Why You Should Visit the Career Center Early On

by Tony Suleiman Jr.

As a freshman making your college debut, or a sophomore getting settled into the college routine, you may not yet be thinking about post-graduation plans. When I was in your shoes, every underclassman I knew (including myself) did not give graduation a passing thought. Those first couple years of college are a time when you get to figure out the next chapter in your education and allow yourself to explore and enjoy new experiences. However, I strongly advise all freshmen and sophomores to do one thing that can help you get a head start on preparing for graduation—get to know your campus career center.

Take Advantage of Free Resources

Looking back over my four years at Azusa Pacific University, my biggest regret is not utilizing the Career Center earlier in college. It offers so many resources that can help students, such as résumé and LinkedIn workshops, as well as assistance researching jobs and internships. I first visited the career center at the end of my junior year for help finding a summer internship; I was amazed by how helpful and informative the meeting was. I used the resources and tools that the career advisor showed me and obtained a great internship as a result.

Get a Head Start in Networking

The Career Center provides a foundation for networking in the field you want to pursue after graduation. It’s true when people say that finding a job or career is more about who you know than what you know. Advisors in the center have a wealth of knowledge and insight, and can help you get started in the process of networking. They can provide you with resources, such as alumni job boards that allow current students to connect with APU alumni who already work in their respective fields. These networking resources are very helpful because, in the job market, the best thing you can do to achieve success is position yourself to take advantage of opportunities that come your way by making as many connections as possible.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Visit the Career Center

Phil Brazell, executive director for career and alumni engagement at Azusa Pacific says, “The Career Center is a great resource for students because it provides specific support, training, and connections for whatever is next after APU. Many students wait until the urgency of their final term to start exploring careers and preparing themselves for the next step. The reality is that it is critical for students to use the resources and services much earlier to better articulate their career path, identify internships that can help them gain necessary skills and experiences prior to graduation, and have the opportunity to network and interview with employer partners. If students wait until their final year, they are missing out on the wealth of resources that could support them to launch more fully at the point of graduation.”

As new and exciting as the freshman year and college experience is, do not overlook the importance of planning ahead for life after graduation—the payoff will be enormous once senior year rolls around. In this job market, it is imperative to take advantage of available resources to set yourself up for success, and your college career center can provide you with invaluable help, just like it did for me.