I recently spoke with Andy Chan, vice president for Career Development at Wake Forest University, about the most effective ways to make use of campus Career Services offices. You can find that article here, but there was more useful information from our interview, so below find additional advice on Career Services best practices.
Do Career Services offices offer services to graduates?
It differs by school, but many offer a variety of services to help alumni move forward in their career process. On school websites you can look under alumni career services and find help writing a résumé, how to build your network, how to develop a LinkedIn profile, and how to use LinkedIn effectively.
So a lot of information is on the internet. The main difference is that the coaches available to help students on campus have limited time availability to help alumni. Some schools may not have a lot to offer, or they may refer you to an outside party for a small fee to access coaches if you need that.
The challenge is that the job search is a very lonely, independent process, so sometimes it’s helpful to be in community with other people who are going through it. Job search groups may be helpful because then it’s less lonely and you can see some people having success, instead of being completely on your own.
Is Career Services for the student who plans to go directly to grad school?
Many students have assumptions about grad school that are not completely accurate. So one thing that’s useful is to go to Career Services and express their interest in grad school and talk about why, and understand options in case they end up deciding not to go to grad school.
It’s good to practice your reasons for going, because why is the fundamental question asked on applications. Many Career Services offices offer services to help students practice their interviews for grad school or review their personal statement. We can help them find professors that know of students who attended grad school and the different options—they can bring up ways to think about what schools might be best for a student’s area of interest.
Career Services is not just for work. Career Services people know a lot of people, including alumni who went to grad school, so they can be effective at making connections.