Overhead of tables at a career fair

Your College Career Resources Are Here to Help

June 5, 2023 | Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes

By Melissa Savignano

One of the most important aspects of your college decision is making sure your selected school can provide you the career opportunities and exploration you desire. That goes for if you know exactly what you want to do, have no idea what career path you want, or you land somewhere in between. 

While college career resources centers can’t hand you the job of your dreams, they want to help you get there. The career process is about figuring out who you are and what you want to do. Various tools, opportunities, and college staff can then determine the best avenues for you to pursue.

A big part of that is the career resources your college or university provides. Most schools have a dedicated career resources center that employs career advisors and counselings, as well as sometimes student staff and mentors, to help undergraduates navigate the professional world.

“Students shouldn't feel like they must have their careers figured out,” says Ann McAdam Griffin, the director of the Hoffman Family Undergraduate Center for Career Development at Babson College. “Part of our function is to educate students on the career opportunities that are out there and how to go about finding and securing those opportunities”

When determining their offerings, many colleges, including Babson College, look at the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) definition of career readiness. NACE has identified eight career competencies for early career preparation:

  • Career & Self-Development
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Equity & Inclusion
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism
  • Teamwork
  • Technology

When talking to students and gauging their interests and abilities, career center staff may use this list to determine what skills students should amplify, which to work on, and which will be particularly useful down the career line.

What Are Career Services?

Ideally, your schools’ career services will help you take what you’re learning in the classroom, along with what interests you outside the classroom, into your professional and postgraduate life.

“Students come to college for an education, and career centers are a really important piece of helping students bridge that education to whatever it is that comes next,” McAdam Griffin says.

According to Indeed, “Career service departments assist students with almost any aspect of their career from reviewing resumes to helping students decide what jobs they will pursue after graduation.” That includes a mix of opportunities that both build out a student’s skill sets as well as their general knowledge about what employees are looking for.

A good college career resources and services center would include many of these offerings:

  • Career and industry exploration
  • Credentialing and upskilling opportunities 
  • Events such career fairs and resume workshops
  • Internship and job shadow connections 
  • Networking help and opportunities 
  • Personal-branding exercises 
  • Resume and interview prep, including in person and digitally 
  • Skill building

You will also want to see what type of employer and company events they bring to campus each semester. Most career resource centers have relationships with local and national companies and alumni, which in turn broadens your network of people to connect with. 

College Career Resources Should Meet Your Professional Development Level

Career services should meet you where you are, metaphorically speaking as well as physically. When looking at the career resources available to students, check out both in-person and virtual tools. Most career centers have an actual center on campus. Events, one-on-one advising, and workshops are all staples of a college’s career offerings. Additionally, many schools utilize artificial intelligence tools to help you edit your resume and have virtual resources available 24/7. 

“Meeting you where you are” also pertains to where a student is in the career exploration process and how comfortable they are with aspects of it. A big one that trips up students is networking. It’s incredibly important—according to a survey from digital recruitment company Zippia, up to 70% of people got their current job through networking—but it’s nebulous and nerve-wracking, especially for young students.

Your career services teams can help you determine the level of networking to engage in and help you find low-stakes opportunities to meet people. That includes campus speaker events, joining clubs and organizations to meet upperclassmen, and engaging with faculty. They will also help you reframe it so you don’t feel so intimidated. “Going to a career fair is networking. Networking is just talking to people. It doesn’t have to be transactional,” McAdam Griffin says. Once you start engaging in more of these opportunities organically, the larger your network gets.  

They will also get to know you and your goals and figure out what opportunities and actions you should take. Some fields expect students to have internships before their junior year, while some industries require specific testing and courses.

Career professionals at your school will know about those expectations and make sure you’re on the correct path.

What If I Have No Idea What Career I Want?

And what about when you don’t have a career path in mind? It’s an exciting opportunity for both the student and the career center. It's common for students to not know what they want to do upon entering college.

“The student may feel like they are behind. It starts with getting to know the student," says Lee Goldstein, the senior associate director of career advising at Babson College. “When a student comes to college or higher education, they don’t just leave their background at the door. We ask what they were interested in and explore how we can get them to explore that.”

What Outcomes Mean for Your College

Many career centers will put together a first destination or outcomes report about a previous class. It will include information about the average starting salary, the percentage of students currently employed, and most importantly, the job functions and industries where students work after graduation.

These data sets are important to have, as they can help you prioritize what you’re looking for career-wise from a school while also demonstrating the breadth of opportunities available to you.

Goldstein mentions the rise of popularity in data and business analytics for current college students. "We have to look at both the industry and the job function. How can we look at that as an industry? What industry do you want to be a part of and make better? Start to identify what your values are and what will determine your happiness.” 

As a career advisor, Goldstein and her team have students do research on various industries and how job functions fit into them. They give students the idea so they don’t feel stuck staring at a long job board of titles. Outcomes numbers are just another tool for that research. 

The ultimate goal of a college career resources and career services center is to help you put your best professional foot forward and alleviate some of the stress.

“If a student engages in career development, then they will find opportunities. No one is going to hand them a job, but if they are engaged, their education does prepare them to enter the workforce,” McAdam Griffin says.

You don’t have to navigate the professional world alone. When researching schools like Babson College, make sure to note all the career opportunities and resources available to students.



National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)


About the Author

Melissa Savignano is a content marketing manager at Babson College

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