You might have heard that your university has a career office and the first logical question would be really what do they do? Why would a college campus have a career office? What is its purpose? In this blog post, your question will be answered.
I shall give a disclaimer, though, all college career offices don’t work the same. Some will do more than others and that’s okay, to each their own right? I have listed them in alphabetical order in case any of you type A’s are wondering.
Table of Contents
1. Career Coaching
According to careerexperts.com Career coaching is getting the support, help, and guidance you need to figure things out to reach your ultimate career goals.
A career coach is there to ask questions, give you guidance, and help you overcome whatever challenges you’re facing in your job search. In a coach/client relationship, you hold the agenda.
Your college career office exists to align your college program with your future career goals and plans. They coach you through career path selection, major/minor selection, CV & CL critique, internship & job search, interview prep, and networking.
2. Career path selection
A career path is a sequence of jobs that leads to your short- and long-term career goals. Some follow a linear career path within one field, while others change fields periodically to achieve career or personal goals.
While choosing a career path might be easy and damn near a no-brainer for some it is something that some students if not most need help with and it is for that reason that college career offices exist.
For instance, while there are some majors like medicine and law that for the most part decide your career path for you there are some like international relations, international business, tourism and hospitality, and many more that give a plethora of options that can quickly become overwhelming.
To make sure you don’t get overwhelmed, schools provide career services to make sure you as the student have a smooth transition from the classroom to the job market.
3. CV and Cover Letter critique
What qualifies as a good CV changes all the time. CV is short for Curriculum Vitae and is also referred to as a résumé. It is a document that summarizes your qualifications for various work opportunities.
You might look at your CV and think it’s perfect, only to have it be brutally criticized by your career advisors. You can guess and try your luck, or you can be certain by having your resume critiqued by your school career officers.
4. Internship and Job Search
When it comes to internship search and job search, it could go one of two ways, either you have been working towards a specific place or you are pretty much open to anything available.
College career offices exist to make sure that when it comes time for you to find a place to intern, you have all the help you need.
Most colleges have some sort of integrated job mill site that companies can advertise to where alumni can easily find opportunities. What happens when you already know where you want to intern? Then your career office can help you prep for the interview.
The Internship Process for USIU Students
5. Interview prep
Most if not all college career offices also run mock interviews, which are interview prep. If you already know where you want to work or intern congratulations. All that’s left is for you to be prepared for the interview.
The way a mock interview works is that you’ll have a panel of career advisors prepared beforehand with questions that are likely to be asked based on the industry you are aiming for or the company if said company is known to ask specific questions.
What’s so great about mock interviews is that it will prepare you in a wholesome way. Not only will they prepare you for questions, but they will also give you feedback on your CV and cover letter, and you’re dressing, depending on where you wish to work. This way, you’ll be in top form come real interview day!
6. Job shadowing
Job shadowing is another service provided by the career office. Job shadowing is an opportunity for you to shadow a job role you are interested in.
For instance, if you want to become a developer, your career officer will each put to a real programmer and ask them if they can allow you to shadow them and if they say yes then you will pretty much follow said programmer around all day or all week, do what they do and see if you have what it takes for that given role.
7. Major & minor selection
College career offices also help with major & minor selection. While I was working as a career peer advisor at my alma mater, students would ask why we help with major & minor selection and the simple answer is that college majors and minors are the first career decision you make as an undergrad, which is why this is a service offered by the career office.
Your career office will help you come to a decision based on your personality type, interest, grades, and career aspirations.
College career offices also provide mentorship services. What’s so great about this is that the career office has access to alumni contact information and can reach out to different alumni in different fields to match you depending on the field you are interested in.
I have written a blog post on why you need a career mentor which I shall link for you here and a follow-up blog post on what traits a good career mentor should have. If you haven’t read them, feel free to do so.
Did someone say career fair?
This is one of the biggest networking events set up by the career office. They make sure to reach out to as many companies as possible to come to campus where you, the students, have a level ground to talk to company representatives off the record, to ask whatever industry questions that may be gnawing at you, and exchange contact information. Leveraged correctly, this can cut your job hunting hassle in half.
10. Personal branding
During my time in the career office, this was one of your most popular services to offer. People want to create a brand around themselves.
Personal branding is the conscious and deliberate effort to create an image around your name based on how you carry yourself professionally, your values, and what you post online. Personal branding comes very naturally to some and not so much to others. It is for that reason that the career office exists.
I have also written a blog post on how to create a personal brand using social media, which I shall link for you here.
11. Skills development
One of the things that I quickly learned when I finished my undergrad is that my degree didn’t have any direct application. I had to take a couple of online courses to actually do what it is I wanted to do.
In addition to that, there were also other skills I had to develop and learn on the job. The way I figured most of it out was with help from the career office.
Finally, the college career office also helps with work-study opportunities. All the various offices and departments in the school communicate with the career office telling them what roles they have open and in turn when you go to the career office looking for work-study opportunities the career office will be the one to hook you up.
As earlier stated, some career offices will offer more services and some will offer less, so this list is not one size fits all. If you didn’t know what college career offices do, I hope that this answered your question comprehensively.
Be sure to come back for more college and lifestyle posts. I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. See you then!