On a large, primarily decentralized campus, navigating career resources and support in a streamlined fashion is often difficult. The Career Center at the University of Michigan’s commitment to innovation prompted them to seek ways to better connect with their student population and to increase the connections between students and employers. The office utilizes a vast array of resources to connect students with desired career options, but lacked an intuitive system that promoted the diversity of their work, serving as the central unit for students and employers. The Career Center elected to transition to Handshake to streamline their tools, communicate the integration of resources needed for success, and expand the opportunities available to students and employers who engaged with the office. With Handshake, the Career Center is better able to effectively promote both large scale opportunities, such as campus-wide career fairs, as well as niche information of interest to more tailored student groups. The feedback from students and employers has been positive and has resulted in strong employer and student engagement rates.
With enrollment at just over 43,000 students in 2015, the University of Michigan comprises one of the largest student populations using the Handshake system to date. On campuses of this size, there are always inherent challenges. “We are a large and complex campus. Given the level of activity going on in any one day, it is an environment where messaging to students is constant, so it is sometimes challenging to have your messages heard by the right populations at the right times,” describes Kerin Borland, Director of the Career Center at the University of Michigan. Additionally, one of the office’s top priorities moving forward is to advance connections: connections between the Career Center and students, students and employers, the Career Center and employers, and student to student.
Early, year one experience
The Career Center’s first experience with hosting a large event through Handshake was the Fall Career Expo. Handshake provided a streamlined means of outreach to students, and a number of new employers became aware of the event through the system. In this first year, both the employer and student participation numbers increased. The University believes the stronger economy and the ease of use of the system contributed heavily to the success, resulting in:
- Increased student attendance at the Expo
- Record number of recruiters attending the Expo
- 13 of the 19 University of Michigan schools/colleges were represented in the student demographic
- Hundreds of students participating in “next-day” interviews as a result of their Expo interactions