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One of the most important reasons students enroll in college or university is to graduate and start an exciting career. Your school’s career services can help you reach your goals.
According to a recent Student Health 101 survey, only 36 percent of respondents have consulted their career services office. More than half of those were looking for help with resumés or cover letters. Samantha B., a recent graduate of the University of Toronto in Ontario, says, “I didn’t use [the career centre at first] because I wasn’t sure what it was or what they offered.”
Paula Strickland, Manager at the Centre for Career Development at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, explains, “A career counsellor can help you tap into what you’re passionate about and help match you to the career you might be interested in.”
Here are some other career centre perks:
- Career fairs
- Mock interviews with individual feedback
- Meet-and-greets with hiring employers
- Internship and work-study listings
- Individual consultations
- Alumni network contacts
- Industry-specific pointers
Strickland explains that you don’t need to be sure of your career to benefit from the services offered by the centre. If you sought these services outside of school, they could run you more than $100 an hour.
Chris B., a third-year student at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, says, “The career centre is a way to find opportunities.”
Secrets of Career-Planning Success
The key to success in career planning is simple: Start early. If you’re proactive, you’ll be in a stronger position than other job applicants. The earlier you contact the career centre, the greater your exposure to resumé-building opportunities, which can further your career and reduce your stress levels.
Kick-start your career today by following these steps:
- Educate yourself about your career centre’s services.
- Learn more about careers that interest you.
- Look for networking opportunities.
- Volunteer your services-both on and off campus.
Concordia University’s Counselling and Development department emphasizes the importance of networking. They suggest, “Join professional associations, which often offer reduced membership fees for students, to track down job openings and connect with potential employers and your professional peers.”
Strickland agrees. “I would absolutely encourage students to meet [future employers]. It can be easy to get caught up in labour market trends, so it’s always great to meet someone who has that knowledge base and can help you follow your interests.” Researching not only your intended field but also specific companies and their cultures will help you choose a good match. The staff at your career centre will either have familiarity with many organizations or can connect you with other students and alumni who do.
Doing all of this early will ease some job-search stress as you near completion of your degree.
Even if you are still considering a variety of possibilities for your career path, acquainting yourself with the career services offered at your school is the first step to landing a job you love.
Get help or find out more
Career Options Magazine
Concordia University, Career Planning and Counselling
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Career Development and Experiential Learning, Resumes and Cover Letters
University of Toronto, Career Centre, Interviews
York University, Career Centre, Online Resources
University of Waterloo, Centre for Career Action, Self assessment