The College Career Center – A Hidden Gem during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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For recent college graduates, finding a job after graduation is not a hit or miss proposition. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged many graduates in their search for employment as unemployment claims have reached astronomical levels. A September 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics news release estimated that, in August, 24.2 million individuals had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business. In these uncertain times, however, college graduates have access to several valuable resources to obtain employment or explore careers. These resources include family, friends, professional colleagues, professors, academic advisors and academic departments. Additionally, college graduates can examine and use online job search websites. For instance, CollegeExpress.com discusses the merits of Indeed.com, LinkedIn and Monster.com to find employment. With all of these avenues to employment, graduates should not overlook the college career center. It is dedicated to helping current students, recent graduates and alumni in their career pursuits. The college career center is a hidden gem and a one-stop resource for career advice and assistance.

During COVID-19, college career centers are open for business. They are hosting career fairs, interviewing workshops, and resume writing along with posting jobs for alumni and campus departments looking for candidates to hire part-time, full-time, or as interns. The career center’s database contains resumes of current students and alumni making it easier for employers to recruit new talent. Students may also take advantage of the college career centers’ vast array of employer listings in their database to research companies. Research, asking questions and on–the–job experiences are the best means to determine the best fitting career path and potential employment. While attending school, students should make visits to the career center as consistent as meetings with their academic advisor, which should be at least once per semester. After graduation, the college career center is available in a similar fashion to the college’s alumni association. Current students and graduates should have their college career center’s website bookmarked because of the abundance of available career information and valuable resources.

When considering which school to attend, students and parents should review each college career centers’ website and/or visit the offices. College and university career centers are staffed with trained and experienced personnel. A career center’s staff and resources are as important as college instructors because it speaks to the college’s seriousness in assisting current students and graduates with employment. During COVID-19, many of career services have moved online through webinars and chats but they are still as effective as in-person services. In a blog article, a career strategist stated reasons an individual should “hire a career coach” included 1) “You’ve Sent Out (Insert Big Number Here) Resumes Without Success” 2) and “You’d Rather Have a Root Canal Than Deal With Networking.” The phrase that stands out in the blog article is “hire a career coach.” Through their college career center, students and alumni are getting career advice and other services free of charge.

In the competition for employment, current college students and alumni have a winning hand by using the resources at their college career center. Do not waste the opportunity! Put it on your calendar to seek out your college career center resources at least once a year. Every student and alum should take advantage of this golden ticket to potential jobs and careers of their dreams.