4 Ways to Equip College Students for Career Success!
April 3, 2020 (updated)
During these turbulent times, uncertainty and fear can easily hi-jack our mindsets and even our lives. And to be quite honest, this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can be very scary!
Thousands of college students have been impacted and have been required to attend school remotely. For some students this transition has been rather seamless. But for many others, it has been it has been difficult for them to get back into the swing of things with their career and academic pursuits.
If your students and team have been finding it difficult to adapt and bounce back — this article is for you!
The first thing I want to encourage you to do is not to freak out!
Because things will get better! How do I know?
I know this because your university’s leadership and other partnering organizations are working REALLY hard—like never before—to provide you with resources that will help you overcome this moment in history.
In this blog I will offer you some simple, but often overlooked advice that will help you re-engage and motivate your students so they can stay on track with their college, internship, and career goals. I have developed four tips that you can adopt as you advise your college students during their career planning and job search phases. These tips are simple, yet powerful and can lead to amazing results if they’re implemented effectively.
I’ve made it easy for you to remember. To energize your students for career planning and job search success all you have to do is remember four C’s.
And here they are: Creativity, Care, Community, and Calm!
1) Boost your “Creativity” – You have to focus hard on developing creative programs, content, campaigns, and outreach efforts to engage and develop your students. Think about it. This generation is totally different from your generation. And on top of that, we are in the middle of a global crisis. This means you must change your mindset about career development. Some of the traditional career development tools are still great, but others have become outdated. To help with your creativity you must begin to think outside the box and begin to experiment and take some risks. You may be afraid to try a new idea, but if it’s a low cost idea you should take the risk to see if it will become successful. My number one piece of advice on career development creativity is for you to take as many low cost risks as you can! Also, you should strongly consider turning to industry experts to solicit more ideas that will boost your creativity.
2) Show students that you “Care” – This step is a really big one; and honestly, I think it’s the most important one. From delivering interactive keynote speeches and career coaching sessions with students on college campuses, too many of them have indicated to me that their career adviser treats them like they are “just another number.” You have probably personally been in this position before when you received poor customer service and were treated as if you were “just another number.”
Research indicates when you demonstrate to customers that you genuinely care about their needs, they are more satisfied and feel more invested with the services they are receiving. For example, if you schedule a 30-minute virtual career advising session with a student and the session time expires, offer to extend the time with them. You can achieve this in a couple of different ways. You can simply continue your session on the spot or if that’s not possible, you can offer the student more time the following day. I know your time is valuable and you often have to stay on schedule, but it’s important that you fully meet your students’ needs. There are many other ways that you can connect with students and demonstrate that you care so feel free to explore other options too.
3) Lean on your “Community” Partners – You’ve heard this before, “partnerships are everything”. But now it’s different. It’s no longer a cliche. Now it’s necessary for the vitality of your department’s success. One amazing partner and resource that I would like to highlight is Best Colleges. This organization has created a Career Planning and College Internship Resources page that’s FULL of outstanding resources. Guess what? To make things easy for you, you don’t even have to search for this resource. Here it is for you: Best Colleges College and Career Resources!
4) Stay “Calm” and Take “Care” of Yourself – Above all things, you must stay calm and take the right measures to ensure that you are okay, personally. This is an unprecedented time in America and I know that you may have mounting levels of stress professionally and at home. Do your absolute best to make time for yourself so you can recharge and reduce your stress levels. Now is the time to enjoy beautiful walks, nature, and other things/hobbies that you miss doing!
Since the career services industry is an interactive field, feel free to comment and offer your remarks about this blog. I also highly encourage you to share best practices that are working for you or your colleagues!
Let’s beat COVID-19 together!