We are a business that always seems to do well when the rest of the world is feeling like it’s swimming upstream. It’s always been that way – you know the famous Countercyclical thing and all. So what should admissions do with all those new leads that think getting a career that isn’t going to be lost in the shuffle do?
Sell the opportunity for someone to understand that having more than one thing going for themselves isn’t such a bad thing. Sometime admissions feels they have to replace a bad experience with a course of instruction. That’s their solution. “Sorry about what’s happening, now become a medical assistant and everything will be ok – let’s go to financial aid and see if you qualify”.
Not a really good approach unless your retention numbers are too high and you need more attrition at your school.
This is a time to slow down the train and listen, evaluate, discuss, and then offer a suggestion.
Maybe school is the answer, more times than not, it will help. But the way to sell it isn’t as a replacement to something, but as a supplement to something. No one wants to think that what they already spent time and energy getting to know has no more value. But everyone understands being multi-skilled. For example.
Suppose you already went to school to become an administrative assistant, and you were working at that job when one day HR came and in said to you “sorry”. What do you do? Well of course you go look for another AA job, but what if over the past 6 weeks a whole bunch of other qualified AA’s lost their job too, and right now there is a surplus for people looking and not enough jobs to go around, what then?
Unemployment check – well maybe, but that won’t pay too many bills. Go live back at home – of course, that’s always an option, that’s what parents live for (sure!). Another alternative, watch TV and then what happens, “ Call XYZ College today and real soon you will be on your way to a new exciting career, etc, etc, etc.”
So, in they go, fill out the whatever, go to admissions, and well you know the rest.
But my money is one not selling them a new career, my money is on selling them an option and an ace in the hole if they ever need it. Having something to fall back on, you know, just in case. I wouldn’t want to replace the current career choice, maybe she loves it and has always wanted to be an AA. I would suggest that we discuss possible alternatives that would allow her to be employed even during the tougher times, like now. I would spend the time to get to know what she has an interest in and then offer some suggestions, not to wave good-bye to her AA experiences, but to do to earn a good living while she was waiting for things to maybe get better and then she could, if she even wanted to, go back to what she loves, being an AA.
I would talk about the allied health arena, the IT arena, and anything else my school may offer that has reasonable career potential as demonstrated by its placement history.
But the one thing I would not do is ask her to replace what she already knows and loves with something else as a permanent move, but just to get another option while she has the time. And of course I would tell her that in many ways she will be able to offer a new employer not only the skill-set she just learned, but in addition, all the skills she already knows from her previous employment. And chances are, being multi-skilled will maybe put her on the shorter “A” list for that position she may be interviewing for.
It’s easier for someone to accept change and expense if it’s looked at as a “additional” as opposed to “replaceable” . The mental gymnastics are less cumbersome as the value of the time and money spent learning the first one wasn’t a waste of time. If someone thinks they are creating additional value without losing the initial value, it’s a much easier proposition to sell.