Building Stronger Partnerships Between Career Centers and Employers

BlessVaiBless Vaidian, Director, Career Counseling for Pace Career Services – Westchester, and Founder, Career Transitions Guide
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blessvaidian
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlessCareers
Blog: http://careertransitionsguide.com

As we begin a new year, it’s a great time to reach out to employers to review 2014. Asking the right questions to see what can be done to improve relationships, meet goals, and place candidates is important to do on an ongoing basis, but especially now. Answers to these questions can then be applied to your 2015 strategy. Career centers can maintain long-lasting employer partnerships by surveying these areas:

How Can I Help Recruiters Meet Their Objectives?

Recruiters collaborate with the career services team for several reasons each semester: sourcing candidates for vacant positions, branding their company, and/or educating students on career-related topics. As career development professionals, we try to make sure the human resource goals are met for our employers when they partner with our office. Before we solicit speakers or attendees, we have to know what the employer’s recruitment goals are for that cycle or even beyond. Asking the right questions at the right time will help employers and the career office make strategic decisions as to whether the event will produce placements, or if the event is to brand and educate…or both. Never assume an employer is hiring. Know ahead of time what the goal is and tap the right student cohort into each program.

What Did the Recruiters Think of the Quality of Students?

Employers gauge the quality of students from a college using many criteria. How students represent themselves in person and in writing matters. Often students are placed in communications and writing programs to develop these needed skills as part of their academic curriculum. Interviews, resumes, and cover letters reflect the university at large. Bad impressions make an employer wonder if the student population is worth hiring from, or if they need to recruit elsewhere. Having employers run career center resume and interview workshops can make some employers feel vested in the student body. Preparing students for career success is a challenge. Not everyone comes into the career center office. Mandating appointments and attendance at career center programs is one way to change that. Webinars and online resources on a variety of career topics help students access resources within their time frames so they can make positive impressions when meeting employers.

What Can I Do to Help an Employer Find the Right Candidates?

An employer’s timeline for recruitment is not always congruent with career center events. Many recruiters have internship programs, rotational programs, and entry-level positions they are looking to fill during every cycle. But hundreds of others simply want a career center to find the right candidate as the need arises. Not being able to offer resumes when a recruiter requests them is bad business, and, if done often enough, it can move schools toward the bottom of lists that capture hiring outcomes. Career centers need contacts within various academic departments, student organizations, and other university offices to collaborate with. Targeted outreach needs to reach the appropriate pool of students. The resume of a student looking for entry-level jobs or internships can be sent out on the student’s behalf as positions are created, until the student is removed from the list of “seeking.” Once an employer-based event is put together it’s essential that the number of attendees that match company needs is high. All departments and organizations on campus (not just career services) should know about the event and encourage participation. There is nothing worse than having an event with an off-campus guest and not having the attendance to make it worthwhile. Student success stories are dependent on making matches happen.

Employers are sourcing candidates on campus earlier than ever and rank universities on quantifiable results. Every college wants successful outcomes for all their graduates, and that starts with collaboration with employers. Many companies have internship programs that they use as a gateway to fill entry-level postings. Employers also host information sessions and networking events to source students. Even if recruiters are on campus to conduct career-related educational workshops, they keep their eyes open for students who can be potential hires. The partnership between employers and career centers is an important one that needs to be nurtured all year long. Now is a great time to assess what worked and what didn’t in the partnerships you rely on.

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Data Collection Toward a 100 Percent Knowledge Rate

BlessVaiBless Vaidian, Director, Career Counseling for Pace Career Services – Westchester, and Founder, Career Transitions Guide
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blessvaidian
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlessCareers
Blog: http://careertransitionsguide.com

Is a 100 percent knowledge rate possible with a first-destination survey? That’s to be determined each year and with each effort. Due-diligence requires universities to extend maximum effort to try to achieve a 100 percent knowledge rate for all our students. The task of collecting and reporting data is a huge undertaking trusted to many career offices. Whether you are trying to meet the NACE deadline for data collection or your own office deadline, creating a systematic approach and incorporating “best practices” into your labor makes capturing career outcomes more manageable.

Lay the Foundation

Its essential to be able to analyze data with ease, as well as know ahead of time what questions to include in your outreach attempts to students. Follow the suggestions outlined by NACE in your database fields and match it to your first destination surveys. Bring in your school’s technology department to help create the database, as well as the electronic surveys that capture the responses fed into it. Once that’s done, a time line for when, where, and how you will collect data can be drawn out. Cap and Gown surveys, employer surveys, surveys to the campus community, classroom visits, social media searches, follow-up student surveys, calls and e-mails have to be systematically laid out on a timeline. Learn assessment best practices by attending conferences and events to know how others are capturing information. Make sure you use the NACE links on the topic and talk to Ed Koc, NACE’s Director of Research, Public Policy, and Legislative Affairs or his great team if you have questions. Koc is offering a webinar on the first-destination initiative in early January for NACE members. A solid foundation and plan of action will serve you well in the long run.

Designate a Point Person

If the college community knows that career outcome information has to be sent to a designated individual within their school, then more outcomes can be captured. Often university staff members possess career outcome information and never pass it onto career services. The human resources and admissions departments within your school may have first-destination information on numerous students who were hired or went onto graduate school at your institution. The designated point person should monitor the first destination survey numbers, solicit information from university sources consistently, and create a strategy for follow-up with graduates. It takes many people, numerous efforts, and even call-centers to capture data for bigger schools. But designate an expert to manage the whole process, set the timeline, and be the “face” of the initiative in order to drive the results.

It’s Not a Career Services Issue, It’s a University Issue

Helping students find opportunities and creating a path for successful outcomes is not just a career services goal. Higher education is a partnership of many units working collaboratively to ensure retention and capture every student’s career outcome. Long before first-destination surveys go out, building relationships with the campus community is where data collection really starts for career services. Meetings with the university community to build bridges, foster relationships, and outline the process is crucial. Students share career outcome information with professors, academic advisers, financial aid representatives, leaders of student organizations, and college staff. These sources become vital in the collection process and have to be included in the journey.

Keep the Community Vested

It is essential to make survey efforts and progress visible to the campus community. Every dean, faculty member, and university staff  member should know what the career office does. Career outcome and knowledge rate information should be displayed in infographics, charts, and reports on a regular basis with college partners. If others understand what goes on behind the scenes and where the numbers are, then they will be more apt to assist with first-destination information. It also keeps departments interested and looking forward to the next update.

Mandate Attendance 

Universities that promote, encourage, or even mandate attendance at career service events and one-to-one meetings with a career counselor can create more successful outcomes. Students that have worked with career offices feel more comfortable sharing career outcomes, and should be told that post-graduate follow-up will take place after graduation. Career services also helps students find pre-professional experience through internships that build resumes and lead to full-time offers. They offer networking opportunities with employers and alumni that have job leads every semester. Increased student engagement with career centers increases the “knowledge rate,” and also increases “outcomes.” Its a simple formula.

Multiple out-reach efforts to capture information throughout the year are made to graduating seniors, college partners, and employers to track career outcomes. I would love to hear your school’s best practices and ideas to reach that “100 percent knowledge rate.” Wishing each of you success in reaching your university’s goal and capturing outcomes. 

Best Practices for Live Tweeting at #NACE13

Heather TranenA post by Guest Blogger, Heather Tranen
Associate Director, Global Communications & Strategic Outreach, NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development
Twitter: @htranen
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/heathertranen

The days of high brow, intellectual conversation at conferences are over.

Well, maybe not over, but thanks to social media platforms like Twitter, things are getting a little more fun and dynamic. 

 

Live tweeting allows attendees to stay engaged by live tweeting their thoughts on speakers and content throughout different workshops. This both builds connections within those at the conference, and also includes the twitterverse as a whole in the conversation.

Although Emily Post did not provide us with insight into proper live tweetng etiquette, Twitter Media provides a good guide. I figured I would also give you my two cents on effective live tweeting. Whether you’re a first time tweeter, or a veteran, in anticipation of #NACE13, these are my…

Top 5 Live Tweeting Best Practices 

1. Save #NACE13 so you can see what’s happening  Hootsuite.com is my platform of choice for organizing social networks. I call it my control station because the site allows you to view multiple social networks and save streams. Save #NACE13 as a stream so you can view all of the fabulous insight your peers share throughout the conference.

 

 2. When it comes to Hashtags, It’s Quality Not Quantity  #Feel #like #you #see #hashtags #everywhere? The “pound sign,” as my mother calls it, is a great way to build community, see what’s trending, host contests and facilitate Twitter chats. If used strategically (and not excessively), a hashtag expands engagement amongst followers, and even increases your number of followers. For our purposes, we will discuss how to use hashtags while live Tweeting at the upcoming NACE conference. You’ll want to use the designated event hashtag, #NACE13 for any tweets relating to the conference. During the conference, you can use the #NACE13 when tweeting about the different workshops, networking opportunities, or delicious meals that occur over the course of the event. You can also think of using other relevant hashtags along with it. 

Not to tweet:

Why not tweet this? First, it looks like a 13-year-old girl wrote it. Second, only two of these hashtags serve any relevance to us as grownup professionals who can eat ice cream for dinner if they feel like it.
To Tweet:

This is a great tweet because it is short, includes two relevant hashtags, and speaks kindly of me. A+. 

3. Now that we’re friends, expand your network For introverts like me, cyberspace is a great place to start making connections (not in a creepy way). By viewing what others are saying within the #NACE13 stream, you can engage by retweeting (RT), or relpying. A few tips when engaging in a live tweet: 

If you modify someone’s tweet, make sure to change the RT to Modified Tweet (MT) to indicate you changed content within the tweet.

If you are mentioning someone and you want all of Twitter to know, make sure that you put their handle in the middle of the tweet. If it’s at the beginning only those who are following both of you will see the tweet.

A tweet heard around the Twitterverse:

 Just me, you, and our mutual followers:

4. Don’t be “that” person You know the type. It’s the same person who doesn’t realize you’re sleeping with your eyes open while they tell the story about their epic trip to Vegas 10 years ago for the seven thousandth time. Don’t be that guy or gal. Make sure you aren’t taking up the Twitterverse with all your tweets and there’s variety in the stream. Within your tweets, keep it interesting and throw in a picture, or even a Vine! No one likes to read anymore, just ask college students.

5. Take the conversation offline Introversion aside, we know that we live in an extroverted world. It’s important that we are not only extremely charming and engaging in the online space, but that we also talk to people in real life. I encourage you to join the Tweetup, sponsored by Macy’s, on Tuesday from 9-10pm where you will meet the tweeps you’ve been tweeting with in the real world (I know, terrifying).

Overall, live tweeting is just one of the many ways to enrich your experience and be an active participant at #NACE13! I look forward to seeing everyone in a few weeks!