Why it's tough to be a campus carer center today
It doesn’t take much looking around online to see colleges and their career centers are taking some heat right now. Just last week, marketing guru and thought-leader, Seth Godin, wrote this intense blog post about the ‘coming melt-down of higher education.’
Not to mention, there are some sobering job search statistics students (and their tuition-paying parents) are only now coming to realize.
FACT: College & University Customers Aren’t Happy
Many schools are being heavily criticized for turning out students both in debt and unprepared to build their careers. Interestingly, a survey we conducted over the last year showed a clear disconnect between students and their campus career centers (FYI – Attend the webinar listed below to get access to the survey data). Moreover, I regularly hear from students who feel their college’s career center isn’t effective. I’ve even had one graduate tell me she will never, ever give any money to her alma mater, an Ivy League school, because she feels she over-paid for her degree. With this growing sentiment, colleges (and more importantly, their career center staff) will face increased resentment and criticism. To sum it up, the customers of the college and university system aren’t too happy – and they are forming an angry mob.
Uninformed = Misguided Blame
Unfortunately, to a certain degree, the blame is getting placed on the wrong party. Many people don’t realize campus career centers work on tight budgets and lean staffs. For some, hosting job fairs and charging employers to attend was their largest stream of income. Now, thanks to the recession, this source has weakened, resulting in a dramatic decrease in available funds for up-to-date tools and resources that could help their students. And, let’s not forget all those unemployed alumni who are now banging on their doors too. In short, campus career centers have more people to help, and less money to do it.
QUESTION: How do you fight back when:
• Your image is tarnished.
• Your clients are in desperate need of help.
• You don’t have the funds to fix it.
Like any business short on money and resources, I believe campus career centers can identify and leverage their unique currency to upgrade their offerings and stature. In fact, I predict the colleges and universities who see this as an opportunity will actually be able to take advantage of the situation.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons