Taking advantage of college career services

One of the most important offices on any college campus is the office of career services, also called placement offices. In fact, Texas Southern University Director of Career Services Dr. Antoinette Roberson said it should be one of the places students go to on a regular basis.

“Students should most certainly visit their office of career services on a continued and intentional basis,” Roberson said.

“We are the office that has the up-to-date information because we work with employers every day. So we know what the expectations are. Then we bring those resources and insight back to students to make them better.”

TSU’s career services office offers resume revisions, career assessments, mock interviews, career fairs, dress for success, employer seminars, networking events and job search strategies. The staff also works with students on such skills such as team-building and stress management. Services are extended to undergraduate, graduate and alumni students.

Roberson said the process for student success is divided into steps.

“The first thing we always encourage is for students to come in and take some kind of career assessment because we want you to be able to identify your skills, likes and your abilities,” Roberson said.

“That will help you streamline your approach to choosing a major in school and also your job search. That way you understand what you want, why you want it and how to get it.”

She said the next part of the process is to create a plan and put it into action.

“I would encourage a student to sit down with a career counselor to etch out your career plan,” said Roberson. “It can be a short-term or a long-term plan. Once you have your plan, you must put it into action. A plan that is not realized is just idol conversation. Once you have your plan and it is developed, then you must work through it and follow up. That action piece is so critical to your success.”

Roberson said students must also look the part. Through the dress for success program, the office works with Dress for Success Houston and the Wesley Foundation to supply students with free professional attire and accessories such as shoes and purses.

“The dress for success program is designed to provide students with resources to be confident when you go into your interviews, or a networking event,” Roberson said.

“We want to be a full one-service, one-stop shop here for our students. Attire is about 90 percent of the impression that is made by recruiters. Make sure that when you go in, you are conservative. When we say conservative we mean nice dark suits like black, gray or navy blue.

“Stay away from reds or any kind of fluorescent colors. Those send off different types of signals to recruiters. Red in some contexts may make a person think you are arrogant.”

Although following such can lead to success, Roberson said it doesn’t happen overnight.

“Don’t give up if the first company [you interview with] doesn’t hire you or the first internship doesn’t work out,” she said. “You may have to send out several resumes and do hundreds of interviews before you land that dream career. It will happen if you follow the process.”