Some people argue that career services constitute the most vital component of your post-high school educational experience. They say that without them, you’ll never be able to find a job. But what exactly is career services? And why is it all that important?
Let’s say you’ve just graduated from college. You’ve spent the last two years working hard at your education, getting good grades and getting enough study time to complete your degree. Now what? Should you immediately start searching for jobs? Or should you spend more time preparing your resume and preparing to go out and find them?
With the advent of the Internet, job hunters can now find answers to these questions easily. Online, you can find free resources on everything from resume writing to career services. Most career counselors have websites as well, and they’re happy to answer questions. But how do you choose which online sources are reputable and which are not?
A great place to start your search for free resources is the university’s career center. The good news is that most universities have one! The career center typically has several brochures and informational articles that provide helpful information to graduates such as how to set up your resume, where to find employers and what kinds of careers are available. The advantage of visiting the university’s career center is that you can ask a career counselor any questions you have, so you get objective advice that isn’t biased. Some career counselors also belong to professional organizations, so you can get even more reliable information.
Another good resource for finding out about career services is your local professional development center. These centers usually have several brochures and packets available for sale, including information on career services, resume writing, and professional development. While some of these brochures are targeted toward specific fields, many are general guides that touch on many aspects of career development. You might also find some good career development tips at your local YMCA.
Your local newspaper may have an education section that gives information on careers, as well as personal ads. Sometimes these ads will give details about job search resources and resume writing services. In addition, newspapers sometimes have community bulletin boards where you can post job searches. Check local newspapers frequently, and see if any job search ads catch your eye. Newspapers are also a good source of referrals, since they often contain links to professional development and career services centers, professional organizations, and job search sites.
Your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances are another source of references. If someone you know has a job or is looking for one, be sure to ask whether they use a career service and what kind of help they receive. Some employers have their own specialists who help with all aspects of the job search, while others rely on outside services to sort through potential candidates and choose those suited for the position. When you meet with someone, be sure to ask questions about their professional background and experience in career development, since this will make it easier for you to gauge their knowledge of job searching. It will also help you gauge their interest and commitment to helping you find a job.
Many career services also provide services to employers. Career coaches can help with your resume and interview preparation, and some have programs specifically designed to connect their clients with employers. If you need career advice or help preparing your career-building resume, be sure to let the professional know what type of help you need, whether that is specific career advice or referrals to employers. Many employers have connections to professionals who can help their employees find jobs or advance their careers.