Top 5 Ways to Best Utilize the Career Services Office

I recently met with a student who worked at the Career Development center at Bard College. She discussed the college’s efforts to make their offices appealing to the older teen/young adult demographic, with events like “Resumania.” The student advisor also told me how some Type-A students become permanent fixtures at the career center, as soon as their freshman year kicks off. Then there are the slackers, who finally pay her a visit during their spring semester of senior year, tanned from Cancun and jittery as graduation approaches.

But many college students go through their four years and never step foot in their Career Center at all.

At Fairfield University, where the Dolan School of Business is ranked among the “Small Colleges and Universities Strong in Business” according to the Fiske Guide to Colleges and among the “Best Business Schools” by The Princeton Review, the career center strives to cater to its esteemed business school. Cathleen Borgman, the director of the Career Planning Center at Fairfield University says that unfortunately, these students are missing the opportunity to learn about great jobs and develop skills that will benefit them well into their careers.  She advises students to do the following:

1.  Meet with Career Services at some point during their first year to discuss goals and aspirations.  You might be undecided but this is a great time to begin figuring out options.

2.  Sophomore year students would be wise to develop a resume with the Center that can serve as the base for their enhanced version junior and senior years.  Working on cover letters at this point is also advantageous.

3.  Interviewing is a learned skill. Some people are better at it than others but everyone needs to practice and develop it.  Junior year is a great time to do that by working with a counselor to review techniques and even participate in some mock interviews.

4.  Check the Career Center calendar regularly. The Center posts when workshops will take place, when companies will be offering information sessions, who is hiring and when resumes are due.  So many great offerings are available to students if they take the initiative.

5.  Attend Career Fairs no matter what year you are. These offer a great venue to begin developing relationships with organizations, learn more about various industries, and perfect your “elevator speech.”

Most specifically for business students, ask the center how you can use the alumni network right away. Ask to be connected to former graduates of your school for advice or informational interviews. Or ask if you can attend some alumni banquets throughout the year to make instant connections.

While there are many other ways to utilize the Career Center, these starter tips will certainly go a long way.

By Tanya, Wall Street Services Reporter