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5 Tips to Making the Most of Your College Careers Service

Whether it’s in the first year or last month of your college career, there comes a time when you’re going to have to start thinking about your working life after university. Yes, that’s right, unfortunately there is such a thing, and you’re time to begin this not-so-fun chapter of your life will come around quicker than you think. But you will, however, find your college will have something called a ‘Careers Service’ to make sure your transition into the world of work is as smooth and successful as possible. So, in this post, I point out a few of the ways you can utilize and make the most of your university careers service.

Ignore those Emails and Leaflets at Your Peril

If you’ve been deleting and ignoring emails from your careers service then stop and start reading them. Every careers service will differ from university to university, but you’ll find most will keep their students updated with information about jobs fairs and presentations. You also want to pay attention to any leaflets which are handed out or dotted around your college buildings. Sure, a lot of them won’t be relevant to you: if you’re an arts student, you’re not going to be interested in employer presentations seeking electrical engineering graduates for example. But keep an eye out and make a note of any up and coming events or application deadlines that your careers service tells you about.

Go About Job Fairs the Right Way

Most universities will have a number of jobs/careers fairs throughout the year. Some of these will be specifically targeted towards certain careers or students on specific degree courses but often they will be fairly general and open to everyone – from freshmen to finalists. Jobs fairs provide a fantastic opportunity to speak to representatives from different firms and to find out more about your potential recruiters. But it’s easy to wonder around them fairly aimlessly and achieve very little by turning up.

You can avoid making this mistake by planning your trip in advance. This doesn’t need to be anything too thorough, but look at the list of which companies will be there, think about which firms’ stalls you want to visit and have a few questions ready to ask. It’s also worth making sure you take a notepad and look reasonably smart; jobs fairs aren’t interviews, but there’s nothing to say you might not come across the person you speak to later down the line if you get an interview with that firm. If they remember you were the one that looked like you’d just rolled out of bed when you last spoke to them, that certainly won’t help you land the job.

Get Your Resume Checked Over

OK so you might be studying English and you might think writing a resume is an easy task compared to the last essay you had to grind out. But there’s bound to be someone at your university – irrespective of whether or not you have a large careers service – that’s seen many resumes from college students and can pick out flaws and mistakes that were invisible to you. It’s surprisingly hard to write a decent resume for the first time (and for the second and third time I might add). And getting your résumé checked over by the careers service won’t cost you anything, and it could be the difference between getting an interview and being told to shove it.

Attend Practice Interviews and Assessment Centers

Although less common, careers services will often arrange practice interviews and assessment center-style activities. For many college students, the only form of interview experience they’ve had will have been for a part-time job in a coffee shop or the like when they were 17. The application process for top graduate recruiters is a completely different ball game, however. You might be faced with multiple interviews, psychometric tests, and team-working and presentation exercises. If you have the opportunity to practice these and gain an advantage over your fellow job applicants, then take it.

Check for Jobs Advertised through Your Careers Service

When you’re at college and searching for a job it’s easy to fall into the trap of only Google searching the term ‘graduate jobs’, looking at the web pages of firms you’ve already heard of, or looking at a handful of graduate recruitment directories. But don’t forget to keep your search closer to home too; your university careers service will be contacted by more local, smaller firms who are looking to recruit from your university. If you don’t check out what’s advertised at your careers service then you might miss out on these opportunities.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article is provided by Julian who writes about personal finance, careers, and frugal living. He writes and manages the blog at which is a user-driven website that aims to help people find the best financial products.

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Making Your Degree Work For You

A college degree is only beneficial if it leads to a job after graduation. Whether you receive an English degree or a physics degree, you face the daunting task of searching and applying for a job when you graduate from college. While the job search process may seem daunting, there are steps you can take to make finding a job in your degree field much easier. You have put in the hard to work to earn the degree, so it is time to make your degree work for you.

Do not wait until after you graduate to start the job search process. Take advantage of the career office at your college or university to find potential business contacts in your field, create a stellar resume and participate in mock interviews to prepare you for the job market. For example, if you are currently taking computer programming classes, contact members of your school’s alumni association who currently work as computer programmers and ask for their advice on finding a job in the field.

Build up as much experience as you can before beginning your job search. Take an unpaid internship that relates to your future career. Volunteer with a non-profit organization that could provide you with valuable insight into your future career field. Read as many books as possible written by some of the top individuals in your desired career field. Become proficient using as many computer programs or specialized software programs as possible and include those skills on your resume to set you apart from other employees.

Promote yourself as the ideal candidate for the job. Create detailed profiles on popular social networking websites that make you appear to be a professional and someone who is more than qualified for a job in your field. Create a list of companies you would like to work for and get to know these companies inside and out by talking to former and current employees and reading company profiles. Use any connections you have to get interviews or have someone put in a good word for you.

Network every chance you get. Whether you’re at a job fair or standing in line at the gas station, always keep your eyes open for a chance to network. Ask for business cards, and make sure that people you talk to know your skill set and qualifications. With all of the changes that have happened in the job market over the last few years, it is important that you use every opportunity at your disposal to make an impression on potential employers; one thing that will always catch their eye and secure a place for you in their memory is an obvious desire to put your skills to use.

Getting a job in your field is not as simple as filling out applications and sitting through interviews. To make your degree work for you, you have to put in some work. By taking the steps to position yourself as the ideal job candidate and network with those in your desired industry, you will not have to settle for less than the job of your dreams.

Today’s guest article was provided by Joseph Baker.

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ABA States That Law Degree Won’t Solve Financial Woes

When the American Bar Association starts persuading financially strapped law students to look for a different career, you know that we have reached a new era when it comes to college costs and the potential salaries expected after graduation.

The ABA recently released a statement on their website that encourages college bound students to think twice before going to law school. Based upon current economic conditions and a deplorable job market, the ABA states that going to law school could become more of a financial burden verses a financial windfall.

In 2008, a study was completed on the actual costs of obtaining a law degree. It was estimated that the average law student attending a public college would absorb over $71,000 in education loans. Law students choosing to go to a private college would borrow over $91,000. You have to keep in mind that this does not even include what they spend on their undergraduate degree. Karen Sloan stated in a 2009 article that public law schools are increasing tuition by 10-25%, so the numbers above are only going to get higher with each year that passes.

While the ABA appears to be dissuading law students from entering into the profession, they are quick to offer the following solutions to help aspiring students make ends meet while attending law school:

  • attend a local law school and live at home
  • go to a public school where one can get in-state tuition
  • enroll in a part time program and continue to work
  • carefully control costs while in law school
  • compare your expected salary to your expected debt to make sure you are making a sound financial decision to attend law school

I have to give credit where credit is due. It is a bold stance for the ABA to take when they start dashing future students’ hopes of fame and fortune in a law profession. However, the reality found in the ABA’s position of full disclosure when it comes to the financial aspect of a law degree is to be commended. It is far better for a student to decide early on if a change in career path is necessary prior to investing in a degree that will not support their ability to repay any accrued education debt and maintain some sort of life style that doesn’t involve living in their parent’s basement…

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Don’t Like College? Quit & Ask For Your Money Back!

This may seem like an insane idea but sometimes the craziest of approaches are the most successful.

Picture this… You are in your final year of Law School, you have acquired a mountain of education loan debt, your wife is now pregnant with your first-born, job prospects are down-right pitiful, and your car just got a flat tire.

This is the situation that a young man is experiencing at Boston College’s School of Law… well he is facing everything except for the flat tire. I threw that in for good measure because stuff like that always happens when you are down and out.

Based upon the situation, I can tell this student has 2 options: quit law school, find a job, and start paying back the student loan debt -or- finish law school, find a job, and start paying back the student loan debt. Either way, the student needs to find a job and pay back the student loan debt.  If it were me and I was almost finished with law school, I would stick it out and finish because my salary potential would probably be much greater with a law degree verses being without.

This student, however, tried to implement a 3rd option (a little crazy and insane all wrapped together): he wrote a letter to the dean and told him that he will drop out at the end of the semester IF the university will kindly refund him his tuition for the past two and half years. The student goes on to state that the U.S. News and World Report Ranking for the college will be improved if they don’t have an unemployed graduate on their rolls (another reason rankings are flawed).  So, it would be in their best interest to let him leave now. I have not heard the official response from the University but I am guessing that he will receive a resounding “NO” to his request.

If you would like to see a copy of the full letter to the dean, you can check it out here. The student’s name has been redacted to protect his privacy.  It is  a shame that this student will be leaving law school because, after reading the letter, I really think he has what it takes to be a successful lawyer.

So.. what do you think about this request? Does it seem reasonable? Do you think we might see more of this in the future? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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College Promises a Job or Your Money Back!

LCCLogoLansing Community College (LCC) is so confident that their training program can get you a job, they are willing to give you your tuition money back if you are unable to secure employment within 12 months. What a deal!

LCC is presenting an intensive 6 week training program that can provide students the opportunity to become a Pharmacy Technician, Customer Service/Call Center Specialist, Quality Control Inspector, or a CNC Machinist. The costs of the programs range from $2,150 to $2,500 and half of the costs are due up front and the remainder can be paid in monthly installments after the student has successfully obtained employment. No federal financial aid is available for these programs.

The following is the time line for the programs:

March 24 – April 12, 2010 Applications accepted
April 20, 2010 Notification to Applicants
April 28, 2010 Information Session, Applicant Screening and Assessment
May 4, 2010 Notification to Applicants
May 6, 2010 Interview Screening Panel
May 7, 2010 Notification of Acceptance into Program
May 11, 2010 Learning and Payment Contracts Due, Payment Due
May 17 – June 28, 2010 Training
June 29, 2010 Job Fair
June 30, 2010 Graduation

Even though it may be too late to get into this first session, you may want to look at future sessions to see about space availability. It is certainly a great opportunity to quickly gain some job skills and the money back guarantee can’t be beat!

For more information, you can contact LCC’s Business & Community Institute at (517) 483-1857or

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Thomas College Guarantees a Job After Graduation

gotjobsNot only do they guarantee that their graduates will get a job, they will make the payments on student loans for up to one year or longer for those that can’t get employed.  All I can say is “WOW”

In lieu of making the student loan payments, Thomas College will also allow unemployed students to come back and take an unlimited number of classes for free for up to 2 years!

Now you know that this deal comes with a catch. Thomas College is certainly not going to pay for someone to sit on a couch in their parent’s basement for a year, covered in cheese puffs and surrounded by empty pizza boxes while they play their favorite game on Nintendo Wii. I am guessing some parents may object to this as well!

To be eligible, a student must satisfy the following:

  • Sign a written agreement with the College
  • Graduate with a minimum 2.75 cumulative grade-point-average from a baccalaureate degree program. A minimum of 90 credits must be completed in the undergraduate day division
  • Complete a three-credit-hour internship within your program of study
  • Register and work with the College’s Career Services Office
  • Be in good financial standing with both the College and student-loan agencies

Apparently, the Guaranteed Job Placement Program (also known as G-Job) at Thomas College has been around since 1999.

“We generally find that 95 percent of our students find a position six months outside of their graduation date, so in the past 10 years of the program, we’ve only had to pay out six times,” said Edwards (Thomas College Provost). “And of those six times, five have been payouts in the sense that students have come back to get more education at the graduate level, often times looking to move in a different career path.”

I know this information doesn’t necessarily fall along the theme of helping to make college affordable. However, going to a College or University that guarantees a job after graduation sure does make the educational investment/expense more inviting.

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