If you're reading this blog and you are currently in college or grad school, you may not like this post. I'm suggesting a job search strategy that you call completely "old school." Grad_school

I recommend you make a visit to your Career Services office--by phone or in person. I know it's easy to say "they have no jobs." I can hear your potential objections ringing in my ear. "The jobs are only for business majors. They don't have time to provide me with the individual time I need."

But I am going to disagree.
Prior to starting my own private practice, I worked in Career Services offices for 10 years. I worked at small colleges and large Ivy League Universities.

Here are three fundamental truths I learned about Career Services during my work "on the inside."

  • A vast majority of career professionals are passionate about what they do, and want to help you. Despite what you may think, they spend hours behind closed doors creating strategies to dispel the myth that there are opportunities beyond banking and consulting...especially this year! 

  • Spring is one of the best times to make appointments at your career office. You are likely to find yourself with a choice of appointment times.

    There's a common assumption that appointments are filled just before graduation with a rush of seniors looking for work, but it's simply not true. (This is funny, because in reality many students who postpone their job search have also postponed their term papers--and are often nowhere to be found.)

  • Career services staff are really popular targets. It's sexy to make fun of them, and to look for external sources of information. It drives blog traffic, and it even sells books.

    (One former student was exceedingly happy with the career assistance she received as an undergraduate and even wrote a column about it in the school paper. After graduating, she wrote a fictional book about her post college job search, and her editor told her to write in a bad career services office. In real life, she worked as an intern at a coveted magazine. In print, the career staff was unhelpful and the first job offer she received was to work on a phone sex line. Sensationalism sells better.)

Given the economic downturn, it may be tempting for you to "tune out" the staff on campus, but don't. Take advantage of the free services, make a friend or two in the career office, and give a call if you need advice with an awkward question or two--they'll have your back. Trust me on this.

There may be large communities of career advice throughout the blogosphere, Twittersphere, and outside the "Ivory tower."
There are mountains of books and blogs to read, new ideas, and resume writers and career coaches who can help you in your transition. (I know this well, especially as I work in my own practice.) But the people who work at your "launchpad" can help you make connections with alums and leads in real time. They are familiar with your coursework, and the choices of others who have gone before you. Don't count them out, they can help. They can be your best advocates. Let them.

To Your Success,