As the marketer for Career Services at Syracuse University, my chief responsibility is making students aware of all the things that our office can do to help them in their career development. Typically, students think that we just offer resume critiques and assistance in finding a job after graduation. While both of these things are true, we offer a spectrum of other services as well.
Whether you are a college freshman exploring majors or a senior getting ready for the job or graduate school search, I strongly encourage you to look into how your school’s career center can help you. There are a number of lesser-known services that most college career centers provide. Here are four of the most valuable services we offer at Syracuse University- and are probably offered at your career center, too:
1.) Mock interviews
By far the most underutilized service that we have, the mock interview allows students to simulate an actual interview experience with one of our career counselors. If you have a job interview coming up in a few weeks, you can bring us the job description and we will devise a customized practice interview for you. We will aim to develop questions related to the position and questions that will likely be asked in the real interview. While we cannot guarantee that your actual interview unfolds exactly like the practice one, chances are it will be similar. At the end, our career counselor will provide feedback on what you did well and how you can improve, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about the interview process. As an added bonus, we offer to videotape your mock interview and play the video back for you, so you can pick up on any nervous habits you have, such as fidgeting or playing with your hair.
We’ve gotten great feedback on this service; students feel much less nervous and more prepared as they go for their interviews. The video component is especially useful, as it is easier to curtail nervous behaviors once you’re aware of them.
2.) Resources to Help You Choose a Career or Major
Many new students think it’s too early for them to be visiting Career Services- but it’s never too early! Even as you are exploring majors your freshman year, your career center probably has numerous services to assist you. At Syracuse, for instance, our career counselors are available to talk students through the process of choosing a major, which is immensely helpful for those who are feeling lost and confused about all of their options. In addition, we offer self-assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Test and the Strong Interest Inventory to help shed light on potential major or career interest areas. Our web resources can also help you explore majors and think about how you can parlay your major into a variety of careers.
A big misconception is that Career Services is only for people already decided on a career. In reality, career counselors work mostly with people who are totally or somewhat undecided. We love helping you explore options and find out more information about majors and careers.
3.) Alumni networking database
At Syracuse, we call it the Mentor@SU program, matching up current students with alumni mentors in their career field of interest. At your school, it may be called something else. The function of an alumni networking database is to allow students to make connections with alumni and find out information about careers, geographic locations, breaking into a particular industry, or any other post-graduation topics that interest them. In really special cases, students may receive internship or job opportunities from the alumni with whom they build relationships. I really enjoy pairing students with alumni mentors in their sophomore or junior year, because then they have time to absorb the advice of the mentors and make themselves better job candidates before they graduate.
The nice thing about this service is that we can match you up with an alum based on your particular needs. If you come to our office and say your dream job is to work for the United Nations, we can match you up with an alumni mentor currently working at the United Nations. If you come in seeking information about moving to Los Angeles, we can connect you with an alum who has recently transitioned from the Northeast to Los Angeles.
4.) The Internship Search
Many students go to their career centers looking for an internship, but they have no idea where to start. We have Internship Coordinators at Syracuse who can walk you through the process of searching for internships based on your desired geographic location and industry. If a formal internship program does not exist at the organization where you’d like to intern, your career counselors may be able to suggest ways for you to reach out to the company and perhaps create your own internship.
Having relevant internship experience can be a huge plus when you attempt to look for a full-time job. Many times, career centers can help you identify employers who are known for providing good experiences for their interns.
By reading about some of the lesser-known services offered by Syracuse University Career Services, hopefully you have a better idea of what your school’s career center may provide as well. No matter what year you are in college, visit your career center for help in exploring options for your future and realizing your ambitions!