Don't Be The Unsung Hero On Your Campus
If you are reading this perhaps you too passionately believe that today's career center has evolved to be a critical part in ensuring all learners have a successful post-secondary education. While there are many ways to define the term successful, I see it in this simple way:
- Very early, students discover where they will find purpose, in their education to career journey before they randomly just pick a major.
- At every stage, a student clearly sees the connection between what they are learning and how it will lead to a meaningful and fulfilling career life.
- There is no doubt that any money spent on their education will have a clear return on that investment.
- A quality education and a purpose focused career choice drives graduates to become supportive alumni, mentors to those behind them and life-long-learners.
How to we move the needle on student success? It's simple, guidance and connection. And who is best equipped to provide guidance to a career life and connection to the resources within the university that will make it happen? It's the talented folks in the career center, that's who...
So why is the career center on so many campuses the unsung hero? It's because no one is telling the students. There's a lack of energy and excitement behind them to tell the world (within the campus) all the great things they do.
Here are some strategies that can help you attract students to the career center and demonstrate its importance in their post-secondary education:
- Market the Career Center: One of the main reasons why students do not use the career center is that they are not aware of its services. It is important to market the career center in a way that speaks to the urgency needs and interests of the student population. Consider developing marketing materials that highlight the benefits of using the career center to make sure they choose the right pathway of study. Show them how they can access mentors, coaches, career exploration platforms like PathwayU.
- Partner with Faculty: Faculty members are in a unique position to encourage students to use the career center. Consider partnering with faculty to develop initiatives that promote the career center and its services. For example, you could offer classroom presentations or collaborate on career-related assignments. Remind the faculty that platforms like PathwayU can be of assistance in getting to understand their students and better communicate with them in the classroom and in office hours.
- Offer Career Development Workshops: Workshops are a great way to provide students with hands-on experience and practical skills. Consider offering workshops on topics such as understanding who they are and what drives them to success, interviewing, and networking. These workshops not only provide valuable information but also help students build confidence in their professional abilities.
- Host Career Fairs: Career fairs provide students with the opportunity to connect with employers and explore job opportunities. Consider hosting career fairs on campus and invite employers from a variety of industries to participate. Remind your students that these fairs also help them build the social capital and fuse relationships that may become important in later years.
- Provide Individualized Support: Many students may feel overwhelmed or unsure about their career goals. Providing individualized support can help students navigate the career development process. Use platforms like PathwayU to empower answers as to how they are, where they fit and what to look for as they make decisions about their future. Consider offering one-on-one career coaching or career using the results of their self-discovery, career exploration and connections to programs of study.
By now you may be thinking, "But we already do all of that". My retort is... but are you doing it with excitement and energy? And are you showing the student how your career center will meet each of the five success points I outlined earlier.
Very early, students discover where they will find purpose, in their education to career journey before they randomly just pick a major. At every stage, a student clearly sees the connection between what they are learning and how it will lead to a meaningful and fulfilling career life. There is no doubt that any money spent on their education will have a clear return on that investment. A quality education and a purpose focused career choice drives graduates to become supportive alumni, mentors to those behind them and life-long-learners.
By implementing these strategies, you can attract students to the career center and demonstrate its importance in their post-secondary education. The career center is a critical part of helping students achieve their career goals, and by providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed, you can help ensure their success beyond graduation. And always, guide and connect.