Graduate Placement — Maximizing Career Service Staff Skills

We CAN do it all — the question is, can we do it all well?

We hire people who are passionate about helping students, nurturing their confidence, and preparing them for interviews.

This same advisor is then also required to make countless cold calls to employers to identify new job leads, attend dozens of networking events, write and mail letters to employers, etc.

We ask them to be social worker and cold-caller — two disparate functions that rarely reside comfortably in the same person, creating a career services function that is not likely to fire on all cylinders.

Consider the environment where these conflicting tasks are broken into two positions — a community outreach person (employer relations focused on finding and generating job leads), and a student-facing advisor.   By separating the employer relations function — you will empower the advisors to focus on excelent student relationships and job search skills, and improve their job satisfaction — and likely increase graduate preparedness.

In the world where budgets are tight, the employer outreach person can be leveraged for many functions that benefit the campus (and that are well within the outgoing staffer’s comfort zone) — building brand and image for the campus, generating job leads for graduates, creating relationships with high schools and other colleges in the community, and working local events that increase the awareness for your school.

This model has been proven by many colleges to have key advantages:

  • Leadership can hire for a more focused hiring profile — putting the nurturing person in a full-time student-facing role, and the extrovert in the community outreach position
  • Key success metrics for each position can focus on critical outcomes that are more reasonably within the employee’s skill set
  • Employee satisfaction goes up as positions can be filled by advisors and outreach staff that are getting to do the things they love full-time, instead of splitting their time between disparate tasks
  • Market awareness goes up with broad local outreach efforts
  • Placement rates improve with a higher volume of well-suited job leads
  • Student satisfaction increases as current students see increases in placement rates
  • Lead generation increases through improved current-student referrals, as well as increased community awareness

The challenging economy has been working against graduates for several years.  Try innovating your approach to providing them with resources that will not only increases their odds of getting a job in their field, but also increase the quality of the positions they secure.