2020 has been a year filled with uncertainty. Higher education institutions around the world have been constantly changing their approach to career services in an effort to maintain engagement with their students and employers. For Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech), their methods to engage with students and employers also changed in response to the pandemic which resulted in more student and employer engagement through Symplicity CSM. The Georgia Tech Career Center has been using CSM since 2007 and some of their programming was already online prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the summer of 2020, Andrea Comsa, MBA, PHR, Director of Co-op and Experiential Education, and Terrence S. Green, Application Support Analyst Lead, assisted in enhancing and increasing the number of programs they provide to students.
The Georgia Tech Career Center launched two series this past summer; one series is called the Career Chat Hour. The Career Chat Hour is a webinar series that provides information to students on the latest career-related topics and provides students with a platform to ask questions and engage with GA Tech’s Career Center. “We found that there was a little bit of anxiousness from students engaging virtually with employers when our campus first closed and we knew as we got closer to fall that recruiting programs and fairs would be virtual,” Comsa said, “So the Career Chat Hour gave us the opportunity to prep students for the fall and provide them with the latest information regarding what the Career Center’s plans were so we could be as transparent as possible.” The Career Chat Hour now happens every other Thursday, expanding from career advisor-hosted sessions to now include peer-to-peer sessions due to high demand and attendance.
“What’s incredibly great about CSM is that it’s a seamless system that allows us to communicate with our students regardless of where they are, or what type of computer or device they’re using. The thing about CSM that I love now more than ever is the ability to customize and integrate with other applications that we have at Georgia Tech.”
Terrence S. Green,
Application Support Analyst Lead,
Georgia Institute of Technology
The second series that was launched this past summer is called the Employer Insight Series. For this series, the Georgia Tech Career Center invites company representatives to speak about various career-related topics. According to Richard H. South, Employer Connections Coordinator, “The Corporate Partnership Program collaborated with our team to produce a one-hour webinar series entitled ‘Employer Insights’ where partner companies continued to present career development talks focused on virtual interviewing, expanding networks, etc. during the pandemic. Companies shared insight from their unique perspective on many career-related topics virtually.” Employer partners will provide content on topics such as virtual interviewing, how to navigate working virtually, and how to engage successfully with employers online. “We’ve seen very good engagement from students with these two new series and that was not something we were sure we would see at the beginning of the pandemic,” Comsa noted, “We’ve found that student participation has tremendously increased—where we usually would see anywhere from 40 to 100 students at an in-person event or workshop, we now see anywhere from 160 to 400 students attending our virtual events.”
The Georgia Tech Career Center’s expanded programming also included Employer Town Halls that resulted in an increase in employer engagement. These town halls were hosted by the Career Center’s Executive Director who engaged companies throughout the summer during the pandemic. Comsa remarked that “We were pleasantly surprised. We found that, even though some employers had to rescind their offers or push back their opportunities that were originally scheduled for the summer, they very interested in continuing their engagement with our students. Employers would volunteer to do mock interviews with students or online resume review just to keep students engaged which was wonderful.” Employer polls were also launched during the town halls as a way for the Georgia Tech Career Center to get a sense for the hiring outlook as well as what to expect for recruiting in the fall and beyond. “It was helpful for us and our employers to plan accordingly based on the info shared during the town halls,” Comsa added.
“We utilize a lot of the modules within CSM which makes managing career services easier and quicker. Especially now with the pandemic, I can’t imagine not having CSM—we simply wouldn’t be able to our jobs if we didn’t have this system.”
Andrea Comsa, MBA, PHR
Director of Co-op and Experiential Education,
Georgia Institute of Technology
With the increase in programming and customization within CSM, both Comsa and Green stated that their satisfaction with Symplicity derives not just from the abundance of features and capabilities of the system, but also the Symplicity support team. “Symplicity support is top notch and absolutely puts CSM ahead of any of its competitors,” Green said, “We’re the type of institution that that will constantly contact support because we’re always thinking about doing something different. The customer support team goes above and beyond with our needs. And they not only assist you, but the support team will present you with other potential solutions that you might be able to use.” Comsa also added that “I can’t remember a time when Symplicity support was unable to help me. And in any instance where they weren’t able to answer my question right away, they would always follow up with an email with either a solution or an alternate recommendation. We love the support team!”