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The Power of Outside Perspective for Career Services

Wednesday, October 18, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Thy Nguyen
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Summary: Sarah Roeder

The following summary reviews the article “The Power of Outside Perspective for Career Services” by Thy Nguyen.  The article summary below gives an overview of how career services must begin seeking ideas, collaborators and new hires outside the higher education track in order to stay relevant to students.  The full article can be viewed at the following web address:


Article Summary

The future of career services must continue to offer traditional services and also pilot new programming to engage students.  “If we do not think differently, we will ultimately tread water or fail at helping our students succeed.  More than at any other time, we need outside perspectives.”  The value of career fairs, one on one advising and other career programming are still important. Also, outside perspectives, like new hires who are from industry, can help career centers to “add new functional areas” into their teams. Thy mentions several options that a career center can explore to help bring in the outside perspective: 

  • “Embrace a start-up culture”: Allow you and your staff to embrace a culture of creativity and be willing to take risks on new programming that may help you engage with a new segment of student. You should also embrace the idea of being nimble and adaptable, just like a start-up. Most successful start-ups are committed to adapting and changing, “allowing them to thrive when they face competition”.  In career services, if you are willing to ‘roll with the bunches’ when taking on a new cross-campus partnership or new endeavor, you may be surprised by how much more you can accomplish- sometimes it’s better to take off before knowing if you have all the resources.
  • “Look for utility and depth within your team”: Short staffed but a lot to do? Career Services “need staff that can be effective career coaches for students, connect with employers, faculty and other stakeholders and function in many different capacities both on a team basis and independently.  Breadth, utility, flexibility and depth” is the name of the game.
  • “Look for outside organizations that share your values”: Like many career service offices, staff and resources are usually limited, however, the University of Illinois at Chicago see it as an opportunity, not an obstacle.  UIC has partnered with two different local organizations that work on helping college student’s career readiness. UIC is tapping into their resources and leaning on the organizations’ different approaches to reaching students- the outside partnership lends new perspective to helping college students find career and has ultimately “informed the internal work done by Career Services.”
  • “Hire from an outside perspective”: To avoid the potential of homogeneous thought and practice in career, look outside when hiring for new roles into the career services world. “Some of the biggest changes that one can bring to an organization is to hire and bring in new staff.”  Outside viewpoints can help meet the needs of today’s students, campus and employers.

Implications for Career Center Professionals

  • As the ‘skills over school’ mentality continues to trend among today’s thought leaders, career center professionals need to look for ways that allow traditional and new approaches  to co-exist.  By looking to outside perspectives, it allows career centers to be innovative and relevant in their approach to reach students while getting them ready for their post-collegiate life.

Implications for Recruiting Professionals and Employers

  • Employers should view this shift in career services as an open door to further embed themselves on campuses.  Employers have a unique lens to report back to career services as to what students need to be prepared for a career today.  Recruiters should also suggest new ways to engage on their campuses to their campus partner and should not shy away from an opportunity to participate in pilot programs and endeavors put on by career services.  

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