Having attended the most recent annual conferences for NACE, SoACE and NCACE, my takeaway was three-fold:
First…People who are in the field of career services for colleges and universities are sincere, dedicated and truly professional individuals with a focus on the overall welfare of their students
Second…There is mounting pressure from administrators and parents for positive employment outcomes for those students. Essentially, the focus is shifting dramatically from the process of the job search to the outcome of the job search
Third…Staffing required to reach the job search outcome goals is strained as budgets tighten with the mantra of “do more or the same with less”
What does this mean? How do career centers hit the expanding outcome targets while budgets constrict? Essentially, there is the logical option of utilizing outside professional services. Here in a “nutshell” is why this makes sense:
-Full-time staffing costs made up of salaries, benefits and training are not required by outside professional services. In other words, the cost is expended only when there is a need which the services are done in a manner which is highly efficient and restricts incremental costs.
-Outside professional services can give permanent career center staff more time to maintain a clear and vital focus on coaching current students regarding their job search outcome goals and targets by providing students with mandatory services such as resume development/review and mock interview training plus giving alumni career coaching when needed.
A few months ago, I sat in a presentation attended by approximately 45 career center directors. The message was clear: Career centers must be willing to utilize outside professional services to meet the support demands of their students due to the mounting pressure to reach employment goals. I would imagine that this support would largely focus in areas not associated with direct student coaching or counseling.
So, the career center will need to change the “normal” way of doing business to stay valuable to students for career management and job search support. That change will certainly be uncomfortable for many but not nearly as uncomfortable as being viewed by administrators, parents, students and alumni as ineffective.
To make this work as effectively as possible, it is most important to partner with a highly reputable and experienced career management and job search organization with virtual delivery capabilities. This delivery methodology can keep the services seamless and available 24/7 for the students and alumni while allowing the partnership to flex based on the needs of the career center.
Meridian University Solutions is the leading resource for partnering with college and university career centers to help them achieve their employment goals. Our clients that include schools like Wake Forest University, George Washington and Temple, among others, see the value and we hope you will as well. Let us show you how we can help…For the times they are a changing.
Contributing Author: Melvin J. Scales