In the very early days of career services, the path from student to professional happened by way of a sort of sponsorship. Professors would groom and mentor promising students and they were pretty much guaranteed placement in a specific position upon graduation. As more people enrolled in college, that approach led to establishing placement centers that provided vocational guidance and more access to a variety of job opportunities. Eventually, these centers adapted a development model where students were first provided with counseling for self-discovery and planning before finally focusing on placement assistance.
With technology, however, change is happening faster than ever; quickly turning current best practices into old news. For example, it doesn’t seem long ago at all that the “networking model,” which combined web resources, coaching and career fairs, was being introduced as the newest approach to career services. But we’re now seeing that as just a starting point for a newer paradigm.
To stay relevant in the business of education and career services, you need to move beyond simply networking. Now we’re entering into a space where it’s all about making real connections, developing relationships and building communities.
It will be your responsibility to not only acquire and dispense comprehensive information at a whirlwind pace, but also coordinate the efforts of campus organizations/departments and external agencies/employers so everyone stays easily connected, working toward common goals.
Career services will be increasingly important – but educational institutions need to adapt quickly to the department’s expanding role. The most successful institutions and career centers will ensure:
- Students take a more active role in the career development process, where they are actively learning and emphasizing self-reliance.
- A stronger focus on a variety of activities that connect students with alumni and other potential employers.
- The best current and emerging technologies are readily available to students and other stakeholders.
- Meaningful connections and communities are created to engage students and alumni for a lifetime.
- Additional resources, both human and financial, are allocated for more visibility and responsibility.
- Career services becomes a presence that flows throughout the university and pulls key stakeholders together as a community.
- Data is tracked and presented clearly to show alignment with goals and the value being brought to all the parties involved.
For more details on shifts in career services, here is a great post from Farouk Dey, PhD, Dean of Career Education & Associate VP @Stanford, offering more information, 10 Future Trends in College Career Services.