Even through a pandemic, Baylor Career Center finds success helping students find success
The COVID-19 pandemic has created its share of challenges in the job market, and Baylor’s 2020 graduates began their careers amidst those headwinds. In spite of that, Baylor graduates not only navigated the COVID-19 job market — they thrived amidst it.
The Baylor University Career Center announced earlier this spring that 80% of spring 2020 graduates had accepted a job offer — a pleasantly surprising increase from the prior year. And when that rate was expanded to students taking other “next steps” in life — graduate school, military service, etc. — that number increased from 84 percent in 2019 to 85 percent last year.
In a nerve-wrecking job market — the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed a five-fold increase in the number of employers saying they expected to decrease college hiring from the prior year — Baylor students and the Baylor Career Center put their best foot forward. How did they do it?
First, it’s helpful to know what the Career Center offers: namely, personalized resources to cover every step of the career journey for freshmen through grad students. Students can find job openings, interviewing resources, personal assessments to match them with careers associated with their talents and interests, and more through one-on-one meetings with Career Center staff and an array of job search tools.
When COVID-19 forced the suspension of last year’s in-person Spring Semester, Career Center staff jumped into action to shift to the virtual environment, connecting with students individually (7,000+ appointments last year) and engaging directly with thousands of employers (3,500+ in July of last year alone). They determined who was still recruiting and where there were opportunities for students, and engaged in “matchmaking” to connect student interest with employer needs. While the number of open jobs and internships within the Career Center dropped, those efforts paid off with students maintaining and exceeding elevated placement rates despite fewer opportunities available.
Ken Buckley, associate vice provost for the Baylor Career Center, credits that kind of success to the quality of Baylor students, supported by a diligent Career Center staff.
“While many other universities were in a wait-and-see mode, we were aggressively supporting our students and connecting them to opportunities,” Buckley says. “Employers are looking to recruit high-caliber students and come to Baylor because of the exceptional reputation and combination of intelligence, strong work ethic and a Christian heart that Baylor students exemplify.”
Sic ’em, Baylor Career Center and graduates in the workforce!