A surprising number of university students (both native and international) fail to utilize one particularly beneficial resource available to them throughout their studies - their university's career services!
Most major universities will have a team of dedicated professionals whose job is to chat with you, the student, about your future. Through activities like self-assessments, fairs, events and workshops, they will help you to find your direction and get on the right path.
Here are five important reasons why you should make the most of your university's free career services while you still have access to them:
1. Explore career options & find a direction
Even if you're studying quite a specific degree or qualification, the possibilities of what you could do with that qualification can often be overwhelming! How do you navigate so many options? Perhaps a sit-down chat with your university's career center may be a good start.
Through discussions and self-assessments, the career service team can help you to explore your skills, your interests and your qualifications in order to narrow down the seemingly infinite career paths one could take and help find a direction to aim for.
They can advise you on the best way to approach these careers, which qualifications you may need, any extra-curricular skills or activities that could make it easier to find employment once you graduate, and where to actually find jobs!
2. Find an internship or work placement
Your university's career center will be the best place to go to enquire about local and international internships or work placement opportunities. Companies and organizations that are looking specifically for student interns are likely to contact university career centers to share these opportunities. The career center can put you in touch with the employers and even help you prepare an application.
3. Attend career fairs & events
Any good career center will offer fairs and events aimed at careers and employment throughout the academic year. Career fairs are an opportunity to network with a range of potential employers, explore your possibilities and gain valuable (and potentially life-changing) insight into different careers and industries.
tips for attending career fairs:
- Take copies of your CV to hand out to employers you are interested in
- Make yourself look presentable - you never know who you might bump into!
- Research who will be presenting and make a plan - you may not have all day to spend at the fair so budget your time wisely.
4. Build your resume and develop interview skills
Another beneficial service that a university's career center offers is helping you find and prepare for interviews. They can assist you with all sorts of valuable things like building your resume and writing a compelling cover letter. Sometimes they may hold workshops or simulated interviews aimed at developing your presentation skills and boosting your confidence in an interview situation. Some will even help obtain credentials or endorsements from professors or university staff in order to support your application.
5. Get insight into starting your own business
Perhaps job-hunting and getting employed at someone else's company is not what you're aiming for. Maybe you're studying with the intention of becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business. University career centers can help you with this too! Whether it's wanting to know more about applying for loans, business planning, registering a company or how to start up a business in the first place, the career center will be able to help you (or at least point you in the right direction).
These are just some of the invaluable services that the university career center offers all its students, regardless of age, gender, race, qualification or financial situation. It's never too early in your studies to start considering your options, but it can be too late. So don't hesitate to book a consultation with your university's career service if you need information, help or a bit of career inspiration. They're there, so use them!