10 Career Resources All Online Students Deserve

Nearly every college or university campus has a department devoted solely to easing the transition between graduation and starting a career. Understandably, this may leave some online students feeling locked out of the offerings, though they deserve just as much of a chance at landing a job as their counterparts on campus. Most schools recognize this disparity and are working to give online students access to the very same resources, adjusted to meet their virtual situations. If they’ve put in the time and energy toward their educations, they’ve certainly earned the right to enjoy everything that might lead them to scoring and keeping a dream job.

  1. Resume and cover letter services:

    The most basic of career services involves helping students hammer out the best resumes and cover letters possible. Seeing as how these are probably the most important documents most people will ever have to write in their entire lives, they certainly need as much guidance as possible. Pretty much every school with online degree plans offers enrollees a chance to e-mail their documents — including whole applications — to a counselor for detailed critique and suggestions. University of Montana’s online and distance students, for example, enjoy access to such assistance via phone, the Internet, or even in person if they prefer.

  2. Personalized resources:

    Skype, Google Hangouts, and other voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) and chat functions make it easier than ever for online students to receive one-on-one career counseling from a pro. These sessions might include advice on resumes and cover letters, guided assessments, questions and answers about different options, and anything else the up-and-coming employee might need. Many schools post up general resources at minimum, but students tend to flourish with individualized assistance.

  3. Workshops:

    Some colleges and universities, like Academy of Art University, encourage their online students to sign up for virtual workshops on a wide range of career-related subjects. The specifics vary from school to school, but commonly focus on the basics of job-hunting — writing resumes and cover letters, filling out applications, networking navigating the frustrations of finding a position, etc. — sometimes even as they pertain to specific industries.

  4. Online networks:

    Oberlin College and Conservatory might host a suite of fabulous online networks for current students and alumni, but it’s hardly the only one who reaches out in such a manner. LinkedIn groups remain incredibly popular, with most schools providing groups perfect for meeting others in the department, graduates, and anyone else wanting to help out that job search, though Facebook isn’t without its trumpeters. For online students, this means a more equitable chance at meeting people who could very well launch their careers.

  5. Self-assessments:

    The savvier career services departments out there proctor self-assessments, frequently online, meant to grant students a deeper understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and possible career paths. Since so many schools still do not offer personalized sessions with a counselor, these little tests and questionnaires provide insight into what the individual might want and need in a job. Alternately, they offer up a viable alternative to shier or more self-assured types who prefer exploring themselves and their possible futures alone.

  6. Mock interviews:

    Whether conducted online through video chat, over the phone, or in person, participation in mock interviews builds the skills and confidence students need to land (hopefully keep) a job. Montana State University at Billings allows its distance learners to sign up for phone interviews via e-mail and receive practice and feedback about what needs improving. Even the most comfortable and poised student could stand to use a few pointers before heading in for a real interview.

  7. Meeting with experts:

    Most career workshops hosted by colleges and universities are fronted by staff members, but some departments take them to the next level by bringing in the professionals. The Climbing with the Experts series at Westwood College pairs up students and employees in industries they might want to pursue, allowing the former to ask more specific questions than they could in a more general setting. Some of the workshops this particular school offered include game development and design, criminal justice, and IT, though the meetings change from semester to semester and school to school.

  8. Job openings:

    Whether or not students take their courses in the classroom or online, job postings are a staple of career services departments. While the mechanisms differ depending on the school, the one thing they have in common being that they connect students with openings in their field. Online students who live closer to campus can also scope out whether or not their colleges plan to host any career fairs anytime soon.

  9. Links:

    Even if career services departments provide absolutely nothing else to the online student body, at the very least they should post up a listing of valuable job-related links. Penn State’s World Campus boasts one of the best examples of doing resource inventories right. They break their dozens of links down to several different categories — including social media, interview tips, graduate school, and plenty more — for quick and easy browsing.

  10. Lifetime support:

    Harrison College proudly ensures that its alumni receive full usage of career services department for life. After all, schools train students to enter the workforce, and with life being what it is they may find themselves searching for a new job years, even decades after landing their first. Which means they might need a bit of assistance rewriting their resumes and remembering interview protocol as well. Continual support for graduates means peace of mind that the ol’ alma mater will always be there to provide assistance when the road grows rough.

Posted on 02/04/13 | by Staff Writers | in Education | No Comments »

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