The Need for Innovation within Career Centers and Alumni Associations

While colleges and universities provide a broad range of services to their students, by far the most important is preparing their students for future employment. Indeed, one of the most important statistics an incoming student should examine about a particular college or university is the rate at which its graduates are employed. Therefore, schools often dedicate substantial resources to aiding their students’ and graduates’ abilities to obtain and retain post-graduate employment.

Despite graduate employment being such a critical factor in both the success of individual higher education institutions, and certainly of the economy in general, there has been little innovation within the last 25 years in the way in which schools support post-graduate employment. OnlineSchoolCenter.com recently published an article titled “30 College with the Most Impressive Job Placement Rates and Career Services.” Among the top 30 schools there is very little variation in the methods the schools use to support graduate employment.  Almost all of the schools offer:

·      A staff of professional career counselors who provide students with individual attention

·      Assistance in choosing a major

·      An emphasis on the importance of internships

·      Resume and cover letter workshops and one-on-one sessions

·      Interview preparation, from workshops to individual “mock interviews”

·      In-person and LinkedIn networking opportunities

Times are changing

Technology is disrupting the once quiet higher education space. Most universities now offer a closed LinkedIn group specifically for students, alumni, employees, and career coaches where they can post and share both job listings and resumes, for example. That’s only the beginning, however. In order to remain relevant with the Millennial generation and the workplace environments they serve, universities are beginning to innovate.

Revere Software is on the cutting edge of such innovation. It takes the digital connection that LinkedIn provides and magnifies its power exponentially. Revere provides an easy-to-use, private-labeled platform where alumni and students can connect directly with pre-screened alumni. These alumni have offered their time and expertise free of charge. Making the connection between students and alumni more directly facilitates knowledge sharing and improves students’ chances of post-graduate employment. For example, one private Midwestern university using Revere projects that in two years, 20% more of their students will have career-related jobs upon graduation.

In addition to creating direct connections between students and alumni, Revere allows alumni associations and career services departments the ability to measure and monitor alumni and student engagement. This information can be linked to hiring rates to provide the institution with invaluable statistics about its techniques and proficiency in assisting students and alumni in their job searches. Furthermore, keeping alumni engaged and invested in career development for their alma mater spurs alumni engagement in general, which often results in increased alumni giving.

A university’s greatest asset is its alumni. Employed alumni not only represent the educational success of their alma mater, but also offer in-roads to the job market for incoming alumni. As institutions of higher education fight to keep their students competitive in the job market, students (and their parents!) deserve every tool, both the traditional and the innovative, like Revere, that a university can offer.