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New careers portal to streamline job search for students, alumni

Northeastern University is launching the NUcareers database, a new portal that for the first time provides both students and alumni with a one-stop-shop where they can search for co-op and full-time employment opportunities and access a range of new and enhanced career management services.

Students currently use COOL (co-op opportunities online) to search for co-op positions, while students and alumni use Husky Career Link to search for full-time jobs. But they are separate systems that are not linked. Now, these two systems are being phased out and replaced with one dedicated portal—NUcareers—that streamlines the co-op and job search experience.

This system—the only one students will use throughout their time at Northeastern and after graduation—will keep intact all their job searches, messages, resumes, and other career management information they may want to access in the future.

“NUcareers will provide a much more seamless experience for students and alumni,” said Tony Armelin, director of information systems in Cooperative Education and Career Development at Northeastern. “It has a clean, easy-to-use interface. It features a more robust set of search filters, and it has a very informative dashboard presenting a student or alum’s personal messages, upcoming event schedule, and cover letter and resume documents. Simple tabs are also front and center to get quickly to details of job postings and the status of specific applications.”

The NUcareers rollout will happen in four phases. The first phase begins in May, when students and alumni will be able to access the database to search for full-time jobs only; students will still use COOL to look for co-ops through the end of 2015.

In July, the university will launch a pilot program involving a limited number of co-op jobs and students. NUcareers will be fully released by January 2016, at which time students will be able to use it to find co-ops and COOL will be completely phased out. Additional advanced customization options will be rolled out by summer 2016.

Organizers have worked closely with students to gather input on what features they might like to see in a new career management service. This spring, they also ran a student-based focus group to test out the system and gather feedback on enhancements, and they are planning to hold up to three more focus groups throughout the rollout process.

The new and improved features of NUcareers include an enhanced dashboard and personal messaging option for students, alumni, and their advisers. The site also features more robust job search capabilities, through which users can shortlist job openings and return to them at a later time, save job searches, and set up automatic notifications when a new job opens up in a previously saved search.

What’s more, the site is optimized for mobile devices, so users can access job listings, messages, and notifications on the go. It also offers a range of event management services. Career development staff can post job fairs, career workshops, recruiter visits, and other events to a calendar, and students and alumni can register for those events through the site. Users can even set up a personalized calendar that tracks what events they’re planning to attend.

The system also allows users to track all the jobs they’ve applied for and the status of their pending applications, as well as the workshops they’ve attended, résumés and cover letters they’ve written, and their correspondence with their career advisers.

Maria Stein, associate vice president for cooperative education and career development, noted that given the significant work experience students acquire through the university’s signature co-op program, it makes sense to provide a career management service that combines this experience with students’ full-time employment search.

“This is a very robust system that will allow students and alumni to think more strategically about how they access and utilize their career information,” Stein said.

Eric Tyler, CIS/DMSB’16, the Student Government Association’s vice president for academic affairs, said a critical aspect of NUcareers is that it will include a student’s entire work experience and other career-related information. Students won’t have to switch back and forth between systems to review past employment history and other records when building their resumes, doing job searches, and submitting applications.

“One of the big advantages to the new system is the unified flow between searching for co-op jobs and full-time positions,” Tyler said. He added that the events management resource will make it easier for students to manage their schedules.

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