Despite US economic contraction and consumer pessimism in the first half of 2022, America’s labor market has remained resilient. The labor market is running hot, with unemployment rates near record lows and 11.2 million job openings.
But while these numbers are promising for recent college graduates looking to land their dream job, research also shows that minority students still face significant challenges when securing careers after college.
For instance, Black students are twice as likely to be unemployed a year after college graduation as their white peers.
If you’re an employer looking to diversify your workforce or a school administrator who wants to improve outcomes for minority students, here are three ways universities can prepare their graduates for successful careers after graduation.
1. Build a career center where students can get help with their job search
Staff your career center with professionals who can help students with the job search and provide all of the necessary resources for getting hired, such as:
- Preparing for and practicing interviews
- Writing resumes and cover letters
- Networking with employers and alumni
Don’t limit yourself to only a brick-and-mortar location. Start a blog to expand your reach.
Students can read your blog posts online, like how to send a thank you note after an interview or how to negotiate a salary once a job offer is in hand.
2. Provide mentorships opportunities with professors
Another way to ensure minority students are prepared for careers after graduation is to encourage professors to build in-person connections with their students.
While online learning has increased accessibility to universities, it isn’t always ideal. In fact, more students receive lower or failing marks for online classes than for in-person classes. Therefore, universities must encourage faculty to build genuine relationships with their students through in-person meetings and classes when possible.
Professors can help minority students choose the proper degree that aligns with their passions and ensure they are on the right path with their curriculum to graduate on time.
For example, suppose a student shows interest in a cybersecurity internship. In that case, a professor can help recommend the proper classes to acquire the necessary skills to qualify for the internship, like “Cybersecurity 101: How to Be Prepared for Cybersecurity Risks.
A solid mentor relationship with a professor sets students up for success with internships and jobs by serving as an excellent resource for references or writing letters of recommendation.
3. Organize a career fair for students to learn about potential career paths
A career fair is a perfect way to present minority students with all the available career opportunities in today’s market.
There are plenty of opportunities for young people from different backgrounds, from creative jobs like developing video games for PC for Yuplay to more traditional jobs like becoming a wealth manager for a company like Birch Gold Group.
When choosing potential employers to attend your career fair, spend the extra time finding companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion in their company mission statement. For example, inviting HR representatives from Hims & Hers Health, Inc. to host a booth at your career fair is an excellent choice.
In a 2021 interview, Hims & Hers CEO Andrew Dudum said they’re proud to hire a diverse group of medical experts across various medical specialties and backgrounds to better serve their diverse customer base.
Create a catalog of employers who offer fair hiring practices, so students can quickly identify such companies while also holding employers accountable.
Colleges and universities have made great strides in expanding access to higher education. Now, it’s time to translate that access into meaningful careers after graduation for all students.
Set students up for success by giving them the resources and guidance they need to work hard and achieve their dream jobs.
—Ryan Robinson is a blogger, podcaster and (recovering) side project addict that teaches 500,000 monthly readers how to start a blog and grow a profitable side business at ryrob.com.