Graduating Students, Forget the Office Hours, Here Are 6
There are ways to help students find and keep a job – the key is giving them that opportunity. You have the power as a college administrator to set the course for your students so they can graduate and get the best job they can get.
U.S. News & World Report just released its 2016 ranking of liberal arts colleges. They say these selective schools are “the cream of the crop.” U.S. News lists this as a “top career-oriented college,” also stating that a liberal arts education is one of the best ways to stand out in today’s hiring market.
You will see that not all liberal arts colleges are mentioned in this list. But, it is important to understand that, with their unique perspectives, these schools are more than just seats of learning. They are also the launching pads for real-world experiences that can improve your students’ resumes and influence them in the marketplace.
So, what can you do to help your students have the experience needed to make a success of their education? Here are six tips to help you prepare your students for success.
1. Seek Employers, Survey Your Students
From an early age, your students should be asked about their thoughts about their future. That is the first step in building a career portfolio, providing connections and access to employers. Employers view resumes as primary sources of information, and if you look at them independently, they tell stories. This is why consulting for employers before students graduate is so important. Ask students about what role they thought their career could play if they graduated from your institution and what would help them identify employers that are hiring. You want them to be excited about their future career with you and encourage them to respond. Have them articulate their idea of what they want from their education and experience. If they think the school can do that, the next step is to ask them about any questions they have. They will be anxious to talk about their work experience, which you can compile into a portfolio. Identify the areas that you think will add value to students career experience. I recommend the Work Experience Profile, so that this is already on students’ resume. Ask them what work experience they think could help them find a career path and what employers are looking for. Think about what current students and alumni would think about. Get them to use your college’s career website to write resumes for employers. Create that for your students to expand their own career portfolio. This is an easy way to help them start building their own brand and to get them thinking about the diversity of careers out there.
2. Make Them Careers More Connection with Alumni
For many students, the end goal is college graduation and a job after. But, an increasing number are looking to become something more, and career-oriented programs are not just for the younger population. It is okay to make students think about more than just college. In fact, many of them are already thinking about working in a career path that is unique to their area of study. They are already thinking about it in the shower, on the bus and even in the classroom. So, it is important to identify what they will be working towards and identify active learning opportunities for them to connect the experience with alumni.
3. Maintain Career Goals
Keep working on them every day. Their education is building blocks that will make them successful in finding a career that will improve their life. A conversation with their counselor and the career counselor may be all that they need to help connect learning and career. It is okay to talk about those options with them and take a few minutes with them to decide if they want to pursue the different options. Sometimes, all it takes is one positive conversation for students to decide on the right path for them.
4. Demonstrate Business Attitude
College is also the time that student’s transition from high school to the real world. You will want to help your students be successful in developing professional skills. Don’t wait until after they graduate. Encourage them to get involved in events that will include professional skills, such as conference participation and job fairs. You will find that students who develop those skills when they are young will be much more successful than when they enter the workforce and have to learn them on the job. These skills will be used daily, so find ways to make a positive impression on them. Be proactive, as well as supportive.
5. Get Closer to the Students
Students are intrigued by being part of a dynamic, connected community. So, create opportunities for them to have contact with you. These relationships can be on the official level, such as internships and volunteering, or they can be informal, as well. Connect with them as often as you can, as they will keep you connected to their needs and interests.