For most students, the primary goal after graduating from a college or trade school is to secure employment. "The person who gets the job is one who knows the most about the company and the opportunity," Abby Scott, executive director and career adviser at the Haas School of Business, told Bloomberg Businessweek in 2008. At a school's job placement center, students will find company profiles, job notices and tools to enter the career of their choice.
Job placement centers network with employers who will hire the school’s graduates. Placement officers often make these connections through the professional associations of the school’s faculty, staff and alumni. Schools also pursue contacts at businesses and organization with no previous connection to the institution, if those employers will be a good fit for the students. The placement center shares the information it receive about employers with students through job boards and career counseling.
A school may match a student with a professional mentor -- a faculty adviser, a career counselor, a business owner or employee -- as early as the first year of school. Mentors facilitate job-shadowing experiences and provide introductions to other employees in the field. They also assist students in writing resumes and preparing for job interviews, and provide feedback for a student's career goals and coursework choices.
Internships and Cooperative Programs
If the curriculum doesn't include internships or cooperative education, a job placement office can help students find on-the-job training and give guidance on application procedures, job expectations and pay or course credits offered by these short-term work arrangements. According to a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers “will draw approximately 40 percent of their new college hires for 2011 from their internship and co-op programs.”
Employers recruit students by posting notices with the job placement center or coming to the campus to meet applicants. At a college job fair, for example, students meet multiple recruiting organizations in a short time, fill out employment applications and learn about job expectations. Schools also create online databases where students and alumni post their resumes for recruiters to view and where recruiters list job openings.
Schools typically don't guarantee graduates a job within their chosen field. However, students should review a school’s placement rates, ask about the employment of recent graduates and find out which companies typically recruit at the school. The success of a school’s job placement center depends not only on the center’s offerings, but also on students taking full advantage of those resources.
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