Guidelines for Career and Professional Advising

The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, are vivid examples of systemic racism and discrimination. We are called to do the hard work to understand our own privilege, identify and challenge barriers that exist due to intentional or unintentional bias or systemic structures. The Office of Career Planning adheres to the vetted guidelines from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), including the NACE Principles for Ethical Professional Practice, which provides best practices for college recruiting, employer interaction, and providing equitable access for all students to job opportunities and hiring practices. OCP is committed to creating equitable practices in career education and services, and we invite you to join us in this work.

What can we do? Many faculty and staff members across our campus serve as internship coordinators, advisors, and mentors from whom students seek career advice, connections, and opportunities. If you find yourself in a role where you are having conversations with students about their post-graduation plans, keep the following best practices at your fingertips:

Maintain neutrality when advising students regarding employers and employment opportunities. Our job is to support informed decision making by sharing information and facilitating critical thinking about which opportunities will be satisfying for the student.

  • Instead of this: suggesting your top companies/organizations/schools
  • Do this: provide pointers on how to assess the appropriateness of positions/programs and how to ask the right questions of employers/programs.

Ensure equitable access without stipulation or exception relative to contributions of financial support, gifts, affiliation, or in-kind services. We must provide all students with equitable access to job and post-graduate opportunities. Referring select students for internships or jobs is unfair to the student and a conflict of interest for the staff or faculty member.

  • Instead of this: providing an employer with a list of names, or directly connecting select top/high achieving students with an opportunity
  • Do this: encourage all students in the department/class to take a look at the Corporation X opportunities and consider applying. An alum from the company could be invited to speak in class about how their work relates to what they studied, increasing student interest in the company. Second, a coordinated attempt—involving OCP and the department—to re-involve Corporation X in broader-based recruiting activities, such as the career fair and/or on-campus recruiting should be explored.

Protect the confidentiality of student information related to professional plans. There are many reasons why students’ privacy should be protected, both FERPA and NACE provide guidelines for the confidentiality of student information. Ask a student/alumna for permission to share her contact information and any particular personal background information,  each time you seek to connect her with other professionals.

  • Instead of this: sharing a specific student/alumna’s employment history or professional goals
  • Do this: educate the student about how to use LinkedIn or Handshake to research and connect with peers who have publicly shared their past employment history. Alternatively, you might first reach out to the alumna/student to whom you’d like to connect your current advisee and ask for permission to share contact information.

Career counselors in OCP have extensive training and expertise in these areas. We are committed to helping you serve and support all students equitably in their career development plans. Connect with Katie Peterssen, Assistant Director, Career Development at  or Jane Matthews, Assistant Director, Employer Relations at with questions or concerns.

Looking for more information? Read the NACE Case Study: When faculty refer and rank students for employers.

Source: NACE Principles for Ethical Professional Practice.

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330
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