The Role of Assessments in Evolving Career Services

The Why Behind PathwayU

PathwayU was built to help students find their purpose in life. Our platform is based in science and academia. Our mission is to help students and universities create pathways for all. 

Career Services Have to Change

Higher education is changing as consumers and society demand greater accountability and demonstrated impact in regards to helping learners transition to the workplace. The role of career services is also evolving as colleges and universities must view these services less as a cost center and more as a strategic partner in the creation of career-ready graduates who are both employable and ready to be lifelong learners.

An evolved career service approach creates an expanded range of impact – students, the school, employers, and the community. Impact looks different for each stakeholder group:

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  • Students discover a pathway to joy and purpose in their education and careers.
  • Colleges and universities should see both increases in enrollment and student retention.
  • Employers experience a stronger pipeline of talent that fit their job needs; and
  • The community enjoys the benefits of both an empowered, well-educated workforce and a nimble partner as it grows and evolves

A great career assessment can give more students access to the career guidance and direction they need to succeed. @JobZology says career assessments are vital to providing useful career services. @JobZology

One Big Problem with Career Services

As career services become more critical to institutional success, will its staff be ready for the challenge? This is not a question of competence. Career advisors are better trained than ever before. It’s a question of scale.

School career centers still primarily reach students through individualized or small-group interactions such as career coaching appointments and resume workshops. Statistics from Gallup show that only about one-half of all college students actually visited their career services center at least once during their time in school.

So, if you work in career services, here’s a question to ask yourself:

What if every undergraduate used our programming. Could we handle it?

For universities of 20,000 – 30,000 students, that might be an increase of over 10,000 students! So if you’re in career service for a large school, don’t ask yourself if you feel lucky. Ask yourself:

Are we prepared to serve every single student to drive change or are we willing to settle for serving half our base?

Career Assessments are the Solution

The use of reliable and valid online assessments is the best way to scale career services and fulfill the potentially transformational impact of career services for all stakeholder groups. Here’s a short example of the integration of an online assessment platform that is transforming the undergraduate experience in a way that improves institutional outcomes.

Assessments should be used to augment and supplement existing career services, adding meaning to one-on-one interactions and extending outreach to students who cannot or will not schedule live meetings.

Few universities have the capacity to see each and every student. All universities have the capability to provide online assessments coupled with empirically supported career interventions that students can access when they are ready.@JobZology says a comprehensive career assessment can go a long way toward getting as many students as possible on the right career path. Here’s why every career services department needs a great career assessment: @JobZology

Extra Benefits of Career Assessments

You say you are not satisfied, you say you want more? Here are three more reasons to add or upgrade your career assessment platforms:

1. Online assessments are available anytime and anyplace.

In October of 1975, at 2:00 AM, I was a first-year college student in the middle of an existential crisis. Why was I in school? What did I want to be when I grew up?
I was never more motivated to learn my purpose and find a career, but the only resources available to me were whichever suitemates happened to be up equally late.

Wouldn’t it have been great if I was able to be guided through the career decision-making process at that moment? (Let’s ignore the fact that telephones still had rotary dials and computers only existed in science fiction.)

A related benefit:

2. Not everyone can have or wants to have face-to-face interactions.

My current university is discovering that more and more students are choosing online classes (over face-to-face) each semester. Is that surprising? It shouldn’t be. Go to a restaurant, go to an airport, anywhere you find people. Look around. Are there more people having conversations or looking at their phones?

Again, online career platforms are not intended to replace face-to-face services, but they provide effective solutions for those who cannot/will not use those services.

Finally, another related benefit:

3. Online assessment and career platforms are more inclusive.

First-generation college students are more likely to need career services as, by definition, they have fewer immediate career role models. The aforementioned Gallup poll also showed that Black and Latin students are more likely to find career services helpful than White students. However, both the willingness to seek guidance and feel helped may diminish when students are matched with advisors who are dissimilar in race or gender.

There is a more subtle risk in face-to-face interactions. We all hold some stereotypes that are automatically activated when we engage with others in person. If a student is a fit to be a doctor, lawyer, dental technician, and so forth, a career software system will show them those outcomes whether they “look like” typical job incumbents or not.

Career Assessments Can Help Colleges Evolve

Colleges and universities have increased responsibilities to service all students by helping them find purposeful careers and connecting them to employers. While schools seek to expand their support to students, career centers will be facing a problem of scale – how do they extend their outreach to all students. An online career assessment platform solves the scale problem by offering a solution that can reach all students anywhere and any place.

Want to learn more about how you can scale your career services? Talk to one of our career pathway experts on how to integrate our assessments and career matching platform into your career guidance system.