Career Center Organization
In order to obtain optimal benefit, you need to understand how your Career Center is organized. There are two distinct career functions which are provided on most college campuses:
- Career planning and exploration
- Job search assistance
The former involves vocational counseling and assessments to assist you in choosing a potential future career. The latter is designed to assist you in locating your first job after graduation, and possibly to help you find internships and other work. Start with the former first. As discussed earlier, you need to thoroughly research your career options and know what you want to do before you begin your job search. Always complete the research before you begin looking.
Some colleges divide these two functions into separate offices, with career planning handled by a "Career Services" or "Career Planning" office. This can sometimes be part of Student Services or Counseling Services. The primary emphasis of career planning is to help you better understand your individual aptitudes, personality, interests, and values in relation to potential career options. This evaluation may be done through a series of standardized assessments and computer-based programs, which are then analyzed by an experienced career counselor, who assists you in mapping the results against potential careers. Career planning is best accomplished as early as possible in your college career, but you should never skip the step simply because you "got started late" and need to find a job quickly. Take the time necessary to properly evaluate your background and explore all the opportunities which may be available to you. It will help you immensely in becoming more focused and targeted in your job search. And in achieving greater happiness in your eventual career.
The Career Center is the only place on earth where your job search is the number one priority of others. Yet relatively few take advantage of this valuable resource. Make sure you are one of the relative few.
Job search assistance is usually found on campus at the Career Center (which can go by many different names, including "Career Development" or "Career Services"). In some schools, all career assistance functions are contained within a single office, sometimes even combined with Career Planning. At other schools, job search assistance may be divided by undergraduate and graduate degrees, or may be divided by specific majors. Some schools also maintain an active alumni career office, often as an adjunct to the Alumni Relations office. If this all sounds confusing, it's not intended to be. You simply need to locate the office which is designed specifically for you. And if you happen to wander into the wrong one, just ask and they will be able to point you in the right direction.