Career Services From A Distance: Make Sure You’re Doing These 5 Things

In this new era, your campus (if it’s like most campuses) is at least somewhat, and possibly totally, online. If you work in a career center, your livelihood used to consist of helping students face-to-face with career decision-making, resume writing, job search prep, mock interviews, and career fairs. Now you’re delivering these services at a distance—and need to show university administrators that you are doing so effectively. How is this going? Here are five things you can do to ensure your office is having maximum impact TODAY.

  1. Communicate. On the home screen of your office’s website, make sure you’ve posted a thorough but concise statement that details, using bullet points, all the services your office is offering right now. Include links to these items so anyone visiting your site can point, click, and begin accessing these services immediately.  Periodically send out the link via social media, along with a brief “we’re here to serve you” message.  Work within your university communications structure to identify other ways to keep your university community informed.

  2. Webinars. Most likely your office ordinarily runs workshops on things like choosing a major, applying for internships, embarking on a job search, and so on.  Continue the process of turning these workshops into webinars using one of several available webinar platforms.  Plan a live webinar series for the rest of the semester, and announce topics and dates.  Save recorded webinars after they happen and publish them to your site so students who can’t attend live can access them later.

  3. Online Career Guidance Systems. If you’ve considered purchasing access to online career guidance systems for your students, now is definitely the time to dive in. PathwayU offers a reliable and valid assessment of interests, values, personality, and workplace preferences; a career match tool that helps students identify career paths predicted to fit them well; a job search tool that helps students identify open jobs (via Handshake or Indeed) based on zip code and their predicted level of fit; tools and resources for helping students prepare for a job search; and an empirically-supported workbook that guides students in making sense of their results. Concerned about how well these services work as a self-directed exercise? Don’t be. The system directs students to your office’s scheduling system (or an e-mail address or phone number), so they can make an appointment for a videoconference or phone call to discuss results and plan the next steps. 

  4. Create an online community. Online communities are a powerful way to facilitate support for a large number of students throughout each week. Choose one of several available platforms, or create a group in Facebook, and deliver the content you can curate (e.g., articles, blogposts, TEDx talks, discussion questions). Students can consume the content and comment, post their own questions, and encourage and support each other. Assign one of your staff members to make running the community part of their daily routine. 

  5. Target alumni. Work with your alumni office to make the above services available to alumni. Many alumni are now working remotely, have already lost their jobs, or feel vulnerable and are preparing for their next steps. They need support. The COVID-19 era will pass, and when it does, they will remember the help they received from your office. Good things will come from that—things that make administrators happy, and things that will shine a light on the value your office offers your community.

If you need assistance with preparing for online delivery of services, contact us at 970-222-7636 or