You already know students tend to procrastinate. They wait until the night before to cram for a test. Even the best students may find themselves writing a research paper with just a few hours left until class. When it comes to a job search, students may put off vital elements that have to come together before landing their first post-graduate job.
Read on to discover some reasons why students procrastinate in their job search, and find a few tips on motivating students as part of your job in career services.
No Time Management
Let’s face it: college students are very busy people. They have an academic workload, a job that pays for necessities and a social life. There may not be enough hours in the day for students to even think about a job search that lands them somewhere after graduation. The trick is to commit to a little bit at a time that adds up to the ultimate goal.
That’s why career services must create a productive environment for students to take little steps. After a student reaches out to your staff, that person should develop an individualized plan with the student that gets the attendee thinking about a job search. Set incremental goals, such as formulating a resume, the basics of writing a cover letter, filling out a profile on a personalized career search application or making contact with recruiters, at each appointment. Keep the student (gently) on task with regular appointments as outlined in the plan.
You should reach out to students as soon as they land on campus rather than waiting until they start their senior year. That way, students don’t feel so overwhelmed about the prospects of finding a job. Motivating students involves constant reminders that a gradual process leads to bigger and better things after graduation. A student job search is much like the process of attending one class a time to finish a four-year degree.
Fear and Anxiety
When someone fears the unknown, that person tends to shy away from that particular unknown thing. That is basic human nature. Fears on the job search may crop up as fear of rejection, fear of writing or even fear of researching what a student has to do to land a job after graduation. All of these fears may make someone anxious to even start a job search. Anxiety is a little more serious because it can affect someone’s daily life and make a student avoid taking action altogether as a way to combat a particular fear.
The job of career services staffers is to make a student job search much easier and less traumatic. This is one area where a great outreach program comes into play. Send your staffers out to where the students are to show them that career services is there to help. Sometimes students may not realize the kind of help they have available on campus. Get in touch with professors, host a booth at campus-wide events, encourage students to download the career services app, and reach out to them on social media. When you speak their language, students eventually return your calls for action.
Motivate students by reminding them there’s nothing to fear and that they’re simply unfamiliar with the job search process, much like they were afraid of being a freshman in college and stepping into the grown-up world after high school. Students typically reduce their fear and nervousness of getting a position following graduation as they slowly experience what finding a job entails.
Perceived Lack of Resources
Graduates may not realize what kinds of resources they have at their disposal when it comes to a student job search. Career services acts as a liaison between recruiters and students, a resource center that teaches students how to prepare for a career, and a place where people can hone their job search skills. Do your students know what you offer?
A student’s first time at the career center should serve as an introduction to career services and what happens there. First impressions go a long way here, which is why your staffers should have a positive attitude towards every student who walks in the door. Positivity can help overcome fears and obstacles in the mind of a student. Putting someone at ease with your attitude develops rapport and an ongoing relationship. When a student relaxes, it makes the job search much easier.
Students may have a fantasy about how well something is going to go in their heads. Finding a job is no different. Perhaps you have students who think if they just get As in all of their classes, a job instantly falls into their laps. Of course, a student job search takes more work than that, but do the students realize this fact?
Put students in touch with practical tips, realistic goals and what employers want from graduates. Setting realistic goals prevents self-sabotage, getting behind and procrastination. Viewing outcomes objectively improves a student’s work ethic on the way to landing a job because there is a realistic goal at the end of the process. Career services helps keep a student’s eyes on the prize, one step at a time.
Everyone catches the procrastination bug at some point in their college journey. A combination of helpful and positive staff, gentle nudges with regular appointments and strong outreach programs keeps the eventuality of the job search in the minds of your charges from Day One until graduation.