As college students transition to the job market, they face unique challenges.
The job market is currently stable and growing, with 261,000 jobs added to the economy in October 2022, and the unemployment rate remains low, at 3.7 percent. That’s good news for college graduates because these signals mean there are plenty of opportunities in various career fields.
However, helping college students find jobs encompasses more than the numbers. Many other factors are at play, including worker expectations, modernization of the job-seeking process, and the role of technology. Let’s look at what these changes mean and how you can evolve your process of helping students find jobs.
New College Graduates Have New Expectations
The reality is that the current job market is different than it was pre-2020. Students who are earning degrees have been through a lot of economic and social turmoil. They have new expectations about work.
The Role of Technology
Most recent graduates are digital natives. Technology has been a part of their life from the beginning, and they understand the possibilities it provides and the ways it has revolutionized almost every component of work and life.
As a result, many have expectations that their career-related technology will be modern, effective, and efficient. If they see an industry lagging behind in technology implementation or a company not pursuing digital transformation, they may consider those jobs incompatible with their expectations or worry the industry is becoming obsolete.
The Mobile Work Revolution
Another component of their comfort with technology is that they know it provides flexibility and mobility. They don’t need to sit in a cubicle to do their job or be in a conference room to collaborate with peers. A new survey of Gen Z workers revealed that 56 percent want or need to work outside a traditional office. They may not want to be remote full-time, but they insist on having remote flexibility.
The Effects of Diversity and Work as Identity
This post-millennial generation is more racially and ethnically diverse than any before. They are more likely to be the children of immigrants and care a lot about mental health, political equality, and the environment.
Because of their unique perspectives, they don’t want to fit inside a certain career box. Instead, they want to align their strengths, skills, and passions with what they do for a living. These changing perspectives and new expectations have also caused them to reconsider the job hunt itself and how technology plays a role.
Job-Seeking Needs a Refresh for the Next Generation of Workers
Traditional ways to help college students find jobs include utilizing job boards, applying for internships, working with recruiters, and sending resume after resume. Many of these methods require hours of preparation that only lead to being ghosted by employers or recruiters. It’s not a sustainable model for ushering in the next generation to the working world. The up-and-coming generation is more likely to rely on the power of technology, connections, and relationships.
On average, recent college grads need 3-6 months to secure employment after graduation. Getting students on the path to the best career opportunities should begin early. But no matter how early you begin, a degree doesn’t always make students real-world-ready.
You’ve likely prioritized career readiness, but that curriculum doesn’t always meet the needs of today’s businesses. To provide a better way for your students, help them maximize their chances of acquiring a job with new tools and a focus on transferrable and in-demand skills.
Evolving How You Help College Students Get Jobs
What are the keys to assisting your students in finding meaningful work that matches their skills, qualities, and goals? Consider the following options.
1. Personal Connections and Introductions
A personal connection isn’t a new way to find a job. However, the 21st-century version is less about nepotism and more about relationships. One of the most effective ways to facilitate personal connections and professional introductions is through mentoring programs between business leaders and students.
Another aspect of this approach is to invite students to collaborate with advisors to navigate the job search. Who students already know matters, too. If they can reach out to those they know in the field where they want to work, it could result in opportunities for their next steps.
2. Applying with Confidence
Sending off a resume or completing an application can be time-consuming and stressful. Students may look at job descriptions, see they don’t match every skill, and walk away.
As someone in a position to help college students find jobs, you want to instill confidence in them through a few reminders:
- Advise them that they don’t have to be a perfect match to every bullet item in a job listing. It’s especially important to pay attention to preferred versus required skills.
- When they consider what skills they bring to the table, remind them to think of all their experiences and how they can connect real-world work readiness to a job description.
- If they have access to or have completed something like pepelwerk’s Real World of Work Program, it can be very valuable in their career journey.
A student’s network is often their greatest advantage in job searches. Encourage them to tap into their personal, family, and community circles to make new connections in an industry they’re pursuing. Give them some guidance on how to do this in a professional way.
4. AI Job Matching
The final and most innovative way to help college students find jobs is through technology. It’s the framework that truly optimizes linking students to jobs. The most relevant application is AI job matching. This new way to find jobs harnesses the power of data and AI to match a student’s skills and qualities with the roles companies are looking to fill.
It’s much more precise than sending a resume through a job board. AI job matching uses machine learning algorithms fueled by data, insights, and learnings. It’s much more accurate than other outdated practices. By using an AI job matching solution, you can help college students find job opportunities that resonate with their training and experience, ideally cutting down the timeframe of landing a great position.
If you’re ready to bring your career matching services into the future, get started today with pepelwerk. Our platform provides you with the tools you need to provide your students with opportunities. Get started by booking a meeting with us today.