Campus career clubs will give you more resources, engage more students and raise the awareness of careers on campus.
It’s not unusual for a campus to have anywhere from 30 to 300 clubs and organizations students can join. There are sport clubs, like flag football, ping pong, sailing club and soccer as well as skiing, Chess, Young Republicans, Young Democrats and more.
So why not a Career Club?
I spent a half hour searching the web to see if I could find some colleges that have career clubs, but I had a hard time finding relevant examples. I found a career club Facebook page for a Puerto Rican college, and the rest were community clubs, or K-12 clubs that were named “Job Clubs”.
This exercise got me thinking about the benefits of developing a Campus Career Club. Let’s do a little brainstorming and kick around some of the benefits of starting a Campus Career Club!
1) It’s all about money and resources!
By starting a Career Club, you will qualify for funds you can use to further your department goals. Every organization on campus receives operating funds for events activities and supplies. This could be another way for you to have funds available to invite speakers, hold workshops and continue to add new resources to prepare grads for their first professional job searches.
2) You get another opportunity to engage students!
One of the things I encouraged each of my kids to do as they entered college, was to join clubs and organizations that interested them. As an employer of recent grads, I have always looked at the activities the prospective employee was involved in. A student that had a leadership position within the clubs and organizations he or she belonged to usually got a second look. A Career Club will give students another opportunity to take leadership positions, while at the time giving them experience in managing people.
3) You have another opportunity to get the campus focused on careers.
In my report, Career Centered College Campus and Culture, I talked about the need for campuses to focus more on careers. It’s not my just my opinion. I’m simply channeling the wishes of students today! The Higher Education Research Institution at UCLA has produced the CIRPS Freshman study for the past 3 decades. In their survey of 2012 freshman, they reported that 88 percent of freshman are going to college to improve their chances for careers. (That’s up 20% in the past 2 decades) I would use this report to confirm to management the need to start a Career Club.
A Career Club will give you additional opportunities to engage alumni and business leaders as well as take field trips with students to companies’ headquarters. After a while you will be able to share stats showing students who are members of the Career Club not only get internships and jobs relevant to their majors, but jobs at higher pay.
How would you structure your club?
That should be the easy part. You probably have a department on campus that coordinates clubs. They should be able to give you a form that will help guide you in developing your club’s vision, mission and goals, as well as the fundamentals of what the club will do.
I would encourage you to find a primary focus. Don’t duplicate the services or activities of your career center. I would use the Career Club to encourage students to visit the career center, but I wouldn’t use it to offer workshops on resumes etc.
You might want to have your Campus Career Club focus on:
- Soft skills. Companies have been moaning for decades that grads don’t have leadership, ethics, communication, teamwork and related skills. Your club could deliver these type of skills to members.
- Another direction for your club might be to focus more on career exploration. The club might be focused on giving students more focus on how to evaluate industries, companies, and positions for which they would qualify.
- Yet another direction for your club might be to bring students together with hiring authorities, department managers and others in Google Hangouts, to ask questions and gain wisdom from their experiences.
- Or, you might focus on taking field trips to companies. The Ski Club travels to the slopes, so why not a monthly visit to a local company for tours and discussions with management combined with a follow-up report or assignment?
Does that make sense? The idea is not to duplicate a service or activities your college currently offers but to find a niche in which you’d like students to get more exposure and experience.
While I know you already have a lot on your plate, I suggest you make sure your club has a number of leadership positions that can be responsible for meetings, scheduling events, handling correspondence with members and briefing you on results. More than likely you will want to have traditional club positions. President, VP, Secretary, Membership, etc. The more, the better– not only to spread the work around– but as I mentioned to give students the opportunity to put their leadership roles on their resumes.
If you already have a Career Club, please share some details with us so we can brag about you!