by: Cece Carey-Snow
Rutgers University – Newark has launched a new virtual career center to expand the reach and impact of career services for students, alumni, and their community.
The Rutgers-Newark Career Development Center project is aimed at reaching more of the university’s 13,500 undergraduate and graduate students with customized support. Initiated well before the COVID-19 pandemic, the virtual career center comes to fruition at a fortuitous time when Rutgers-Newark, like most universities nationwide, has pivoted during the pandemic to bolster services and provide increased remote access to them. With a a student body recognized among the nation’s most diverse for more than 20 years, Rutgers-Newark undergraduate and graduate students study across more than 40 undergraduate majors and over 50 graduate and professional programs and has tens of thousands of living alums. The Career Development Center team realized that in order to reach more students with the customized support they require, they needed to scale their efforts.
To do so, the Career team partnered with uConnect, makers of the first virtual career center. Together, they built careers.newark.rutgers.edu, a new one-stop-shop for all things career – for current students, alumni, employer partners, faculty, staff, and the wider Rutgers – Newark community.
The new virtual career center pulls all career-related information, resources, and opportunities from across campus and different systems into one highly accessible and streamlined space, where it can be easily accessed at any time, from anywhere.
“What we constantly learn from our diverse student population is that a community approach provides support and inspires our entire campus (not just our students) to be engaged in social change,” says Bernadette So, Executive Director of the Career Development Center. “Our office has prioritized community and accessibility as a part of our approach to career readiness, and have reflected that in our virtual career center. Our virtual communities offer the opportunity for students and alumni to explore career interests in a way that acknowledges their future goals and their individual selves, so they can identify how they will mobilize change through their own careers. These communities give our campus and employer partners perspective, and an opportunity, to consider how they can contribute to career readiness specific to Rutgers-Newark. By creating a virtual career center, we are more accessible and can reach more students than we can from just a physical location, knowing that many students have jobs and families and need to explore career services outside of our operating hours. Additionally, our team has total control over the virtual career center, allowing us to quickly make updates and provide information as our world changes – for example we now have prominently displayed resources related to social justice support and action, and for job searching during COVID. Keeping our digital presence current keeps all members of our career communities—students/alumni, families, campus partners, employers/recruiters–engaged with our office and initiatives.”
Information and data are pulled automatically into the virtual career center through direct integrations with tools such as Handshake for jobs and events, Vault for industry guides, and trusted content providers for career advice. Students and community members need only visit one central location to find the wealth of career resources available to them.
Once pulled into the virtual career center, information and resources are organized into digital ‘communities’ based on Industries, such as Data & Technology; Populations/Identities, such as International Students; and audience groups, such as Families. This digital community model makes it easy for students and community members to conduct a customized, self-service search and discovery within the virtual career center. More importantly, the model aligns with the Rutgers-Newark mission of fostering change by leveraging the knowledge and strengths gained from a diverse student population. Students who are career-ready by knowing more about the intersection of their identities and the industries they plan to pursue will be prepared to lead and contribute to social change in their future careers.
The new virtual career center also serves as a single streamlined access point for employer partners to connect with The Career Development Center team to get involved with recruiting students. Employer partners can be presented on the virtual career center in a highly visible way, encouraging students to connect with partners, and employers to join Rutgers – Newark’s partnership program.
Last but not least, the new virtual career center allows the Career Development Center team to further scale up their work by providing campus partners (faculty & staff) one single access point to leverage career conversations in their student interactions. Simplifying the process for campus partners to refer students to resources and opportunities eases the workload and ensures that more students will be connected with the unique support they need in order to find meaningful career outcomes.
“We are thrilled to be working with Rutgers – Newark, an institution which embodies our mission at uConnect so closely by providing economic and social mobility through education for people of all backgrounds and situations,” says David Kozhuk, Founder and CEO of uConnect. “We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.”
To explore the new virtual career center, visit https://careers.newark.rutgers.edu/