Tech Tips Archives

Tech Tips

Stay Safe Online with a Virtual Private Network

During this pandemic, much of our work relies on virtual connections. This reliance on the internet makes us more susceptible to hackers and spyware. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a good way to protect yourself and your interactions with clients. A recommended free VPN is Windscribe. This allows you 10GB of data usage a month with paid options available. Once you install (on desktop or mobile), turn it on with a click and work or communicate privately. Windscribe is one of the free options that does not sell your browsing history. 

Submitted by Dirk Matthews

Jumprope - Create helpful how to's and/or engaging marketing materials

JumpRope is a new, free, phone app that lets you easily create step-by-step instructional videos using images and video clips. It is both a tool for creating and for storing and sharing. Once you are done creating, they format the material so you can easily add the videos to your social platforms or website. Pro: no need to know anything about video editing. Con: must create on your phone, no computer app yet. Use it to provide clients and/or students clear step-by-steps instructions, create an engaging introduction, and/or create memorable marketing materials for your service or practice.

Submitted by Kathyy Batee-Freeman

Scribbr – APA Citation Generator

One free tool for generating APA style citations can be found at: Effortlessly create your reference list and in-text citation in the most up-to-date APA format using this site.

Beginning with the August 2020 issue of the web magazine, all submissions to Career Convergence are asked to follow the new 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual (2020), especially the citations and references. The editorial team will assist authors in conforming to the new style. There are many other sources of information about the changes to the APA Publication Style following the release of the 7th edition, including the APA site

Tip submitted by Ali Breen

NCDA’s Conference App

Conference apps allow participants to make the most of the conference. Registered conference participants must visit their app store and search for NCDA to download the NCDA conference app or use the desktop version, The app will allow participants to take notes during sessions, access handouts and presenters' bios, receive messages from other participants and post electronic business cards. Participants can also sign up to receive notifications updates, explore virtual exhibitors/sponsor, and search for constituency-based sessions.

The 2020 NCDA Virtual Conference requires the app and is limited to participants only. The app opens July 9th. Questions? Email

Get Feedback with Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere,, offers users the ability to build quick and easy polls for any online or in-person meeting. Create polls for icebreakers, quizzes, gaining insights into your audience and gauging reactions to your classroom topics, presentations, or career services events. Free accounts allow unlimited number of quizzes with a maximum of 25 respondents each (more for higher ed and K-12).

Tech Tip provided by: Dirk Matthews,

Create Online Graphics and Presentations with Genially

Are you now working remotely with your students and clients due to the impact of COVID-19? Do you need to develop exciting content for your website, social media, or online events? Try Genially for custom, interactive graphics based on your role (i.e., marketing, teaching) and work setting (e.g., higher education, K-12, industry). The free account includes templates for a wide range of products, including infographics, presentations, reports, games, interactive images, and more. These templates and a user-friendly interface allow you to create visually engaging content to connect in new ways and at a distance. Consider the opportunities for online outreach activities, social networking, and training events.  
Tip Provided by Melissa A. Venable, PhD,

Update Your Social Media with these Images to Encourage Flattening the Curve and Practice Social Distancing

You may want to update your social media or websites with messages that encourage everyone to flatten the curve and practice social distancing. This could be useful for the people you support too. Some of your clients may be self-employed, some of your students may be freelancing in communications and some of your organizations may need a helping hand with social media or websites about COVID-19. Here are a few time-saving resources that are free to use, without having to give credit to the creators. 

Social Distancing Graphics from NCDA - free collection of simple done-for-you images created by the NCDA communications team. You can add your logo or use them as-is. Please freely use these in your social media headers and posts and on websites, without having to give credit to us. 

Canva - free collection of done-for-you colourful graphics from Canva, who created this collection with the World Health Organization.  Please freely use these in your social media headers and posts and on websites, without having to give credit to Canva or WHO. And find more here too.

Unsplash - free curated album of 150+ visuals for use in your communications about coronavirus. These fall under a creative commons license, that means you can use them freely without giving credit to the photographers or the Unsplash. This site has countless more you can use for other purposes as well.

Tech Tip submitted by Ali Breen and the NCDA Communications team.

Download Your Entire List of Linkedin Contacts

Access connections from LinkedIn for the purpose of preparing for a job search, maintaining files offline, sorting, or strategizing marketing efforts. Download your connections' names, employers, job titles, and dates you first connected on LinkedIn via the following steps:

From your desktop, login to LinkedIn and visit Settings/ Privacy/ How LinkedIn Uses Your Data/ Getting a Copy of Your Data; Click WANT SOMETHING IN PARTICULAR and then click CONNECTIONS. Next click the REQUEST ARCHIVE button. You will then be asked to enter your LinkedIn password. Once requested, it will take up to 30 minutes for it to be prepared. When ready for download, LinkedIn will notify you or you can return later and download your spreadsheet.

Tip submitted by Debra Ruddell, MS, CCC, GCDF,

Improving Digital Literacy for Job Seekers and Service Providers

Despite the integration of computer technology in the workforce, a large percentage of college students and adults in and returning to the workforce lack foundational digital literacy knowledge and skills. Microsoft provides a free online Digital Literacy Course in 12 languages that includes concepts such as: hardware and devices, safety and security, and online collaboration. The course assists job seekers in developing the basic skills for employability, and is a resource for career service providers who want to brush up on their tech skills.

Tech Tip provided by: John Johnson 

Organizing a Job Search with Airtable

It can be a challenge organizing a job search. Airtable is one of several options available online allowing users to set up spreadsheets to track important information. Using a template already created for job searches, one can easily set parameters that make dropdowns to record updates quickly. Email integration allows you to send any emails to employers into your table. The free account also allows individuals to share their Airtable to collaborate or receive feedback on the job search process.

Tech Tip provided by: Dirk Matthews,

BLS CareerInfo App

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently developed an app that allows individuals to search their extensive website from their mobile devices. Information from the Occupational Outlook Handbook is now available in the CareerInfo app, available on Apple IOS and Android devices. The CareerInfo app provides information about employment, pay, job outlook, and detailed descriptions of hundreds of occupations. Future updates will include personalized features allowing filtering of information and the liking of occupations with an option to save favorites. More information about the app is available in the OOH.

~ Melanie Reinersman,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,