Monday, 12 May 2014

Three ways to better use your university career centre

Three ways to better use your university career centre
Not sure how to begin your career? When thoughts start to drift, a university career centre can be your anchor.

For some undergraduates, their university career centre is worth only a passing glance in first year. However, as you approach the end of your degree, there are many ways you should be tapping into this valuable resource.

1. Find more opportunities

Online career websites are a great way to search for graduate roles, but don’t forget the staff at your university career centre have a depth of recruitment knowledge that will allow you to tap into areas that are not as accessible or widely advertised. Many universities have special partnerships with organisations, so ask around to find out if you’re suitable.

Professional career staff can tell you:

  • The employers who recruit from your discipline.
  • How and when particular employers recruit.
  • What to expect of the employment market today and where the growth areas are.

They can also find relevant work experience and volunteer opportunities.

2. Find your career direction

Career centres have resources that will help you plan your career, including the research you need to do to find the best career path for you. This involves undergoing a skills assessment and a personality test that will determine areas of suitability, including sectors you may not have considered before.

For a more in-depth look at your career direction, make an appointment with a career counsellor. They will identify your skills, knowledge and experience to assess which areas might be right for you, as well as take into account your own goals and aspirations.

3. Make a good impression

Career centres can help you develop professional-looking job applications and all the collateral, such as résumés, CVs and portfolios, that may need to accompany them.

Remember that staff have specialised knowledge of what works and what doesn't for particular organisations, and they are across all the required specifications for each employer – take advantage of this resource! They can also help you with interviewing techniques and strategies. Some may even run workshops to allow you to practise and hone these skills.

It’s a good idea to check in to the career centre at the beginning of your final year as many graduate programs for the following year close after first semester. This way, you can also develop your career building skills throughout the year via workshops and seminars, as well as form a relationship with the staff who are best placed to help you find a graduate opportunity.

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