Placement Officer Job Description

Performing a mix of career counseling and recruiting duties, placement officers usually work in colleges and universities where they assist students and coordinate with the institution’s staff and local employers. Their daily duties range from examining job descriptions and employment ads to helping students complete the hiring process. Working as a placement officer takes someone with a human resources background who likes helping people plan and develop their careers. While they sometimes travel to visit employers or attend hiring events, placement officers usually get to work during regular business hours.


Placement Officer Duties and Responsibilities

No two placement officers are exactly alike, as specific skills vary from employer to employer. However, after analyzing online job postings, we identified several core duties and responsibilities common to the job:

Research Job Trends

Placement officers conduct research to learn the skills, abilities, and credentials employers seek for graduates of the school’s departments and majors. They use the university’s degree plans and course descriptions, in addition to coordinating with professors and department heads, to find relevant job titles and industries for graduates.

Provide Career Services to Students

Helping students create their resumes and cover letters, find internship or externship sites, and apply for jobs in their fields are all part of a placement officer’s duties. They also provide mock interviews to give students practice answering common questions and provide information about companies hiring in the area.

Network with Local Employers

Having strong relationships with employers helps placement officers set up local partnerships with companies where students can do internships or externships or visit for job shadowing. They also recommend students to these employers after they learn what skills companies prefer from candidates.

Plan Hiring Events

Planning campus hiring events like job fairs gives students exposure to potential jobs and helps local companies find suitable candidates. Placement officers use their knowledge of job trends and the employer network they have built to bring a variety of employers to the school for a successful event.

Screen Potential Candidates

Coordinating with employers, placement officers run background checks on students who seek internships or externships to verify students have the prerequisite education and meet all additional requirements for these companies’ positions.


Placement Officer Skills and Qualifications

Placement officers need a passion for helping students succeed professionally and strong networking skills to coordinate with potential employers. In addition to a bachelor’s degree and around three years of experience in recruiting or career development, employers prefer placement officers who have these skills:

  • Recruiting – to find the right students for job opportunities, placement officers must understand the recruiting process, including how to identify the best candidates for positions, interview them, and assist companies with the hiring process
  • Career counseling – helping students plan a career path and find jobs requires placement officers to ask questions about students’ goals and interests and lead them to resources that help them achieve those goals
  • Interpersonal skills – placement offers need strong interpersonal skills to network with employers and coach students who have diverse needs
  • Communication skills – effectively helping students with their careers requires asking specific questions and listening carefully to get useful insight on what jobs best fit them. Coordinating with employers and university departments also requires communicating clearly
  • Analytical thinking – strong analytical skills help placement officers gather job information from their research, screen students for suitable positions, and offer career development advice


Tools of the Trade

These are some tools that placement officers use at work:

  • Career management systems (Talentsoft, Insala, Cornerstone)
  • Productivity software (Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access)
  • Social media (LinkedIn for recruiting)


Placement Officer Education and Training

Placement officers usually have a bachelor’s degree related to human resources, although some employers accept a psychology degree with some human resources coursework. These programs include courses about training, recruiting, hiring, and compensating employees. Coursework about employment laws, business management, marketing, and organizational behavior is also common. Some employers prefer placement officers to have a master’s degree in human resources or a relevant HR professional certification from the Society for Human Resource Management.


Placement Officer Salary and Outlook

Classified as human resource specialists by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), placement officers make a median annual wage of around $60,000. The bottom 10th percentile makes close to $36,000, while the highest-paid placement officers make over $103,500. In addition to offering health insurance, paid time off, and retirement benefits, colleges and universities often give placement officers and their families discounts on tuition or even allow them to take a number of free courses throughout the year.

Placement officers have a good job outlook. The BLS estimates an average rate of job growth at 7 percent through 2026. While companies can outsource HR tasks, which results in a decreased need for workers, colleges and universities often need their placement officers on site to assist students, so this lessens the risk. Earning a human resources certification and a master’s degree can improve a placement officer’s prospects.


Helpful Resources

Does working as a placement officer sound like an interesting career? Check out these resources to learn more and get started on this career path:

National Career Development Association – offering membership to any professional who helps individuals develop their careers, this organization provides extensive resources and publications about helping people of diverse backgrounds improve their careers. It also offers networking opportunities, industry partnerships, training programs, and conferences

The Career Counselor’s Handbook – authors Richard Nelson Bolles and Howard Figler have decades of career counseling experience and offer advice on entering the field and using different tools to help assess candidates. This book also has a focus on ethics and psychology

Society for Human Resource Management – SHRM offers certification and training programs for all human resources professionals and holds events around the world. Individuals can find local events, get help from HR experts, network online, and stay up to date with changes in the field

Career Counseling: Foundations, Perspectives, and Applications – this book prepares career counselors for the field with an emphasis on counseling theories, skills and techniques, and legal and ethical issues. It also has a special chapter that discusses career coaching in a college environment


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