Boosting career services appointments by 61% at Southern Wesleyan University
Career Services at Southern Wesleyan University (SWU) knows how to leverage their presence on the school’s website. Site visitors are presented with clear navigation options and multiple links to access SWU CareerLink–SWU’s RNL Career Services Powered by Purple Briefcase platform. Ellen Pate, director for career development, needed a website that was not only a marketing tool, but a 24/7 resource for employers and students who needed to use CareerLink. For example, she developed a step-by-step PDF that students and alumni download to learn how to create an account and use it effectively. The file contains screenshots and detailed directions for users to follow.
“I’m an office of one,” she explains. “I don’t have the time to explain how to access CareerLink each time I’m asked. I can direct them to the website.”
The website also hosts job widgets and an events widget–all display content from CareerLink. Ellen loves that widgets can be designed to pull only certain jobs. Her experience with the Work Study/On-Campus job program has been particularly successful.
“Originally Work Study jobs were posted on a bulletin board outside of Financial Aid,” Ellen reports. “I partnered with that office to get accurate, updated Work Study jobs.” Those opportunities are added to the platform and a custom widget is populated on a specific page on the Career Services website. These listings are seen by students and it “gets them into CareerLink.” Then, it gets them into the Career Services office.
In fact, there has been a +61 percent increase in appointments for 2018-2019 (as of Mar. 15) over the previous year. For the first time, FR/SO appointments outweigh SR appointments! Ellen agrees this can positively impact student retention.
She notes that Marketing was helpful when building the website. Ellen also collaborates with other departments to create important materials. Infographics show grad outcomes and every spring she plans a photo shoot with students who have used career services. Valuable testimonials for the website are developed from the questions they answer.
Ellen says that solving another department’s problems supports collaboration. This has served her in both using the platform, creating content for the website, and ultimately helping the student community. Ellen shares, “It’s not enough to have the tools, you need to drive usage!”