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Alison Doyle

What Your College Career Office Can Do For You

By September 20, 2013

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Career EventI was part of a recent discussion about college career offices. Some fee-based career coaches and resume writers, who get paid for their services while most career offices don't charge, aren't impressed with what career centers offer their constituents. I'll start with a disclaimer. I worked in a college career office for many years, and I have nothing but good to say about the accredited professionals who help students and alumni find their career path - and their next job or internship.

The staff in your career office will provide career counseling, resume and cover letter writing and editing, job and internship listings for students and alumni, recruiting and career networking programs and events, job fairs and much more. It should be the first place every single student goes to when they start college, and it will help throughout your college years, and afterwards, in the case of the many colleges and universities that provide services to alumni for life.

Besides the fact that most college career services are free for students and, in some cases, for alumni, there's another big bonus involved in working with your career center if you're a student or grad. Many career offices have alumni career networks of volunteers who are more than willing to help with a job search or with sharing information about their career.

In addition, most offices have a database of job and internship listings specifically for their constituents - jobs listed by alumni, by recruiters who want applicants from your school and by employers in the local community.

If you're a college student or grad the first place you should go for help with exploring careers, resumes and cover letters, finding a job or internship, getting networking contacts and for personal career counseling is your career office. In fact, you should go before you need help. Starting out school with a relationship with your office will give you an advantage when you're ready for the "real" world. Career counselors are more than happy to meet with students - that's what they're there for - so make an appointment or stop in, because it will only help you advance your career.

For those who haven't contacted their career center yet or in a while, with many schools it is never too late. Check out your school's career center and alumni office websites to see what services are available - and take advantage of everything you can. Here's more on how your career office can help.

Related Articles: College Job Search Guide | College Recruiting Programs | College Career Networking Tips

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September 20, 2013 at 10:21 am
(1) Sabrina says:

Unfortunately my college career center (and I assume this is an issue with others) only has job listings for jobs local to their school. Which is great if you live there but if you’ve moved away or if you took classes online and never lived nearby, they don’t offer very much in the way of help.

September 20, 2013 at 10:27 am
(2) Penelope says:

My career office has listings from around the country – from recruiters and from alumni. I found my first job and my subsequent job courtesy of career services.

September 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm
(3) Bruce says:

I supervise the Career Services Center at a community college. We are a true community resource that helps anyone regardless if they have ever gone to the college or not. We help with resumes, cover letters, interviewing skills and have both local and national job openings. If you are looking in an area where you didn’t go to school, check out the community college in your area.

September 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm
(4) Dirk says:

A job search does not begin and end in a college’s career center. A true job search involves a plethora of activities conducted simultaneously to achieve one’s goals. The career advisor’s role is to provide the necessary guidance, tools, resources, and information to aid a student in developing a personal strategy to achieve success. Often students think “I’ll get my degree”, “write my resume” and “go online” and “apply for jobs.” The advising that is provided by career services professionals will apply to a local, national, or global job search so it is incumbant upon to individual himself or herself to get the proper guidance to have a successful search.

September 30, 2013 at 2:44 am
(5) interviewsuccessformula says:

What can your college career office do for you? First realize that your college career office can’t simply hand you a job. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that a career office is nearly just a few people that have to serve all the students. Which means that they are vastly outnumbered, and that they don’t have the time to help each person separately to get a job. But what they can do is give you great leads to get that job. Then it’s on you to make the difference.

Your career office can introduce you to alumni in a certain fields that can help you get a job offer. Your career office can you do a mock interview so that you are better prepared for the interview. They can review your resume so that your resume is stronger. They can give you specific companies who selected students from their school in the past where you could apply. They can also give you some other books and some tips on what you can and can’t do. They can also help you with networking and doing practice if you set appointments, but then again they won’t be able to simply hand you a job.

It’s up to you to decide what career you want and then push as hard as you can to get there and ask your career office to help you get there and asking for information, advice, tips, and feedback.

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