Each year my office utilizes the information from our graduation outcomes survey to send a weekly email series. These emails go out starting spring break, and throughout the summer. We send them to seniors who have reported to be “still seeking” an opportunity or who haven’t reported an outcome. Our goal is to continue sending job search resources and opportunities to those still seeking and increase survey response rate.
We’ve received feedback that these emails have been helpful in the past. Yet the series lacked continuity that I knew could be achieved through some type of branding. Previously, there was no formal name for the series. It was just an email from Career Services that landed in their inbox. So I set out to create one.
As usual, I turned to those who would know best: our students.
I sat down with a few of our student workers and explained the series, goals of the emails, etc. to pick their brains. One of the first ideas was to use the title “Major Keys”, from DJ Khaled’s Major Keys to Success. First, they had to explain to me what this actually was. Once I understood, I realized it was brilliant! Not only did it make sense as we would be emailing out the keys to job search success, but using this reference to pop culture would hopefully catch their attention.
We ran with the idea and transformed the series with more than just a name. Using MailChimp to send the emails, we included the key emoji, which DJ Khaled uses, in the subject line. Most of our target audience would check email on their phone. So, we had a feeling they would be intrigued seeing an email from Career Services marked with an emoji. In addition, we adjusted our language to be more casual and conversational. We threw hashtags into our text and used memes and GIFs for visual aids.
After the first message, we heard from our student assistants that it definitely caught the attention of their peers. Some even sent Snapchats of our email. #Winning. One of our peer advisors told me a student in their Rhetoric Advertising class wrote a paper on how our Major Key emails were targeting millennials using pop culture and how successful it had been so far. That’s how I knew we had really stumbled upon a great idea. Talking about the job search during the end of senior year can be scary. But rather than deleting our emails to avoid the topic, students were really paying attention.
Whether it’s imagery in promotional materials or references in programs, if done effectively, using pop culture can be a new way to engage your students and help them grasp tough concepts and processes. This also frames career services as more relatable and approachable rather than over formal or intimidating. And your students just might even think you’re cool. Bye, Felicia.
September takes a student-centered focus, with writers sharing inspirational ideas, programs, and resources on how to best serve our student populations.
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.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Lougan Bishop on Working with Student Marketing Teams