Jeffrey J. Selingo and entangled.solutions recently published a piece titled, “Reimagining the Career Center,” which is being highly circulated in the arena of higher education professionals. His piece explores different approaches career centers can take to reinvent the way they deliver career services to students. Regardless of which of these two core approaches career centers decide to take, Selingo emphasizes that there are five critical strategies career services professionals must implement more vigilantly.
Strategy 1: Integrate Career Planning with the Curriculum
Selingo emphasizes that integrating employability-related learning into a student’s academic curriculum is paramount to the student developing a career-oriented mindset right from the start of their education. This requires collaboration between career services departments and academic advising departments so that staff in the career center can ensure students are taking courses related to employability skills. Symplicity’s new API layer, Radius by Symplicity, allows silos between career services offices and other offices on campus – like the academic advising office or heads of academic departments – to be broken. Since Radius allows integration with an institution’s CRM system, career services staff will have access to communicate quickly and easily with contacts from these various departments in order to collaborate on incorporating career services into students’ required courses.
Furthermore, Selingo notes that higher ed institutions should be making concentrated efforts to connect students with alumni in order to form professional networking relationships and learn more about possible career paths. Since CSM allows the seamless organization of virtually any type of career services-related event, it is the one tool you would need to organize dinners, workshops or other types of get-togethers that allow for this type of networking between students and alumni.
Strategy 2: Offer Vocational Options Alongside the Formal Curriculum
In simplified terms, all this means is that it is incredibly important for students to engage in co-op programs, internships and part-time jobs in addition to focusing on academic coursework. Connecting students to potential jobs and internships is the most prominent feature of CSM – it is the industry-leading tool with the largest network of career centers and employers in the world. One of CSM’s fundamental missions is to make the job and internship search process as easy for students as possible and provide students with the tools they need to secure this career-related experience during their time at your institution.
Strategy 3: Assist Students in Transferring Their Learning From the Classroom to the Job
“The ability to transfer knowledge between the classroom and the workplace and back again is what gets new college graduates hired,” Selingo says. For most institutions, this requires students to meet regularly with their career counselors in order to discuss what they’ve been learning in their courses and process it into actionable steps that can help them secure (or succeed in) a job or internship.
CSM facilitates this relationship-building between students and their career counselors by making it as easy as possible for students to make appointments with their career center, right down to receiving reminders so they never miss a meeting. Furthermore, CSM allows career services professionals to keep constant notes on each student so that they can track each individual student’s progress and keep track of each student’s goals and initiatives.
Strategy 4: Employ Technology to Personalize Career Planning for Students
It’s no secret that students of today’s generation expect their experiences with technology to be personalized. Think of recommended items in their Amazon accounts and recommended friends or connections on social media sites – this is what students are used to and what keeps them engaged with a platform. Symplicity realizes this and continues to rapidly innovate CSM’s personalization features, such as providing students with recommended jobs that are based not only on the student’s own information, but also on historical data gathered from similar students.
The same goes for recommended events, which will arrive to CSM in the upcoming update. This personalizes events to each student’s individual information such as major, experience level and skillset.
Strategy 5: Turn Career Services into Lifelong Services
We agree with Selingo that career services should not end on a student’s graduation day. It’s instrumentally important to continue nurturing students even after they graduate, and with CSM, schools have the option to keep the platform’s services open to alumni for however many years they feel is appropriate. This allows recent graduates to continue reaping the benefits of these services even after they’ve graduated, which not only benefits students, but an institution’s ability to report positive employment outcomes.
Selingo makes some very poignant suggestions in his piece about how career centers need to reinvent themselves and focus more on these five strategies. With CSM by Symplicity, your career center can easily implement all of them, taking your career center to the next level and increasing its value to your institution overall.