It’s a brand new year and that means many of us will make some New Year’s resolutions around our work and careers, hoping to advance or at least grow professionally in one way or another.

Accenture‘s Campus Recruiting Lead and Canadian Diversity Recruiting Lead, Lisa Kramer, says she has recently seen more opportunities for senior roles in campus recruitment as organizations embrace campus recruiting programs and hire teams to plan and execute their new strategies.

That might seem like good news to those of you who are looking to take the next step in your career, but those roles could go largely unfilled, according to Lisa, because there is a shortage of trained and experienced campus recruiters.

“Finding the talent to fill these roles will continue to be a challenge if junior campus recruiters only look at their current positions as stepping stones to other areas within recruitment or human resources,” she says, “rather than as an opportunity to build a solid foundation for a long-term, dynamic and fulfilling campus recruiting career.”

Lisa has worked in the campus recruitment industry for nearly 17 years, working her way up into increasingly more senior and more strategic roles. While she is still extraordinarily visible to students (in 2012, Lisa was named Campus Recruiter of the Year in the TalentEgg Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards by a panel of 200+ top students from across the country, many of whom had experienced extremely positive personal interactions with her on-campus and online), Lisa spends the majority of her time meeting with executives, mapping out Accenture’s leading-edge entry level and diversity recruiting strategies, and leading a team of more junior campus recruitment professionals.

A lengthy career in campus recruiting such as Lisa’s, however, is uncommon. How many people work in campus recruitment for more than 10 years – or even more than five? Most move on early in their careers due to a lack of training, advancement and mentorship opportunities. Few organizations have senior campus recruitment opportunities at all, forcing those of you who do want to stay to move out or move on.

While this exodus of campus recruitment talent may seem inevitable, Lisa believes there is a huge opportunity for campus recruiters to take control of your own careers in 2013, therefore laying the groundwork to become the industry’s next generation of leaders and experts, and – like her and only a small handful of others – have lengthy, rewarding careers in campus recruitment. “I think campus recruiters new to the field should consider staying longer, rather than moving too quickly to other types of positions,” she says.

Make 2013 the year of the metric

“The perception around HR in general is that it’s all about feelings,” Lisa says. To be seen as a leader not only within recruitment and HR but within your organization as a whole, you also have to use and understand metrics.

“Metrics have always been key for me during my career to get buy-in from business partners because they are making decisions based on numbers on a daily basis. The more you can show metrics and the value you bring to the organization, the easier it will be to get their support,” she adds.

These are some of the metrics Lisa says you should stay on top of:

  • Do campus hires stay longer with your organization compared to non-campus hires?
  • Do campus hires have stronger performance ratings?
  • Is your cost-per-hire for campus roles lower than non-campus?
  • Do your campus roles have a better acceptance rate than non-campus?
  • How have these metrics changed over time?

Network more

Within your organization

Meet with people who work at every level of your organization, from students to hiring managers to executives. “At the end of every campus cycle, present your success metrics as far as you can up the chain,” Lisa says – not just to your own team. “If you take the initiative to show the value you bring to the table, over time you’ll have the opportunity to present to people at much higher levels.”

Lisa recommends networking to find people within your own organization who are willing to support your campus strategy as alumni representatives, from executives who sit on university boards or work as part-time faculty, to entry level employees who have recently graduated. “Their help with recruiting is a huge benefit to your program” she says. “Most people like to return to their campus and give back.” Use that to your advantage by recruiting them internally and supplying them with your key campus recruitment messages, materials and documents.

Outside of your organization

“Find the people who you think are the experts in your field and reach out to them,” Lisa recommends. “If I could go back and do one thing differently in my own career, it would be to network a lot more.”

While there is some degree of competition between campus recruiters, she says she believes that the industry can only benefit from more collaboration between organizations as well as schools. “There are a number of individuals in the field who are more than happy to share their experiences, myself included.”

Seek professional development opportunities

“I recommend partnering with organizations like TalentEgg and CACEE (Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers),” Lisa says. “TalentEgg is a tremendous resource for employers wanting to connect with different student populations, and CACEE provides employers the opportunity to network with educators across Canada.”

Senior campus recruitment professionals face even more of a challenge when it comes to developing their careers, but it’s not impossible: “Looking at opportunities and training outside of Canada has been beneficial to me as other countries like the U.S. and U.K. are more advanced in their campus programs,” she adds. “While not all programs can be easily transferred back to Canada, the creative ideas can spark innovation here at home.”

If there’s one thing Lisa would love to see in 2013, it’s more formal training for recruiters and more opportunities to share best practices on a global scale.

Ultimately, however, the demand for that has to come directly from campus recruitment professionals. Wish there was a campus recruitment course or program you could take? Contact your favourite colleges and universities and tell them. Want to learn more from your international colleagues? Get the ball rolling yourself – don’t wait for it to happen on its own.

Why stay in campus recruitment at all?

You probably already know this, but campus recruiting is an essential part of any company’s business, especially in 2013 and beyond as more Baby Boomers retire. You’re not just recruiting entry levels – you’re recruiting the future supervisors, managers and executives of your organization.

But Lisa says she’s stayed in campus recruitment for so long for another reason: variety in her work. “One of the things I have always loved most about the field of campus recruiting is the tremendous variety that you experience on a daily basis,” she says. “Campus recruitment provides the opportunity to learn many facets of the business from recruiting, onboarding and program management.”

What are you doing to become a campus recruiting leader in 2013? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!