As a recent graduate I am familiar — too familiar — with the seemingly hopeless and confusing process of searching for a job. To be fair, my experience was partially due to my own negligence. I thought about my career no more than twice during my four years on campus. Apathy finally gave way spring semester of my senior year; the encroaching doom of life after graduation was too immediate to ignore. So, I started perusing the job boards for leads. While searching online and through my career center proved to be a semi-reliable method, I was nevertheless having trouble finding the kinds of jobs that interested me. Despite stumbling upon a number of reliable sites, the process seemed fragmented and somewhat random. The lack of any real organization was disorienting and provided me with only pieces of what was available.
I continued to find niche sites that provided a number of good leads within specific industries. For example, take a look at the Idealist, which is not incredibly specific, but still constrained to the non-profit sector. Other examples include Crunchboard and Dice. While these sites were great resources, I realized that it would be much easier to access information about jobs if there were some kind of centralized online hub that organized and made searching for jobs less painful to navigate. I needed something that would provide structure to my search.
The most logical place for this kind of tool — a hub to help navigate the vast amounts of career information — to be found is on college and university career services websites. A good career service website should act as a connecter to the greater world of job postings. Students should be able to use these websites and career services offices more generally-- to connect and gather information through an array of dynamic tools. Doing this benefits the students as well as the university. It will help career services offices bring more people to events simply because more students will find the website valuable. It will also benefit liberal-arts students who, having a more general skill set, often have a hard time knowing where to look for jobs. In short, this approach will help structure the vast amounts of job information that students must wade through, giving students a better picture of the possibilities open to them.
I recently joined uConnect because they are dedicated to fixing this problem. In helping schools create dynamic career services websites, they allow students to put to use the best resource around: their own university. The group here at uConnect is using technology to make student’s lives easier by providing them with the resources and information they need to begin figuring out post-graduation life.
If you have a website that has reliably good content, is technically sound, and has a mobile platform that students can use, then you can reach more students. Through engagement online, they might even come to an event or sign up for an appointment with a counselor. If my university would have provided such a resource, I know I would have become more engaged in the process. I would have not only used the website, but would have set up an actual physical appointment with a career services counselor. This is why we can’t wait to share this technology with the rest of the career services community!