Is your school actively involved in helping you find a job as you approach graduation? Some colleges are. Most, however, are clueless and without a solid plan. Officials, all too often, just talk a good game.
You need to know right now where your school stands in relation to helping you find a job, rather than thirty days prior to graduation!
Surveys taken by students and their loved ones indicate that more than 90% are attending college to get the skills and knowledge that they need to begin a career. That’s a reasonable assumption on the part of the families and students. Your college and university may feel entirely differently.
Many people would be surprised to learn that a number of colleges and universities fail to assess their success based upon the number of students who become employed in a field for which they prepared. That fact is hard to believe but true in many cases.
A new graduate, in many institutions of higher learning, is simply “cut loose” and may become the latest prospect for the next alumni fund-raising campaign.
You need to ask your school officials if they have an active job placement program. If the only answer you get is a blank stare, you have a lot of work to do to protect the investment you’re making in your education. Relax, however, if officials are eager to show you documentation on the percentage of graduates that have been placed in a job for which they prepared.
Many colleges have a department with a name that is similar to “Career Services”. Your university or college may be one of them. The key to learning if a career service office is able to help you find employment is the existence of a student placement folder. Do they have one for each student? How can they otherwise supply a potential employer with information about you if they are unfamiliar with who you are and the competencies you possess?
What should a student placement folder contain so that information can be supplied to every employer who is interested in you? A placement file should contain:
1. A transcript
2. Three letters of recommendations chosen by you
3. An expanded personal information profile that includes permanent contact information
4. A resume in a standardized format
A placement office should also provide a structure or system of communication with students and employers. Simply having a couple of career days on campus with a number of employers who show up on the concourse or student center is inadequate.
Ask to see the material that your career services department sends out to prospective employers. Does it include a listing of the jobs in which your college prepares students for employment? If that small basic information is missing, how can employers know that young professionals with your background are being prepared at your school? Does your career services department regularly send out a newsletter to employers?
Ask how your college or university interacts with employers. Does your career or placement office contain a list of available jobs in your field that employers need to fill? Is it posted on your university’s website? If a listing of jobs supplied by employers (with whom your university interacts) is absent from the placement office’s website, you need to be served better.
Are cooperative education programs coordinated through career services? Do the professors in your major, for example, interact with the careers services department? Do you receive regular communication from your program or major careers services department?
Your college or university, quite simply, is AWOL in helping you find initial employment upon graduation if your school is without a vigorous placement program.