Forget the college career center — finding a job is on you

Student job
The career center is no longer the place to begin for students. / Thinkstock

Gone are the days that students can rely on their college career centers to prepare them for the real world — now it’s on them. Students have to be accountable for their careers and seek out events, alumni and opportunities on their own.

In a new study by my company and Internmatch.com, we found that almost half of students aren’t using their career centers, and 64 percent are turning to online resources instead. The average ratio of students to career service professionals is 1,889 to 1, and we found that almost a third of students in our study say that centers don’t have enough staff to support demand.

What’s most alarming is that 61 percent say career centers are either never or rarely effective in helping them land a job. Clearly, students have to take matters into their own hands! Here are five tips:

1. Be proactive and attend as many career-oriented college events as possible. If your school is bringing in a guest speaker, or hosting a roundtable with alumni, you should attend. The worst outcome from going to an event like that is learning more about their industry, and the best is making a new connection that could lead to employment.

2. Get your career service center to introduce you to alumni in your field. The most important asset that career centers have, that they don’t use nearly enough, is their alumni database. Instead of just going into a meeting with your career counselor about your resume and cover letter, ask for introductions to alumni that are employed at companies that you’re interested in. That connection is way more important than the format your resume is in!

3. Use free or paid online platforms to educate yourself and stay ahead of the curve. Don’t rely on your career center as the single place where you learn job skills. Instead, turn to online resources like Udemy, Coursera, Khan Academy, SkillShare and Udacity. Based on your profession and industry, you can learn vital skills that will translate into new opportunities.

4. Do as many internships and freelance gigs as you can until you find the right career path. Students are almost always clueless about which career path to pursue even after selecting a college major. To figure things out, you have to have as many experiences as possible so you understand the types of roles you like and don’t like. By doing this, you realize the profession you want to be in, the size company you want to work for and the corporate culture you do best in.

5. Disconnect from technology and meet people face-to-face to build your soft skills. In a past survey, we found that 40 percent of students feel like technology has hurt their soft skills, such as the ability to interact and build relationships face to face. Make sure you are disconnecting every day so that you can meet people and form stronger connections that can lead to jobs.

Dan Schawbel is a workplace expert, keynote speaker and author of the New York Times best-selling book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.