Key ideas for improving graduate employment outcomes

Prospective students, parents and policy makers want to know if their investment in higher education will produce a return and they are looking at graduate employment outcomes (placement) for the answer. As institutions consider how to continuously improve graduate employment outcomes, 3 key ideas to keep in mind are shared below:

  1. Rethink Career Services – Rather than thinking of Career Services as a department or the “back-end” of a process for preparing students to enter the workforce, rethink career services as a systemic set of strategically designed interventions woven into the fabric of the institution.  How might “career services” be a more significant part of the admissions process? How are career services designed and supported throughout the entire institution and throughout the entire student life cycle? Where are the opportunities to expand upon what is already being done?
  1. Evaluate Capacity Gaps – Institutions can improve graduate employment outcomes by first ensuring that enrollment management plans consider institutional capacity to serve and employ the students they enroll. Institutions must ask themselves what competitors offer the same programs, what students they will enroll, how many graduates competing schools are sending into the job market, and whether the local market can absorb the number of graduates schools are producing.
  1. Prioritize Professional Development – The 21st century economy is drastically different than previous economies. Employers have changed the way they recruit and have more options in a global talent pool increasing competition in the job market and requiring students to improve the way they market themselves. Career services practitioners need to acquire new knowledge and skills to keep up with the pace of change and to provide the best possible service to the students they help. With the speed at which things change, skills become outdated quickly. 

If you are interested in learning more about improving graduate employment outcomes, CS201 – Institutional Best Practices to Maximize Graduate Employment Outcomes is an online course available in the CCO Online Training Center at  




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