Connecting grads and employers: Top trends

Andy Chan

For more than a decade, Andy Chan, vice president of innovation and career development at Wake Forest University, has been studying the landscape for careers. Under his leadership, Wake Forest has become the national model for creating a college-to-career community designed to prepare students to live lives that matter, not just secure a first job after graduation. 

Chan can address how employees’ contributions in today’s corporate culture differ from those of the 20th Century and the top skills employers are seeking in both established businesses and start-ups. In this Q&A, he answers questions about what’s new in how students and employers are connecting.

What are three of the latest trends in helping pair students and employers?

Andy Chan:
Expert in the news

Chan urges colleges to collect and share key information about their students’ career readiness and career success in Episode 61 of The Key, a podcast with Doug Lederman at Inside Higher Ed.

Chan discusses what has changed for career development in higher education and what is coming next in a Q&A with higher education writer Paul Fain on “Workshift.”

Chan talks about the ways vocation and career overlap, as well as how we might help students rethink success in this podcast, “Career Services at the Crossroad.”How are students connecting with employers today?

  • While they were necessary during the pandemic, it turned out virtual recruiting is efficient and attractive to both employers and students. An unexpected upside to virtual recruiting is increased interest from students in smaller, lesser-known companies. Employers of all sizes are looking for employees who can collaborate, innovate and lead. Smaller companies, organizations, nonprofits and startups are more likely to be nimble and able to offer recent grads ways to build skills in a variety of areas. In addition, virtual recruiting provides more accessibility for students from underrepresented backgrounds to be more comfortable and confident engaging in recruiting activities, events, and build relationships via informational and networking conversations.
  • Organizations from all industries are demonstrating interest and will to build more diverse workplaces and tap into talent earlier in the recruitment timeline. Graduating seniors and prospective employers are having conversations about how an organization’s leadership supports professional development for underrepresented employees, how implicit bias is addressed, and whether leadership is authentically committed to a culture of inclusion. More students are asking questions about corporate culture to increase the likelihood that there is values alignment and the workplace experience will be positive. 
  • Virtual internships are also helping students learn more about how their skills and interests will play out in the workplace. Remote work has opened the doors to remote internships. Students can get work experience from companies worldwide. By working virtually, the location of the internship experience is no longer tied to increased travel or living expenses which has opened up opportunities for students from any background

What’s next in improving college-to-career experiences for students?

With the new capabilities provided by recruiting platforms like Handshake, career services offices can measure student engagement, learning and outcomes in more accurate ways than ever before. With this information, less engaged students can be identified at any point in their educational process. Data tracking and analytics capabilities will enable colleges and universities to ensure that every one of their students is career-ready and securing desirable career outcomes.

In addition, new technologies and services are being offered today that will enable colleges and universities to offer essential career education, assessments, resume and interview preparation, networking, mentoring and advising at a much lower cost than having to design, build, maintain, and upgrade on one’s own. The shared services chapter for career services is about to take off.

Categories: Personal and Career Development, Top Stories