• Tips for Engaging Freshmen and Sophomores in Career Services

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    May 28, 2014

    Career centers trying to engage first- and second-year students in career exploration and development often encounter several barriers.

    “One of the major barriers is the misperception among these students that the main purpose of a career services office is placement of seniors,” says Diana Burkett, communications manager in the Office of Alumni and Career Services at the University of Richmond.

    There are other obstacles in this pursuit, including students often not being required to use the office or to take a career-related course during their first or sophomore year, and a lack of programming that fits the needs of first-year and sophomore students, and where they are in their career-development process.

    But there are also key steps career centers can take to overcome these obstacles and make valuable connections with these students. Burkett identifies several here, including:

    • Conducting a campus audit of existing programs for first- and second-year students, and building a programming strategy around this and the predetermined needs of these students.
    • Developing relationships with program directors to allow delivery of career development information through their programs. Examples of key partnerships include those for orientation, and with academic advising, living-learning communities, athletics, recreation and wellness, and admissions.
    • Creating messaging that makes the career center less intimidating and more approachable. The career center should ensure to message the four-year career development plan and the importance of embarking on it early.

    Diana Burkett will team with Leslie W. Stevenson, director of career development at the University of Richmond, to present a session during NACE14 titled “Engaging Freshmen and Sophomores Through Cross-Campus Collaborations and Marketing.” For more information about this and other NACE14 sessions, see www.naceweb.org/ConferenceExpo/schedule.htm.