This project is an example of product innovation.
The UVA Career Center opened an advising space on the second floor of the new student center, 1515 University Ave in 2017. The new location serves as a casual spot for students to drop-by for informal conversations – and hopefully ease anxieties and stress associated with personal career development.
News article about the new space: “Career Advice and a Coffee Break on the Corner”
University of Virginia students that have not engaged with the Career Center, primarily first and second-year students.
Students to feel comfortable starting the conversation about their career development. 1 in 5 college students have anxiety or depression (source), and discussing their career is a major point of stress and uncertainty. The new space was designed to be casual, inviting, and easily accessed to introduce career-related content.
Messages were developed to highlight staff expertise and the areas of which they could assist with career exploration: Major & Career Advising (Career Assessments, Individual Appointments, etc) and Job & Internship Search Support (Resume Reviews, Cover Letter Reviews, Mock Interviews, etc).
- “WOW Wall”: three 3’x5′ magnetic panels were designed and updated monthly to visually attract guests and provide career-related content. This included hundreds of resume words, UVA major information themed for March Madness, exam stress relief (postcard giveaways, post-it notes for students to share happy thoughts), and more.
- Advice Wall: three shelves were updated with pictures and advice from professional staff, student staff, and alumni. This content was updated through the academic year to keep it fresh and relevant to current topic matters.
- Personalized Email Invitations: every first and second year student was sent a personalized invitation to visit the counselors in the new space. Campaign open rates were 60% and attendance doubled immediately following.
- Semester Plan: I created a 8.5″x11″ one-side handout to initiate the counselor and student discussion. The content on the semester plan was developed to illustrate how the student was already acting on many varied career-related topics. Students were encouraged through campus partners to visit the new location to fill out their semester plan within the first three weeks of the semester. The semester plan was so effective and well received by faculty, that it was implemented into orientation and given to every student and parent at UVA.
- Events: Numerous promotional events were created to increase engagement and present the content in unique and fun ways.
- Handouts: career-related handouts were designed and presented within the new space.
- Resource Business Cards: over 20 business cards were designed and presented to highlight unique career-related resources available to UVA students. They are easily accessible for guests to take or staff to distribute during counseling sessions.
In addition to increased credibility and brand recognition across the university (faculty and staff included), over 1,500 new students were engaged with the Career Center (10% of total population).