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How can I utilize my campus career center to its full potential?


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Sarah’s Answer

My campus career center was extremely helpful to me when I was finding companies I was interested in as well as going through the internship application process. To start, it is helpful to research information about your campus career center and possibly set up a meeting with someone who is a part of the center to find out various resources available to you. Ask as many questions as possible to get the information you need and utilize students who may work in the center and have similar experiences to yours.

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Kyle’s Answer

Hi Caroline, there are numerous ways to utilize your campus career center. A great way to start would be to look at the different services that your respective career center offers. A great example of their resources would be if your are looking for an internship or job. You can start out by having your resume reviewed by them to make sure that it is ready to send off to recruiters, also if you need help crafting an email to introduce yourself, the career center can be a great resource for that too. A very important part of all interviews is asking good questions at the end and having someone at the center help develop and review possible questions is always a good idea. Finally, you can conduct mock interviews with the staff at the center to be prepared for the type of questions that will be asked, along with the format. I wish you the best of luck.

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Rachel’s Answer

Hi Caroline!

Career Centers often have many helpful services that go relatively unnoticed. Research your career center thoroughly, whether that be on their website or in pamphlets that the center may provide. Once you've researched services that may be of interest to you, schedule a meeting with a career counselor and discuss the services with them to get a feel of how you can utilize them to your best advantage. Meet often with a career counselor, at least once or twice a semester (ESPECIALLY if you go to a big school!) because the better they get to know you and your situation, the better they can help align you with career goals and interests that tailor to your specific needs. Another huge piece of advice would be to schedule these meetings early! Don't wait until a career fair or until the end of the year is coming up, because they will get busier during these peak times!

Career Center services vary by school, so do your research, ask questions, and be consistent to build those relationships and make your experience even better!

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Carly’s Answer

Hi Caroline!

I highly recommend utilizing your school's career center. A few ways I utilized mine while in college was for assistance with interview prep, resumes, job applications and career advice. I recommend attending the events that they host around campus. I made important connections and obtained helpful information when I went to the events they organized. Some of the events I enjoyed were the Career Fair and the Grad School Fair. Additionally I suggest meeting with someone from the office one on one to create a relationship with them. I found that once I felt more comfortable with one of the staff in the office, I was more willing to ask all of the questions I had without feeling like the question was stupid or I was bothering them!

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Ian’s Answer

Career centers on college campuses can be monumental in helping students find their footing on their path to a successful career. To get right to the point, I have utilized the career center at my school in three primary ways, all of which were super helpful in helping me land interviews and ultimately, employment offers:

1) Resume Reviews
2) Mock Interviews
3) Recruiting/Networking Events

The resume is the first 'point of contact' between you and a company that's looking to hire you. Your resume must portray your strengths, accomplishments, and experience in the best way possible, as professionally as possible. Without getting too much into it, this usually involves citing specific achievements/figures/statistics that you've accomplished or produced in your past work/school/life experience. It is VERY difficult to craft a pristine resume (that portrays you in the best way possible) without having MULTIPLE pairs of eyes review it to catch mistakes/make improvements/give general advice. Resumes must also stand out from others, as companies often have hundreds, if not thousands of other resumes in the stack to sift through. An action item you could consider is to contact your career center as soon as possible and ask for the next available resume review session, where you could get concrete feedback on yours to make improvements. This is certainly a start; even if you have gotten yours reviewed in the past, there is almost always room for growth.

The next point of contact between you and a potential employer is the interview. It is difficult to know what to expect before a job interview; sometimes, they're more behavioral where you simply speak to your experience and your strengths. This typically occurs in 'first round' interviews. The second round follows, which is generally more technical; you may get asked specific questions that make think critically or solve problems related to your field. Doing online research about how interviews are conducted is definitely a start, although the best way to prepare for any interview (by far) is to do a mock interview with another person. Doing these mock interviews forces you to practice advocating for yourself and speaking to your strengths out-loud, and you're also able to get real-time feedback on your performance. The next action item you should consider doing is contacting your career center and asking them about mock interview sessions that are available (and if none are, ask if you can schedule one with someone in your field). Whether your area of expertise is technology/health/education/etc., your career center should almost certainly have mock interview sessions available to you.

Lastly, how do you even get your resume on the stack in the first place, in order to land an interview? That's where recruiting events like career fairs/coffee chats/networking sessions come in. These are the events that you absolutely need to attend in order to meet recruiters, to pitch yourself, and ultimately to get your resume on that stack. The last action item here is to contact your career center and ask them for a full schedule of recruiting events occurring at your school over the entire semester/year, so that you can plan ahead and attend as many as possible. After you've crafted the most pristine resume, and after you've prepared yourself to succeed in the interview phase, attend these events to ultimately get your foot in the door, all while being as prepared as can be.

I really hope this helps. I am sure that you're already familiar with all of the above points, but these insights are just the things I've learned through my own recruiting experience at my school. In my view, these three areas are the main ways in which you can utilize your career center to its fullest potential. Let me know if you need any clarification.

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Austin’s Answer

First, try and look into all the services your career center provides. I know most campus career centers offer resume workshops and mock interviews. You can't imagine how useful these types of events are until you start to build more to add to your resume and actually start to do interviews, so don't take them for granted. I know I've participated in both of these types of events and I've actually been asked the same question in an interview that I went through in a mock interview. The mock interview really helps to get rid of some of the initial nerves you may have and it's alright to mess up there. Usually the people running them will be there to give you advice and talk you through questions when you get stuck. Building a resume can be tough when you're young and don't have a lot of experience, but some of the advice and tips you will learn will really help in the future when you do start to have relevant work experience. I'd say the main thing is just don't be afraid to go and ask for help or see what all is offered at the career center.

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