Why Every College Student Should Visit Their University Career Center NOW!
When I ask students “Have you visited your university’s career center?” 90% of the time they answer, “No.” Which is a shame. I wish I knew why students don’t visit their university’s career services department or why they wait until senior year to make their first appointment.
Some universities have better career centers than others, but you won’t know what services are available to you unless you visit and ask. Sadly, once you graduate, most of the services offered to you as an undergrad will no longer be available to you so it’s best to visit your career services department as an undergraduate student.
Think about this: universities WANT to be able to boast, “100% of our students graduate with a job!”
Now, no university can truly make this specific statement, but I promise you they wish they could. Which means your school really wants to help students get hired. Post-graduate employment rate is one metric schools evaluate in their quest to measure student success.
It’s important to note some universities have a main career center for ALL students and then sometimes each college or school within the university may have its own career center. For example: University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, University of Alabama’s College of Engineering and Boston University’s College of Communication each have its own career center in addition to one major career center for all students. If your school has a main career center for the entire university AND a career center within your specific school or college then visit both and make sure to leverage any services and information available.
Before you visit your university’s or specific school’s career center, first go to the school’s web site and dig deep on the career center web pages to learn what types of services and programs are offered. Believe it or not, some schools mention programs on their web site but then the people working at the career center (sometimes students themselves) know nothing about the programs. By being informed BEFORE you visit your career center, you will be certain to know about all of the services and programs offered and not just rely on the person manning the front desk.
Here are some examples of programs school career centers offer: mentorship matching program with alumni in relevant fields, mock interviewing practice, personality and career assessments, resume reviews and workshops on such topics as LinkedIn profiles, how to use Handshake, cover letter writing, networking and more.
I’m always poking around university career center web sites. Here are some unique opportunities I discovered recently:
- UGA offers a program called Intern for a Day providing students with a job shadowing opportunity.
- University of Alabama College of Engineering offers a MentorUpp program matching students to older peers and/or professionals.
- University of Virginia offers students several different tools to assess your strengths, values and interests.
- For the last few years, Clemson University has been ranked as having the #1 college career center by Princeton Review. In addition to a great staff and quality workshops and programming, their website offers in-depth resume writing tips.
Remember, if you don’t do the due diligence and research online BEFORE you visit your career center, then you won’t know what services are offered and what questions to ask.