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The career development center people should be your college BFFs

Visit as often as you hit the dining hall.
Career development centers: You campus' secret weapon
Photo credit: iStock

For many students, simply graduating from college is enough of an accomplishment. But what they don’t realize is that earning a degree is only step one in the challenge to achieve a successful life and career. In reality, the career development center should become your home away from your dorm. These connectors can help students link in with mentors that can assist in obtaining internships, on-campus jobs and even one-on-one meetings with recruiters. Wouldn't it be better if all that money (or scholarship) didn't go to waste and instead you could step from classroom to office after graduation? Yeah, we think so, too.

 

Make the first step to go to your career development center

 

According to the Associate Vice President for Student Leadership Initiatives at New York University, Bethany Godsoe, taking initiative and visiting career services should be the priority for any college student.

“I think a lot of students believe that the time to go to a career development center is when they are looking for a job, and in order to make good use of career services you need to have a good sense of what you want to do,” Godsoe explains, “when in fact, students can gain the most benefit from a career development center on their campus when they engage early — even before they have an idea of specifically what they want to be doing after college. They can take advantage of different assessments that will help them get a better sense of their direction, take advantage of coaching appointments, and have opportunities to meet employers in a casual setting with very low stakes. If they do all of this in advance, they will be in much better positions to become successful.”

Take advantage of it early and often

 

 

Godsoe believes that the most common mistake that students make is believing that they are either not ready to take advantage of what career services have to offer, or they just simply do not need it at all.

“I think sometimes students think they have to do a lot of work on their own before they get to the career services center, and that may feel daunting to them,” she says “when in fact, our philosophy is precisely the opposite. They should engage early and often and we can help to get them there.”

 

Does help from a career development center really make a difference?

 

Some schools choose to go the extra mile with their career development strategies. Take Syracuse, for example; they've created their own LinkedIn-style database called ‘Cuseconnect that helps bring together students and alumni, thus granting free guidance and invaluable relationships to those still studying ... but eventually looking for future employment.

According to Godsoe, it’s like career development offices are handing you the keys to a brighter future outside of college. “What we see is that students are better off later on if they develop mentoring relationships while they're in college, and if they take advantage of opportunities to apply what they're learning in the classroom through internships or projects that last pass the semester. Those are precisely what a career development office can help them navigate.”