Can a Career Center Really Help You?

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Most college students want to use their college education to pursue a high-paying career. But how can you make a career choice when the future is uncertain and you don’t really know what you want to do for a living? Basic services offered by a career center, also called a career placement office or a career services office help students and alumni make smart decisions regarding their education and professional life.

The purpose of a career center is to assist students in developing job searching skills and choosing a career. Before you can make such an important decision, it is essential to learn about yourself. Some careers are suitable, while some are inappropriate for a certain set of skills, interests, personality traits and values. The career center counselor can use assessment tools, including career tests to gather information and generate a list of occupations. Assessment testing is a great tool that can help you pinpoint careers that suit your abilities.

Another service provided by a career center is career exploration. This process helps you learn about different occupations and fields. Usually, the center has a library that houses such information. Furthermore, the counselor will recommend you an alumni or professional who can tell you about his or her experience in the industry so you can decide on an academic major or job that will help meet your goals.

The next step is the resume and cover letter writing. The counselor will help you tailor a personalized resume for each job. Many times, a career center can conduct workshops and give individual feedback. Furthermore, some even have computers with specialized resume and cover letter writing software. After the resume is ready, you must prepare for the job interview. Ask the counselor if there is a workshop available to help you learn how to present yourself in a professional situation.

Career services offices keep a job list and post internship and part–time job openings for both students and alumni. Job fairs are also a great opportunity to make a good impression, because employers visit the campus and recruit seniors. A career center also keeps students files that contain letters of recommendation and forward them to graduate schools and employers if you ask them to do so. Sometimes there is a mailing charge for this service, however it is affordable.

Usually an appointment with a counselor lasts about 30 minutes and one student can ask for a meeting several times while they are in college. Return visits are usually negotiated between you and your counselor. If you have questions that are beyond the counselor’s expertise, you will be referred to other professionals.

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