If you go to college in the United States, then your school must have a Career Center staffed by professionals who are trained to help college students with career-related concerns. Most college students have had second thoughts about their chosen career path, or at some point been completely clueless about what they want to pursue as a career. Your college’s Career Center is the perfect place for you to get clarity about your future, help on internships/jobs, and advice on resumes or preparation for interviews.
1. Forming a Student–Counselor Relationship
It is generally a good idea to form a good relationship with your career counselor and express your values, goals and aspirations. A counselor who knows you, and understands exactly what you’re looking for in terms of a career, will be in a better position to help you. A counselor who has a good relationship with you will also be more inclined to look out for you and make sure you know about all your options or opportunities.
2. Classes to Take
If you’re not sure what classes you should take during the year, visit your college’s Career Center before it is time to sign up for classes. A counselor can help you figure out which classes to take by talking to you about your interests. If you have a specific career path in mind, the counselor can organize your classes in a way that will be most beneficial for you and your intended major.
3. Career Planning
If you are feeling lost and don’t know what major would be best for you, visiting the Career Center in your college would be very helpful to you. Career Centers focus on “career planning,” which essentially helps you learn more about yourself. Most Career Centers provide students with many different forms of assistance – from self-assessment quizzes to one-on-one consultation with a counselor. Career Centers can lay out all your options and help you decide what you can do with your chosen major.
4. Career Fairs
Go to career fairs and workshops offered by the Career Center in your college. These events are a good way for you to meet potential employers and build contacts. During career fairs, recruiters gather for the purpose of interviewing students, so this is the perfect way to learn about job and internship opportunities. Some Career Centers may even offer classes to help students get prepared for the events.
Career Centers generally have strong alumni connection, which is a great place to start job searching. Use the Career Center’s alumni contacts to start networking, as it is one of the best ways to find out more about job opportunities or company information. Alumni are in contact with hiring managers, and can help refer you to the right person, so be sure to use the alumni connection at the Career Center. Additionally, Career Center professionals are in touch with employers every day, so they can pass on critical information about a particular employer, or employment trends, to you.
6. Internship Advice
One of the most common reasons students seek out Career Centers is for help securing an internship – and for good reason. Professionals at Career Centers can give you a list of companies looking for interns, and you can make your choice based on your interest. In addition, they can give you all the information they have about the position.
7. Resume Help
Even if you feel that it’s too early in your college career to prepare your resume, you should go to your college’s Career Center and get to know the counselors. As I mentioned before, a counselor who has a good relationship with you will look out for you. You should start drafting a resume as soon as you can; when you are ready, the Career Center is a great place to get suggestions and constructive feedback on your resume and cover letters.
8. Interviewing Assistance
For many college students, interviews for internships and jobs are a major point of stress — and sometimes weakness. Your college’s Career Centers may offer students the opportunity to conduct mock interviews – often with an option to be videotaped – so that you can sharpen your interviewing skills.
There is no excuse for not visiting your college’s Career Center – especially when you can gain so much from them. You are already paying for the service, so you may as well go to the Career Center and make use of it. Career Centers are helpful to all students – those who are unsure about their career or major can get clarity, while those who know exactly what they want to do in the future career-wise can brush up their resumes and perfect their interviewing skills. There is literally no downside to getting in touch with the counselors at your college’s Career Center.
RELATED: How to Make Job Offers Come Your Way
Ria is currently a student at Sarah Lawrence College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Sociology. She enjoys spending time with friends and family in her free time. She also has a bad habit of starting new tv shows at the most inconvenient times.