While it has not always been given the most coveted office space on campus, a minority of campuses are finding ways to move the career centers into more high traffic areas in an effort to increase student awareness of the need to take ownership of their careers. It’s a great trend and probably worth the effort – if nothing else, it reminds students on a daily basis they should be working on their careers.
However, the Internet and changing student behaviors are opening an opportunity for colleges to begin to put more career services “in the cloud” and to make them accessible on any device, at any time. Students stopped using email when they discovered the instant communication of texting, and later the group communication that Twitter offers, as well as the personal messaging capabilities of Facebook.
With the advanced tools and capabilities that smart phones introduced, students are shifting away from computers and are using their phones to communicate and get the information they need, when they need it.
A study that examined the behaviors of one million users of StudyBlue found that students using a mobile app from their Smartphone spend 40 minutes more studying each week, compared to students who rely solely on a website. According to Becky Splitt, CEO of StudyBlue,
“Mobile studiers take advantage of the downtime they inevitably experience throughout the day. While waiting for coffee or riding the bus home, students are flipping through flashcard decks on their smart phones to efficiently master classroom material and make the most of their valuable time.”
Career centers are constantly competing with other campus clubs and activities to gain mind share and time of students. Students today have learned how to multitask and move from one activity to the next with relative ease. Their changing behaviors and the advanced capabilities of SmartPhones and SmartPads is opening an opportunity to deliver career information even more easily.
Studying from their Smartphones enables students to multitask and get in 10-20 minutes of studying here and there throughout the day. Career Centers have an enormous opportunity to deliver bite sized learning opportunities to take advantage of these changing behaviors.
To take advantage of these behavior changes, career centers will need to:
- Put more thought into the design of their websites and make them accessible by SmartPhones and SmartPads.
- Include distance learning career courses and tools to create online career plans.
- Utilize social media plug-ins to increase participation.
- Include Badge technology to reward students for participating.
- Adopt crowd sourcing tools to answer questions and increase engagement.
- Use online career fairs to connect students and businesses 24/7/365.
- Build in the ability for parents to be given permission to track students’ progress and offer suggestions about how they can keep things on track.
- Create reports that will track students’ progress in building their career strategies.
Taking the career center to the clouds will be one of the most critical requirements of building excitement about career management for students.
To start providing entry level career services in the Cloud, get together with your team and:
- Identify which of your services can be transferred to the Cloud.
- Evaluate your website and determine if you can make it accessible via SmartPhones and SmartPads.
- Determine the budget requirements and share those with management.
This is probably one of the more important strategies to increase the amount of time students invest in career exploration, career planning and learning job search skills. Let us know what you think!