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10 Ways to Make the Most of Your School's Career Office

You may not know much about your college's career office, but that information's worth finding out. The office can help you do many things on the road to forming your career, even before you're a senior. Some of the ways it helps might even come as a surprise.

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By Laura Allan

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Choose Extracurriculars and Classes

If you already have a job in mind, you might find out that you need to do some extra work to get employed in the field. Your career center can tell you what kind of classes, training and life experience you need in order to be a good job candidate. They may recommend certain clubs or groups for you to join, and they can even help you get into some classes that might be filling up or entirely full.

Write Your Resume

Probably the main thing that career offices do is help students prepare their resumes. They know all sorts of resume styles, depending on the kind of job you want to apply for. Just be sure to be specific when you articulate your career goals. They'll help you determine what information is useful to include and what's less helpful.

Look at Job Resources

While it's fairly easy for you to look at the want ads in the newspaper, a career center can take you a step further. They'll have books, helpful lists and a knowledge of who's hiring and what kind of jobs fit with your major. They can also help you refine your criteria in job search engines online to get a better list of things you'd both be good at and enjoy.

Take a Career Aptitude Test

You've probably heard of these before in TV shows or from friends, but maybe you've never taken one. Your college's career office is a great place to start. They likely have several different aptitude tests to choose from that can help point you in the right direction. You might have never guessed what jobs you'd be best at before.

Research Grad School

Maybe getting a job right away isn't the best option for you. Don't worry, your career office can still help. Besides job resources, they likely have plenty of pamphlets and lists of grad schools that can help you down the path of your choice. They can even assist you in filling out applications, so you'll have the best chances of getting in.

Learn About Internships

If you're thinking about internships as compared to paying jobs, don't wonder alone. Bring your questions and concerns to the career center. They can help you weigh your options and let you see which internships are available to someone like you. They might even know of some internships you can get into while you're still in college.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Administrative Assistant or Secretary
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  • Executive Assistant or Secretary
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  • Receptionist
  • Warehousing and Inventory Management

Look Up Statistics

Are you curious about what kind of pay scale you'll be looking at if you take one major over another? Before you declare, check out the career center's books and resources. You'll probably find statistics on how many people go into what job, as well as what kind of pay you'll be looking at for each one. The information you find there can make picking your majors and minors a lot easier.

Make Connections

It doesn't matter just what you know but also who you know. Lucky for you, your school can help you with that second part. Your career office can get you in touch with alumni who might be involved in your intended field of study. They can also connect you personally with employers to give interviews a more personal feel. You might even find out that there are certain teachers who used to work in one field or another and have some good advice for you.

Get Letters of Recommendation

Sometimes the best way to get a job or get into grad school is by having a friendly word said about you. Letters of recommendation are often required for applications, and if they're not they're still a nice add-on to any resume. You career center can write some letters for you, depending on what you need. They can also tell you which teacher's or advisor's letters will help you the most in a given situation.

Look Into Working Abroad

There are special programs that involve working in other countries in exchange for room and board, as well as great life experience. A lot of these are teaching positions, but that's not always the case. If you're unsure how to get into those, start talking to your career office. They can tell you what's available and what steps to take in order to get there. There may even be special working abroad programs that your school sponsors.

Nervous about how you'll survive in college? Don't worry, just follow these tips for adjusting to college life!

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