Students – make your Supply Chain Career Services office one of your first steps in getting started on your supply chain career. And keep using them as an ongoing source of self-assessment and job-hunting partner. Two big mistakes students make while in school are 1) never visiting the Career Services offices, and 2) thinking they only need their help when it is time to start looking for a job.
Supply Chain Career Services Offices: Get Started Early and Use Often
Yes, supply chain career services are great at assisting on your search process, but they do so much more. Career Services can help you better understand your learning strengths and weaknesses, help you understand the kinds of tasks and work you tend to enjoy more, help you develop study and career plans, guide you about other services the university offers, provide you with vital student success skills (or point you in the right direction), PLUS help you with internship, co-op and job searches.
Finding the Career Offices, Levels of Advice
First, you have to find the Career Services office. Sometimes Career Services may be called different things at different schools, such as Career Center, Career Development, Career Education, Career and Placement Center, or other similar terms. You may also find that your College of Business or College of Education has their own office. There are some departments that have their own career services staff or at least one person that can help you find the range of services you need. Ask your advisor or ask your department office about what kinds of career services are offered at each level from department, to college, to university. They may have separated out different aspects of the services to better serve the entire university.
Getting to Know Yourself
Many colleges and universities offer a variety of tools that help you learn more about yourself. You may have had assessments in high school that tried to help you determine what kinds of tasks or subjects might be of interest to you, plus what strengths and weaknesses you might have about the way you think or the way that you prefer to work or communicate. These were often to help you determine future career paths and possible university major directions to pursue. Take advantage of whatever assessments your college has and do it as early as possible in school. It can help you target the kinds of experiences or classes that either take advantage of your strengths or help you work on your weaknesses. Too many people shy away from this kind of experience, but this is the time in your life when it is the most valuable.
Exploring Career Options and Companies
Use the advising and counseling services that are offered to help you find what kinds of companies and jobs have been available and taken by your fellow students. Initially, your major weakness is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Explore what others have done. Ask about the job titles and what people do who hold those kinds of titles. Career Services offices are good at being able to help you navigate options. They don’t tell you what to do. They help you explore. They ask questions and help you find answers. You can also use excellent job title exploration resources such as O*NET (www.onetonline.org) that show a description for a job title, alternate or similar job titles, plus a bulleted list of tasks that type of job title typically does. You can navigate from title to title, plus task to task, finding similar jobs that do the same type of task. It is a great way to learn what the many job titles in supply chain actually do. Use O*NET along with a LinkedIn search to view people that actually have the title and see their career path and the companies they work for. It is a very eye-opening experience.
Career Services Platforms
Many universities are now using web-based career services platforms such as Handshake that put all your employment information in one place. It is like a matchmaking tool that your university uses for you to be able to post resumes and for employers to be able to post jobs targeted toward your university (plus they recruit and post jobs at multiple universities). The tools are designed to help you fill out a profile of your preferences for types of jobs, locations, industries, etc. They are also designed to help you search for employers and jobs. You may also be able to see what other students had to say about the employer. When students and employers find a match, then interviews can be scheduled through the tools. It isn’t just about full-time employment after graduation, because they are also a good resource for finding internships and co-ops. As part of the employment search, many universities use the platforms for career fairs and information sessions. You are strongly encouraged to ask your Career Services office about how to get the most out of Handshake or whatever tool they use to help manage your job search experience.
Career Services has been working for years with companies that want to find students at your university who might fill their needs. Many of the interviewers may be alumni who were either hired directly out of school or are currently at that company and wanted to go back to their school to help another student find a position with the company. This is one of the best opportunities to find out from your Career Services counselor about the companies that hire interns, co-ops, and full-time students in your major. They can tell you when they will be on campus, whether it is for job fairs, information sessions, or for interviews. If a company will not be on campus, but you have an interest in what they do, talk to Career Services about what you might be able to do to learn more about them, plus suggestions for how to contact them.
Talk to Supply Chain Career Services, get registered, take advantage of every service they offer. You will be far better off doing so.