According to the Career Advisory Board’s report Counseling Graduating Students, 34.1 percent of career professionals rated their number one problem is getting students to use the career center resources.
If nearly 61 percent of graduating seniors either never visit the career center, or visit less than two times, one can only imagine how few freshmen, sophomores and juniors utilize the services provided by the career center. With only an hour or two spent at the career center, it’s literally impossible for students to pick up the knowledge they need to get a job.
In that brief time seniors will need to learn how to develop professional networks, use social media in their job searches, pick up interviewing techniques, learn how to search for a jobs, and of course create professional resumes.
Because the college cannot, and will not in the foreseeable future, put in place requirements for students to invest time and effort in exploring career options, and learning job search skills and techniques, in my opinion, it will be up to parents to require their students to start working on their career plans the minute those students arrive on campus. That is, unless the government takes action and requires colleges to ramp up career service requirements to their students…and we shouldn’t be surprised when they do. In the summer of 2011, Congress passed legislation that now requires for profit colleges to show that their students’ degrees will result in jobs that are related to the degrees and pay enough to offset their student loan payments. The “Gainful Employment” legislation in some form will be imposed on non-profit colleges, too!
Get ahead of students’, parents’ and legislatures’ expectations.
There is evidence that students lean on their parents for career guidance and help in their job searches. The Career Advisory Board’s research showed that 76.6 percent of the students surveyed indicated their parents were a valuable resource to help them in their job searches.
Career centers should consider developing a program that:
- Communicates to parents the issues their students face if they don’t take ownership of their careers their freshman years and share stats and research that show the benefits of students utilizing career center resources.
- Asks parents to require their students to develop career plans and require their students to use the career center facilities.
TalentMarks has developed a CareerParents program that provides the parents of incoming freshman a copy of the book, The Employed Grad, Knowledge, Skills and Tools Your Student Will Need to Get a Job, as well as a branded CareerParent portal that gives parents access to videos, webinars featuring career authors, coaches, hiring managers and even grads that regret not building career strategies prior to graduation. Shawnee State University gives a copy of the book to the parents of incoming parents.
There are other benefits of engaging incoming freshmen parents. First, the college will be able to brag to prospective students’ parents about the program. Second, satisfied parents will be more inclined to contribute to the parents’ fund when asked. Third, if a grad is unemployed by graduation day, the parent will be less likely to blame the career center or college who offered solutions and strategies four years earlier.
Every student that fails to take ownership of his or her career during freshman year will inevitably find themselves working harder to find a job that is related to his or her major at graduation. In a survey conducted by the Associated Press, students who did not have a job by graduation day would:
“more likely work as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined.”
So how do you get started developing a program to engage parents?
- Meet with your team to determine what you want to accomplish with your career parent program.
- Develop the curriculum, email communications, e-newsletters, and/or webinars that will help them understand their role.
- Start your program with the next incoming freshman class and work through the bugs during the year.
I’m convinced this is the fastest, least expensive and least labor intensive strategy, designed to increase the number of students who take ownership of their careers. Learn more by clicking here!