Quintessential Careers:
Career Services Do's and Don'ts

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  • Here are the keys to getting the most from your college's career services office. Follow these simple rules and you'll maximize the resources and advice from these professionals. Here are their tips for you.

    • Do come in willing to take suggestions and constructive feedback on your resume and cover letters.
      -- Laura Yu, Career Services, Virginia Tech

    • Do tell your career counselor and/or professional about your values, goals, and aspirations. These aspects of yourself can greatly affect your career decision-making process.
      -- Amy Ertel, Career Counselor, Career Development Office, Tulane Law School

    • Do take advantage of all programs offered by career services so you can connect with professionals. These professionals can be valuable sources for information interviews, internships, and possible full-time positions.
      -- Judy L. Fisher, Director, Career Development Center, Occidental College

    • Do go to workshops offered by your career-services office starting in your freshman year. The career services office is for all students on a college campus, not just seniors. If you wait until your last semester to start visiting the career services office you have waited too long and may not find the assistance you are looking for. Get in early ... meet the staff... and start developing your career early on.
      -- Peter Fagan, Career Counselor. Herkimer County Community College, Herkimer, NY

    • Do make use of your college career center's alumni contacts to start networking. Most college career centers have this type of alumni connection, which is priceless for both the current student as well as those graduating or job searching. Remember that conducting a job search requires much more than just putting your resume on a major job board such as Monster.com! Networking is one of the best ways to find resources on job opportunities, the career field, or company/industry information. At Loyola College Career Development & Placement Center, we have an Alumni Career Networking System. More than 1,200 alumni/ae professionals have volunteered to answer questions about their company/industry. These alums might have contacts with hiring managers, be willing to refer the job-seeker's resume to the right person, serve as a mentor, share information about internships and part- and full-time opportunities, be willing to have the student/job-seeker meet him/her and "shadow" at the workplace -- and more!
      -- Marcia Merrill, Assistant Director, Career Development & Placement Center, Loyola College, Maryland

    • Do take advantage of any on-campus recruiting program your career center offers but don't put all of your eggs in that basket. Do check classifieds, attend networking events, and contact employers on your own to widen the job search.
      -- Ellen Russell, Career Consultant, MBNA Career Education Center, Georgetown University

    • Do visit Career Services early in your college career.
      -- Laura Yu

    • Do read your career services center's publication to find out more about the office's services for students.
      -- Amy Ertel

    • Don't come in for suggestions and advice on your resume if you aren't open-minded enough to accept them.
      -- Laura Yu

    • Do take assessments if your career center offers them. Assessments such as the Myers-Briggs and the Strong Interest Inventory help generate and focus career options. The assessments are either free or for a nominal fee and once you leave undergrad, you often have to shell out much more money to take them.
      -- Ellen Russell

    • Don't believe the myth that career services is only for business majors.
      -- Judy L. Fisher

    • Don't expect Career Services to "hand you" a job; job searching is hard work and requires much effort on your part.
      -- Laura Yu

    • Don't expect advice from any career professionals about deciding on your career. Deciding on a career is not done with a crystal ball. Your career decisions are your responsibility. Use career professionals as sounding boards.
      -- Amy Ertel

    • Don't expect career services to write your resumes and cover letters for you.
      -- Laura Yu

    • Do visit the career center before you want to begin the internship or job search to become familiar with the center. Don't wait until the last minute to begin the search.
      -- Ellen Russell

    Read all our job-hunting do's and don'ts.