One Graduate’s View: Do Career Centers Help Us Find Jobs?

I’m sure there are many career services departments ready to help college students.

Unfortunately, among those I network with now, the majority of students and graduates do not find career services helpful. This was the case at my small school, and also with millennials that have graduated from larger schools.

As opposed to those passionate enough to comment on my previous blog, Prepare Now! Career Advice from a Recent Graduate, it seems the majority of career services departments are taking a passive role – which isn’t helping us.

  • Resume help is available anywhere, frankly, and the more contemporary assistance found online seems to be more in touch with today’s tough job environment
  • In many schools, networking – online or offline – is hardly mentioned by career services; the coaching is all about typos, the right paper to print the resume on, or how to dress appropriately
  • I’m sorry, but old-school traditions like mock interviews and Career Fairs are just not effective – we learn by doing, and by making real mistakes
  • We need to talk directly with the companies hiring employees or interns now – and not those that traditionally work with career services: big corporations, large utilities, and companies that market to Gen Y as a convenient labor pool for entry-level sales

Finding a job nowadays isn’t about writing the perfect typo-free resume; it’s about knowing influential people in the market of your choice. To thrive, students need a place where we not only craft a decent resume and cover letter, but can build relevant portfolios and networks – and find industry-specific mentors.

This critical aspect of today’s job search is not emphasized nearly enough by career centers.

Also, the common perception seems to be that Career Services departments aren’t set up to handle that much of a workload. If every kid that was graduating went to the career services, they would crumble under the workload. Especially with recent budget cuts, schools just don’t put enough effort or resources into this critical area. Ironic, since it is now we – and career center professionals – really need the support.

College is supposed to create an atmosphere that eventually leads students to a job. I’m just not sure that is happening as often as any of us would like.

But I wish I and my fellow millennials felt differently.

Editor’s note: this blog from Richard Blake McCammon was originally posted in response to comments in the LinkedIn group “College Recruiting Central for Employers and Universities”.

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