How Important Are Career Services for Students?
Students decide what school and program they want to attend for college with one goal in mind: to work towards a better future. But whether they want to land their dream job or start their own business, students need sound advice in their education-related decision-making process.
An analysis done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that of the 563,262 college graduates in 2020 with bachelor’s degrees, only 50.2% secured full-time jobs with traditional employers. This showed a decline from 55.3% in 2019.
Notably, learners who went to colleges with smaller populations (less than 2,000 students) performed better at landing jobs. Almost 62% of them reported having full-time positions six months after graduation.
As of August 2022, the US has about 6.26 million unemployed individuals. In a competitive labor market, it’s even more important for educational institutions to have a dedicated Career Services department. These offices help students transition from academic to professional life.
The Importance of Career Services for Students
According to NACE’s Career Services Benchmarks Survey Report for 2021–2022, more and more students use career services virtually due to the pandemic. Here’s how career services bridge the gap between school and work:
- Gives Career Direction
Students can explore many career options when they graduate, and it can be overwhelming to choose when they don’t know where their qualifications can take them. Narrowing down the options is a good starting point.
Working with a college career service department can help students know what is available to them. Career services can help assess a student’s qualifications and interests and match them with the best career paths based on their goals. They can also advise students on what additional qualifications they need to acquire, and what extracurricular activities may make them a more attractive candidate. The goal of career services is to help students define career goals and provide a road map of the steps to achieve them. For example, nursing students often take the Test for Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) to know if they have the right skills for exploring a nursing career.
- Secure Internship Opportunities
Most career services departments work with various employers to streamline internship and job placements. They often keep a database of companies they can tap for opportunities, and can help match students with corresponding skills in the appropriate programs.
Research has shown that 70% of interns get a job at the company they intern for. Among those who receive a job offer, 80% accept and became full-time employees.
Internship programs are critical in linking classroom knowledge with the realities of employment. They provide students with experience they need to take their place in a highly dynamic job market.
- Connects with Organizations
Career services arrange job fairs and connect with various organizations to help students gain appropriate knowledge and skills. Career counselors often partner with alumni associations, employer groups, and other professional organizations. These groups can provide mentorship and open networking opportunities for students.
Mentorship is especially critical for students because mentors can share their experiences and talk with students about their progress. This can inspire students and give them fresh perspectives on their priorities.
Research shows that students with mentors are more likely to stick to their academic goals. It also helps set them up for success, with mentored students having a 130% likelihood of holding leadership positions.
- Aids in Resume Building and Interview Training
One of the biggest challenges for new graduates is preparing their resumes. It can be disheartening for students when they don’t have many skills to make their resumes stand out. Career services offices provide students with resources for creating resumes. Students can write drafts and have counselors review them to check for effectiveness, accuracy, and formatting.
Career services also offer lessons on how to dress for interviews and strategies for answering questions. Counselors conduct seminars on appropriate interview techniques and even participate in practice interview sessions with questions tailored to specific positions.
- Facilitates Work Placement
Career services are still useful after students graduate. Graduates can also return to their alma mater and ask for help landing a job. Employers often reach out to educational institutions with good graduate standing to fill vacancies. Sometimes, companies will even come to the career services offices to conduct interviews.
Career Services Contributes to Student Success
These are only a few of the valuable benefits of a career services department. Students choosing a school or college should consider this valuable resource when making their decision.
Take note that most career services are free. While some may charge that offer additional insights or resources, they’re often reasonably priced. Be sure to give them a visit and book a consultation with an expert to get career advice.
Explore HCI’s Programs to know what courses best suit your career goals.