Tech Tips Archives

Tech Tips

Distance Counseling with Zoom

Do you provide distance counseling services for your students or clients? If so, you might want to explore an online platform called Zoom.  This application is easy to use for online meetings, video conferencing, desktop sharing, and group messaging. You can easily set up online meetings with students and use the screen sharing to review resumes and other career planning documents. Zoom offers a free basic version for users as well as several fee-based plans that provide more extensive application elements. An added feature of Zoom is that this system addresses HIPPA privacy and security standards.  Such features help the counselor ensure the confidentiality and integrity of student/client information transmitted during distance counseling appointments.


Tip Provided by Barbara Thomson,

Capture That Perfect Way of Saying It

Make wordsmithing career content a breeze just by talking it through. Voice Notebook is a free online speech recognition tool (in Google's chrome web store) that grants us the magical ability to capture exactly what was said word-for-word with impressive accuracy. Start recording, have your student/client talk about their accomplishments, copy/paste the transcription and draft the perfect content. As a bonus perk, you can also use it to draft those wordier email responses. It's a game changer that was serendipitously designed perfectly for our work as career educators.

Tip Provided by Mark Zammuto,

VoiceThread: Creating Engaging Discussions Online

VoiceThread is an interactive discussion forum that engages participants in an asynchronous (i.e., create discussions on your own schedule and pace) dialogue. VoiceThread can be used in K-12, higher education, and corporate settings. In higher education, counselors and career course instructors can use VoiceThread for lively and interactive discussion forums, lectures, student presentations, and more. Videos, documents, and images can be uploaded as a VoiceThread by the instructor and participants can make comments throughout the lecture on the thread. All participants can comment on each slide through audio, text, uploading a document, and/or video. The link to learn more:

Tip Provided by Angie Smith Ph.D., LPC-S, NCC,



Professional writing is a critical part of our work from sending email messages to creating content for career office websites. Students and clients also need to communicate without typos, misspellings, and poor grammar in their cover letters, resumes, and beyond. Grammarly  is a browser plug-in that constantly scans your typing, and highlights problems, as you work. With one click you can make immediate corrections based on Grammarly’s suggestions. This free application is available for use with Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, and for MS Office.


Tip provided by Melissa A. Venable, PhD,


Modernize Your Communications with Two Easy Tools

Do you write newsletters or emails to inform your clients about job search trends or to share tips and tools? Are you in charge of your school’s LinkedIn account and in need of attractive content? Here are two tools that will help your communications look more modern and aide the user's digestion of the information. 1)  Canva: Enables the novice to create captivating graphics for web or print.  2)  The Noun Project: Search and download free icons to simplify your communication. Have fun with these tools while getting your message across!

Tip provided by Liz Matthews,


Improve Your Writing with the OWL at Purdue

Do you need a quick writing resource? Would your career clients or students like tips and guidelines when writing job search documents? Look no further than the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University ( Designed as a resource for university students as well as a worldwide audience, the OWL at Purdue includes resources on the writing process, rules for grammar/mechanics, and the widely used style guides (APA, MLA, Chicago, and AMA). Additionally, the OWL has resource pages for job seekers and English language learners.

Tip provided by Christopher Belser,

Using TodaysMeet in Career Workshops and Courses

TodaysMeet creates a personal chat room that you can set up and invite people to participate in while you are conducting a workshop or teaching a blended learning course. I have used it like a “Parking Lot” during a workshop where people can post questions throughout a session. To create a room, go to, give your room a name (e.g. GCDFTraining). Decide when it closes—how long you want it to exist. Then click “Create your room.” Your TodaysMeet room is created! You can immediately share the URL to the room, which in our example would be “,” and start the conversation.
Tip provided by Cindy Miller, PhD,

Manage Event Participants with SignUp Genius

Is your career center or state cda hosting a workshop, job fair or other event? Are you wondering how to manage participants? SignUp Genius is an online platform that allows you to create and manage electronic sign-up sheets, collect participant payments, and send messages to your invitees.  You can utilize many of the platform’s features with a free account, or you can unlock additional features with a paid account. SignUp Genius does not require participants to create an account and is mobile device friendly. It can sync events to your calendar and easily adjust times based on your participants’ time zone.


Tip provided by Christopher Belser,



 Layout Help for Career Webpages or Newsletters

Need to create a career center newsletter or web page layout, but find yourself waiting on content? Go ahead and design the page, then fill with placeholder text, “Lorem ipsum.” This nonsensical Latin can be created in a Microsoft Word document by typing =lorem() in a line by itself and pressing return. You can set the placeholder lines by adding numbers inside the parentheses. For example, =lorem(1,2) produced the following text: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitor congue massa. Fusce posuere, magna sed pulvinar ultricies, purus lectus malesuada libero, sit amet commodo magna eros quis urna. Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Explore this link for more instructions:
Tip provided by Gina D. Leisten,

Gain Security with a Password Manager

Job seekers are juggling numerous passwords as they create profiles on dozens of different companies’ websites and job portals. Counselors too have many passwords for office management or online assessment sites. One solution for forgotten passwords is to use a password management tool. There are a number of free or inexpensive options, all serving the same purpose: easing access to what you want to do. Make sure to research the safety and encryption of various options (and they comply with any IT guidelines at your organization). Once you find the right one, though, you only need to remember ONE password instead of dozens to access everything in your life, manage your office or apply to that perfect job.

Tip provided by Gordon Helle,

Use Tweetdeck to Manage Twitter

Take your social media presence to the next level with Tweetdeck, a dashboard style website that allows you to organize, track and schedule all of your tweets, searches and twitter lists. Tweetdeck saves searches so you can keep up with the discussion in real time. Twitter lists allow you to group connections and topics together for an enhanced reading experience. Tweetdeck also allows you to write tweets in advance and schedule when they are tweeted, enabling you to reach more of your students or clients. The dashboard interface allows you to track your personal tweets, mentions, and hashtags and retweets easily on one screen. Find out more best practices.

Tip provided by Elliot Schoenberg, and Dan Schoenberg,


Connect with NCDA on LinkedIn

Chances are that you are not only using LinkedIn, but also recommending it to your clients and students. But are you active in LinkedIn Groups? These digital communities provide space for users with common interests to connect in a more meaningful way, that includes sharing ideas and resources, posting relevant jobs, and engaging in discussion forums. Join NCDA's LinkedIn Group for all of this and organization updates. There are other related Groups that focus on specific areas of interest, such as the NCDA Business and Industry LinkedIn Group. You can also search for Groups managed by NCDA committees, State CDAs, and more.

Tip provided by Melissa A. Venable, PhD,


Twitter 101: Terminology Tips

Twitter has its own language. Learning these commonly used terms will improve your experience. Tweet – 140 character message. Tweep – user on twitter. Follower –A person who sees what you tweet. Timeline – The stream of tweets that you see on your screen. Retweet (RT) – when a user resends someone else's tweet. This is often a sign of respect and admiration. It shows up on both users' timelines. Modified Tweet (MT) – An RT with some minor changes; shows that the shared tweet is not in its original form. Hashtag – the # in front of keyword or phrase that is used to highlight your tweet and categorize it for easy search. Hat tip (HT) – Used when you mention another tweep who provided some inspiration for your tweet.  Review this vocabulary and acronym list for more terms.

Tip provided by Elliot Schoenberg,  and Dan Schoenberg

Keep Your Career Team Straight with Slack

Are you working from a distance, on the road, or with a distributed team, client or student? Then you need emerging tools to keep connected. Slack is a team management tool that offers private group communication. Create separate, custom "channels" within the system to which members can subscribe for updates. Real-time chat and direct messaging are also options, allowing for quick question resolution and notification of last minute changes. This system is also compatible with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box for file sharing. The interface is engaging and social, and free plans let small teams connect via desktop or mobile app (iOS, Android). The Slack for Education and Slack for Nonprofits programs offer discounted access to premium features.  


Tip Provided by Dr. Melissa A. Venable,


Developing a LiveBinder for Organizing Career Development and Planning Resources

Need a better way to organize, bookmark, and share online content as a visual portfolio (collection) for career development and planning resources? Then consider developing a LiveBinder -- a digital binder where one can create a central hub full of resources on any topic. Almost everything that is web-based, can be added to a LiveBinder—links to websites, YouTube videos, images, PDF/Microsoft Word/Google documents, and social networking content, to name a few. LiveBinders also allow you to share your binder via Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and in blogs or websites.

Tip Provided by Cindy Miller,

Shrink Your Links with a URL Shortener

If you have ever wanted to provide a URL (a.k.a. web link) in a handout or slide presentation, or even over the phone, you know that long links can be challenging to share. Free link shortening tools, such as TinyURL, Google's URL Shortener, and Bitly all allow you to copy/paste a longer link into a text box, and with one click create a much shorter version that you can then copy/paste into a document, email message, slide, or other format. Take a look at the following example using TinyURL: access this Google Drive folder


Some shortening tools include additional features, such as creating a custom link and tracking how many times your short link was clicked.

Tip Provided by Dr. Melissa A. Venable,

Multiple Monitors Can Help

Colleagues often ask about my office workstation, which has two monitors: one rotated in portrait (vertical) orientation and a second in landscape (horizontal) orientation. While studies are mixed on the impact multiple monitors have on work productivity, I find my workstation supports a more natural, paper-like work style. The configuration allows easy side-by-side comparison of documents and screens (i.e. resume, job announcement, LinkedIn profile), and decreases scrolling. Most operating systems (e.g., Windows, OS) support multiple monitors if the computer has multiple video outputs or ports. Monitors that “pivot” from landscape to portrait can be purchased new and some preexisting monitors can be modified to fit an after-market stand that allows rotation. Read more about the benefits of multiple monitors and how to set them up.

Tip provided by: Darrin L. Carr, PhD HSPP,

Test Your Passwords with The Password Meter

From email accounts and virtual meeting systems to job search sites and online career assessments, good passwords are essential to keeping personal conversations and information private. The Password Meter allows you to test your current passwords and develop better strategies. This online tool also shows you why a password choice is strong or weak, and rates it on a scale from "Failure" to "Exceptional." Mike Taylor shares additional ideas for creating memorable and secure passwords. Are your online accounts secure? It's important for career practitioners to have this conversation with their students and clients, and to practice it themselves.

Tip Provided by Dr. Melissa A. Venable,

Find Meeting Time Consensus with Doodle

How many emails did you have to send out the last time you needed to schedule a meeting? Finding time for a group to meet can be a challenge. Doodle is a free, online tool that helps identify the best day and time easily. Create an event in Doodle with suggested meeting days/times, then send the link to your attendees. Each participant selects his/her available times from the list you created. The result is a visual table highlighting the best time to meet. Doodle tallys the participant responses, sends you email updates, and allows you to set the time zone. The set-up process is quick and doesn't require account registration. provides step-by-step instructions and an example to get you started.

Tip Provided by Dr. Melissa A. Venable,

Job Application Kiosks

While applying for a job at an in-store computer kiosk may seem convenient, students and clients should know what to expect before they begin the process. Most organizations ask for general work history information, but skills and personality questionnaires are also often part of the formal application. Check company websites for tips that help applicants prepare their materials in advance. Publix, for example, provides a Time Saver worksheet, noting that the kiosk application takes around 45 minutes to complete and needs to be updated every 30 days.

Tip Provided by Dr. Melissa A. Venable,

Create a Visual Image of Your Resume

Looking for a creative way to visualize skills and qualifications? You may have heard of this before, but it is worth repeating: Copy and paste a complete resume into a tool like WordItOut. The resulting word cloud file emphasizes keywords in the document, and can be added to a website or social media profile. Word clouds also help job seekers see the words they are using most frequently to help them revise their resumes. With the WordItOut application you can even create an image for a T-shirt or mug. This would be a great gift idea for a college student or other job seeker who is applying for employment.

Tip Provided by Dr. Lynne Orr,

Remember Things with Evernote

Evernote allows you to easily capture notes and other information using whatever device you happen to have available at the time. It syncs your notes between devices. For example, capture something on your smartphone then access it from your tablet, laptop, or desktop. No WiFi access? You can begin working in Evernote while traveling, then sync when you have Internet capability. Once a new "note" is created, you can organize it in a "notebook" and add searchable tags. The Evernote tagline is: "Remember Everything," and they couldn't have said it better. It's a go-to workhorse for personal and professional tasks: create lists; clip web pages; capture images and links; create audio files; scan papers, book pages, receipts, and business cards, and attach documents and PDF files.

Tip Provided by Shirley Rowe,

Drag, Drop, and Create Your Own Website

Itching to create a website for your career center or private practice, but don’t want to pay a web designer and are too intimidated to DIY? An abundance of possibilities are available, including a site maker called Weebly. If you can drag and drop icons with your mouse, you can create an attractive website. The free version offers you dozens of themes and the ability to easily add text, images, links, files, forms, blogs, and more. Grab the feature you want from the options and drag/drop it to where you want it to go. Add your content and away you go! For more information access the Beginners Guide and browse examples of Weebly's Featured Sites

Tip Provided by Dr. Janet Wall,

Sending Large Files for Free

Career development practitioners occasionally want to send large files via email, such as sharing conference presentation handouts with participants, editing documents with colleagues, and job search instructions to students. Most email programs limit the size of the file that can be attached. Instead of emailing a large file, you can zip it (i.e., compress it) with a free program such as Zip Central. The person receiving a zip file needs to download Zip Central of a similar application to "unzip" and access the contents.

There are also free web-based tools, including File Dropper and Transfer Big Files. Register for an account and then upload your large files. Your recipients can download the files to their computers using the link provided.

Tip Provided by Dr. Janet Wall,

Using Word Clouds to Project Your Career Image

In today’s society, creating an image in online social networking accounts is important when job searching. One technique to try when creating an image: ask 10 people what top three words come to mind when they review your LinkedIn account. Enter all 30 words into a word cloud program, such as Once you have entered all 30 words, those that were repeated the most frequently appear the largest in the image. Now your image can be added to your profile. This will give you a visual representation of how you are portrayed on your LinkedIn account.

Tip Provided by Dr. Lynne Orr,

Go Green with Bamboo Paper

Looking for a convenient way to capture notes on your smartphone or tablet? Bamboo Paper is a free digital notebook app that is available for Apple iOS and Android. It allows you to not only draw and write, but also add annotations and images. Think about the possible uses to turn your mobile device into a workshop sign-in sheet, conference session notepad, or daily task list. Use a stylus, or just the touch screen, to add and edit content. You can export your notes to a cloud service like Dropbox, and share your work via email or social media.

Tip Provided by Dr. Melissa A. Venable,

Using Screenshots to Enhance Your Work

If you want to add pizzazz to your PowerPoint slides or documents, adding a screenshot — a picture of something from a website or on your computer — can be very useful. It’s easy to copy your whole screen, but many times that’s not what you want. Check out JING. Using this free program you can “snip” any portion of your screen that you want, and then add text, highlight different parts of the “picture,” and insert it into your file. This program can also help you record a screencast, or video of your screen and cursor movement.

Tip Provided by Dr. Janet Wall,

Technology Tips Now Available in Career Convergence

Provided by the NCDA Technology Committee, these technical tips are short lessons on some of the newest technology tools, trends, and apps, and how they can be used by career practitioners in a variety of contexts. Read newest tip in Career Convergence every month. If you have questions, please contact the author of the tip or the Technology Committee Chairperson Melissa Venable,