When to Reach out to Your College’s Career Center
Many universities offer career resources to alumni. Here’s why and when you should access them.
It may be years since you earned your bachelor’s degree, but if you’re considering a job change, your undergraduate career center might be able to help. St. Edward’s University is among the institutions that offer “career services for life,” and about 20% of those seeking our services on any given day are alumni. We help them long after they graduate, and not just when they’re applying for jobs. Find out if your alma mater offers the same thing — and if so, take advantage of your career center in these three situations:
Talk to an advisor about how and when to make the transition. Career counselors will know whether an advanced degree is necessary and how competitive the field is. They also can help you think through practical steps necessary to make a career change and even suggest alternatives that may be a better next step for you. We’re immersed in this stuff every day, and we’re pretty up to date on what’s going on across industries.
You can ask a career advisor for help with practical matters like updating a resume or creating a profile on LinkedIn, or even help developing a resume and cover letter for a specific job or career field. Some career centers like St. Edward’s offer online resume critiques or virtual career advising to fit the schedules of working adults and graduates who live in a different city.
If you’ve been offered a new job — congratulations! — you can consult with a career counselor about whether to take the position or how to negotiate a higher salary. Additionally, we can help you think through appropriate ways to tell your current employer you are leaving, strategies for declining a job offer, or how to evaluate the total compensation offered by your new employer.
If you enroll in a graduate program, be sure to take advantage of the career services your new school offers. And don’t wait until the last semester before graduation: To make the most of your degree, establish a relationship with a career advisor early in your program.
Ray Rogers is the director of Career and Professional Development at St. Edward’s University.