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Tech Corner – A Solution for Career Services: CSO Research

A Solution for Career Services: CSO Research

EACE Blog contribution by Erika Fields, Web Content and Communications Director, Wellesley College’s Center for Work and Service and EACE Technology Committee Member

CSO-ScreenshotAlthough I’ve been working in career services for almost two years, I still feel like a newbie compared to most of my colleagues. I have marketing and communications background, and will openly admit that I knew next to nothing about database systems like CSO Research when I started at Wellesley. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quickly, and easily, I was able to integrate CSO into my daily workflow.

Let’s get started with some basics:

This system allows career services offices to manage in one convenient place job and internship postings, employers recruiting on campus, interviews schedules, appointments with counselors, and much more. But, I want to highlight some of the key functional areas of CSO that I think has the most bang-for-your-buck.

  1. Mass Emailing

This may seem like a simple feature but within the past year, CSO upgraded their mass email system so that you can now schedule any email, to any user in the system, as far in advance as you’d like. If anyone else has a completely crazy schedule like myself, you’d find this extremely helpful. On those rare occasions I have a few minutes between appointments, I’ll take the time to schedule our announcements about our upcoming events.

With just a few clicks, I’m reassured that our audience will be informed about a number of opportunities they may be interested in, on the days and times that works with our students’ schedules. If I had to do this manually at the exact time we wanted an email to arrive in a student’s inbox, I would be at work far into the evening!

CSO-send-email

The only option that is missing from this feature is the ability to see open-click rates. We conduct informal surveys to determine how successful our emails are (based on day of the week, time of the day, frequency of emails), but more concrete data would be more helpful to ensure we’re reaching our audiences in the best way possible.

  1. Customized Reports

This may not be the shiniest, or most frequently used tool, but this feature in CSO has made a major impact in how our department does our strategic planning. As you know, depending on the economy, students’ fields of interest can change dramatically year to year. To make sure we’re getting the most return on investment in our events, we create reports at the beginning of each semester to take a look at our current students area of interest (nonprofits, corporate, volunteer, graduate school, etc.) and their fields of preference (arts, business, health, legal, STEM, etc.) before beginning planning a single event. By having this data in front of us, which we can breakdown by class year, we can see if any trends emerge, or if there are specific topics and areas we should put resources into to meet the needs of our students.

CSO-report-fields

An example of this is that we ran our first nonprofit career panel this spring after identifying a uptick in students that were looking to enter the nonprofit sector, and have since cut back on a few of our more business-related events, as that has been one area that has declined. All this information can be found in the student’s profile when he/she sets it up and we constantly remind students to keep this information as up to date as possible, so that as counselors, we can meet their specific needs.

  1. Event Management

If I’m honest with myself, this may be one of my favorite features in CSO. There’s nothing like creating an event in the system and watching the registration for that event grow every time you log into the system. A new system our career office implemented since I arrived on campus has been to require RSVPs for all of our events, so that we’re able to better track the success, or weakness, of a particular event. But, when we’re meeting with a student during an appointment, it can also be beneficial to see what types of events the student has attended in the past, which can often help guide the conversation during the appointment.

For example, if you notice a student has attended a lot of graduate school type events, but hasn’t mentioned her interest in attending grad school yet, you could use this as a conversation starter. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if a student comes in complaining that he can’t find a job, you can reference that he hasn’t been to any of the job search events your office has thrown in the past 2 years, and maybe that’s why he’s struggling to get an interview.

These are just a handful of the many features that CSO has available to their administrators. Whenever we have a question, or concern, CSO Research employees are quick to answer, or at least give us a timeframe of when someone with more information can get back to us. If you haven’t done so already, I would highly recommend checking out the two other EACE blog posts that review other career services systems on using Experience, and on using Symplicity.

Fields-ErikaErika Fields joined the Center for Work and Service team at Wellesley in August 2011, and is the Web Content and Communications Director. Her primary responsibilities include managing all print and digital communications for the office, which incorporate the Center’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog and website presence. Her process for marketing all of the Center’s events was recently featured in a Council for Advancement and Support of Education CURRENTS magazine. She earned her B.A. in Communications and M.S. in Communications Management from Simmons College, in Boston.

 

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