The diversity of today's workforce is reflected on college and university campuses across the country. Adults returning for continuing education join enrolled students, 40 percent of whom are ages 25 and older.
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This mix of available talent makes the campus career services office an ideal partner for smart businesses to recruit talent.
Job Candidate Services
Today's campus career offices provide a wide range of services to students, alumni and staff. Career counseling, interview training, résumé and cover-letter writing workshops, and online job fair preparation videos are just a few of the tools offered to job seekers. The benefit for employers is the ability to select potential hires from such a diverse, well-equipped and well-educated group of candidates.
College job fairs, typically held in the fall, draw a wide range of businesses seeking interns and full- and part-time workers. At Cornell University, the 2009 top winner of AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50, around 200 employers attend the two-day event, representing banks, government agencies, engineering firms, insurance companies, not-for-profits and other sectors.
During spring semester, businesses interview graduating seniors for corporate entry-level positions and other students for summer work opportunities. Many schools offer industry-specific events to enable employers to recruit within a specialized field. Experienced adults, having completed professional development or certificate courses, also attend these fairs, giving companies the ability to meet a broad array of candidates.
Bulletin boards in the student union building still have space for thumb-tacked job notices, but far more jobs are posted on each institution's online job search engine. Businesses can post and manage job vacancies easily on the search engine, at little or no cost. Postings can be made in advance of job fairs or at any other time a corporate position is available. Candidate access to jobs listed on the search engine is limited to students, alumni and university employees, providing a potentially robust, but more focused, pool of applicants.
Colleges and universities provide a number of opportunities for alumni to stay connected to their alma mater. Many alumni groups sponsor professional development programs and business networking events. At George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., another winner of the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 award, an electronic newsletter and dynamic website provide career information to alumni. Mason's Alumni Affairs Office constantly updates career services resources on the alumni website's benefits page. Many of the school's 140,000 alumni frequently check the events calendar and links to the university's many career resources, such as the online job search engine HireMason.
Companies can establish themselves as preferred employers and meet potential job candidates by participating in targeted events on and off campus. Some examples of typical events include:
- Requests for speakers or corporate advisers from professional organizations with student affiliate chapters or clubs. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management has 450 affiliated student chapters in schools across the country.
- Requests for guides for student affiliate chapters that send officers and members to professional meetings and conferences.
- Guest speakers for classes, sought by faculty.
- Panelists for specialized career days.
Most important, networking opportunities abound at these events. Employers and candidates get to know one another through shared professional interests, far in advance of job postings and interviews.
More Than Talent Recruitment
Colleges and universities provide many opportunities for employers to recruit the best multigenerational, multicultural talent through campus career services. Participation in a range of career events can greatly increase awareness of an employer by the entire university community. These events frequently are reported by campus journalists, and a savvy organization can use this enhanced awareness to promote its brand. Campus news coverage often is multimedia — Web, print, radio and video — so a highlighted employer can enjoy the benefits of good publicity, at no cost, while recruiting the best talent.