Finding Help on Campus: Career Center
Get a once and future job
It's springtime. Term papers are due, Mom and Dad have booked flights for graduation, and seniors are frantically crowding career centers on campuses across the land. They're looking for postgraduate jobs, of course, but many of them would be having an easier time of it if they'd paid an earlier visit to the office. Career centers are the central resource for finding part-time jobs and internships, completing work-study requirements, and getting career advice. But counselors say students often overlook other career center resources like business etiquette workshops, resume critiques, and mock interviews that might give them the edge in landing that competitive position while they are still in school.
Career centers are a student's best link to local employers and alumni networks. Many centers have job search websites that allow employers to peruse student resumes and post job openings aimed specifically at the college population.
Jason Shyung, a senior at Southern Methodist University, wishes he had turned to career services sooner than he did. Shyung has been working his way through school, but until he was a junior he rarely pulled in more than $7 per hour. And the work--waiting tables and doing grunt work for professors--was hardly on the professional track. Fed up, he posted his resume on the campus career center's website. Within a week, he had landed a summer internship with the strategic planning department of Verizon's international division. Not only did he earn $15 per hour, but he also got to travel to Puerto Rico for work. "I was making a few grand a month [last] summer that will cover rent, gas, and my cellphone bills [this year]," he says.
Indeed, it is the career centers' connection to internships that makes them an essential stop for the ambitious student. They collect and post internship opportunities, help with applications, and arrange for students to receive course credit for their work. "Having an internship pays off not only with a salary and class credit, but it pays big benefits when students enter the job market," says Laurie Wilson, director of the internship office at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Employers rated internships as one of the most effective ways to attract and hire college graduates, according to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The study also found that employers extended full-time job offers to 58 percent of their interns and offered higher starting salaries to graduates with internship experience.
This story appears in the April 18, 2005 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.