget, which often presents many challenges. Clubs over or under estimate the amount of money that they will need to have a successful semester.

Here are a few tips for making your semester a financial success:

1) Look at your club’s budget history. How has your club spent its money over the years? How much did each event/activity cost? What items have you purchased in the past that can be used again? (You can find you previous club budget requests in Student Activities)

2) Figure out what resources you already have. Once you have develop the events/activities/workshops you want to host next semester, it’s time to do the hard work. Check to see what resources your club/Student Activities/ CHC already has. The Student Activities Office has a large Club Resource Center, which may cut down on your costs and there are a lot of savvy faculty/staff members on campus who may be able to lead you to free resources.

3) Break down your costs. This part is where students often get stuck. If you are planning an arts and crafts night, do a mock shopping trip to figure out how much each item will cost. Going on a trip? Call your venue to see what group pricing looks like. Hosting a speaker? Call the vendor to learn about pricing? Purchasing tshirts? Develop a proof and send it to a tshirt company to get pricing deals. Basically, go through each event and determine what costs you will have. Once you’ve done that, pretend as though you are actually going to buy the item and jot down all of your prices to come up with a total. This takes a lot of work, but will be worth it in the end!

4) Create a spreadsheet. Sounds boring right? But in the end it will actually save you time and money! Once you have calculated your costs, create an Excel spreadsheet. Create three columns “Event/Item Name”, “Estimated Cost” and “Actual Cost.” Once you’ve created the columns input all of your event names and estimated costs. Sum the estimated costs and as you spend money input your actual costs and sum them. A spreadsheet will help you see where you spend your money and will help you stick to your budget. You can also pass it on to future club leadership so that they can use it as a reference. It’s a win-win for everyone!

5) Don’t be afraid of your budget. Sounds weird, but people often will push aside or avoid finances, because of previous bad experiences. Now is the time to take control of your club’s budget so that you can make the most of your time at CHC and truly make your mark on campus.

6) Ask for help. Don’t hesitate to talk about your budget with your advisor or Student Activities staff. SAO is here to help you make decisions, understand the budget process, and learn how to make the most of your budget.

 

Happy Budgeting!

 

Rationality and Compromises

When you’re a leader, you may be approached by and put in situations that you didn’t prepare yourself for.

When facing these situations, it’s easy to panic or get upset about it, but that won’t solve any of your problems. The best thing you can do in any situation is to think rationally and make compromises.

So someone comes to you and blames you and your club for something you didn’t know about. What do you do? You may have the urge to get angry and annoyed, blame someone else, and storm out of the room. RESIST.

The following steps are some suggestions for handling surprises:

Take responsibility for what may have been the fault of your club, even if you are not personally responsible for it.

Apologize for the confusion/disorganization/mistake/etc.

Rationally think about what options you have to fix the problem. Think about what is best for EVERYONE involved, not just for your side.

Discuss options with the opposing side of the conflict. What are they looking for in a resolution? What kind of compromise is okay with them?

Decide on a compromise and follow through.

Apologize again.

Make a note to yourself and your officers of what happened and why so that it can be avoided in the future.

Aack! What do I do?

¨ The Question: When asked a question you’re not prepared to answer, it can be awkward. Be honest about what you know and offer to get back to the person who asked.  You’re knowledgeable so, utilize your resources and refer them. Take responsibility and ensure you’re sending them to the right place.

¨ Feeling Pressured: If you’re asked to do something you may feel pressured, especially if asked by an administrator or in front of someone.             Say you’ll get back to them. Later you can talk It over one-on-one, get more information, and agree to do it or gracefully decline.

¨ Programming Saves: Another on the spot moment is when there’s a delay in an event, last-minute change or cancellation. Filling a few minutes may seem feasible. But what happens if the presenter/performer cancels or the equipment’s absent or not working and you need to cover the whole event? It can be a challenging and daunting task. Depending on the topic or activity, there may be a way to save the day:

¨ Use what you have

¨ Utilize resources

¨ Unearth hidden talent

¨ Always have a backup plan

From PaperClip Communications, Inc.

Servant Leadership Development

This semester you’ve learned about how to be a servant leader. If you’ve followed these tips you should be seeing improvement in the communication and quality of work coming from your club or organization.

Servant-leadership is characterized by the belief that development, particularly leadership development, is an on-going, life-long learning process. Skills such as empathy, stewardship, and self-awareness can be hard to learn, but are essential to being an effective leader. Characteristics such as listening, persuasions, conceptualization, foresight, commitment to the growth of others, and community building are all learnable skills, and servant-leaders should continue to develop these.

We encourage you to reflect and thoughtfully assess the degree to which you have each of these skills, and try to strengthen them as you feel necessary. Just as in exercise, working on parts of yourself that may have been dormant for a while will feel weird at first, but in time you will grow into a strong and confident leader.

Servant leadership works because of the specific practices of servant-leaders, practices that have been shared with you this semester, which can help you become a more effective leader and get positive results from those you lead. The key is paying attention to people; helping them to develop and grow, and looking ahead so that you and your colleagues will be able to continue serve others in years to come. Keep up the good work- your personal growth will take you on the journey to being a great servant leader.

Advertising: go big or go home

So you have this event coming up for your club, and you’re totally engrossed in picking a host, sending in all of the paperwork, contacting all the right people for permission, buying decorations, and the list goes on and on. It’s so easy to get caught up in the brunt of the work to forget what may be the pass or fail of your event: ADVERTISING.

If you don’t assign someone to be in charge of advertisements and “getting the word out” about your club, it won’t happen. Though you may get lucky and have an advertising-conscious member of your board, there is a pretty large chance that if you forget about it – everyone else will too.

Advertising for an event takes time and planning. Make posters, get approval, hang posters, send emails, and etc. If you don’t advertise for your event, no one will know about it. If no one knows about it the only people at your event will be those of you who planned it. A failed event may mean a monetary loss – which is most likely the opposite of the event’s original purpose.

And the best way to advertise, is EARLY. The longer you advertise, the more opportunities people have to find out about your event.

With successful advertising, you get numbers. Event population is important and not to be forgotten.

Carving Out Your Character

 

This leadership position you’ve taken on requires strength of will, strength of convictions and, most importantly, strength of character. Your values help define you as a leader and as a person. And your character is who you are and how you act, even when no one is looking. So what’ll it be? What is the essence of your character now and what would you like it to be? As you carve out your character, as a person and as a student leader, consider the following:

 

¨ Good Intentions Alone Don’t Cut It: You may have the best of intentions yet, if your multiple promises go unfulfilled, that’s what will be remembered. Don’t promise so much that you’re unable to follow through on your good intentions.

¨ You Need to Act: Wishful thinking and good intentions alone aren’t enough. Put them into action. That’s what exhibits your true character.

¨ Let Your Values Be Your Guide: If something feels wrong, it probably is—at least for you. Your values have been your guiding force for many years, so don’t abandon them now!

¨ It’s the Big AND the Little Things: How you act under pressure during major decision periods speaks to your character. So, too, does how you act on an everyday basis. Your character impacts the person you choose to be, when others are around and when no one else is watching.

 

From PaperClip Communications, Inc.

 

Servant Leadership: Listen First

Servant-leaders listen in as many ways as possible. They observe what people are doing, conduct informal interviews, formal interviews, surveys, discussion groups, and focus groups. They use suggestion boxes. They are always asking, listening, watching, and thinking  about others and what they can learn from them. By listening, leaders are able to identify the needs of their colleagues, and that puts them in a good position to meet those needs. When you’re in a leadership role, it is paramount. Remember the people who put you in the leadership role, and be sure to listen to them. This will put your club on a path to success- everyone will feel like their needs are validated and perform to a higher level.

So ask yourself this: do others believe that you want to hear their ideas and will value them? Remember to work on being receptive to others. Show that you are genuinely interested in their views and input. By listening first you’ll be making your club a stronger community.

Community Engagement grants are now available. Contact Steph Reif, Vice President for Community Service, for more information.

 

An Idea Gone Awesome

It all starts with an idea. A thought, if you will, of something you enjoy. That idea/thought is something you think about doing. Then you think “It’s too much work”, “No one will like it” or “It is simply impossible.” Then, one day as you are talking to a friend you bring up this thought/idea that you have been thinking about. That friend becomes interested and likes that idea and begins discussing this thought/idea in more detail with you.

Now you’re really thinking: if you and your friend like this idea, then there is a great chance that there are others that would be interested and like the same idea!

So you have a choice:
A) Ignore this potential awesome idea and move on with your life.
OR
B) Pursue the idea and see you where it takes you.

I hope you do not hesitate to answer. The answer is indeed B!

Everything that is awesome has started with an idea.

Take Walt Disney for example.

Disney had the idea of a cartoon mouse and pursued his idea. It took planning and hard work but Mickey Mouse was introduced to society and is the most recognized mouse on the planet.

Pursue your idea for a club, event or activity. At times, it may seem hard, stressful or even out of reach, but trust me: you can do it. And who knows, maybe this idea can go down in history.

For a CHC example:  Two students, who were music-education majors, had the idea of having a student-run musical. With the help of friends, teachers, and many hours of hard work,  they directed the first ever student-run musical “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” This idea has been carried on for 4 years now and continues to be a great addition to campus life.

I encourage you to pursue your ideas because it will improve upon your leadership skills, help you see the “behind the scenes” in events, and meet new people.

Conclusion: explore your ideas, they will take you places.