Building Cultural Awareness

By Debra J. Stark

Preparing for the world of work involves learning how to celebrate diversity and learning from the unique contributions of people across cultures, race, belief systems, gender, generations, and varying levels of physical abilities. The interplay of these distinctly different groups, individuals, and mindsets creates a rich environment of ideas that bring forth creative and flexible solutions to complex work problems and situations. Consistently ranked high on employer surveys of desired skills for new hires are creativity, innovation, and flexibility. Being able to think outside the box can help you stand out and grow in your career and there is nothing better than focusing on diversity to help you expand your thinking and creativity.

While it may appear to come naturally to some, you can help yourself by taking advantage of the many diverse activities and programs occurring on your campus and in your community. Step outside your comfort zone and leave the familiar to immerse yourself in something new and different. Challenge yourself to seek out peers outside your circle of friends when asked to participate in a group project or extra-curricular event. Expand your horizon and connect with groups in support of social justice, community service, or gender issues. Doing this will enrich your ability to consider the perspective of others and expand your network of contacts. These experiences will provide you with actual examples that can demonstrate to potential employers your interpersonal and communication skills, and your ability to work with others in a team situation. 

How are you building your cultural awareness?


Career Update: How We Are Using Technology Now

Jennifer Miller, Co-author

Depending on how old you are, you may remember when you had to sit in front of a computer at your desk to read e-mails, look up information from known resources, and visit magazine or newspaper websites for the latest headlines.  A lot has changed and continues to change!

Today, we’re connected all the time, accessing e-mails, text messages, web-based resources, and apps throughout the day.   One of the big shifts in technology involves how we take in the information we need.  In your career development, you will want a lot of information; about your career field or the one that you are exploring, organizations or companies where you might like to work, job listings, job search tools and advice, and networking contacts.  And you’re likely to do the majority of your information gathering wherever you find yourself; whether it is at home, in the library, coffee shop, etc. using your laptop, tablet or Smartphone.

(image from:

Although magazines, newspapers, and the websites of brick-and-mortar resources are useful, social media has really expanded into an excellent career resource.  For instance, two of the most common places to find current information about the world of work are Twitter and Facebook, where you can follow companies, organizations, associations, people, and more.  Now, in addition to using traditional forms of social media for your career, you might be using apps as well!  Apps are rapidly expanding to assist the internship or job seeker.  As the trend toward social media, apps, and non-stop two-way communication continues to grow, employers are spending more time and money developing their social media resources, which means they are even better and more useful.  To learn more about useful career and job search apps, check out some of these articles that suggest and review mobile apps:

As technology continues to evolve, we’ll be looking for articles, resources, and tips to help you in your career.  What technology topics would you like to learn more about for your career?

Create Your Own Career Success

We decided to write Creating Career Success: A Flexible Plan for the World of Work to help you create success on your own terms.

To do this, we knew we had to do three things.

  • We had to help you decide what’s important for you in a career.  This would involve learning about yourself, including what you do well, what you like to do, and what’s important to you.
  • Next, we knew you’d need skills to understand the current and evolving world of work. This would make it easier to identify careers that interest you and take advantage of opportunities throughout your lifetime.
  • Finally, we wanted to give you effective tools to market yourself—online and in person—for the opportunities that interest you most.

Using these three steps as the book’s foundation, the flexible plan began to take shape, and we created a plan of analysis and action in every chapter to help you make decisions and move forward.

We know that careers evolve and shift in the real world, in real time. Even as we wrote the book, bringing you examples from the real world, tips from the latest research-based findings, and suggestions for using technology in all stages of your career development, we were already looking forward to the changes ahead. That is exactly why we are starting this blog.

Follow the blog and join us in a conversation about careers.  Here are just a few of the items already on our to-blog list:

  • Current issues in the news
  • New resources and tools
  • The latest technology
  • Fascinating research
  • Websites, blogs, and online resources
  • Topics that impact careers, from friendships to politics

With your feedback and input, we can share our thoughts, concerns, and adventures.  We hope this will enhance your interaction with the book, and also give you new ideas to consider. We look forward to helping you define your own career success and take the steps to create it!

What do you want to hear more about?