Career Development: How to take advantage of your on-campus career resources

Career Development: How to take advantage of your on-campus career resources


Career Center

Author : lailahussain

Laila Hussain is a Fulbright Scholar who moved to New York City to study Media, Culture and Communication. Originally from Karachi, Pakistan, she has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration as well as an MBA in Marketing.

SAT Prep? Check. Best Colleges for X? Check. Every student has at some point interacted with the Princeton Review. Well-known for its college ratings, The Princeton Review recently released its newest college guidebook, titled The Best 376 Colleges – 2012 Edition. The usual ratings ranging from “best professors” to “best administered schools” are all there, along with the “top party schools” and schools with the “best cafeteria food.” What I found particularly interesting and of pertinent use was the rating on “best career services.” According to a 2011 survey by the Princeton Review, 61 percent of college applicants and parents of applicants believe that getting a job or a higher salary is the biggest advantage of going to college. This means that students are now more career focused than ever and look for college degrees that will directly contribute to their chances of finding and securing a job after graduation. According to Rob Franek, author of The Best 376 Colleges, mindsets are changing among students today: “College is extremely expensive, and that has got students thinking more strategically about what college to go to,” Rob explains. “They want the best overall fit and the most value for their money.” I sought Rob’s help to understand the role of a college career center and how students can best take advantage of the career resources on campus.

According to Rob, a good college career center will help students with their career search by:

  • Creating overall awareness for the career services from the first day of a student’s freshman year, right up to graduation.
  • Facilitating “experiential learning.” Increasingly, students are looking outside the classroom for internships and other work experience to compliment what they’re doing in school. What’s changed is that they are looking for this earlier on in their college careers than before.
  • Assisting students in their search to find the best fitting job upon graduating

The top school this year was the University of Florida, which assists 32,000 undergraduate students in a wide variety of career-related capacities such as helping students choose a major, exploring different career paths or grad school options, finding internships and so on. The university allocates a vast amount of resources each year, including 24 full-time staff members to the career center, propelling it to the top of The Princeton Review’s list. According to Rob, a career services center is a powerful resource for students to have so that, “they not only have a great classroom experience but also good student life outside it.”

Here are a few ways that you can utilize your campus Career Center:

  • Physically go to the career center. Rob advises students to find their campus career center as soon as they get to college, and develop a relationship with the advisors and staff members. “This will be very beneficial when it’s time to find a job or an internship, because you’ll know exactly where to go, and they will be able to help you better because they’ll know exactly what you’re looking for.”
  • Use the free web services. Look at your school’s career center website. Many schools have strong how-to guides on cover letters and resumes. They will also probably do employer highlights or industry deep dives. It’s a great starting point for information and you can also see what upcoming events and workshops will be held on your campus.
  • Attend Career Fairs. Even if you have no idea what you are interested in doing for your career, a career fair is a great way to meet people from a variety of companies and learn about different types of jobs.

Using your campus career services to your best advantage requires a proactive approach, starting from day one of college. With increasing competition and focus on careers, most career centers in colleges have improved to meet the rising demand for their services. But, still your best plan of action is to proactively seek out the available resources on your campus.

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