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College & Workforce Development

College speaking

“The best career advice anyone has ever shared with me.” – Shelly Nguyen, recent college graduate

Administrators at high schools, colleges/universities and workforce development agencies call on me to teach essential communication skills to their students and job seekers. They understand people advance further if they write, speak and network better than the competition. Plain and simple.

As for the students? They love my blend of practical instruction and career motivation.

Check out eight more fantastic tweets from a writing workshop I led for students who major in public relations.

As well, I often lead sessions in which I “train the trainers.” For example, I show career professionals smart ways to write networking emails and job applications. That way, they can share the lessons with their students or clients.

Keynote speaking topics:

  • The smartest ways for millennials to communicate with older colleagues — both in person and online
  • How to develop a “side hustle” or passion project — even while in school or on the job
  • Everything you need to know about starting your own blog/website (and why it’s critical to make one in the first place)
  • How to best prepare for a job interview (and why you should think of it more as a “conversation”)
  • The power of storytelling, why you need a great story in the job search and how to find the perfect one

Writing workshop topics:

During my interactive writing workshops, everyone receives hands-on instruction because the best way to learn is by doing.

I cover strategies for:

  • In-person networking
  • Networking/job-search emails
  • Job applications
  • Job interviews
  • LinkedIn profiles and networking
  • Professional bios and business cards
  • Phone etiquette
  • Personal branding and the importance of blogging
  • Mentorship and other ways to build a network in the “real world”
A young man listens to instructions on how to write a professional bio during one of my workshops.

See Me in Action

In the first video (1 minutes, 23 seconds), I deliver a talk to nearly 300 college students at the national conference for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) in Indianapolis.

In the video, I talk about the power of using a success story as the lead to your cover letter. Storytelling is a central theme of my book, Wait, How Do I Write This Email?.

In the second video (1 minute, 21 seconds), I have college students at a professional development summit (Southern Illinois University) try the storytelling approach themselves.

Everyone spent 10-15 minutes writing the intro paragraph to their own cover letters. I told each student to share an example of a time they overcame a challenge on the job, as a volunteer or within a student club. Employers need to understand how you operate under pressure and work as part of a team. The story proves your worth.

Then, I asked a few students to share what they had written. Watch a student tell the story of how he demonstrated leadership during protests that stemmed from the 2014 shootings in Ferguson, Missouri. Employers want to hire young people with the right mix of “soft skills,” and he clearly has them. (Make sure closed captioning is on and turn up the volume.)

In the third video (1 minute, 47 seconds), I explain the outline for a professional bio and, at the end, instruct everyone in the room to write their own.