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Employers: How to Network with Graduating Students

Many hiring managers will tell you that finding qualified applicants for their open positions can be their biggest challenge. It can be difficult to find the right fit for your team while also ensuring they have the skills and qualifications to do the work. Hiring a recent graduate may often be the answer!

Why Recent Grads?

Community college graduates have a couple of built-in advantages. They have received a lot of focused, on-the-job training opportunities while in school. Students “learn by doing” and can point to tangible experience with things they will encounter on the job. Oftentimes, they have been taught by people who have experience in the field, adding another dimension to their training and education.

How to Connect with Recent Grads

Convinced a recent grad is right for your team? Great! There are plenty of ways to recruit fresh talent to your team. Consider:

  • Join the College Central Network – Schools like Ellsworth and Marshalltown encourage their students to join the College Central Network in order to build and share resumes, build portfolios of their work, and network with employers in their field. You will be able to post open positions, review resumes, request interviews, and more, right from the site. In order to access these features, you will need to create a profile for your business which will provide background information on who you are and what services your business provides.
  • Attend Recruiting Events – Every year, the college hosts several recruiting events designed to connect local employers with students. Take part in these events, and come prepared with information to share about your business and your open positions. Many of these events are being held virtually which can provide unique opportunities for you to share videos and have more in-depth conversations with future graduates.
  • Connect with Instructors – Do you have relationships with instructors that teach in your field? Often, instructors are an untapped resource – you can ask for referrals for students. Instructors will be able to share insight on what kind of student they are, and you will be able to better understand what type of employee they will be based on their college experience. Instructors, in turn, will be able to tell you who will fit in with your company culture. They can provide a warm introduction and help you get the relationship off on the right foot.
  • Maintain Your LinkedIn Presence – You are not only looking for people for your team; soon-to-be-grads are looking for their next step. They will be reviewing your website and your LinkedIn presence to learn about you and your company. Be sure to clean up your profile and put your best foot forward. Share open positions, but also articles, videos and information about your company culture. A little effort goes a long way.

Invest in Training

Depending on your business, you can help ensure that students are learning the skills that they will need to excel at your company. You can encourage the college to customize a training program for your business or financially support curriculum or equipment for the classroom that will align with your company. When you deepen your relationship with the school, you will have an easier time finding graduates that can make an immediate impact on your business.

Leverage Your Advantages

A community college can provide a lot of advantages to your business; be sure to make the most of this natural recruiting pipeline when you are looking for your next hire. Connecting with new graduates will help you find bright, qualified candidates for your open positions. Watch for upcoming job fairs from Ellsworth or Marshalltown, or consider hiring grads of short term training opportunities from Iowa Valley Continuing Education.

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