What Every Student Needs to Know About Career Development In College
Whether you've been confident since childhood about your career choice, you're not yet sure about a major or specific career path, or you're about to graduate - you can benefit by taking advantage of the services offered by your college career adviser.
Parents often comment that they wish they would’ve had such services available to them as they struggled in choosing a major or making job search decisions. It’s not just wishful thinking. Students who meet with their career development advisers learn how to develop a plan and how to make that plan work for them.
Why meet with a career development adviser as a freshman when you might not even know what questions to ask?
To develop a plan!
There are things you can start doing now to make it easier for you throughout your college experience and stay on track to reach your end goal – a career-entry position and/or graduate school.
Step one of your plan is preparation. Malone Career Development contracts with a company to provide students and alumni with an on-line service designed to help them identify their personality traits, interests, skills, and what they value in a workplace as it relates to their career options. As a result of the assessment testing the system will also help students identify occupation areas best suited for them. College career centers typically offer some method of assessment and testing similar to Malone.MyPlan.com.
Students can then start working with a career development adviser to build or hone their resume, write a cover letter and develop a reference page. An adviser also assists in helping students with suggestions on building a portfolio.
- Start a “Career, Vocation/Calling” folder to keep career development materials readily accessible for career-related class assignments and internship/job search prep.
- Start researching internship opportunities as a freshman to be ready to make application when you are a sophomore or junior as per your academic adviser’s advice. Employers expect students to have had more than one internship/co-operative education experience.
Step two of your plan is about making the connection. A recent NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) survey “suggested a strong link” between students and graduates who utilized the services provided by their career centers and landing viable job offers. The Spotlight Online for Career Services Professionals, June 23, 2010 article states per the NACE 2010 Student Survey “Results show that, the more frequently a senior used career services, the more likely he/she would receive a job offer. Fewer than 29 percent of those who received job offers had not used career services—meaning the remaining 71 percent with offers were career center users. In addition, the study found that the likelihood of getting a job offer increased with the frequency of use, so that those who used career services four or more times a semester were more likely to have job offers than those who used services once a semester.”
Connect with employers for part-time and seasonal jobs that can help you build your resume and prepare you for internships. MaloneCareerConnect.com is the online resume/job posting system that employers use to specifically reach Malone University students for their part-time, seasonal, internship and full-time career opportunities. Federal Work Study positions are posted as well (for those who qualify).
Besides using the system for searching for jobs locally and nationwide, you can upload your resume for automatic review by a career development adviser. Sample resumes are available to help you in building yours. The Job Hunter’s Guide is available as a helpful tool.
Don’t limit yourself to on-line systems and social media to make your employment connections.
Cautionary Note: Your on-line presence and history must be free of any non-professional speech or conduct. Google yourself and follow your postings (i.e. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogs, personal web sites, internet research, etc.). Change any immature voice mail messages and email addresses to simply match your name on your resume. Create and maintain a young professional brand.
Take advantage of networking events with successful alumni, informational sessions, on-campus employer mock interviews and recruiting events. Familiarize yourself with professional groups and memberships associated with your major. Become a student member of regional and local Chamber of Commerce college groups to learn about what’s happening with area businesses and organizations to mix with professionals.
- Meet with the people you’ve chosen as your references. Ask for permission to use them as a reference and give them a copy of your resume. Talk to them about who you are, what you want and why an employer should hire you. Ask them for suggestions of people you could add to your network for information interviews.
- Learn how to professionally present yourself to potential employers
- Practice interviewing by participating in mock interviews with a career development adviser, guest employers and interview simulators.
- Review videotape employer mock interviews with a career development adviser
- Go to your career developments’ web pages for at-a-glance advice and helpful employer links and search sites
- Read the local newspapers and get RSS feeds to stay current with the job market
- Always send a thank you note to anyone who helps you in any way
- Be kind, considerate and courteous to everyone you meet
- Carefully follow up with employer contacts
The services offered by the Malone University Career Development Adviser in the Center for Student Success extend far beyond our office walls to include strong working partnerships with administration, faculty, employers, alumni contacts, a well-established Career Advisory Council as well as regional/national consortiums and professional associations.
Step 3 is to transition well to an internship or career-entry position and/or graduate school. Transitioning is a result of good preparation, effective networking, and careful follow-up with an employer.
Congratulations! You’ve received an internship/job offer. Now before you accept:
- Request a written copy of the job offer
- Review the contract/job description carefully
- Be clear about the written offer stating the starting date, hours, expectations, salary and benefits
- Clarify the employer’s expectations about the position, orientation and training
- Allow for the unexpected in your travel time to ensure early arrival to your job
- Celebrate your internship/job search success by sharing your good news with your career development adviser
Enjoy your college experience and get to know the staff in your Center for Student Success. Remember, no one is born knowing how to write a professional and marketable resume or effectively interview.
Don’t just have wishful thinking. Use your Center for Student Success Career Development Adviser’s expertise and services available to you to develop your plan.
Contact Colleen Winney today.
* The NACE 2010 Student Survey was conducted February 9, 2010, through April 30, 2010. More than 31,470 students representing more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide took part; more than 13,000 of those were graduating seniors. A final report is available.