University Business October 2017 - 64

PROFESSIONAL OPINION

How to make career services
an institutional priority
Seven strategies that have proven successful
By Susan Brennan

E

very college graduate wants a
good job, but Gallup research
reveals that only about half of
students are actually going to career services, and only about 16 percent of those
find the resources very helpful.
This should be a wake-up call for career education. Universities today need
to partner with faculty and other departments across campus to make sure
students access career services early-
and make the most of the experience.
Here are strategies that helped career services become a priority for us at
Bentley University in Massachusetts.
1. Look at the big picture. Focus
on the whole supply chain-from
students to the academic experience to
employers-and then think about how
all the pieces will build an integrated
experience. If your institution is considering new majors or programs, make
connections between the faculty and
corporate partners so they can answer
the important questions: How will the
market respond? Is this what employers
are looking for?
2. Get buy-in from the top. At
Bentley, we created the PreparedU
market research campaign, a popular
national forum to discuss what needed
to be done to provide students with a
quality education and market-driven
preparation for successful careers. This
led to career preparation permeating
the campus and being at the forefront

UBmag.me/seven

64 | October 2017

of the president's agenda.
Make career development part of
your school's identity and positive results will follow. Students will know
they will have an amazing education
and will be prepared for their career.

Make career development
part of your school's
identity and students
will know they will be
prepared for their career.
3. Start early with curriculum. It's
often too late for students to connect
with career services in their junior or
senior year, so make students aware of
its benefits early on. We teamed with
faculty to create a co-curricular experience to parallel career services' core
curriculum. The result: a six-week series
of career development seminars-one
designed for freshmen and another for
sophomores-where students identify
their personal strengths and create career tools, including their résumé and
LinkedIn profile. Students also learn
how to search for internships, prepare
for interviews and much more. This
gives students a comprehensive career
toolkit and the ability to tell their story.
4. Build credibility with faculty.
After many conversations, faculty at
Bentley came to see career services as
partners who can help prepare graduates for the marketplace. We made sure
the career development seminar was a
legitimate course with a syllabus, and
that it brought in pedagogy and theory

that aligned with curriculum. We also
guaranteed that all of the instructors,
myself included, had graduate degrees
and career expertise.
5. Create a network of advocates.
Career services can't operate in a silo.
Besides faculty, we rely on staff members
to raise awareness about the importance
of our services. Academic advising and
the Center for International Students
and Scholars, for example, encourage
F1-visa students to attend our career development seminar in finding an internship that meets academic requirements.
6. Understand students. Bentley
students said they didn't have enough
time for career programming, and suggested a dedicated class on the subject-
hence our career development seminars.
Just remember: Student attitudes keep
changing, so career services will need to
keep evolving.
7. Assemble a talented team. Today's career professionals have to wear
many hats. My team teaches in the
classroom, coaches students and strategic partners, understands industries,
manages communities and uses technology. We also have an ability to partner
with faculty, students and corporate
professionals. It's challenging to attract
and recruit people for these roles and to
motivate them to take on new roles.
Building a career services experience
that's integrated throughout campus
will lead to students finding good jobs
after graduation. Our 99 percent placement rate proves this is happening.
Susan Brennan is associate vice president of
University Career Services at Bentley University.
www.universitybusiness.com


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business October 2017

University Business October 2017 - Cover1
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University Business October 2017 - 1
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