Despite the US economy and consumer pessimism in the first half of 2022, the American labor market has proven resilient. The job market is running hot, with unemployment rates near record lows and 11.2 million job vacancies.
But while these numbers are promising for young college graduates looking to land their dream job, research also shows that minority students still face significant challenges when it comes to securing their careers after college.
For example, black students are twice as likely to be unemployed a year after graduating from college as their white peers.
If you’re an employer looking to diversify your workforce or a school administrator looking 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 finding jobs
Staff your career center with professionals who can help students find jobs and provide all the resources needed to get hired, such as:
- Prepare and practice interviews
- Write resumes and cover letters
- Networking with employers and alumni
Don’t limit yourself to just one stationary location. Start a blog to expand your reach.
Students can read your blog posts online, e.g. For example, how to send a thank you message after an interview, or how to negotiate a salary once a job offer has come up.
2. Offer mentoring opportunities with professors
Another way to ensure minority students are career-ready after graduation is to encourage professors to develop personal connections with their students.
While online learning has increased accessibility to universities, it’s not always ideal. In fact, more students receive lower or insufficient grades for online classes than for face-to-face classes. Therefore, universities must encourage faculty to build real relationships with their students through face-to-face meetings and classes whenever possible.
Professors can help minority students choose the right degree that fits their passions and ensure they are on track with their curriculum to graduate on time.
Suppose a student shows interest in a cybersecurity internship. In this case, a professor can help recommend the right courses to acquire the necessary skills to qualify for the internship, such as Cybersecurity 101: How to Be Prepared for Cybersecurity Risks.
A solid mentoring relationship with a professor prepares students for successful internships and jobs by serving as an excellent source for references or writing letters of recommendation.
3. Organize a career fair for students to learn about possible career paths
A career fair is a perfect way to showcase all the career opportunities available in the market today for minority students.
There are many opportunities for young people from all backgrounds, from creative jobs like developing PC video games for Yuplay, to more traditional jobs like being an asset manager for a company like Birch Gold Group.
When selecting potential employers to attend your career fair, you should spend the extra time finding companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion in their corporate 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 an interview in 2021, Hims & Hers CEO Andrew Dudum said they pride themselves on hiring a diverse group of medical professionals with different medical specialties and backgrounds to better serve their diverse client base.
Create a catalog of employers that 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 is the time to translate that access into meaningful post-graduation careers for all students.
Pave the way for students to succeed by giving them the resources and guidance they need to work hard and land their dream jobs.
—Ryan Robinson is a blogger, podcaster, and (re)side project addict who teaches 500,000 monthly readers how to start a blog and build a profitable side business on ryrob.com.