Perhaps you’re a mature adult who has decided to change career direction because you have a passion for something else, or because you can no longer find a job in your field of study. Or you might have decided to upgrade your current education to make yourself more competitive, or perhaps you are taking extra courses only as a back up qualitication option, which is good to have in this volatile economy.
Whatever your reason for returning back to school, make sure that you make the most of your academic and professional educational experience. This includes profiting from many of the career tools, resources and expertise that are part of your expensive and precious tuition fees. The career centre at your academic institution should be an important place to help you plan your professional future, in accordance with your program of study, career goals and your existing experience.
Why use the services of a career counsellor?
As a mature adult with relevant work experience, you aren’t merely looking to break into the job market and pursue entry level opportunities, you are searching for career development and are looking for the best career progression opportunities that fit your background. Regardless of your career situation or employment status, whether you are unemployed, looking to change career entirely, or simply trying to advance in your current position, a career counsellor can be extremely helpful.
Career counsellors have extensive networks and can put you in touch with the right contacts, since they have many connections to companies that may be hiring intermediate or managerial levels, so you can fit neatly into positions suitable to your expertise. Career counsellors can also professionally assess your background, talents, the existing labour market trends, personality and existing program of study and help you decide if your new chosen career path fits your current carer ambitions. If you are completely undecided and need guidance, an appointment with a career counsellor can help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses and analyze the current job trends with you, to figure out what kind of employment opportunities would be most suitable.
During your first week of classes, or if possible even before, try to make an appointment with a career counsellor so he or she knows who you are. During your appointment, clarify your career goals and desires, describe your relevant experience, and get his or her objective recommendations and feedback for the future. Since our plans don’t always fall into place exactly as we would like, during the programme of study be sure to routinely update your counsellor on how things are going, both academically and professionally.
Drop in every so often, either before your lessons or after, and check out the special events calendar that the career centre displays. Career centres in academic insitutions offer different, useful workshops and events, like the following:
*Resume and curriculum vitae assistance. They can help you re-write your cv so it is more attractive to prospective employers and better encapsulates your experience, education and personality.
*Job fairs. Many recruiting employers meet prospective professionals through employment fairs organized by academic insitutions.
*Employment networks and postings. Many career centres have access to special databases and networks with postings especially for students.
*Special career development workshops. These are often organized thematically, like career planning and self assessment seminars, labour market analysis workshops, or career option exploration workshops based on degree or program type. You can learn tips you’ve never heard of, or explore different career possibilities that seemed unimaginable or impossible in the past.