Career Center!? I Was Too Cool For That…

by Sam Diener on January 7, 2010

I didn’t use the career center at my school and now my life’s a mess… no job, beat up old car, no friends, living back at home with my parents in the same room I grew up in. Girlfriend?… HAH!


All right, this has already started to sound too much like the same “if you don’t do this, your life will be ruined” campaign all of us grew up hearing every other day. Drugs are bad, mmmkay?
Here’s reality:

I’m 25 years old. I have a nice apartment. I have some real friends. I actually do have a beat up old car, but it’s because I refuse to replace it with a working one.  Overall, I am pretty much the same as most of you. Actually, I am probably a little dumber because I am writing this for free.

But before I could become the bad-ass I am now, I had to learn what it was like to find and secure a job. That, dear readers, happens to be a royal pain – especially now in this market.

Allow me to lay out some reality for you:

  1. You think your resume is awesome. Trust me, it’s most likely not.
  2. There are six candidates for each open position and five of them are more qualified then you.
  3. Depending on your age and experience, most of you don’t have professional connections.
  4. You can’t actually get a job from submitting a resume to Monster.com, Hotjobs.com, or Career Builder.
  5. Your parents are probably just as clueless as you are when it comes to job searching in this day and age.
  6. Career coaching, resume preparation, mock interviewing, and workshops are EXTREMELY expensive.
  7. The job search field is saturated with people who will take advantage of your inexperience in every way possible.

Like many students, I simply didn’t listen to the people who tried to hammer the above points into my head. I knew that I was “unique” and “special” and that I would find a job immediately.

But I didn’t. In fact, after graduating, I spent hundreds of dollars for resume preparation, job coaching, interview practice, and communications coaching. And I spent hundreds of hours networking. I had to build a skill set that I NEVER had. And they don’t teach this stuff in the classroom.

I remember that when I was in school, I thought that my school was really only there to suck up my tuition, and then didn’t care what happened to me once I graduated.

Career CenterBut this assumption was wrong too. I now know that one of the main ways a college survives is by making sure their alumni are successful. And they start by making sure their alumni are well situated in the job market after graduating. So career centers are of HUGE importance to a university. In fact, I’d be willing to bet your college’s career center is one of the best resources on campus. And if it isn’t, have your president e-mail me.

Any career center is going to be LOADED with resources that are priceless (in more ways than one) to any job seeker. Resume advice, mock interviews, communication and networking seminars just to name a few. Plus, I guarantee the staff there has huge professional networks of hiring managers. They are the people you should be getting to know.

I am not going to tell you that you need to live in the career center. I just want you to make an appointment, or go visit. Even if you graduated a long time ago, you are probably still eligible to use their resources. You probably are missing some extremely useful stuff that most of us in the “real world” always wish we had FREE access to.

I wish to thank Yiftach Levy of San Diego State University Career Services for inspiring me to write this post.

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  • http://adamkuebler.com/ Adam Kuebler

    Good points! That feeling of being unique and special, I'm better than everyone so I should get the job, is by far the norm. The problem with this is, everyone feels that way, so it can't be true. Also a good point about universities making a good amount of money from successful alumni, and the first step to a successful alumni is an employed alumni. Out of curiosity, what new skill set did you have to learn?

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  • http://www.samdiener.com Sam Diener

    Haha – every one in the book. I didn't know how to write a resume, network, communicate…. and that's just the start…

  • http://www.ellenafeldman.com/ Ellen A. Feldman

    Well I have been told my resume is awesome … but seriously, this is a great article and great advice. Unfortunately I can only utilize my career center for up to a year after graduating, and time is running out. I have been there once since I graduated in May and must go back; thanks for this swift kick in the well, you know!

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  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/flynnjl Jennie Flynn

    I hear angels singing from the heavens.

    Thank you! I work in a career center at a university, and although this is preaching to the choir (to continue the spiritual metaphor), I appreciate your enthusiastic endorsement for the services we provide.

  • yiftach

    Thanks for the shout-out, Sam. Happy to have inspired you; I have a feeling this will inspire a bunch more people!

  • yiftach

    Thanks for the shout-out, Sam. Happy to have inspired you; I have a feeling this will inspire a bunch more people!

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_24NZ3ZEADRKWDWS2UL7NLHQO5M yahoo-24NZ3ZEADRKWDWS2UL7NLHQO5M

    Great Article, on the other hand I agree with Adam Kuebler. On the other hand is always good to bang out head against the wall, sometimes is the only way we will really learn. I always hear candidates like that at our Recruiting Agency

    All the Best,
    Carlan – SEO at McBarron Wood Recruitment

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_24NZ3ZEADRKWDWS2UL7NLHQO5M yahoo-24NZ3ZEADRKWDWS2UL7NLHQO5M

    Great Article, on the other hand I agree with Adam Kuebler. On the other hand is always good to bang out head against the wall, sometimes is the only way we will really learn. I always hear candidates like that at our Recruiting Agency

    All the Best,
    Carlan – SEO at McBarron Wood Recruitment

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