It Is Time To Disrupt Career Development Centers

Human Resource departments across the world are being disrupted with new ways of thinking. They have discovered that the employment function must change to better serve the employees as well as the institutions that employ them. The human resource department has evolved beyond the transactional function of decades gone by into a strategic partner of the organization. This is resulting in many positive changes, including improved employee relations, enhanced data collection and analysis and increased bottom line results for organizations. The exchange of powerful and informational thoughts and ideas designed to move the industry forward through innovative conversation has been the basis for this change. For more information on this movement check it out at

I bring this up because the concept of disruption is one that would benefit the university career service centers. The model that many career service centers utilize has not changed in decades and barely scratches the surface of what graduates need to perform well in the workforce. To better serve student and increase the return on investment for higher education it is imperative that students receive advanced services beyond resume preparation, interview skills and a job fair information when engaging with career services. It is time to examine what competencies students possess that prepares them to not only succeed but excel in the workplace. Helping students assess if their competency levels are adequate in today’s workforce and if not, then recommending or providing programs to deliver the appropriate skills will be the future of career development. Once the necessary competencies have been identified career services will need a process for bedding them across campus activities and classroom settings to ensure that students are practicing those skills. The result will be graduates that are better prepared for the next steps in life. It is a fact, that a high percentage of employee terminations are a result of individuals that could not succeed in the workplace due to substandard competencies and not that they lacked knowledge to adequately perform the work.

Consider the manager that hired a new grad only to let them go several months later because they did not know how to evaluate a problematic situation and create a mutually acceptable solution that worked for all stakeholders without constant redirection and assistance. It is a common complaint among hiring managers that they expected college graduates to be better at critical thinking, communication and collaboration.
While career service centers do a great job of preparing students to present their credentials in a professional resume and handle interview situations with tact that is often where the services end. If we are looking to really serve students employment needs, then it is time to disrupt the thinking of career service professionals. It is time to engage employers in honest discussions about what they expect of a new hire beyond academic knowledge. It is time to become exerts on the competencies that employers require and expect graduates to possess when they are hired.

Among the most imperative competencies for today’s workplace:

Communication: interpersonal and written business communication
Collaboration: the ability to perform as part of a team
Critical thinking: problem evaluation and solution development

Today, students and their families are interested in the overall result of an education and how that translates into success in the workforce. Employers expect graduates that can walk in on day one with business skills and competencies in place ready to put their education to work immediately for their company. To meet these needs, institutions must embrace change that includes expanding the focus of career development. Disrupt the status quo and step into the future providing a greater value for the students and a better graduate for the employer.

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