Career Services departments receive relatively little use from a majority of college students. I recently met a senior who told me that she never visited her Career Services office. In fact, I took her to her first career fair. I think this is because most students are unsure of how to engage their respective career centers. Many think they will go to their career services office and a job or internship will be handed to them. Others believe that their career center will give them recruiter information or connect them directly with interviews. When these outcomes fail to materialize many students feel discouraged.
The function of Career Services offices is to offer students with the support and resources needed to effectively execute the career management/job/internship/Co-op search process. College is the only time when employers will collectively proactively recruit applicants and the Career Services office is the hub where these efforts come together. The following are some tips on having a beneficial and productive relationship with your local career services office.
- Research some areas that you find interesting. It will be as simple as using Google to investigate industries or sectors that you find appealing. This will be a great point to begin the conversation rather than saying, “I don’t know what I want to do.” (But even if that’s your response your career center can give you a hand).
- Develop a resume. Don’t show up empty-handed. Put some effort into this document and request the assistance of your careers services professional in modifying or making adjustments. Remember that you have the final say in your resume.
- Bring a note pad a take notes
- Request a list/brochure of upcoming career fairs and events that will help you in the process
- Participate in career fairs, etiquette seminars, networking programs and the like
- If you are confused or have no idea of what you wish to do request a personality assessment such as the Myers Briggs Type Inventory
- Ask if there is a way to connect with alumni who might be able to provide you with some insight into an area of interest
- Connect periodically with your counselor/career coach and keep them abreast of any challenges encountered or progress that you have made.
Career services is an awesome resource, but in order for it to work it has to be used by students.