Vocate Blog

Why Career Centers Aren’t Cutting It

(And What You Can Do About It)

Internships and job placement opportunities usually rank among the top reasons students attend college (and take on dauntingly massive loans), but the sad reality is that most college institutions are ill-equipped to properly service their students. Instead of arming students with the latest tips on professional development and strategies on how to leverage their personal brand, most college career centers are shockingly slow-moving in a rapidly-changing world. This failure is by no means minimal: today more than 4 out of 5 college grads graduate without a job[i], and 62 percent of Americans believe that colleges and universities are only doing a “poor” or “fair” job of getting their students ready for post-graduate life and the working world.[ii]

So why aren’t career centers cutting it?

  • Lack of Resources: Ever wonder why you can’t get an appointment with a career counselor or why your career center only has ten computers available for your class of 4,000 students? Colleges slashed career office budgets by an average of 16% despite the general need to invest in more resources[iii], and this trend only looks to continue.
  • Limited Relationships and Job Opportunities with Non-Traditional Employers: Most career centers have great relationships with traditional employers like Google, Deloitte, and Johnson & Johnson, but what if working at a big company is just not your vibe? Maybe you’re thinking an early stage startup, something a little more “off-the-beaten path”? Good luck, you’re probably on your own! Career centers are generally stretched too thin and don’t have time to find and bring these unique opportunities to their students.
  • Minimal Skills Identification & Development Opportunities: Although you may think you have a ton of value add from what you learned in your “History of Rock and Roll” class, McKinsey & Co. recently reported that 40 percent of employers said they can’t fill entry level positions because students lack the proper skills.[iv] Furthermore, according to a separate study, 65% of students identified “not knowing what jobs are a fit” as a significant obstacle in their job searches.[v] Simply put, too many students don’t know what their strengths are and how to leverage them!

While career centers are doing their best to play catch up to the needs of their students and the realities of today’s marketplace, a wide number of options and platforms are slowly arising to help fill the void for relevant career advice and internship and entry-level opportunities. LinkedIn is a great service to connect with fellow alumni for internships and to read current perspectives from thought leaders in their industries; similarly, The Muse is an awesome resource to get expert advice on everyday career questions.

At Vocate, we take that discovery process one step further. We know that oftentimes students don’t always know what it is they want to do, what career opportunities are even possible, and even when they do, struggle to differentiate themselves. Our platform allows students to quickly identify their strengths through a series of engaging games that make the career search fun (seriously!). Within moments, users will be matched with a variety of rare and rewarding internship and entry-level opportunities from our diverse set of innovative partner companies like Impossible Foods and Flux. And because our matches are curated, applicants are much more likely to get noticed by an employer than the traditional black-hole resume drop.

It is our hope that through our service students find the internship and job search process more enjoyable, efficient, and educational. Although we’re relatively young, our unique approach to getting a college internship or job out of college is already yielding phenomenal results. Check us out, and join the growing movement that isn’t waiting for the career center to catch up!

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/01/30/more-than-4-out-of-5-students-graduate-without-a-job-how-could-colleges-change-that/

Varun Uttamchandani

Varun Uttamchandani is a Business Development Manager at a startup who received his undergraduate degree at UCLA and his MBA at Wharton. In his spare time, he enjoys empowering students to get their dream internships and working with professionals to get into their dream MBA programs. Connect with him on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/varunuttam)

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