Meeting with your career advisor can be intimidating. For some reason, people feel like they need to have it all “together” before they meet with their career advisor. This is simply not the case! Career advisors help you get it together! That’s their job!
They literally get paid to help you get paid! (Seriously, most of them have their masters and all the certifications to prove they can help you figure stuff out).
Career advisors are worth their weight in gold and you should meet with your frequently and early! (By early, I do mean as soon as you get on campus. The first day of school if possible would be best.) The reason I am so adamant about you creating a strong relationship with your career advisor early on is so that they can help you make the most of your academic career to prepare you for a strong head start post-graduation.
IT IS NEVER TOO EARLY TO START MEETING WITH YOUR CAREER ADVISOR. However, in some cases, it can be too late (like the week you’re about to graduate frantic looking for anyone to hire you.) With that being said this is how to make the most of your meeting with your career advisor.
#1 Be honest and humble
It’s okay if you have no idea what you’re doing. It’s okay if you don’t know how to write a resume. It’s okay if you’ve never seen a cover letter in your life. They can help you with all that and more, but they can’t read your mind. Help them help you by being honest about where you are and what you need help with. It’s okay to start with a blank slate.
#2 Meet often
I know I touched on this in the intro, but it’s worth repeating again. MEET OFTEN. (At least once a month). They are there to help you develop professionally. You should be developing professionally in some way at least once a month. You’re also going to change your mind often as the semester progresses and as you mature in your academic career. Meeting with your career advisor often will help them help you keep track and analyze any new discoveries regarding what you want or don’t want in your career post-graduation.
#3 Ask for resources to be successful
This will probably come up in the conversation, but make sure your advisor knows that you are looking for resources too. Furthermore, once your advisor gives you resources to be successful, USE THEM! Do you think your advisor is going to take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously enough to make yourself successful? It’s important to be proactive. The more proactive you are, the more productive your meetings will be. In addition, your advisor will have you on their radar so if they see anything that you particularly would like you are the first person they think of.
#4 Practice basic career skills
If you have no idea what to do during your meeting then go back to basics! Basics include resume review, cover letter practice, mock interviews and other essential skills that make you career ready. Reviewing basics never gets old! They’re called basics for a reason. The goal of drilling basic skills into your head is that when the opportunity comes to really impress an employer you know exactly how to demonstrate your skills and experience.
Bonus tip: Any career services worth their salt will provide different workshops throughout the semester designed to help you be successful during your academic career and post-graduation. You can use your time with your advisor to review what you learned at the workshop and clarify any issues of comprehension you had during the workshop.
#5 Leave with at least 2 action items and 1 lesson
This prevents you from becoming complacent about your meetings. Leaving with at least 2 action items will hold yourself accountable for your professional career and success. These action items don’t have to be groundbreaking. It could be as simple as updating your LinkedIn with a professional headshot or spellchecking your resume. No matter how small your action items may be, they need to be moving you forward.
Meeting with your advisor should also help you reflect on some of your own professional goals or questions in mind. Consider these reflections or any revelation you have as lessons. Again, they don’t have to be groundbreaking but make it a point to learn some new every time you meet with your advisor (even if it’s small).
#6 Bring 3 ideal job descriptions with you!
Like I mentioned in my resume article, you should have a PDF of at least 3 ideal careers you would like later on in your career. Nothing is set in stone, so make sure these job descriptions are ambitious. Do you want to be the CEO of a major advertising firm? What about the head engineer at Tesla or the Marketing Director at Google?
Again, the sky is the limit, just make sure these audacious job descriptions describe a type of life you think you want. When you bring these job descriptions with you, you and your advisor can start making actionable steps to make this your path to this career a reality.
No, your career advisor is not going to get you a job as CEO of Exxon right out of college. That’s not the point. The point is to give your advisor an idea of where you want to be later on down the road so they can help you pave a path in that direction and avoid unnecessary and costly pitfalls.
#7 Share your experience wish list
This is also a carryover from my article on how to keep your resume up to date. An experience wish list is experiences you need to have to prepare you for the career you want post graduation. For example, if you know being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company requires significant public speaking skills, then it’s in your best interest to look for experiences that will help you build your public speaking skills.
Sharing your experience wish list with your advisor will help them know where your head is at and will also help them help you put things in perspective. They will definitely have feedback on your wish list and they might even have recommendations on how to accomplish some of those experiences on your wish list.
#8 Schedule your next appointment right then
Make sure you have a regular presence with your career advisor. Use the last 5 minutes of your appointment to schedule the next one. It should run like clockwork. This will help keep you accountable for the progress your action items. It also shows your advisor that you are serious about advancing yourself professionally. It will leave a positive impression with your advisor.
Remember, your career advisor is there to advise. Literally, nothing will get done if you don’t put the work into it. They can only inform you to the best of their ability based on the amount of work you’re willing to do. Your career advisor is on your side! They want to see you within a career that you love! They want you to be successful. They get paid to help you be successful. Helping them help you only makes sense! They have access to a plethora of resources to help you to reach out to your career advisor today!
These 8 steps will help you make the most of your appointment with your career advisor. The key is to be proactive. However, if you feel like you need an extra bump or another ear, that’s what I’m here for! Feel free to reach out to get a second opinion.
What do you talk about with your career adviser? Share your experience below!