I think it’s safe to say that resources for career services have dwindled over the past decade, but I often think about what we might do if we could do it all. I think big. I’m encouraged to be bold by my institutional leadership, and I push my staff to think creatively within the bounds of our resources. But if we didn’t have to dream, and we had unlimited resources, or even just a million dollars, here is just a sampling of what we would do:
We would manage a free career closet, open to all students. Here, we would supply a wide range of interview-ready attire (typical business professional to trendy/artsy) from which our students could select mix and match pieces or complete ensembles. Watching the growing success of similar initiatives at campuses across the country provides much inspiration to see this to fruition.
We would operate a mobile career services vehicle. Imagine it: a bus or RV to take our show on the road – appointments, drop-ins, mocks, OCR, all around campus. Students flock to the food truck on campus, so we’d employ a similar approach of bringing good things to where the people are with our mobile service.
We would have enough staff to offer one-on-one coaching for our international student population. Coaches would work with immigration lawyers and HR professionals to educate students around hiring and H1B Visa processes.
We would hire additional staff (wouldn’t we all?!) and develop agile cross-training to allow for the implementation of an industry-cluster model. At our university, with 40,000+ students, we know that in order to more adequately serve our populations (and avoid burnout), we need to grow our current staff of 13 by at least 200% to achieve this goal.
We would create seamless collaborations with academic advisors to ensure transfer of information regarding student shared career goals, values, and purpose. At our university, students are required to see academic advisors and often share with them their career goals and aspirations. If we employee open methods of communication (think notes systems), we avoid hitting reset each time a student enters our office.
We would improve our workspace. We already have a great space, in my opinion, but we could always work towards having the BEST space on campus. I’m thinking Google-like, open office, central location with convenient parking for employers and students (imagine if they were allowed to park NEAR our office… even if just for OCR).
We would afford staff at least one professional development experience annually. The networking and connections made at conferences are invaluable. And, I don’t know about you, but I always notice that my staff have a renewed energy and are even more excited about the work that we do when they hear about the great work being done in our field.
It’s realistic, it’s attainable… I’m going to find that million dollars!
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Cristina Lawson at firstname.lastname@example.org.