Using Site Visits to Advance Employment Opportunities

Written by Emily Stark, Career and Employer Outreach Specialist at Ashford University

Get Out There! Catch A Site Visit!

What do NASA, YMCA and Comprehensive Autism Center have in common? They’re all recent site visit locations attended by Ashford’s students, alumni, and employer outreach team. Site visits are the big buzz right now in employer outreach strategy because they provide a unique opportunity to make employer connections and gain important industry insight. Now that you’re thinking about potential sites to visit, let’s look at some ways to make the most out of these experiences:

  • Do your research – Before attending the site visit, become acquainted with the organization’s mission so you’re able to ask knowledgeable questions.
  • Check out the job board – See the organization’s opportunities and potentially tailor your resume to align with the qualifications listed.
  • Put your best foot forward – Wear professional clothing, arrive on time, and bring your resume and writing materials to take notes.

So why all the preparation?

Man working at desk

Every site visit provides a potential opportunity to network with recruiters and top executives at the company. At the recent Comprehensive Autism Center site visit, the founders treated the Ashford group to lunch while answering questions about the organization and the larger industry. When meeting the VIPs of the organization you aspire to work with, what seems like the little stuff – ironing your dress shirt the night before or jotting down a few questions you conjured while studying the company’s website – let others know that you are serious about the opportunity.

In an effort to gain additional insights from one of Ashford’s Employer Outreach Specialists, and a key player in coordinating the events noted above, I reached out to Bethany Eggleston. Part of her drive to continue to develop this facet of employer outreach is to offer employers a first-hand experience with the qualified candidates who attend Ashford. This, in turn, will establish more employment opportunities for our students and alumni in the future. Bethany reflects on the past site visits, stating: “The employers are so excited to work with us and are very interested in doing more long-term plans with us now that they have met our students. The last one [Comprehensive Autism Center] was so excited to say they recognized several great candidates within the attendees.”

What are the perks from a student perspective?

Brian Lackman, Ashford student, attended the NASA event in Washington, D.C.  He shared his experience noting that he gained a better understanding of the operations occurring at NASA and stated, “it seems like a great company to work for.” This is one of the primary goals of site visits; we want students to be exposed to the inner working of the organization so they feel motivated to pursue their career with a greater sense of awareness and knowledge.

Post Site Visit Etiquette

As mentioned, site visits are a great way to network. Don’t let the connection end upon departure! Connect on LinkedIn with the representative and attendees that you’ve met. Feel free to send a brief message to thank them for their time and discuss your interest in the organization. If you are focused on a particular opportunity, you can ask about the company’s hiring process and voice your enthusiasm for the position.

Please keep a watchful eye out for the site visit opportunities via emails by career services, and feel free to do your own research to learn about the onsite recruitment strategies employers are hosting in your area. It’s a great opportunity to highlight yourself as a strong, friendly candidate, rather than a name in a resume pile. Get out there!

If you’d like to discuss these opportunities and strategies, please reach out to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!