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A Year in Employer Relations: What I’ve Learned

By Kerry Spitze, Assistant Director for Alumni and Employer Relations, Ithica College

In July 2016, I accepted a position as the Assistant Director for Alumni & Employer Relations at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. The world of Employer Relations was completely new territory for me, and I knew I had to do my research.  I learned that understanding unique recruiting needs, methods of facilitating connections between multiple parties, and ensuring quality accommodations are all essential ingredients to successful employer engagement.

So how could I best apply this knowledge? Below are two particular strategies that were the most effective over the past year.

1) Employer Spotlight. With there being so many job/internship opportunities available in Handshake, I wanted to boost student awareness of the organizations recruiting with us as well as provide a low investment opportunity for employers to build their brand on campus. What better way to do this than showcase the organization’s logo? Using a content page on our website, I spotlight multiple logos at a time, rotating them based on when postings expire. This iteration came from trial and error…the most recent campaign in June has been the most successful: a mass email inviting trusted employers in Handshake to participate. To date, there have been 263 Spotlight requests, and more continue to come in each day. A free service, this initiative has resulted in positive feedback and opportunities to further develop employer partnerships.

2) Employer Onsite Visits Quite honestly, stepping into the world of employer relations was overwhelming at first. After a few months, I realized I needed to focus locally. I contacted 37 organizations, requesting an onsite meeting to review recruiting needs and collaboration. I received responses from over half, resulting in 18 total onsite visits (48.6% of the total outreach). Nearly each employer I met with expressed gratitude and genuine excitement that our office had reached out. As a result, there have been meaningful faculty/employer connections made and increased opportunities provided.

Conclusion Even though I was initially a bit timid in reaching out to employers to ask if they would be open to talking about collaboration and partnership, I found the responses to be overwhelmingly positive. Employers want to connect with college students. So, I share my own journey in this field in the effort to provide new employer relations professionals with some practical insight into what I have found to be effective. I invite you to take what is meaningful and apply it within the context of your office/institution, and don’t be afraid to tap into your creativity, experience, and insight to find your own unique stride. You’ll be really pleased with the results!

Read the full article:


Contomanolis, M. (2014). Thriving in the brave new world of career services: 10 essential strategies. LinkedIn Pulse. Retrieved from

Hanover Research (2014). 21st Century recruiting and placement strategies. Retrieved from

Student Affairs Leadership Council (SALC). (2012). Developing Next Generation Career Services: Strategies for Increasing Alumni and Employer Engagement. Washington, DC: The Advisory Board Company.


In addition to career development, a key focus of Kerry’s role involves building relationships with key stakeholders to facilitate opportunities.

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