Back to School
Jan 9, 2015 at 10:27 AM
Melissa in Career Exploration, Knowing Yourself

September marks the traditional start of the academic calendar after the long summer break.  The importance of this date depends on your relationship with school.  If you are a student, of course, it is a major event, as you catch up with old friends or make new ones, and begin a fresh year of studies with new classes and new teachers.  But once you’ve graduated, unless you become a teacher yourself, your life becomes largely uncoupled from the academic calendar, as one year fades into the next without the abrupt changes every September. 

Still, there are always reminders of the yearly academic cycle.  If you have children, their school schedule becomes a part of your life, and you may be heaving a sigh of relief as the start of school gets them out of the house.  Even if you don’t have children, there are flurries of advertisements for back-to-school sales to alert you to the season.  Some reminders take surprising forms.  Here in the Boston area, there are so many colleges and universities that most apartment leases run from September to September to fit the academic schedule, so that September 1st the streets are clogged with moving vans on the unofficial holiday known as “Moving Day.”

Despite these reminders, thoughts of school gradually fade.  But one time you should think of school is when you are looking for a new job or new clients.  Many colleges and universities have excellent career centers that provide services such as job listings, workshops, networking, resume assistance, and career counseling to current students and alumni, usually for free.  Even if it has been many years since you graduated, one step in your job hunt should be your school’s career center; thanks to the internet, it usually only takes a few minutes to find out what services they provide.

It’s never too late to use your school’s career services to help you find a job or a prospect. 

Obviously, career centers will be most useful if you still live in the same area as the school, since you will be able to drop by in person, and they are more likely to have good leads on local jobs.  But even if you now live across the country, they can still be useful. 

One of my clients did her undergraduate work at a major southern university before moving up north to get her MBA and work.  When I was helping her find a new job in business, I suggested that she contact her old university, which had a well-regarded business school.  Even though she had only attended as an undergraduate and never took classes at the business school, as an alumnae she was allowed to draw on the business school’s career services and use their exclusive job listings database.  The database had a national scope, and through it, she was able to make a contact in her own area that ultimately led to a job.

Article originally appeared on Core Allies, LLC (http://www.coreallies.com/).
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