How to bring your programs up to par

When you think about career services and who uses them, you might picture high school graduates trying to pick their majors, or seniors prepping for their first “real job” interviews. But did you know adult online students are also big users? Most online students cite career-focused reasons for pursuing a degree, and a whopping 77 percent say they take advantage of career services offered at their schools. Half of these students work with career advisors, almost half get help with their resumes and 40 percent ask for job search assistance.

Career services count

These numbers are significant because they point to the heavy influence career services have on adult students’ choice of online schools. Other surveys confirm career services’ importance, ranking it third behind academic programs and cost as top factors in students’ decisions. Students see career services as critical to helping them achieve their goals, which are typically to acquire skills for a new career, to enhance skills to move up in a current career and/or to make more money.

New approaches for better results

With career services being so important to adult online students, institutions must adopt or adapt programs to fit students’ needs, then market them to differentiate the school and drive enrollment. Traditional services such as resume writing are fine, but students are looking for innovative ways to get more bang for their higher education buck. Need examples? Here are a few career services approaches becoming more common among online universities:

  • One-on-one time with career counselors or mentors via Skype, FaceTime, WebEx or phone
  • Virtual career fairs using group and individual online chat rooms
  • Webinars on career topics such as interviewing, resume writing and networking
  • Microsites housing career tools and resources
  • Individual and group pathway appointments via video conferencing
  • Livestreamed, recorded and archived career events, employer spotlights and Q&A sessions
  • Social media platforms for interacting with career services staff and other students

Relevant, easy-to-use career services are vital to competing in the growing online university arena and meeting adult students’ needs. With unique experience in higher education administration and marketing, Rivetica can guide program development and promotion to differentiate, drive enrollment and deliver results.