In an ever-tightening job market, it is to the jobseeker's advantage to utilize each and every resource made available to him/her. Your connections, local workshops, job clubs, Linkedin groups, professional organizations, etc. all offer opportunities for jobseekers to obtain valuable information regarding their resumes, preparing for interviews, meeting potential employers or additions to their network. College students have yet another resource that largely remains untapped -- the campus career center.
Can the career center really help me?
I participated in a discussion in one of my Linkedin groups where a student remarked that she had difficulty applying the advice she had been given. She was told to contact employers directly rather than waiting for her resume to generate a response. In this economy, some employers have tightened up their ranks and aren't giving out recruiters' information so readily anymore. The young lady asked, "What am I supposed to do if I can't get the name of the recruiter?[paraphrased]
My suggestion to her was that she contact her campus career center. Often career centers are given a bad rap. I have heard that the center "didn't prepare me for the fact that looking for a job was a full-time job," or "They don't understand what hiring managers are really looking for in a resume." Who better to know (and teach) this to students than professionals who spend their days developing and maintaining employer relationships? Additionally, career center professionals may have access to recruiters that is not made available to the general student population.
People often talk about what the Career Center doesn't teach and doesn't do for students; that is funny to me, because it couldn't be farther from the truth. As a Career Center Director (and even in previous staff-level positions), I often had conversations with colleagues about how students didn't make appointments until they were graduating, or didn't attend any of the workshops where these things were being taught, and then wanted placement assistance at the last minute. I once had a student attend my spring career fair in flip-flops, basketball shorts and a t-shirt (despite the "dress for success" workshop held twice before the event that he did not attend). He approached me and asked me what I could do for him, as he was graduating next month. Wow! I had never before seen him in my office, and when I suggested that he make an appointment, he didn't show up until two days before graduation. Needless to say, there was not much I could do for him. I sent him on his way with an excellent resume and a couple of referrals, but he had tied my hands. Unfortunately, this is the rule rather than the exception at most colleges/universities.
Students actually have an advantage
One of the benefits of being a student is that you don't have to do it alone. Contact your Career Center for help with reaching those employers. That's what they're here for!
If you have a specific career transition question, or if you would like to suggest a topic, please leave a comment below.
If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to my feed by following the link at the top of the page.