Start a Home Business: Business and Career Advice: Get Ready for Your Job Search

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Where to Find Free Career Guidance
by Clint Hunter

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Preparing to Apply for a New Job
Where to Find Free Career Guidance
Published with permission from FabJob.

When I decided to take the life-changing plunge and change careers, I knew I needed professional career counseling and help in finding job listings in my chosen field. I found assistance on these and many other career-related issues at what might seem to some a very unlikely place — my local community college.

Why look to community colleges for career guidance? Well, these colleges are usually conveniently located, they routinely provide extensive services beyond actual academic preparation to adults in many fields, they tend to serve as centers for business and community gatherings, most have well staffed career and job service facilities, and many place career counseling and job placement high on their priority list as a community service.

What are your chances of qualifying for assistance from your local community collegeís career center? Actually they are a lot better than you might think. I was surprised to learn that many community colleges (more than I anticipated) provide career counseling and job search assistance to the community at large as well as to enrolled students at no cost.

Not all, however, are quite so all inclusive. Many offer some limited career guidance to the general public while reserving other aspects of counseling for enrolled students. Some cater exclusively to enrolled students. A phone call to the college counseling office will help you determine what assistance is available.

Should you choose to do so, enrolling in an online course will satisfy the enrollment requirement and allow you to increase a skill level without leaving home. After all, the cost of one course at most community colleges is certainly an inexpensive method of gaining access to professional career counseling.

What might you expect from your community college career center? The four common components of most programs include self-evaluation, job readiness, career exploration, and employment opportunities.

Not all career service centers provide identical services; however, most should have such basic job seeking resources as career planning and counseling, resume writing assistance, computerized job listings, interest inventories for self-evaluation, and a broad resume referral system.

Others add such helpful items as career workshops and presentations, mock interviews, and periodic job fairs. Importantly, most have ongoing working relationships with a broad spectrum of local and area businesses and industries.

The community college in my area provides full career counseling service at no cost for anyone in the community. Three resources proved particularly helpful. Since I hadnít been job hunting in over twenty years, I really needed help in getting my resume in order. The career counselor helped format my resume and made several suggestions about pulling together my disparate job experiences into a cohesive document relevant to the desired position.

Another invaluable aid was a mock interview session in which fellow students as well as counselors critiqued such things as body language and my answers to standard interview questions. Going through this session built my confidence for the real interviews to come.

Finally, a group workshop covering job search techniques was very helpful. As a matter of fact, attending this workshop unearthed two contacts that eventually led to my initial job in my chosen field.

You may have overlooked your local community colleges as source of help in your quest for a career change. Chances are you would benefit from adding them to your list. I know from experience they are worth a look.

Click here to find a career you can be passionate about.

by Clint Hunter:
Clint Hunter is an Associate Professor at a community college in Texas. He teaches and writes for pleasure.  He made a career change and found his personal dream job.  He wishes you the best of luck in finding yours.

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