Of all things you’ll want to do during your first few weeks at university, visiting the careers centre probably isn’t at the top of your list.
While meeting new people and learning your way around campus are certainly priorities, speaking to a careers advisor early on will give you a valuable leg up for your future. Remember: no one leaves university regretting talking to a careers advisor; but plenty regret not spending more time getting advice on their future.
If you still need to be convinced, here are seven reasons why you should speak to your careers advisor.
So you’ve chosen your degree and selected your courses. But do you have a plan for what happens afterwards?
Careers advisors do what you would think: they provide advice about your career. Talking through your interests and goals can be very beneficial. Even if you know what field you want to work in, it can be helpful to speak to someone about what you specifically want to do.
But you don’t have to know what you want to do, professionally speaking, to talk to you careers advisor. They are trained to ask the right questions to get you thinking about your future and can help you find the path that’s right for you.
Every university will have some kind of careers events. These can include job fairs, employer presentations, workshops and seminars. Developing a relationship with your careers advisor early on is the best way to make sure you hear about these, especially those they think will be most beneficial for your chosen career.
In addition, when employers come to these events, they will speak to the careers advisor about any stand-out students. They’re much more likely to mention you if you’ve spent some time with them, and that recommendation could pave the way to an internship or even a job.
There are lots of opportunities for students to take on work placements or internships, both before and after graduation. For instance, many universities will allow students to do internships for course credit or arrange summer placements. Speaking to your careers advisor is the best way to find out what options are available to you.
Information not gossip
While speaking to other students is a good way to find out about things, when it comes to your career you want to make sure you get the right information. Certain careers, such as law or medicine, require early action to ensure you’ll be a good candidate later. Your careers advisor will make sure you get all the details and that you’re doing everything you need to.
Job hunting skills
One thing you won’t learn on your degree is how to search for a job. Career centres offer services such as teaching you how to write a CV or cover letter and helping you practise for job interviews. Once you graduate, these skills will be as important as anything else you have learned at university.
Networks of former students – alumni – are a great way to meet working professionals and learn what to expect once you join your selected profession. Career centres generally provide current students with access to alumni networks, and your careers advisor can suggest the best people to contact.
It’s important to remember that your careers advisor wants to help you. They aren’t going to tell you what to do, just offer guidance and advice. You won’t come away from your first meeting locked into a rigid career path, but you will gain valuable insights that will help you succeed after graduation.