I often hear complaints from new college graduates that career services didn’t get them a job. Something many students don’t understand is that career development centers are not placement organizations. Career services professionals are there to help provide you with the tools to figure out what you want to do professionally and how to best market yourself for the job search.
Here are five tips to using your college career center:
1. Create a meeting agenda
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having several needs, but it will make easier for everyone if you consider what those needs are before heading into your career coaching session. If you can, think about how you’d like your career advisor to help and what areas you feel need the most attention.
2. Career development is a process
Our lives are in a constant state of evolution. Our wants, needs, and goals change based on our experiences and the things we learn about ourselves. The mistake many people—not just students—make is feeling like a failure for changing their career plans. It is not uncommon to realize you don’t fit in with the culture of a company or professional field. You are not a failure for realizing a career path is wrong for you in your senior year or because you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life as a college freshman.
3. Come back for multiple sessions
In the same way that career development is a process, your job search does not end when you submit your resume. Career services can help you edit your resume, prepare for interviews, understand your personality type, and deal with the stressors that come with choosing a profession. Develop a relationship with a career coach and maintain it through your time in college.
4. Don’t be afraid to utilize alumni career services
Most colleges and universities have programs, career advisors, and assistance for alumni. Sometimes these services cost money, but they can help you tailor your resume to the different organizations or career fields you’re pursuing and learn to be a proactive professional.
5. Find the right partner
If you meet with a career advisor and don’t feel like they are listening to you, or you don’t feel comfortable speaking openly with them, ask for another career advisor! Every student and every advisor is different—sometimes one person isn’t the right fit for you and that’s okay.
Finding the right career can be one of the most rewarding things you do in life. We spend so much of our lives at work—figuring out what you want to do with your life is as important as knowing the kind of person you want to be. Career advisors are here to help you make the journey from college to career a rewarding one. Take advantage!
Have you had a particularly bad or good experience using your college career center? Got some tips for making the most of it? Share with us in the comments!
Ask Levo Mentor Arielle Patrick, director of publicity at The American Reader, how she used her career center while still in school to elevate her career.