GoldPASS site grows, gives students more oppurtunities

The University Web site was relaunched in August with more job postings.

by Liz Riggs

It used to be that students looking for employment or internships would wade through stacks of paperwork or skim through dozens of bulletin board postings in their college’s career center.

Since then, technology, efficiency and a desire for a more consolidated system of job postings have changed that.

Enter GoldPASS. Although the name sounds strangely like that other “pass” most of us use – the U-Pass – don’t let their similar names confuse you. The services are completely unrelated.

First established in February 2006, GoldPASS started as a job posting and résumé database system that connected students with various professional, internship and volunteer opportunities.

Becky Hall, central coordinator for career development in the Department of Student Affairs, said the site was created to give organizations and employers the ability to post job descriptions, and students and alumni the opportunity to browse the listings.

In August, the system was relaunched with additional features to an even larger audience. The newest version of GoldPASS allows students from several University campuses – including Morris, Crookston and Duluth – to sign up for on-campus interviews and register for career fairs and information sessions, in addition to the job posting service. Before the new system was implemented, GoldPASS was only available to students and former students of the Twin Cities campus.

The latest figures show the system has more than 18,000 active student and alumni subscribers.

Political science senior Muneer Karcher-Ramos has seen the system grow firsthand. He began using GoldPASS around the time it was created in 2006. In its early stages, Karcher-Ramos said GoldPASS had its share of flaws. Among them: there weren’t enough postings from employers.

“It was really discouraging because I couldn’t find anything on there that I needed,” he said.

Karcher-Ramos said the number of job postings has increased significantly since then.

In September 2006, there were 2,232 organizations registered on GoldPASS. Just more than a year later, that number has increased to 11,125 organizations.

Of the new changes to the system, Hall said the coordination of on-campus interviewing has had the most impact on users. In the past, most colleges used separate systems to coordinate on-campus interviews.

From an administrative standpoint, the new scheduling system has been a time-saver for the college career offices, Hall said.

“They can devote their time to doing other things for their students,” Hall explained.

Mark Sorenson-Wagner, director of the Science and Engineering Career Center, who, along with Hall, oversees the GoldPASS system, said the University’s system is a unique one.

“I think we’re pretty novel, in terms of we’re all using one system together,” Sorenson-Wagner said. He added that other colleges and universities around the country have taken an interest in the GoldPASS model.

“We’re kind of guinea pigs,” he said.

Hall said it’s advantageous for students and employers to have a single go-to place for posting and viewing job information.

“Students were looking in entirely too many places for these opportunities,” she said. “The same can be said for the employment community.”

Hall said the site has been particularly useful for employers looking to post more “general jobs,” potentially overlapping several majors and colleges. Instead of providing the information to each separate college career office, the employer now just uses one portal, she said.

Even with GoldPASS’s most recent changes, Karcher-Ramos said he’d still like to see the quality of some of the job postings improve. He said while GoldPASS is supposed to make it easier to find jobs, some “postings” end up being duds, merely providing a link to the company or organization’s Web site and not an actual job description.

He also said those who oversee GoldPASS might want to think about improving the system’s visibility, at least among the student population.

“I don’t know how many people actually know about it,” he said.