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The Importance of “Front Line” Knowledge: Career Services Support Professionals

The Importance of “Front Line” Knowledge: Career Services Support Professionals

EACE Blog contribution by Jill Milon, College Recruitment & Career
Services Consultant

Who are your best ambassadors?  Who knows the most about all of the services provided by your office?  Who knows how to get things done at your school or navigate the way to graduation?  Hopefully, your answers are your support professionals on the “front line”.

Photo credit: University of Virginia, University Career Services

Main Information Desk in University Career Services at the University of Virginia
Jamie Sharwell, Career Resource Associate (left) and Molly Wright, Graduate Student in Counseling (right)

The front line staff is the first impression your customers – students/alumni, employers, parents, faculty and prospective students – will meet.  The customer service they provide is imperative to how your office is viewed and evaluated by your customers.  Think of these professionals as the front desk of a hotel.  When you have a question or issue during a hotel stay, you expect the staff at the front desk can address and resolve your issue in a timely, efficient manner.

Do your support professionals have the tools and resources needed to do the same?

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) outlines in the Professional Standards for College & University Career Services that support staff “must be technologically proficient and qualified to perform their duties, knowledgeable of ethical and legal uses of technology, and have access to training”. Below are also some ways to empower your support professionals.

  • Give support professionals access to a master calendar – Access to all office activities and staff schedules is important for answering student questions about office events or scheduling appointments
  • Include support professionals in staff meetings – Attendance at these meetings where important industry, office and campus information is discussed will provide the necessary knowledge to answer questions confidently
  • Train support professionals on technology used by your office – Knowledge of some of the most frequently asked questions of your jobs database or interview system will help drive high customer satisfaction scores by addressing easier questions in a quick efficient manner
  • Don’t forget to provide professional development opportunities to support professionals – As with other staff members, it is important for support professionals to continue to grow their skill-set.  Not only will they remain engaged and feel valued as an employee, your office will benefit from their professional growth and skills.

Speaking of professional development, your support staff may also benefit from EACE’s upcoming Career Services Support Professionals Drive-In Conference.  This blog post just scratches the surface but the EACE drive-in event will give your support professionals expanded learning opportunities from experts in the field.

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One Comment
  1. The “front line” staff are also the ones who make the crucial initial assessment on each visitor, student, parent or faculty who appears either in person, by phone or email. Keen personal skills and emotional intelligence provide the foundation for success in these demanding roles. Thanks to all of our support colleagues. Without you, we are lost!

    March 12, 2014

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