Every collegiette has concerns about her future. “What do I really want to do?” “How do I take the first step in my career?” “Is my resume completely horrendous?” If you’re asking yourself these questions, don’t wallow in self-pity—go to your college’s career center! The career center is one of the most informative and helpful places on campus. Here are five things every collegiette should ask at her university’s career center.
1. What job opportunities are there for people with my major?
With constant technological advancements, the job market and the relevance of your major can change in an instant. Knowing what options are open to you when you graduate is key. When choosing a major, you’ll need to keep in mind the types of skills you’ll be learning.
“Many employers are looking for well-rounded students who possess transferable skills, such as verbal and written communication skills, analytical skills, research skills and technology skills,” says Suzanne Dagger, the Director of Career Development and Assessment at Hofstra University. “Your major does not determine the rest of your life!”
Although you should always follow your passion, you should also keep in the back of your mind what your major qualifies you for and how many opportunities there are in your field. A career counselor can help you with this!
“I was really iffy about my education major,” says Natalie, a recent gradute of Adelphi University. “After talking to someone in my career center, I realized that jobs for new teachers are few and far between, and I would probably really struggle to start my career. It made the decision to pursue something else so much easier.” Now, Natalie is pursuing a career in the communications field.
2. How do I network with people in my future career field?
Networking is key for any collegiette looking for her job after graduation. But it’s hard to take the first step and reach out to someone you don’t know! Luckily, school spirit doesn’t disappear after graduation; your career center can likely put you in touch with alumni who are more than willing to help you out.
“My school has a site where you can put in your major and hometown and a bunch of alumni who do what you want to do pop up,” says Nicole, a senior majoring in English at Marist College. “It even tells you if the alumni are willing to have you shadow them for the day to see if it’s the right career choice for you.”
3. How does my resume look?
Making your first resume can be extremely stressful and confusing. What skills are employers looking for? Do you need to list your GPA? Do you put down that high school job at McDonald’s? Luckily, your career counselor will be more than happy to look over your resume for you and answer those questions.
“Students can get resume critiques during counseling appointments,” Dagger says. “Additionally, students can take advantage of alumni events that we offer where alumni who are professionals will offer advice.”
You should definitely see if your college hosts resume workshops. At resume workshops, professionals or career counselors will critique and alter your resume for free.
“My resume was checked by a superintendent once, and then [someone from] Pearson Education the most recent time. They are the ones in charge of the NY teaching certifications,” says Nicole, a senior majoring in psychology and special education at Marist College. Who better to read over a future teacher’s resume than people who certify teachers?
Influential professionals in your future career field can help you tailor your resume to fit what employers are looking for. And it’s another awesome opportunity to network!
4. What do I say on an internship or job interview?
“Um, well, you know, uh,” is not exactly the best response to a question during an interview. Unfortunately, our nerves often get the best of us, and that’s the kind of sputtering that can come out. By being proactive and heading to your career center, you and a career counselor can have a mock interview and practice before you head into the interview for real.
“It’s an opportunity to practice interview questions, get helpful feedback and see yourself on video—all prior to the real thing, so you can make the necessary changes to be successful,” Dagger says.
The best thing about a mock interview is you can eliminate all your nervous quirks before you ever sit down with a potential boss. Knowing in advance that you have a tendency to say “um” or twirl your hair too much when you’re nervous can make the difference between a “no” and a “yes” after an interview!
“As a chronic nervous hair twirler, seeing all my flaws on video really helped me to try to look more composed and professional during my actual interviews,” Natalie says.
5. I have a few post-grad job offers. How do I know which is the right one for me?
So you’re a senior with multiple jobs to choose from after graduation? You go, girl! Many graduating collegiettes would kill to be in your shoes. But it can be hard to choose which path to take when it’s your first foray into the real world. A career counselor can go over your options with you and help you decide which opportunity best fits your goals.
“Students should consider which opportunity will allow them to grow professionally and where they will be the happiest and most successful,” says Dagger. “Many times taking a job just for the reason that they are offering a little more money is not worth it in the end. Consider the job tasks and all the other benefits the job brings, not just the salary.”
You can also talk to your career counselor about your grad school options and if it is beneficial for you to attend grad school.
It’s clear that a visit to the career center is a must for all collegiettes. Don’t waste time fretting about the future; head to your career center and set yourself on the right path to an incredible future!