If I Were Running A Company…Career Centers

There was a recent blog post from Ask A Manager on career centers. It is a great read and to summarize: Alison does not like them and wants it to be out of colleges. I retweeted that post and got a few responses from it. Here is a rebuttal from one of them.

I’ll be honest: this is more of a personal matter for me as I see the mindset of the universities. Recently, I applied with two colleges I am close with for their career consultant position. One of them brought me over for an interview. I did well, but so did 20 other people who interviewed for the position. I didn’t get a second interview, but still kept in contact with them if and when there are future events or I get back to into corporate recruiting.

The other school I applied for, I had deep connections with and collaborate with them on some projects. They had several openings for career consultant, although a few we’re in the graduate-level, but it was never mentioned in the job description. Although I didn’t have a Masters in Psychology or Social Science, I had tons of experience dealing with applicants of all ages in a variety of fields and can act as an insider for their university . I mention that in the cover letter and told the staffers at that school that I was applying for the position(s). Not one follow-up about those positions from them.

Comparing these two stories tell me while some schools are ahead of the curve in trying to help employers hire their students, others are still sticking with the status quo of career centers.

In high school when you make decision about college, it’s about deciding about landscape, branding, environment, classes, and other factors. From college to the real world, the decision is about people and emotions. This is where the disconnect is. Students and graduates need to realize skill is only part of getting a job. You have to network and make/earn your way in an internship or job. Career centers will heavily promote on personal branding from profiles to resumes, but companies want “doers.” Colleges need to step up on that department.

I think career centers in colleges are necessary, but it needs a lot of updating. There are questions that need to be asked for not only students, but for career center employees:

  • Do you know who you are?
  • Do you know what direction you’re taking?
  • Are you keeping up with trends each year?

Answer these and it’s a start of hopefully a prosperous working career and career center.

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