On-campus counselors can ensure students’ path to career success
Q: What type of on-campus guidance is available to students to make sure they don’t waste their time and resources on classes they don’t need, and to offer them job-placement assistance when they are completing their education? Why are these services important to my success?
A: It helps to have a realistic view of campus career services in general. Their goal is to help students by providing the tools and resources needed to help them prepare for entering the marketplace. Career service offices play more of an educational role rather than an employment agency.
Taking advantage of your college career center helps increase your chances of landing a good job in a career field that matches your interests instead of changing majors multiple times and prolonging your graduation.
You will benefit from having a plan to follow rather than hoping, when you graduate, you’ll find something you like. The truth is most students are in the middle spectrum when deciding what career path to pursue and would benefit from talking with a career counselor.
Thinking of your on-campus career offices as a last-minute stop before graduating to curb the feelings of panic with finding a job is not a good plan. Going to school is a considerable investment of your time and money, so viewing career services as a holistic part of your education helps you understand their significance and puts them on your list of priorities long before your graduate.
College career services offer assistance in a variety of ways, but it’s up to you to use them; for example, receiving feedback on your resume and online profiles.
Virtually all career centers will provide career counseling, assessments to help you identify career interests, career fairs, job search workshops, internship assistance, alumni databases and support in exploring graduate school programs.
It’s natural to seek advice from family and friends who are working in your field of interest, since their experience can be helpful to you in gathering information. However, career services can give you an objective point of view when making career decisions.
Often the most significant benefits of using career services are the skills you acquire in learning how to conduct research, network with alumni and established relationships with employers.
Learning how to build relationships is a part of your career development, and taking the time throughout your school years to meet with career counselors helps develop good rapport when it’s time for you to graduate.
The real advantage comes in when career offices sponsor career fairs where making connections with employers is likely to occur. Career counselors can also help you with networking by providing names of alumni working in your career field. That can easily turn into a job opportunity.
Kimberly Thompson is a board-certified counselor. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or Houston Chronicle, P.O. Box 4260, Houston, TX 77210. Visit her blog at www.blogs.chron.com/careerrescue.