How to Take Advantage of Your College Career Center
Everyone goes to college to get the career they desire. That statement can apply to every college student, everywhere, with little exception. Getting that career, even with a college degree, is not always so easy though due to the highly competitive job market and ever-increasing number of college graduates today.
It is certainly a good thing that more people in this country are choosing to go to college and actually complete their programs and graduate. But when you’re job hunting and continuously losing out on job offers to your classmates, you might not see that silver lining.
Fortunately, there is hope for you because you are reading this article and your classmates — future competitors — may not be.
By reading this article, you can be one step ahead of those other people because you will know about your college career center and how you can use its services to your benefit.
What is the Career Center?
The career center is a common fixture on most campuses that provides services and resources to its students to help them (read: you) get a job after graduation. The best part about it all is that it is free, unless you subscribe to the theory that nothing is free and you’re paying for in tuition.
Regardless, you won’t be paying explicitly for the services that you take advantage of at the career center. What are those services and resources that you can use? I’m glad you asked, because that is exactly what I am going to tell you. Of course, some services will vary campus-to-campus, but for the most part this list of crucial services and resources should be accurate for most of you reading this.
This first service probably won’t come as much of a surprise to you, but it is worth mentioning. Many students enter college not knowing what they want to major in or do with their life, you may even be one of them.
The career center can help you and give you surveys and work with you one-on-one to find what you are interested in and how that translates into a possible career.
Internships & Job Experience
As I mentioned, getting a college degree isn’t enough to secure you a job after graduation, and especially not enough to get you the job you want or even in your field.
Most people know that they need to get an internship or job experience while in college, but you may not know how to go about it. You can certainly try going out on your own and finding experience, but why do the extra legwork when the career center can help you?
My school’s center has a website with a running list of internship and other job opportunities for all levels of existing experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re about to graduate or still a freshman, you can find something to get you into your preferred field of study.
Resume/Cover Letter Review
Before you can get that job or even an internship, you are going to need a kick-butt resume and likely a cover letter as well for almost anything you apply for.
While you can use Google and sites like HackCollege to find assistance, nothing beats one-on-one, in-person assistance that is available at your career center. Start a rough draft of your resume/letter and take it to be critiqued, edited, and polished so you can stand out above other candidates in a job pool.
Resumes have a certain set of “rules” to follow, but there is a bit of freedom as well that varies by your profession and your current experiences. What you have available to list on paper and what your potential employer is most interested in will have a huge effect on what you put down and how you format your resume.
The lovely people at the career center know what you need to show off and that is just another reason why you should use their services.
Something that a lot of people don’t know about or even think of doing are mock interviews. I only first heard about them last year, and it was only graduate students who were doing them, but I later discovered that the career center does mock interviews for undergraduates at all levels for even part-time jobs and it can be a great resource.
It may seem odd at first, but being able to practice your interviewing skills and have that followed up with feedback from the mock interviewers is invaluable to anyone seeking a job right now.
You probably already know some questions that will be thrown at you, but the career professionals on your campus know a lot more and can help you prep your answers.
Your college career center likely has many more resources and services to offer students at all stages of their career paths – from finding out what that career is to actually getting your dream job. It’s definitely a place you should make frequent visits to and get to know the staff working within it, starting as early as your freshman year.
What are you waiting for? Go schedule your career center appointment right now!