Even the best Career Services department isn’t going to hand you a job. Finding a good job in a great career is up to you! But Career Services are super important to start you on the right track. Here’s why:
1. Career Service Officers know the how-to’s of an actual job search. They know all about the profession you trained for and what area employers expect from new hires. More importantly, they can show you how to find out who’s hiring! Check out job postings at your school and online. Make a habit of scouring sites like Monster, Indeed, and CareerBuilder. Even if you’re not fully trained for the position you want, start looking now. That way you’ll know the skills you need to develop, hone, and polish.
2. They show you how to build an effective portfolio. In today’s digital age, your professional portfolio is about so much more than just your resume—even if you have uploaded it to LinkedIn. You need a great digital resume that will beat a company’s applicant tracking system. But you also need a paper version and a customized cover letter that speaks to the specifics of a particular job you want. Your LinkedIn profile? Make it top-notch and get on the site every day to build connections.
3. And how to perform well in an interview. Another important service Career Services provide is the “mock” interview. That’s when you get the opportunity to sit down to a job interview that’s just for practice. Whether in-person, on the phone, or through Skype, mock interviews can let you know what to expect in a real one and give you valuable feedback. They also help you become more comfortable with the process so when you land an actual interview, you’ll be able to ace it.
4. Career Services host employers. Does your school host area employers? If they do, don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn about the kinds of jobs they may have. Speaking engagements from company representatives give you a chance to learn directly from the professionals you’ll meet in your career. Whether they’re from area hospitals, banks, or other businesses, find out what they—and their companies—are all about. Ask lots of questions! And bring along your resume. You never know in whose hand it might land.
5. They teach professionalism. As important as what you learn in a classroom or lab is, it’s only part of the pathway to a new career. You also need some real world applications. A great Career Services staff can teach you how to look and act professionally. They may offer suggestions on how to dress and handle yourself on interviews and at networking events. But they’ll also lead by example. Do they offer up a firm handshake and a pleasant smile when they meet you? And how do you respond? If you want to be taken seriously, you have to start behaving like the professional you hope to become.
6. And offer tips and tricks. LinkedIn isn’t the only digital tool you can use to help you get ready for a new career. Everything you do on social media matters. Make certain that you heed the warnings from Career Services about cleaning up your Facebook page and Instagram accounts. Make all your settings private, but don’t put anything out there for the world to see unless you’re proud of it!
At Charter College, Career Services Officers know what you should—and shouldn’t—do if you want to build your career training into a real career. Interested in learning what they know? Give us a call at