Feb. 10, 2009

Cornell podcasts offer career advice in a sinking economy

Provided
Rachel Gordon '08 and Romi Kher, a graduate student in applied economics and management, helped spearhead a new weekly podcast offering career advice called "10GoodMinutes."

The job market may look increasingly bleak for graduating seniors and young alumni, but "10GoodMinutes," a free weekly podcast of interviews with experts, can help. The 10-minute recordings offer career advice to help allay fears over the sinking economy.

"In years past, a student may have had three job offers to choose from at graduation," says host Romi Kher, a graduate student in applied economics and management (AEM), who launched the series with Rachel Gordon '08 and Deborah Streeter, the Bruce F. Failing Sr. Professor of Personal Enterprise in AEM. "Those days are gone, at least for now. We try to use the podcast to pull in alumni and appeal to current students to be part of the networking that is so important in this economy."

Kher describes the show as "expert advice on career issues for young professionals," and in many cases he and producer Gordon tap Cornell alumni as guests. In one episode Kher questioned Wendy Spelman '87, a program leader with Kraft Foods, about internships and interviews; another week he talked with Tiffany Norwood '89, co-founder of Next Generation Broadband, about salary negotiation.

The podcasts are archived at http://10goodminutes.com and downloadable from iTunes and other channels.

"Romi is a great interviewer," says Streeter, the creator of eClips (now available at http://prendismo.com), an online collection of 12,000 educational videos and audio reports about business and enterprise. "He has a great personality and a talent for asking provocative questions and pushing people beyond the usual talking points. He makes listening fun and engaging, not like homework."

With no marketing funds, Kher and Gordon rely on blogs and social networking sites to attract listeners. Since its debut in November, "10GoodMinutes" has attracted more than 200 subscribers, and the podcasts -- updated every Monday -- have been downloaded about 4,000 times. Past episodes have focused on the work-life balance, nonprofits, teamwork, resumes and other issues. Streeter says the show has resonated with alumni and other listeners who need encouragement in the face of a difficult market and are seeking advice on career development.

"Many people are in a negative mood right now with the state of the economy," Streeter says. "With '10GoodMinutes,' we try to put out a positive message, the notion that there are options out there for people who are entrepreneurial and creative. Even in chaos there is opportunity, and we hope people will be inspired to take control of their career and perhaps look at things beyond the traditional path."

Ted Boscia is a staff writer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.