Podcast

How Career Services Can Create More Equity and Inclusivity

Jenn Tardy, founder and CEO of Jennifer Tardy Consulting, shares several best practices for how career services teams can create more equity and inclusivity.

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Jenn Tardy, founder and CEO of Jennifer Tardy Consulting, shares several best practices for how career services teams can create more equity and inclusivity.

Jennifer Tardy Consulting is a training and consulting firm that specializes in diversity recruiting and retention. Jenn often speaks to employers, recruiters, jobseekers, and career services teams about how to dismantle barriers and create environments where diverse pools of talent thrive.

In the episode, Jenn talks about:

  • What obstacles historically underrepresented students typically face when it comes to career development and seeking their first jobs
  • How career services can help address those hurdles
  • How career counselors can best support students from marginalized backgrounds in navigating hiring biases, even if they haven’t personally experienced those challenges
  • How career teams can effectively assess employers to determine if they’re truly inclusive
  • What strategies and mechanisms career teams can use to hold employers accountable for fostering an inclusive environment for students from diverse backgrounds
  • What resources career teams can use to keep educating themselves on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • And more

Resources from the episode:

Transcript

Meredith Metsker:

Hey everyone. Welcome back to the Career Everywhere podcast. I’m your host, Meredith Metsker, and today I am joined by Jennifer Tardy. She’s the founder and CEO of Jennifer Tardy Consulting, a leading training and consulting firm that specializes in diversity, recruiting, and retention. Thank you for being here, Jenn.

Jennifer Tardy:

Well, hello there, Meredith, and thanks for having me on your show.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah, I am so glad you’re here and I am really excited to talk to you today about how career services teams can work with both students and employers to create more equity and inclusivity in the workplace. And I know this is a critical issue and one that is really top of mind for a lot of career leaders across the country right now, especially since, as you mentioned in our prep call, career leaders are in a unique position to connect that next generation of the workforce with today’s top employers. They’re really that bridge. So in a unique spot there. Before I get into my questions, Jenn, is there anything else you’d like to add about yourself, your background or your consulting work?

Jennifer Tardy:

Oh, great question. So I love this work so much because I tell people a lot that I was raised in recruiting. So I started off as a recruiter, moved all the way up to managing recruiting leaders. I have managed campus programs, campus partnership programs. And what I love about the work that I do is that I have had the opportunity to sit on multiple ends of the table. I’ve been the hiring manager, I’ve been the manager of the hiring manager, I’ve been the recruiter, I’ve been the leader of the recruiter. I’ve been the person that’s actually looking for the job, the person who’s gotten hired, the person who didn’t get hired. And so a lot of the information that I give, it comes from many different vantage points. And my biggest challenge today with a lot of the advice that I hear is typically only from one or two vantage points, which you could be missing some facts that people need to understand.

Meredith Metsker:

Right. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It seems like you’ve turned your passion into your own business, which is really cool.

Jennifer Tardy:

Right. Right.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. Well, before I get into the more specific questions about our topic today, I do want to kick us off with a question that I ask all of our guests. And that’s what does Career Everywhere mean to you?

Jennifer Tardy:

So for me it means normalizing the conversations around careers. So I know growing up on my end, people may ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But that’s as much of the conversation that would happen. There may have been career day in school or something. But what I love about Career Everywhere is it’s really looking at the many facets of, where can we begin to teach and train and help people to begin thinking about their own career and how to gain access to what you want most? So it’s how to embed careers in everyday conversations and I love that.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah, I do too. It makes this podcast so much more fun because the concept is just really cool. Okay. Well, now I would love to dig into our topic today, which, again, is how career services teams can create more equity and inclusivity. To give us some context to start with, can you just share a bit about what obstacles historically underrepresented students face when seeking their first job and then how career teams can help address those obstacles?

Jennifer Tardy:

Yeah. So I would say if I had to put it into a category or two, one is access to opportunity, and the second is your ability to navigate, right? And so as we talk about access to opportunity, when I’m training recruiters and employers, I’ll often share with them this whole notion of signaling. So signaling is how within your employment brand are you saying to potential job seekers that you should see yourself working here too? How are you signaling that you will belong here, you can be successful here? And many employment brands are only signaling to certain populations or certain groups unintentionally, right? And so now you have people who are rising graduates who may not have ever even considered certain industries or careers because they’ve never seen themselves in them, they’ve never seen their family members, their friends. They don’t even see images of them when you’re thinking about careers.

And so even just thinking about the one little element, signaling, in terms of access to opportunity creates a barrier in and of itself. And then on the other end, if you know about these career opportunities, how do you navigate when bias shows up? And so in an interview or even with your resume as a job seeker, do you already understand that whoever’s reviewing your resume or whoever’s interviewing you during the process that they are trying to, number one, identify and then overcome their own biases because we all have those biases? So then how do you as a job seeker navigate that? I tell people all the time that… It’s so interesting, especially as we’re talking about people from historically underrepresented communities, our biggest factor to landing the job isn’t being the most qualified. It’s really being the most skilled at navigating the biases of the people interviewing you, helping them to genuinely see that you’re qualified through all of the biases that they may have on their end too. So yeah, it’s a big obstacle.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Yeah, it is and it makes a lot of sense. So from your perspective, how can career services teams help students navigate some of those things?

Jennifer Tardy:

Yeah, a major part of it is your ability to be aware of obstacles and to be able to make sure that the students to which you’re coaching or counseling that they’re aware of when they typically present themselves and providing them with resources on how to navigate it on their end. And so the more educated or the more aware that a career counselor can be on their own through their own training or through their own research, the more you’re able to bring back those materials. We have started building up our own resources on our website as well too, which could be a great starting place if any career counselors are looking for resources to share with the students on their campus.

Meredith Metsker:

Great. Yeah, and for anyone who’s watching or listening, we’ll be sure to include a link to that in the show notes so you can check out Jen’s website. There’s lots of great information there. Yeah, so I’m assuming that also applies to career counselors who are trying to help support students from marginalized backgrounds, help them navigate these hiring biases, even if they haven’t personally experienced those challenges.

Jennifer Tardy:

I would agree. So when I think about obstacles, obstacles that are fueled by biases, I don’t necessarily look at them as, yes, no, you do or don’t experience them. I look at it as more of a spectrum that we all have obstacles that we experience when trying to get in and get ahead, but what’s the severity? What’s the amount or the frequency of those obstacles? And so a great place that career counselors can really do some of their own internal work is thinking about what obstacles you’ve experienced on your end. However you identify, start there because by you asking yourself, what have I experienced for myself in all of the ways in which I identify? And then how did it make me feel? Where did I turn or support? What resources were available to me?

Because even foundationally, your ability to empathize with the people who are coming in to sit and talk with you, it’s a great starting place to know that even if maybe you’ve only experienced one or two obstacles, whereas other groups may be experiencing 30 or 40 obstacles, that one or two, it creates a level of common ground and then it begins to open the access of trust, and it’s all because of your empathy.

Meredith Metsker:

Right. Yeah, it makes sense to start with empathy first. I mean, that’s the foundation of everything, right?

Jennifer Tardy:

I would agree. I would absolutely agree.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. So let’s say a career counselor is listening to this episode and they know they have some appointments coming up with historically underrepresented students who are wanting to start the job search and interview process. What specifically could they tell them or talk to them about to help them prepare to navigate those biases?

Jennifer Tardy:

So again, I’m a big fan of doing research to… And in particular, looking at specific populations because what women may experience could be very different from what men of color may experience. And so it’s really understanding who am I about to sit and talk with, and then what have their experiences been traditionally? And so it’s really about exploring it, where that person is. And then when they come in and they’re sitting down and having a conversation with you, yes, you’re giving career advice that fits everyone, but then you’re also saying, “Hey, it’s very important that you also understand that there’s been some identified biases that you should also be aware of too. And then again, connecting them to resources that can help to guide them through how to navigate them.” As an example, even on our YouTube channel, we’ll have conversations about making eye contact.

So culturally, some people may have been raised under the notion that making eye contact for a prolonged period of time can be seen as disrespectful. And so now as an adult, you’re out here, you’re working to look for a job opportunity, and so making eye contact can be difficult for you. There’s an actual hack to that where I remember someone saying, “Imagine someone’s face as an upside down triangle. Your eye is the base of the triangle, and then your mouth is the point of the triangle. And then if you spend time going from eye, eye, mouth, eye, eye, mouth, it’s a win-win scenario where it still begins to look like you’re making eye contact with the person, but it still allows you to break eye contact in the way that feels most comfortable.” So the wins come in the tiniest forms, and all of it is to genuinely help a person to feel more comfortable and confident when they go into their interview so that they can really show their truly qualified self.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah, I love that. And also now I’m finding myself doing the inverted triangle thing.

Jennifer Tardy:

I would’ve never even noticed. So it’s a pretty cool activity. And sometimes if I find myself having some… I don’t know, just feeling weird about making full on eye contact with a person, I would do that as well myself too and you really can’t even tell.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah, I’m going to have to keep note of that one because I’m neurodivergent. So sometimes I feel like I’m making too much eye contact or it’s too intense, and then I get distracted from the conversation at hand thinking, am I being weird? Is this too much eye contact? So this is helpful.

Jennifer Tardy:

So there you go. Or it was so interesting, I was having a conversation with someone one day, a networking conversation. So she is legally blind, and instead of requesting an accommodation for whatever interview process step that she’s in, she’ll say, “Here’s what can most benefit me while I’m interviewing with your organization.” And she said, “As a matter of fact, I recommend everyone says that. Whether you need or require a formal accommodation or not, your ability as an actual candidate or a job seeker is to think about what needs to be taking place that will most benefit your ability to show up as your best self during the interview. Is it that instead of doing a phone interview, you’ll be most benefited by doing a video interview? Is it instead of doing your traditional interview, you interview in this way? It is completely okay and acceptable to at least make that comment to say, here’s what would most benefit me. Does your organization allow for that or have a provision for something like that? And just see what they say. All they can do is say no, but at least you’ve tried.”

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Yeah, that’s a great way to phrase it too.

Jennifer Tardy:

Here’s what could most benefit me. Yes.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Yeah, that’s great. And even if they do for some reason say no, well, then you’ve just learned an important data point about that company.

Jennifer Tardy:

1000%. I was actually thinking that. I didn’t even say it out loud, so I’m glad that you mentioned that. But in the questions that you ask an employer, you get to learn about a lot of where they are on their own journey to creating an inclusive environment. And much of that starts with your experience as a candidate.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. This is making me think of a couple jobs ago in the interview process, I had interviewed with primarily men so far, and they made a point and they said, “We would like for you to talk to a woman on our team. That’s really important to us that you do that.” And I was like, “Okay, I appreciate that you are self-aware and called that out.” Because I have been through interview processes where it was just all men. And that’s tough trying to envision how I’m going to fit into the company.

Jennifer Tardy:

I have this image that I did not create, but I love using in my workshops where it shows a panel interview and it’s a long table of about 20 different men, and then there’s one seat on the opposite side of a woman sitting in that seat facing them, she’s being interviewed. And one of the questions to her is, what value do you think you can bring to our organization? And it’s so funny, every time I see that image, I love showing that image because the fact that because of all of the beautiful ways in which she identifies, there’s so much lived experience intelligence that she’s able to bring to the table. So you’re not specifically hiring her because of her identity, but you’re recognizing and you’re acknowledging that because of her identity, it’s afforded her access or inaccess to people, places, and things, which has cultivated a unique experience, and that unique experience has created a different perspective. And it’s that unique and nuanced perspective that’s going to add value to your team, hands down.

Meredith Metsker:

Right. Yeah. Yeah, and it’s always great when a company recognizes that. It only makes them stronger.

Jennifer Tardy:

Right. Me in the form of a job seeker without me having to go and say, “Here’s the value that I can add to your team.” It would be great if employers begin to recognize that upfront and even state, “I can see you bringing a lot of value to our team just based on your lived experience intelligence.”

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Yeah. So for any companies listening, there you go. Here’s a tip for you.

Jennifer Tardy:

Perfect.

Meredith Metsker:

So speaking on the company side of things, how can career teams effectively figure out if employers… Or assess employers to protect students from any potential harm while still promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Jennifer Tardy:

I look at this twofold because this is a conversation that comes up quite often when career centers will reach out to our team to really talk about workshops and our services and things of that nature. And one of the things that I share is have you thought about internally what your values are and what your pillars are as it relates to what type of experience you are hopeful and that you are wanting your students to experience as they’re doing internships? And even when they get a full-time opportunity, what is your hope for them? So it’s one thing to create inclusivity within your campus or among your campus, but it’s another thing to begin thinking about how do you carry that on over into the experience with employers? So it’s thinking about and writing out your own pillars. That’s one half of it. The other half of it is now, can you ask the employer to make a commitment to that?

And I know a lot of employers are coming more than ever to campuses and they’re saying, “Hey, not only do I want access to your students, but I want access to your multicultural groups. I want access to…” And they’re actually naming specific identities and specific groups. “Give me access to them.” And you’re like, “Wait a minute. I can’t give everyone access to them, and not everyone is ready or prepared for said access.” Because as a career counselor, you’re trying to protect the students. But instead you’re able to say, “Well, here’s important. Here’s what we value as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion. And what we’re asking is with this partnership, we’re asking all of our partners to sign a commitment saying that you are also aligned to cultivating this level of inclusive experience for our students too.”

And something like that is a great opening to a conversation where they can begin sharing what their values are within their organization too. But you don’t have to go that far. It’s enough to be able to say, “Will you commit to ensuring that they have this aligned experience?” And then measuring it as well on the back end.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Yeah, it’s a great way to keep them accountable, for sure. I’m curious, what are some examples of some of those pillars that career centers could consider employing internally?

Jennifer Tardy:

So the question is, what does an inclusive environment look like to your campus? And so if an inclusive environment looks like voices are heard, right? And so that would be one of the commitments that we commit to ensuring that no one’s voice is left behind, that people walk away with experiencing feeling heard and seen, that people are walking away from an internship feeling as if they belong. An interesting notion is this whole idea of belonging, where you may see in some organizations where they will say, “Oh, well, in order to really belong here, here’s some things that you can do to make sure that you belong here.” But that’s actually the opposite of what it really means to belong. There’s no action that a person should have to take to belong. Belonging is a state of being just because of who you are.

If a person has to take an action in order to belong is actually… It’s a different word, which is not belonging. So belonging, we want to make sure that all of our students are walking away feeling a sense of belonging. We want to make sure that our students walk away from your internships feeling like they were able to bring their whole selves and they did not have to assimilate, and they still have access to opportunity. So those are just some examples of what could be in the commitments overall, but it really matters more on what inclusivity means to your campus.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. Okay. And let’s say a student has done an internship, they have come back, or multiple students have come back from an internship. How can career centers or career teams go around or go about talking with those students, trying to assess if that internship really was inclusive and if it was a good experience?

Jennifer Tardy:

I am a huge fan of engagement surveys. And so when you think about engagement surveys now you think about it as more of an internal thing for staff and faculty and things of that nature. But what if there’s an engagement survey for all of your students? So once they come back to campus at the end of their internship, you can ask all of them to take the same engagement survey, and then perhaps at the very end, they can share who the employer was that they actually did their internship with, and really pay attention to the results of said survey. And this could actually be great information for the employers within your network to see collectively. And if they also want to see it sliced out, meaning how did this one employer compare to the overall umbrella of employers? And what would you recommend they implement to create a more inclusive internship experience? And so you can look at it not just from the internship experience, but the experience of interviewing for the internship, the experience of onboarding for said internship, and even the experience of offboarding from that same internship as well too.

So you can look at it in milestones along the way so that when you’re able to offer recommendations for how to make it a more inclusive experience for the students at your campus, you can be more specific in that way. So that’s pretty cool.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. Yeah, that’s some great advice. So let’s say maybe there were some challenges for a student as far as inclusivity and equity goes in an internship. How would you recommend career teams address that with both the student and the employer?

Jennifer Tardy:

Got it. So with the employer, it depends on how far you’re willing or wanting to take this to create change and at what level. So with employers, it’s our ability to share the data, make recommendations, and then ask the employer what are they thinking about doing or using to create a better experience. And if year after year they’re not making any changes and you’re still seeing the same feedback, then perhaps it becomes a time to ask, is this employer genuinely following the commitments that we’ve put in place? As a matter of fact, when you’re sharing with them feedback from a survey that came from their organization, you can align that feedback to those commitments as well too. You can intersect those. So that’s one way, but a big part of it is deciding at what point the partnership no longer is in alignment and which partnerships are you okay with releasing versus doubling down on partnerships?

With students, one interesting thing that you can do is you can share some of the work that’s happened with that employer and you can ask the student if they’d like to go back to the employer again because at the end of the day, it will be that student’s decision on if they want to go and if it’s a mutually acceptable scenario. And with all of the data that you have from the other employers, you’re able to say, “But if you choose to not go back there again, here’s some other employers where students’ feedback suggests that it’s more inclusive to whatever’s most important to you.” So it is being able to use the data to help inform employers and guide students at the same time too.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah, I love that. And I imagine once you’ve done enough of those surveys, talked to enough students and employers, you start to really develop a great list of reputable employers that you can recommend to all of your students.

Jennifer Tardy:

Absolutely. I would agree. I would agree.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. So I am curious, what are some proactive steps that career teams can take to address some of those shortcomings in the hiring process and really promote fair and equitable employment opportunities?

Jennifer Tardy:

So whenever I’m training recruiters, for example, many times recruiters can feel like paper-pushers or administrative assistants or like, “I don’t really have any influence over this hiring process.” But I have to remind them, you actually have so much influence. You just have to know what that looks like and at what angles you can really influence the outcomes of what people experience. The same is true with career counselors. There’s so much influence that you have specifically if you’re in a position to say yes or no, we as a campus will or will not engage in a partnership with your organization. Or even if we as a campus are engaged in a partnership with your organization, I, as the career counselor, have a say in which groups I can give you access to and how much access. If employers genuinely want the access to your students, they will begin to make the positive changes that are necessary to create better environments.

And so it’s really in knowing in which spaces you can genuinely influence it in that way because that begins to shift things at more of a systemic level too, right? And then you’re able to say to them, “Okay…” I mean, if you could ever get to a place where if I’m the career counselor and I’m thinking about who’s getting access to our students, are there any interviews that are actually happening at that time where I, as the career counselor, can walk away with an understanding of, okay, so what are they experiencing in your interviewing process? How are you making offers? How do you contribute to creating more equity in the pay gap? So you can ask all of these questions just to see where they are on their own journey to increasing diversity and providing inclusion as well too. So yeah, there are lots of things that you can do with the employer and then with the students, you can just make sure that the more resources that you have available that they can access if they want to access them, then you’re doing a great foundational job as a career counselor.

One of the obstacles that we run into is the fear of many career counselors and leaning in on those conversations because they may feel like they don’t have the right language to use. They may feel like there may be some backlash to whatever information that they give to them. And so if as a department you can begin thinking about what are those resources we want to have as a department and training your career counselors on what’s within these resources, it’s going to make it a lot easier and better.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. I am curious, what are some of those resources that you would recommend that career teams have on hand, make available for students in this regard?

Jennifer Tardy:

Yeah. There’s one guide in particular, and I was actually thinking about it a little bit earlier today too. Yes, this is what the name of it is, The Miseducation of the Underrepresented Job Seeker. There’s one guide that I have specifically about The Miseducation of the Underrepresented Job Seekers. So in what spaces within the whole job search process have underrepresented job seekers been misguided? And how do we start there with providing them with more resources as well too? I have another one that’s connected to… Here we go. I want to find it really quickly so I don’t forget. Yes, 25 Common Interview Questions and Top-Notch Answers. And so not only is it here’s the question, here’s the answer, but why are we answering it this way? Why are we answering the question in this way? And based on how you identify answering the question in this alternative way, how can it impact your overall interview experience as well too?

For anyone who has already a membership with Audible, last year, I did an audiobook with them called Level 10 Mindset Interviewing, and within LTMI, Level 10 Mindset Interviewing. And so it’s every phase of when you’re thinking about interviewing, how to prepare for the interview, how to actually feel more confident in your interview. And that confidence comes from us actually unpacking and talking about what you may be experiencing specifically because of how you identify. So those are just three resources that I can think of that are all free resources that people can download immediately.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay, great. And again, I’ll be sure to include links to all of those in the show notes, so everyone can go and check those out. Well, Jen, you’ve already mentioned some strategies that career teams can use to hold employers accountable for fostering an inclusive environment for students from diverse backgrounds. But any other ways that career teams can really, again, hold those employers accountable?

Jennifer Tardy:

Are there any other ways that career teams can hold employers accountable? And I said this a second ago, but I genuinely want to reemphasize this. You have to know when potentially it’s time for the relationship to come to an end. And if you’re leading, like you’re the director of counseling services or career services for your school, I really want to urge you to be that person, that has conversation with your team of career counselors because many of them aren’t necessarily certain that they have the ability to even escalate this question of, should we still keep the partnership with them? So that’s one thing that I say. The second thing that I’ll say too is that as I’m talking with employers, I’ll say to them, “Yes, it’s great that you’re having conversations through the career services department within the campus, but I also want you to remember that there’s an alumni department as well too.”

So yes, when we’re thinking about campuses, we’re thinking of people who are rising graduates who need internships, and we’re also rising graduates, but there are a lot of people who have already graduated from the university from the campus that’s also looking for opportunities as well too. They’re also on their job search. And many of these alumni departments are embedding their own diversity, equity, and inclusion area of expertise within the alumni department. So if I’m here in career services and I’m thinking about some way that I can really bridge the gap systemically through my partnership with employers, I’m not just thinking about you can have access to our current students, but I’m also thinking about especially if you’re a tremendous employer, a great employer, I want to make sure that you have great access to our alumni department too, with an understanding there are a lot of people out here who are looking for jobs today who have already graduated from your campus.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, when you think about it, the career center really has such a critical role to play in vetting employers for students and alumni. Because there are so many out there, and it can be hard sometimes to figure out how committed are they really to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Jennifer Tardy:

Right. Is this performative? Is it optical? You can also look at hiring data as well too. One of the things that I share with employers is, please don’t forget about your conversion programs. As you’re thinking about increasing diversity, most employers are thinking about direct hire positions, a posted position. I’m going to hire you as an employee. They’re not thinking about their conversion programs, and conversion programs like their contractors and like their interns. And so if you have not started thinking about what increasing representation means among the pool of interns that you bring in, and those same interns get first access to career opportunities within your company, those direct employee positions, then it’s going to negate your overall initiative to increase diversity in particular. So you have to be thinking about increasing diversity from your direct positions, from your conversion positions and internally as people are growing in your organization as well too.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. One question that just came to my mind. We’ve talked about how you can come up with these pillars, you can ask employers to agree to the standards that you have set in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. But maybe a step before that, how can career centers vet employers a little bit? How can they try to figure out if they are truly committed to DEI? Does it start with those pillars in that agreement, or is there some other work they can do beforehand?

Jennifer Tardy:

So the suggestion that I had given before was more along the lines of if an employer is coming to you and they’re all knocking on your door, right? But let’s say you working in career services, you want to do your own research on who are the employers that we want to attract to come to our campus and how can I vet them before ever even talking to them? And so I would probably connect this to the same logic that I share with people who are on their job search. So how do they vet employers for inclusion? So it, again, goes back to what does an inclusive environment look like to you? Or more specifically, whatever you’ve been hearing is what an inclusive environment looks like to your students. So if you already have this information, this data from them, then you begin asking what information can I see without talking to people? So what conversations are they having on social media, this employer? Are they talking about the things that our students care about? What do I see on their website? Do they have any connection to diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Whether it’s through their own pillars. Do they have an office? Do they have a head of diversity, equity, and inclusion? When you think about diversity among their senior leadership, among their board of directors, you begin paying attention to things like that. What sort of programs are they invested in as an organization? What do they say when you go to their careers page? Which is likely you’re going to see them talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion somewhere within their career pages as well too. So you’re able to go online and find information there as well too. Plus you can look at organizations that have received awards because those organizations that are providing awards for the best company to work at, if you are dot, dot, dot. So you can see who’s receiving those awards as well too, and you can start there and then do more of your digging on the backend as well.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. Love that. Some great advice. Thank you. On a similar note, how can career teams work with employers to maybe implement some diversity and inclusion initiatives within their organizations?

Jennifer Tardy:

I think that just ensuring that best practices are shared. So let’s go back to this intern engagement survey where when all the interns come back, regardless of where they worked over the summer or whenever they did the internship, you’re now able to look at all the data and you’re like, “Oh, this one student said that they did this amazing thing over here.” It’s really about being a vehicle to ensuring that these best practices from some employers are going to all employers. And I am not going to be the person that says, “I’m going to give you, career counselor, more work.” They’re not going to come and get me. However, if they can somehow begin to connect employers so that they can learn from each other, I think that’s a great win-win scenario where the actual career counselor themselves, they’re not going into implement it because they’re not positioning themselves as an expert to what the work is, but they are positioning themselves as a linchpin to being able to say that I, career counselor, I can see this happening well over here, and it’s well received.

And so if this employer is interested in opening up to talk about what this looks like, how it creates a more inclusive environment and how it creates a better experience, then me as the linchpin, I’m going to invite other employers that could potentially use that information and they can take that back and begin embedding it where they are too.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay, great. Yeah, I love that. Another question for you. How can career teams support students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds in building strong professional networks and accessing mentorship opportunities in addition to job opportunities?

Jennifer Tardy:

In my mind, career counselors are… They’re very networked. Because the nature of the work that you do, you’re talking with a lot of employers and in your ability to say, “Hey, whatever you’re looking for right there, I see something in what you’re looking for. And again, I see that they likely have it.” And making that soft introduction or that warm introduction, I think that that is key. So it’s the career counselor thinking to themselves, “How do I begin to be more intentional about the network that I have and that I cultivate? And then how do I give students more access to this network that I’m building over here?” And so it’s that type of connection. Sometimes we don’t need to think about it as, what software? How do I do these matchmaking? Sometimes it’s really just about going back to the basics. Based on what I’m hearing you say, your needs are in areas of support. Is the resource actual content or a guide? Or is it connecting you to a person that can really support you with whatever season you’re in right now in your search?

Meredith Metsker:

Okay, great. Well, I know we’re coming up close to the end of our time, so I want to be mindful of our time here, but I do have one more quick question. Earlier you mentioned that it’s important for career teams to constantly keep educating themselves on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Are there any resources or trainings that you recommend for them to do that?

Jennifer Tardy:

Yes. So there’s an actual organization that I’m a big fan of and I’ve done a lot of workshops with them. It’s called the Career Counselors’ Consortium. And so again, I’ll make sure that you have the link. I really like the work that their founder, Sabrina, is doing on her end where she’s the person who connected to me. So she’s over a consortium of career counselors from across, I don’t know if it’s the nation or the region. But she and her team, they’ll come together and they’ll say, “What curriculum can I bring? What training, what workshops can I bring to this consortium that’s going to help them to further grow in their careers?” And so when she came to me and she was like, “Hey, I think that you’re talking about some great things, can we intersect that with the work that we’re doing?” I think that that’s amazing.

And so when she said that, I think that I’ve done maybe three or four different workshops with her team. And I thoroughly enjoy talking to career counselors, which is what even made me start thinking about the importance of understanding that as a career counselor, you’re in a unique position to where you’re both supporting your employer partnerships and the student partnerships as well too. And so any training and learning that comes to you can best benefit you if it’s coming through the lens of this unique hat that you’re having to wear.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay, great. Yeah, we’ll for sure include a link to that as well. Jen, is there anything else that you would like to add? Any questions I missed or just anything you would like to leave us with?

Jennifer Tardy:

So I would say this, I know that I’ve said a few times through the podcast about just different resources that are out there. I would say, just start with some of the links that, Meredith, that you’re going to provide them, because from our YouTube channel on increased diversity to the Career Success channel, to just the resources that we have. Our job at Team JTC is to go out and find those resources and to bring them to a spot for you. So if you’re looking for a place to start, at least start there and then broaden it out from there. So I don’t want you to think that there’s just the free guides, there’s a whole channel of information. Yeah, and even through uConnect as well too. So it’s pretty awesome.

Meredith Metsker:

Great. Well, on that note, if people would like to connect with you or learn more from you, where’s a good place for them to do that?

Jennifer Tardy:

So I would say Jennifertardy.com. You can find everything that I was talking about there. Plus, I do spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. As a matter of fact, on LinkedIn, we have a newsletter. And I think we’re a little over 80,000 subscribers right now, which is very exciting. And our newsletter is called Increased Diversity because it’s the action that we want people to take. And so every single week we bring in a different topic, whether we are talking about a new book author that is talking about something connected to increasing diversity, or we’re talking about the history of recruiting and where things came from. Why do we have resumes? Where did that even come from? Right? We’re celebrating things like Women’s History Month or International Women’s Day, or just different holidays around the nation. So we bring all that together in an effort to just educate people along the way. And we do that weekly. So join us over there.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay, great. Yeah, sounds like folks will be in good company with a lot of other subscribers. Okay. Well, at the end of the interview, I like to do this fun, answer a question, leave a question thing. So I’ll ask you a question that our last guest left for you, and then you’ll leave a question for the next guest.

Jennifer Tardy:

Okay.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. So our last guests were Matt Phillips and Rebecca Davis of the University of Arizona Global Campus. And they left this question for you. Tell us about a specific time you made an impact on one student. What was the situation and what positive impact did you have?

Jennifer Tardy:

Oh, okay. So we have a program called Inner Circle where people from all seasons of life will come in for career advice. And one person joined, and she was either just about to graduate from college or she had graduated from college. So she was one of our most inexperienced individuals as it comes to the job search. And she was in there and she was thinking, “I don’t have any experience, and all I have is this, X, Y, and Z.” So the ability to help her to translate the experience that she has into something that is marketable for her, allow her to get her first recruiting job working at a staffing agency. What I’ve noticed is that when it comes to job seekers, it’s not that they don’t have experience, but for many of them, they’re not giving enough weight or acknowledgement to all of the experience that they have, because maybe it didn’t present itself in the most formal, I have a full-time job with benefits and a salary.

And so to help her to be able to see herself differently and to be able to use that and to translate that to get her foot in the door was very exciting for me, very exciting.

Meredith Metsker:

And now she can help other folks do the same thing.

Jennifer Tardy:

Yes. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. You’re right, because as a recruiter, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah, I love that. All right. Well, what question would you like to leave for the next guest?

Jennifer Tardy:

Well, since we’re talking about careers, and this is the Career Everywhere podcast, I’m very interested in, whoever you’re interviewing, what did they want to be when they grew up? So what is it that they always knew that they wanted to be versus the role that they’re in today? So that would be a really interesting answer to that question, I’m sure.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Oh, I love that. That’s such a good question, especially for career services folks because as we’ve noticed several times on the podcast, there’s not really a degree for career services. So anyone who finds their way into this field came from somewhere else doing something very different.

Jennifer Tardy:

It’s the same thing for recruiting too, unless they have a degree now that I just didn’t know. I never even thought that I wanted to be a recruiter or even a career coach. I was like, “I didn’t even know that that was a thing.” I remember growing up wanting to be a lawyer. So I still get to make my case and to state my case when I’m talking to people. But yes, a career is a very different journey from being a lawyer.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. And that’s what makes it fun though, right? It’s not linear-

Jennifer Tardy:

That’s what makes it fun.

Meredith Metsker:

It’s not predictable.

Jennifer Tardy:

Right. Who wants a predictable life?

Meredith Metsker:

Exactly. Not me, that’s for sure. All right. Well, Jenn, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. This was such a fun conversation, a really helpful conversation that I know that our viewers and listeners will get a ton of value from. So just thank you again for taking the time and for sharing all of your wisdom.

Jennifer Tardy:

Awesome. Thank you for having me, Meredith. I appreciate it.

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