On the Job Hunt? Make College Career Services Your First Stop

COD Career Fair

COD Career Fair

Whether you're looking for a part-time job, ready to launch your career or need help figuring out what career path to consider, a campus career services office is a great place to start.

“No matter how good you think you are at writing a resume or interviewing, I can almost guarantee that when you meet with a career professional, they will find something for you to improve,” says Steven Gustis, Manager, Career Services Center at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.

Increasingly, students are tapping into this free and knowledgeable resource to help their job search. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2014 Student Survey, the number of graduating seniors utilizing career center assistance rose from 42.8 percent in 2013 to 49.8 percent in 2014.

What career services can do for you

While a friend, parent or spouse can look over a resume for errors they aren’t always the most objective.

“However, handing your resume over to a professional who has looked over literally thousands of resumes in every format you can imagine, will provide you with the feedback you need to have a resume that employers won’t discard within the first 10 seconds they see it,” Gustis says.

But the assistance goes beyond resumes.

Kevin Gray, Associate Editor, National Association of Colleges and Employers, says campus career centers provide counseling sessions, career fairs, mock interviews, job and internship/co-op postings and programs on topics such as interview preparation and proper etiquette for business dinners. They also can help students research job outlooks and salary predictions for their chosen occupation.

“Our role is to empower the job seeker with the tools they need to engage in an effective job search, hopefully resulting in employment,” Gustis says.

Often students can begin working with career services before they enroll. It helps students keep the end goal in mind “that they are coming to college to earn an education that they will someday use to secure employment,” he says.

Not just for students

While students are a major focus of a campus’ career services they have a lot to offer any job seeker. Services are typically offered to students and alumni, but also residents whose taxes support the college.

“We have many community residents who have utilized our services over the past few years who have been affected by job loss or are in career transition,” Gustis says.

Gray says the services also help local employers find qualified employees.

The short and long view

Students may be looking for a part-time job to help pay for classes or could be ready to put what they’ve learned into practice and launch a career. Either way, career services can help with short- and long-term goals.

Gustis says they can help students search for on-campus jobs that have flexibility for students or connect them with jobs in the surrounding communities. Many campuses offer a list of job postings and internships, Gray says.

Job seekers or those who want to keep their academic career on course with their job goals in mind can meet with a career specialist or a counselor and discuss ways to gain experience into a particular industry by securing an internship or investigating new positions in a desired field.

Making connections

Networking is a crucial part of a job search and colleges have an inside track with connections in the surrounding communities, and faculty who have connections in their fields.

Career Services staff often participate in local Chambers of Commerce and build relationships with human resources and recruitment contacts at businesses in the surrounding communities.

Employers are on COD’s campus each week taking resumes, recruiting for open positions and participating in job fairs and career services events, according to Gustis.

The connections are mutually beneficial. Gustis says through ongoing contact with the business community, they are able to keep on top of what companies are looking for in an applicant and pass that information along.

“This feedback is invaluable to us as we continue to develop programs for students,” he says.

College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137

(630) 942-2800 (Main)

(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)

  2017 College of DuPage