Every year, many college seniors visit the career counseling offices at their schools to get help writing their resumes and cover letters, to get some advice on starting their careers, and to scan job listings. Most of those students benefit. Yet the fact is, students can make much better use of college career/counseling offices if they follow these steps . . .
- As early as freshman year, establish a relationship with a career counselor. Counselors can offer vocational preference tests, give advice on picking a college major, suggest courses to take, and line students up with internships at potential employers. Plus, students who get started in their freshman or sophomore year can build more long-lasting and beneficial relationships with counselors. So the best advice is that students should start visiting college counseling offices well before their senior year.
- Learn how to use the office’s online resources. Many offices offer online listings of jobs and internships. The smartest, most efficient students know what these resources are, and they bookmark and check them often.
- Start building a resume in the first or second year of college. When a student doesn’t start putting together a resume until graduation is near, that shows. But if a student starts early, he or she creates a document that captures lots of relevant information, and that will benefit from ongoing improvement and revising. So again, the best strategy is to start early.
- Dig deeper into the office’s resources. Most offices offer notebooks that contain sample resumes and cover letters. They also maintain lists of alumni who work for different potential employers, as well as profiles of companies that have hired the college’s grads in recent years. And there may also be events where students can network with alumni and get career advice and job leads.
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