May 19, 2020 | By NACE Staff
TAGS: best practices, internships, operations, spotlight, coronavirus
Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
Since going virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Texas A&M University – Central Texas Office of Career & Professional Development has focused on connecting local employers with its students. The primary way the office is accomplishing this is by hosting weekly live events with employers that are hiring.
“We took the opportunity to facilitate these connections when employers are not traveling and have a little bit more time,” explains Angie Fair, career services coordinator in Texas A&M University – Central Texas’ Office of Career & Professional Development.
Fair explains that Texas A&M University – Central Texas has approximately 2,500 students and 75 percent of its graduates find employment within a 40-mile radius of the school.
“We focused on engaging and highlighting our local employers so far because our students want to connect with them,” she explains.
The format for the Employer Spotlight sessions is flexible. Organizations may do a presentation, show videos, or do a moderated webchat for students who have questions. The sessions allow employers to provide information about their work, industry, culture, and recruitment process; give tips and tricks for applying; and more. At the end, the session is opened up for students to ask questions and/or connect with the recruiter.
“Before each ‘Employer Spotlight’ event, we post it on our [learning management platform’s] community page and all our social media sites,” Fair says.
“The events give students the opportunity to engage with employers live, but also on their own time as we post all of the videos to our YouTube channel post-event.”
The sessions are open to local community members, as well.
“They are not locked or password protected, and individuals don’t need to have a student email to participate,” Fair says.
“We push it out to our network and promote it within our student body. The employers offer details about it on their recruitment and marketing pages. We want this to benefit as many as possible.”
By mid-May, there have been four “Employer Spotlight” sessions. One Texas A&M University – Central Texas student got an internship by attending and two others linked up with a recruiter from Texas Health and Human Services to get direct feedback on their applications.
“Employers love it because it is free and does not require a large time commitment,” Fair says.
“This is a prime time to connect with employers as there are fewer events and commitments, so we have had a large amount of interest.”
Fair explains that career services staff also send a video of the session to the employers so they can use it after the event.
“We try to foster community, employer, and student connections during normal operations, but we have had to be creative in the current environment,” says Fair, who adds that the office will likely keep producing the weekly live Employer Spotlight sessions once staff and employers are able to return to their offices.
“It is important to demonstrate our value in times like this when our students need us the most. There is an implied contract between a university and a student that at the end of their education, there are going to be more opportunities for them in their career. If we do not meet that expectation, we are failing not just within career services, but on a broader scale.
“Partnering students with employers is fundamental for the continued success of our student body so that they can find good employment and remain engaged supporters of the university and our efforts.”
To see the Employer Spotlight videos on Texas A&M University – Central Texas’ Office of Career & Professional Development YouTube channel, go to www.youtube.com/channel/UCyduTJ6Q6tZH47RB6O03Ftg.
Percent of staff time spent student-facing
Median number of students to professional staff member
Median square footage of the career center
Percent of career centers with employer partnership programs
Percent frequently discussing career readiness competencies with faculty
2018-19 Career Services Benchmark Survey