Takeaways from the Career Leadership Collective Spring Forum

Jobscan attended its first event with the Career Leadership Collective as a sponsor last month. The Career Leadership Collective, founded by Jeremy Podany, who has 20 years of experience in the higher education career development field, created the organization to “focus on the practical and inspirational aspects of leadership and innovation in college and university career services arena.”

The theme of the conference was: “Breaking Through The Career Center Walls.” This means bringing career resources to students wherever they are — whether that’s in the dorm room, the classroom, at home for spring break or in the library doing homework.

We heard from several speakers about the innovative ways they are taking career everywhere at their campuses and beyond. Here are three key takeaways:

1. Create a Career Ambassador Network

Did you know that, on average, faculty members of a university spend 200x more time with students than career center staff do?

Saskia Clay-Rooks, the Executive Director George Mason University, has developed an innovative strategy in order to take advantage of all of that valuable facetime that faculty gets with students.

In order to become a member of George Mason’s Career Influencer Network, faculty members must attend a series of three 90-minute modules focused on how to:

  • Work effectively with students seeking career advice
  • Become more familiar with the career development process
  • Align their curriculum to the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE) standards for career readiness, and learn about the digital career resources that George Mason has available to students (like Handshake)

When faculty have completed all three modules, they receive a career readiness toolkit, which includes templates for how to facilitate connections between students’ academic experiences and their career goals, and they are invited to participate in ongoing professional development.

George Mason already has 160+ faculty members signed up for the Career Influencer Network, and the team is on their way to reaching their goal of creating 100,000 career-ready graduates by 2024.

2. Rethink On-Campus Student Employment

Marianna Savoca, AVP of Experiential Learning at Stony Brook University, shared ways they’ve implemented new practices to reinvigorate student employment on campus. Traditionally, the majority of students who have jobs on campus enroll in something called a “work-study,” which enables needs-based students to work part-time in order to support themselves financially as they attend college. However, “work-study” can be more than just a means to an end.

At Stony Brook, they’re shifting the perception of work-study to a more meaningful and engaging professional development experience for students. Savoca recommends ditching the phrase “work-study” entirely and renaming on-campus jobs to “internship” or “apprenticeship,” while aligning the outcomes and skills developed through these employment opportunities to the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU)’s High Impact Educational Practices (which are also strikingly similar to NACE’s standards for career readiness).

Savoca reminded the group that the context and needs of each school is different. In order to have a successful and engaging student employment program at your school, she recommends getting support for all who are involved. She also suggests piloting, tracking, assessing and adjusting the program as necessary.

If you want to dive deeper into rethinking student employment on your campus, you can also read Savoca’s book: “A Good Job: Campus Employment as a High Impact Practice.”

3. Leverage Technology to Create a Legacy

In his opening keynote, Jeremy Podany encouraged career centers to think about creating their legacy. Podany stressed that in order to make the greatest impact on the careers of students and alumni, career coaches and counselors will need to scale their expertise.

There are tools on the market across the spectrum of what “career services” has historically offered, from reviewing resumes (we do that here at Jobscan), preparing for interviews (InterviewStream), and getting organized with your job search (CareerShift, which also sponsored the Spring Forum). By adopting tools like these that can help free up time and reach students where they are, career centers can move away from being known for the services they offer and start focusing on being the convener for the campus-wide commitment to develop career-ready students.

Amanda Ostrove - Jobscan for Universities

Amanda Ostrove brings Jobscan’s resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn optimization tools to universities to help their students beat the resume black hole. You can contact her at amanda@jobscan.co or learn more about Jobscan’s tools for universities here.