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Career Services That Students, and Employers, Need

The University of Maryland Global Campus’s answer to the increasingly complex question of how to provide learners with the information they need when they need it and in a form that is useful.

June 18, 2020
 

CareerQuest is the University of Maryland Global Campus’s answer to the increasingly complex question of how to provide learners with the information they need when they need it and in a form that is useful. And it is not just information about jobs. It is many other services including access to networks, résumé evaluation and advice, and one-to-one support, if that’s what the learner needs.

In conversations with Nikki Sandoval, associate vice president for career services and alumni relations, and Francine Blume, assistant vice president for career services, I got the following picture of UMGC’s successful effort to revolutionize its career services, aligning them with the needs of our learners.

First, what is it? CareerQuest is UMGC’s one-stop career resource for students, alumni, faculty/staff and employers. It is designed for nontraditional, often older learners to support them in connecting their education to their career aspirations. CareerQuest utilizes technology and AI-enhanced tools to put just-in-time career resources at the fingertips of the UMGC community 24-7.

Now, what are the problems it is solving? The basic problem UMGC faced was answering this question. How do we scale useful services to a wide variety of adult learners who bring multiple levels of experience in the 90 fields where we offer programs? The need to personalize services in the face of a seemingly infinite variety of needs and aspirations led to a complete rethinking of what career services should be. So, the just-in-time services mentioned above include the following.

  • Personalization of all the services in a format that allows the learners to select the service they need and get the result they are after, instead of having an affixed sequence of staff-driven services. One example is résumé review. With CareerQuest, the learners can get a résumé review instantaneously. No making an appointment. No waiting for a result. And the staff is available to help those who need it.
  • Career services focuses on employers that have the most to offer our students, driving them to recruiting events. Also, any employer with a college-appropriate position can post on CareerQuest and filter through the database of available candidates.
  • Career Quest is organized in an on-demand format. We do not assume what the learner needs or why they are coming to us. There is no required sequence of services. For example, learners can register for a recruiter event based on their interest. Career services knows they are job seeking and can then push content on best practices to them, while recruiters know that they have serious candidates attending. That creates better focus both for the recruiter and the learner, and that improved alignment pays off for everyone.
  • CareerQuest encourages learners to network with alumni and grad students, get the inside scoop and do research on different jobs and occupations. They are also able to get advice from people who have traveled the path that they are investigating.

CareerQuest defines the term “learner-centric.” Rather than anticipating the needs of the individual in terms of a sequence of services, they have personalized the services so that the individual can get what they need when they need it. Go to careerquest.umgc.edu, register and see for yourself.

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