Open the doors during regular business hours, and the students flood in your office to seek career help, right? Unfortunately, simply providing career services, at least in the traditional way, isn’t enough to engage today’s student population. Millennials aren’t as likely to show up in suits for mock interviews or sit through a boring training on career readiness. From staffing shortages to outdated approaches, identifying potential issues helps you improve engagement so you can better serve your students in the context of inbound recruiting.
You’re Understaffed or Underfunded
It’s never easy to handle the workload of multiple people or to come up against budget constraints on a regular basis. If you face either of these situations, it may feel impossible to make a difference for the students at your college. Instead of falling victim to those constraints, get creative with the resources you do have. Determining which strategies are most effective helps you focus your time and budget where you get the best return on investment. Social media is an area that saves on the budget but produces significant results when executed properly. Focusing your efforts on methods that reach a wide range of students with minimal time and money investment can help you overcome this engagement issue.
The Office Is Not Visible
Is your career services department stuck in some obscure location that isn’t easily accessible? Is it uninviting? Do you lack a visible presence both online and on campus? Making your office accessible and visible is an important first step in engaging students. Consider ways you can make your services more visible on campus. Students face increasing demands with packed schedules. Engage the students who don’t make time in their schedules to get to your office by finding new outreach methods if you can’t physically change the location of your office. That might mean taking your services on the road in the heavily trafficked areas of campus. You might get out and talk to students or launch an aggressive social media campaign. Increasing your visibility helps students realize you offer more than basic services.
You Have Rigid Processes
Every office needs procedures, but getting stuck in rigid routines interferes with engagement and progress. Do you limit the interactions between employers and students to events such as career fairs and interview days? Do employers have to jump through lots of hoops just to recruit on campus? Growing and adapting as the face of recruiting changes is essential in keeping your institution at the forefront, and that can make all the difference in increasing employment rates of your graduates. If you’re not sure how you rank in this area, ask the companies who recruit with you. Get feedback on how you handle different processes and how you can improve the experience from an employer’s viewpoint.
You Aren’t Adapting to Students’ Habits
Techniques that work with millennials aren’t necessarily the same strategies used with past generations. If you haven’t changed your methods in the last decade, you’re operating under old assumptions that aren’t very effective.
Social media is a prime example of changing with the times to meet your students in their element, but you can’t simply start a Twitter account with random posts. The most successful college Twitter feeds adapt to the habits of the students they serve. That means crafting tweets with personality rather than boring “come to our career fair” tweets. It means getting creative in how you present that information. Use social media to connect with students, profile success stories, and show that you offer more than resume suggestions and mock interviews.
Another way to connect with students is to share valuable content related to career services. What do students need to know about interviewing and landing an offer in today’s job market? How are prospective employees being innovative in their fields? A well-written blog packed with valuable, actionable content is a solid start. You can also share links to relevant articles and blog posts from the prospective employers who recruit at your school. That connection creates a familiarity with those employers and generates excitement about working for them.
You Fail to Connect Students and Prospective Employers
The career services department is the link between students and prospective employers. Are you bridging the gap successfully? Working with both employers and students helps you tailor your services to maximize the benefits for everyone. By clearing any roadblocks and facilitating communication, you are better able to help your students find employment.
For employers to successfully connect with students, they need information about those prospective hires. Making that information easily accessible helps those companies target their recruiting efforts. Working closely with those companies also gives you inside information on what they need, so you can better prepare the students who utilize your services.
Your position in the career services center is a key link in the inbound recruiting process. By targeting the areas where student engagement is the weakest, you open pathways to increase employment rates upon graduation.