Have you ever been to career counseling? Have you even been to their website? At UConn, we have the Center for Career Development, and I’m often surprised how little students take advantage of the services there.
Of course, if you are you a senior and planning to graduate in December, May, or August, you should get yourself there asap. But if you are a sophomore or junior (maybe even freshman) who is not yet sure what to do when you graduate, now is the time to start reading about careers and talking to career counselors. You don’t have to figure out your career early during college – exploring majors and careers is great. But as with many things, the sooner you figure out what you want to do after you graduate, the better you can tailor your college experiences to have the strongest record possible to obtain that job or get into that graduate program.
It's never too soon to start thinking about your future career.
Previously I discussed why you should consider not going straight to graduate school after you graduate. I think there were even a couple of parents angry at me when their kids decided to take my advice (sorry moms and dads!).
It’s possible you know exactly what you want to do when you graduate, and have started on a steady path toward that goal. Good for you!
But if not, don't worry. I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was a junior (or even by graduation). At graduation, my best idea was that I wanted to go into advertising or market research. Some of us take more time to figure out our career paths. That’s totally fine.
You may have talked to your academic adviser, and/or your faculty adviser about what you want to do. That’s great. Faculty advisers are often great for advice on going to doctoral programs, because… that’s what we did! But also know that on most college campuses, there are people who literally have degrees in how to help people figure out their careers. It makes sense to also get advice from them.
Did you know that many people around the country who are not students pay career counselors a lot of money for their services? While you’re a student, you can access these services for free.
First, you can check out their online resources, which at UConn include:
- How to develop a career plan
- Career and major exploration
- Diversity and inclusion resources
- Resources on writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, and the job search
- List of internship sites and suggestions on how to find others
There is a wealth of information available without ever leaving the comfort of your computer screen.
But, I highly encourage you to make an appointment (link for UConn students) and talk to someone in the Center for Career Development. Actually, you don’t even have to leave your computer screen to do so – you can do it by Skype (though I still encourage you to walk over there and meet with someone face-to-face). Why meet with a career counselor?
Career counselors can help you:
- Decide on a major
- Take assessments to identify your strengths and interests
- Learn about resources for researching career options
- Explore and choose a career plan
- Plan your time in college wisely to set yourself up for a great career
- Learn about internships
- Research job vacancies, alumni contacts, and job leads
- Develop your resume and cover letter
- Practice interviewing skills
I recommend that you consider visiting the Center for Career Development, or your university’s career counseling center soon, whatever part of the career planning process you are in.
Planning for the future is an exciting part of the college experience, and the more you plan for it, the less overwhelmed you're likely to feel.
“Why you should go to career counseling first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on October 2, 2018.”