Job Search During The Covid-19 Outbreak

Dear Readers,

My wife, a Human Resources management professional, has become so frustrated with her job search! And the Covid-19 outbreak did not help.

So, rather than sit on the “pity-pot”, I went on a search for the best advice on what to do now for job searchers. And not surprising the best practices mimic what would be done without a virus outbreak.  I hope you enjoy the read and the timeless guidance. And of course BE WELL!

Job Search During Covid-19 Outbreak


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Happy Anniversary

I know this sounds a bit unusual to say but “Happy Anniversary To Us”!! Why am I saying this? Well…

Twenty years ago this April 1st,  our founder Ron Grant travelled back to his home-state of South Carolina to start the beginning of a dream called Meridian Resources. In doing so, he along with our current President Angie Tinnell, forged their way through the BIG competitors to establish the first virtual delivery only outplacement company in the world! YES IN THE WORLD! And even more, the services were based on outcome for the transitioning employee and not on time allotted for service…IMAGINE THAT!

Now, almost 20 years later, I have the privilege of being a part of this truly innovative organization that to this day is different in a good way than all the others that compete in our space. Now I wonder what we will do this year to celebrate and what the next 20 years will bring. You better hold on to your seats and stay tuned.

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Option B: Making The Best Of Your Second Choice For An Internship

Too often we focus on the ideal v. what could actually be better for us. And this is true for students whose first option for an internship melts away and the second option becomes the opportunity. Barbara Hewitt, of Penn State, recently wrote an article with a focus on this very matter. Here is the link Option B  and I hope you enjoy it!

Contributing Author: Melvin J. Scales

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Higher Education Under Attack

Question: What does immigration and education have in common?

Answer: They both affect the standing of the United States in the global economy

So, to address the “elephant in the room”, the proposed immigration policies that we are grappling with at present have an enormous domino effect on our country, our citizens and our higher educational system. To be blunt, it is dangerous.

Even if we set aside the recruiting messaging that our enemies have been given to secure more individuals with the intent on destroying our way of life in the United States, we are left with issues related to true citizens being suspect just for being who they are in terms in religion, name or ethnicity.  Nothing and no one is immune from the fallout of these proposed policies which includes higher education.

Graduate schools of business can function only when there is a strong tuition and alumni income. Students who would come to the United States for education are considering their options in Canada and the UK now. And graduates who have contributed financially may re-consider their giving plans. As a result, the anticipated revenue to keep operations at a high level will be compromised.

Moreover some members of both faculty and staff, who are crucial the success of the school, could be kept from activities abroad for fear of not being allowed to return. And of course, the options for recruiting faculty and staff are diminished.

We at Meridian University Solutions recognize the challenges you are facing and stand ready to be supportive with options designed to make the way you work with your students effective and efficient. Let us know how we can help.

 Contributing Author: Melvin J. Scales

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My daughter is a millennial. By the year 2025, she and other millennials will make up almost 75 percent of the workforce around the world. These workers, who are now between the age of 18 and 34, have already surpassed Gen X to have the biggest share of the labor force.

Millennial workers are perceived to be entitled and not very industrious. And yes, they are more likely to hop from one job to another. But when motivated in a way that they understand, they are also hard-workers and loyal.

Managers today are faced with the challenge of maximizing the talents of their millennial workers. The important thing, however, is for managers to learn how to motivate them. Here’s what managers have to do:

  1. Acknowledge and give rewards for jobs well done.

It is important for millennials to be recognized for anything they do well at work. That’s why they are considered by many as the trophy generation. Giving employee recognition can help a lot in keeping them happy at work. Millennials love to receive things that give them instant gratification, such as extra time off, more responsibility, and even professional development.

  1. Put them in charge of projects.

Another important motivator for millennial workers is the chance to make a difference in the workplace and even in the community in general. If you want them to give their best effort at work, you have to give them opportunities to lead. This doesn’t mean they should be offered higher positions immediately, but managers need to allow them to be leaders in certain projects where they can prove to everyone their worth.

  1. Allow them to keep their work and life balance.

Most millennials grew up seeing their parents working really long hours and still end up losing their jobs. This could explain why millennial workers care so much about keeping their work/life balance. They are likely to prefer working for companies that offer flexible work schedules, regular time off, and opportunities to telecommute. As a manager, you should take advantage of modern technology so that you may allow them to choose a comfortable work setup.

  1. Promote collaboration and encourage working in groups.

One of the main differences between baby boomers and millennials is the latter’s desire to collaborate and work in groups. They feel that success is easier to achieve when multiple heads are thinking. They also find it hard to be innovative and creative when they are stuck working alone in their cubicles.

  1. Provide them with opportunities for career development.

For millennial workers, it isn’t enough that they get a job because they don’t plan on staying in the same position for many years. They want to make a difference so they always have a desire to enhance their skills and even acquire new ones. Thus, it is important for companies to provide them with opportunities for professional growth. Allowing them to join career coaching programs is one of the best ways to motivate them.

Contributing Author: Melvin J. Scales

*The majority of the content above comes from an article by Cecile Peterkin.

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Pogo On Career Centers

Many years ago in the comic strip series “Pogo”, the main character Pogo says with total confidence to his friend Porkypine  “Son, we have met the enemy and he is us”. The visual in the script is even more compelling. It is a yard full of discarded stuff. And for a moment, there is comforting feeling that it is only a comic strip.

But I thought more intently about the possible comparison this comic strip might to the world of career services. The many wonderful ideas that our colleagues dream of to benefit the positive outcome for students and alumni in the form of a first job or an enhanced career path are too often, because of an unintended lack of funding, staff and other resources, left in a pile of discarded stuff. Are we our own worst enemies?

Without a doubt, incredible amounts of creative energy and thought are being wasted and are never used to help our most precious resource…young eager minds that want fulfilling careers so that we are all the better for it. It is time to ask why and it is time to act.

By the way, here is a link to the comic strip…enjoy!

Pogo Comic Strip

Contributing Author: Melvin J. Scales



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Reinvent Career Services?

I have often asked myself, “How will the delivery of career services change over the next few years.” In the process I killed a few “sacred cows” and perhaps you have done your fair share as well. And possibly you ended your blue-sky journey with a heavy sigh and said to yourself “Well, maybe in theory anyway.”

 Innovation is the hallmark of any organization that desires to remain relevant in servicing its clients. In fact, innovation allows the organization to adapt to the ever changing environment so that its survival is assured.

 Approximately 15 years ago, Meridian Resources launched a business whose method of service delivery was counter to the accepted and preferred way used by the giants of the industry. However, now the method of delivery by the giants includes both a virtual and face-to-face platform. What Meridian did was risky but it changed the face of the outplacement industry forever.

 Think about this for a moment:

-What if there was a resource to help your career coaches actually find more time to coach which will affect your “first destination” numbers in a positive way?

-What if this resource would cost you, on average, 43% less than if you hired a full-time counselor for every 1,000 students?

-What if you paid for this resource only when it was actually servicing your students?

-What if this resource was made up of proven career management professionals that work with individual contributors and executive leaders in all industries and career types to help them find ideal career outcomes each and every day of the year?

Currently, there are several institutions of higher education using this resource right now. In fact they have been doing it for several years. Wouldn’t it be great to know what they know? Of course it would!

Essentially these colleges and universities partner with Meridian Resources to provide career services support to select student cohorts during times when the “bandwidth” of counselors is stretched thin.

Would you like to pilot this innovative option with a select number of students? We know you’ll see the value and will want to expand it to support other students in the future.

The time is now for you to lead the way and reinvent Career Services. The “what if” innovation and success  is here today and you have access to it! Visit or call me directly at 336-978-5208 to find out how we can help.

 Contributing Author: Melvin J. Scales

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Graduation “Left-Overs”

The graduation ceremonies with all their pomp and circumstance have all ended. Young men and women who, only a few weeks ago, were focused on making the last heroic effort of marathon studying in order to pass the final exams of their college careers are now either working in their new career, beginning a summer vacation before heading off to graduate school or considering what they should do next. However, there is another group who is neither of these. I will call them the “left-overs”.

Typically, when we think of “left-overs”, we visualize food which we were not able to eat when it was most recently prepared and had to be put into plastic containers to save them for another day. And of course we tend to forget about them until we are cleaning out the refrigerator. Upon inspection, we determine that we will just throw them away for all kinds of reasons that we make up in our minds.

Our recently graduated “left-overs”, unlike food, are not put into plastic containers to be saved until the reason it was made happens. Rather, these graduates are exposed to the elements of life without benefit of protective containers. These elements of life come in the form of ambiguity, aimlessness and rejection. Ultimately, the confidence an education was supposed to give them erodes away and their opportunity to create a fulfilling career-life becomes more and more difficult.

Has the system failed them with the promise of meaningful work at graduation which does not happen? Specifically, has career services failed them by not finding the keys to fully engage them in the process of discovering what truly excites them and then developing a plan to get them connected with right industry, the right company and the right role? That’s for you determine. What can you do better or what resources do you need to allow you and your team to fulfill the dreams of students and their families? Let’s have a conversation together and find a sustainable solution together. Remember, “left-overs” are a terrible thing to waste.

Contributing Author: Melvin J. Scales




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The Third Degree About Degrees

Recently, I found some interesting data about the average salaries for bachelor’s degrees by institution The report prompted me to think about the “why” I pursued a college degree many years ago and the process my daughter recently went through.

We have all heard the question (in some form or fashion), “What Is The True Purpose Of A College Degree?” Well, the answer depends. Specifically, it depends on the kind of society in which the degree is earned.

Here in the United States, we live in society based on capitalism. And we know that capitalism is based on one fundamental principle: the market determines the value or the price paid for a product or service available.

But just a minute…We need to remember that not all college degrees are equally valued in the marketplace. A person’s academic performance must be considered. This performance gives an employer an idea about that person’s level of intelligence and commitment to their studies. Of course, students at the top of the class typically have more job options and higher offers than students ranked lower.

The next element that determines the value of a degree is the focus of the earned degree. The student’s major, if there is high demand for that major, will of course provide that student with great options and higher offers.

And finally, the overall reputation of the institution from which the degree is earned will determine the value of that degree in the job market. Of course, the higher the academic reputation the greater the employment options and offer amounts.

So where does this leave career services professionals dedicated to helping students find professionally satisfying work that also meets their financial needs? If you thought between a “rock and a hard place” you would be right, of course. As a career services professional, you work tirelessly to support students in their quest to find the right job and career. Considering all the variables related to your student’s academic record, major and demand for that major in the marketplace, your job is quite daunting, at best.  Add to all this that your ability to support students is hampered by an average career counselor to student ratio of 1:1,850.

The good news is that there are two options before you. Continue to do what you are doing now or engage a resource to help you make a greater difference with your students. Meridian Resources University Solutions provides solutions to higher education institutions that offer a direct, beneficial impact on your ability to further enhance positive career management outcomes for your students. Call 336-978-5208 or e-mail me at to find out more about how to help your students.

Contributing Author: Melvin J. Scales

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For The Times They Are A-Changin’

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Having attended the most recent annual conferences for NACE, SoACE and NCACE, my takeaway was three-fold:

First…People who are in the field of career services for colleges and universities are sincere, dedicated and truly professional individuals with a focus on the overall welfare of their students

Second…There is mounting pressure from administrators and parents for positive employment outcomes for those students. Essentially, the focus is shifting dramatically from the process of the job search to the outcome of the job search

Third…Staffing required to reach the job search outcome goals is strained as budgets tighten with the mantra of “do more or the same with less”

What does this mean? How do career centers hit the expanding outcome targets while budgets constrict? Essentially, there is the logical option of utilizing outside professional services. Here in a “nutshell” is why this makes sense:

-Full-time staffing costs made up of salaries, benefits and training are not required by outside professional services. In other words, the cost is expended only when there is a need which the services are done in a manner which is highly efficient and restricts incremental costs.

-Outside professional services can give permanent career center staff more time to maintain a clear and vital focus on coaching current students regarding their job search outcome goals and targets by providing students with mandatory services such as resume development/review and mock interview training plus giving alumni career coaching when needed.

A few months ago, I sat in a presentation attended by approximately 45 career center directors. The message was clear: Career centers must be willing to utilize outside professional services to meet the support demands of their students due to the mounting pressure to reach employment goals. I would imagine that this support would largely focus in areas not associated with direct student coaching or counseling.

So, the career center will need to change the “normal” way of doing business to stay valuable to students for career management and job search support. That change will certainly be uncomfortable for many but not nearly as uncomfortable as being viewed by administrators, parents, students and alumni as ineffective.

To make this work as effectively as possible, it is most important to partner with a highly reputable and experienced career management and job search organization with virtual delivery capabilities. This delivery methodology can keep the services seamless and available 24/7 for the students and alumni while allowing the partnership to flex based on the needs of the career center.

Meridian University Solutions is the leading resource for partnering with college and university career centers to help them achieve their employment goals. Our clients that include schools like Wake Forest University, George Washington and Temple, among others, see the value and we hope you will as well. Let us show you how we can help…For the times they are a changing.

Contributing Author: Melvin J. Scales

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