Independent Job Search – A Thing of the Past

I recently read an article from NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) entitled, Use of Career Services Linked to Job Offers. Although I’ve been on the same soap box for three years, it’s nice to read about quantitative data supporting my and every other career counselor’s claim. The article continues to state that there is a positive correlation between the number of visits to a career center and the likelihood of job offers.

Roadblocks & Recoveries

Although NACE encourages the use of career centers, it also reported that about 29% of recent job offers were to people who never used the services of a career center. So, it is possible to obtain a job without help, but less likely. With all this supporting evidence, why would anyone not seek help?

College can be very busy, especially if you’re balancing a job, extracurricular activities, and family life along with it. Some students may not have much time to visit a career center. Well good news, most career centers have drop-in hours so almost anyone can squeeze in time for a resume critique or job searching assistance. Remember a professional job search will usually take at least 6 months before an offer is given, and during that time the job search process should be seen as a full time job.

Many students go through college not knowing about the career center and its services. This dilemma is a little harder to find a solution. I would hope that all faculty members are telling students about the services on campus and even students can share their good experiences, but that doesn’t mean that everyone listens or is aware that it’s something he/she might need. Here’s some more good news, most career centers offer services to their alumni for free or for a low fee. It would be better to have used the services while you’re in school because it’s free for current students, but know that it’s never too late to seek assistance.

Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help. Asking for help means that we have to put our pride aside and admit that we may not be good at writing resumes, interviewing, or networking. Let’s look at it this way, if you’ve never been trained in any of these skills, then how are you expected to be successful with them? Think of a visit to the career center as training for the job search. They teach you how to write a technical resume, coach you on what to say to employers and how choosing the right words makes all the difference. Most career centers even offer opportunities to put these skills into practice, like at job fairs and networking events.

Lesson Learned

It happens to the best of us. We all stumble, fail, lose, or wish we had a do over for various times in our lives. Even I didn’t realize how little I knew about resumes until I visited my college’s career center. It was amazing the difference between my original resume and the updated resume after my appointment with a career counselor. Not only did it look more professional, but I also received more phone calls from employers with the new resume (during my last job search). Lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to seek out a little help, because you can’t do it all by yourself!


Karen is a Career Counselor and Internship Coordinator at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). At IPFW she assists students in finding internships, coordinates and assists with campus-wide events, teaches a Career Planning course, and meets with students individually to assist them with all aspects of career development. Connect with Karen via LinkedIn or Twitter.

Related posts:

  1. There’s No Such Thing As “References Available Upon Request”
  2. Authenticity and the Job Search
  3. Social Networks and Your Job Search (Part 1)

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