Although many students go to college with the goal of landing a good job at graduation, most colleges don’t care all that much about student employment goals. In fact, to ensure their survival, many colleges have very different goals:
- Recruit enough new students to fill the class for next year
- Keep students in school (paying tuition) as long as possible
- Obtain donations from alumni
- Seek money from all other possible sources
You can check this out yourself. Find out how many employees perform College “Advancement” activities compared to the number of employees who perform Career Services and Job Search Preparation activities. What is the budget for the College Advancement Group compared to the budget for the Career Services group?
If you are a student who is concerned about graduating with a good paying job, you may want to ask some other questions. Do your college leaders:
- Make it clear to students that they care about student employment success?
- Talk to students about student employment success each and every semester?
- Help students identify a personal employment goal that is important to them?
- Ensure that students have selected a career direction by the sophomore year?
- Require students to investigate jobs that exist within their chosen career direction?
- Help students select a major and minor that supports the career direction?
- Ask students to select a group of jobs that hold interest for them?
- Have students research employers that hire students for those jobs?
- Make certain students identify employer expectations for those jobs?
- Require students to submit a personal Employment Plan of Action that will
address the employer expectations?
- Help students obtain the performance, knowledge and experience expected?
- Emphasize Internships, Work-Study Programs, Co-Op Assignments, etc.?
- Encourage students to participate in Campus and Community activities?
- Provide employment resources: Coaches, Books, Articles, Web Sites, Classes?
- Hold classes that teach students about the entire employment process?
- Bring in guest speakers who work in your area of interest?
- Arrange for students to talk with alumni who work in your field?
- Attract employers for campus interviews that hire students with your major?
- Arrange for field trips to employers that hire students in your area of interest?
- Provide the expected starting salaries for students with your major?
- Have students begin job search preparation activities by the sophomore year?
- Explain the need for research: Employers, Jobs, Qualifications, Expectations?
- Show students how to maximize their impact in the classroom, on campus, at
work, in the community and in their leisure activities?
- Coach, Counsel and Guide each and every student during each semester?
- Explain the value of work experience, but especially job-related experience?
- Emphasize the need for preparation, practice and performance?
- Expect students to build a list of accomplishments, successes and results?
- Help students find ways to differentiate themselves from other students?
- Ask students to develop examples and stories that will interest employers?
- Require students to work on their communication and interviewing skills?
- Show students how to prepare a hard hitting resumé that will attract employers?
When colleges fail to help students learn about and become proficient with the items on this list, students will not have the experiences, information and tools that are necessary to compete for the best jobs. It takes a concerned and proactive team of college leaders to carry out these job search preparation requirements. When student employment needs are minimized by college leaders and nearly ignored in college budgets, too many good students will fall short of their employment goals.
Colleges choose where and how they provide resources. If your college chooses not to put enough quality resources into student employment success, they are telling you that they do not care whether you land a good job. Just remember, you have a choice too.