For many young people, graduation is right around the corner and so is the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it. However, for others, getting into the workforce is the most devastating part of all. During a time when the economy is at its worst, young people are finding it hard to get a job and sometimes get discouraged.
The career center at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota is not merely handing out a pamphlet on how students should promote themselves in order to obtain a job. Instead, they are being proactive with their students and have created a program called Engagement Wanted to help them find jobs.
Brent Nystrom, associate director and manager of mentor relationships, says it is important to introduce seniors to the world of work. “Engagement Wanted came out of here, the career center; we wanted to do a lot for our seniors,” Nystrom says. “We send an e-mail weekly of five random students to our alumni and people who have signed up for these alerts.”
The e-mails are sent to people every Friday and each week is a different set of five students. No, it’s not a resume; it’s a short and simple description of the students’ likes and interests:
“PASSIONATE ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE seeks employment with equally passionate nonprofit agency. Through my political science education plus extensive volunteer work and activism, I have constructed a strong foundation in social issues & advocacy. Special areas of interest include urban poverty and children's health, but I'd consider any organization working to make the world a better and more just place.”
Once people receive these e-mails, they have the option to call the student personally or forward the e-mail to someone else. “It’s not necessarily the alum who has the job opportunity,” Nystrom says. “They may know someone who thinks the student may be a fit for their job."
It seems like the school is sponsoring their seniors, but Nystrom says it’s about people’s connections, connections that students may not have. “That was the whole goal. They (students) don’t know how to market themselves,” Nystrom says. “We are putting the students out there and asking them (alumni) to contact them because it’s the alums who have the contacts, not the students.”
So far, Engagement Wanted has been successful for Carleton College. Nystrom says some of their students have been fortunate enough to obtain jobs. “An alum saw a student's profile and was looking into hiring someone and thought the student was a good fit,” Nystrom says.
Nystrom points out that they have come across some people who think if the students are promoting themselves in a professional manner, they should send a resume, but Nystrom says the career center wants the students to have fun and be creative with their profile.
Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure. Without the technology, Engagement Wanted would not be as successful as it is right now. “I think we’ve known for awhile that the internet was the one way that could make the most impact fast.” Nystrom says. “We knew that it had to be technology-driven.”