Tapping into the resources of neighboring colleges is an excellent way to pool talent. This works in a number of ways where you can find qualified students for internships or entry-level jobs, and survey skills taught.  The following tips can help you utilize the college career services to find talent for your own company, or see what employers will be seeking in the future.

1. Career Fairs – Career Fairs are an immediate way to assess talent at a school.  You can see what sorts of candidates are actively seeking employment and how they present themselves.  Capitalize on the specific fields that colleges ask you to fill out when registering for the career fair.  This way the university can efficiently find students that are a better match for your criteria.  Some colleges even offer luncheons for students and employers, setting up a more formal and private meeting.

2.Job Listings – List positions on the college job board. Much like the career fair, you can determine what sorts of candidates, and their qualifications, are applying to your postings.  Make sure you list all the pertinent details though as students may only have a few hours to spare a semester.  You can also find recent graduates and recruit before graduation.

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3. Giving Back – You can work with college career services in other capacities besides actual employment.  Sponsor events, or offer career guidance and workshops.  As far as workshops go, colleges offer resume writing workshops, interview coaching, other career development, and corporate coaching.  Donate or sponsor one of these classes and you can give your brand exposure while giving back to the communities/youth.  Another great way to give your brand exposure is to offer to be part of a career panel or speaking engagement.  See what the career services has to offer and ask to be a part of it.

4. Alumni Networks – Tap into alumni networks to see what recent graduates ended up pursuing. Alumni of schools use this network to find jobs after graduation. You never know who you may find.

College campuses are shaping the future work force.  Staying in touch with what is considered a ‘skill’ and the level of professional experience students gain while still enrolled in classes is important to gage for your own hiring decisions.  If you have multiple neighboring schools you can compare the multiple networks to see what skills are taught and where.  In the end, students are looking for positions upon graduation and you are looking to hire! Utilize the college career center not just as means of hiring, but as one of grooming.

I would like to thank Patrick Coughlin for his help on preparing this article with me. Patrick is a Senior Marketing Analyst at Consultants 2 Go. Don’t forget, you can email me at Peggy@Consultants2Go.com with any questions you might have and I’ll be glad to answer them. You can also follow my business and me on Twitter @peggymchale and @consultants2go.