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20 Colleges With the Best Career Services

Posted on Wednesday July 4, 2012 by Staff Writers

With unemployment for new grads hovering at around 25% and underemployment affecting another 25%, finding a job is a pretty big challenge for today’s college graduates. Even with a top-notch degree, internships, and recommendations, finding a job isn’t guaranteed and that’s leaving a lot of graduates wondering if a college degree was really worth all the trouble. Luckily, colleges are stepping up to help. Many now offer comprehensive career services departments that can help students prepare for interviews, learn about jobs, connect with alumni, or just get advice. Here, we highlight some of these departments (listed in no particular order) that really stand out for what they have to offer students who are entering one of the toughest job markets in recent history.

  1. Franklin & Marshall College:

    The president of Franklin & Marshall College, Daniel R. Porterfield, believes that career development should be part of the college experience so that students will be prepared for life after graduation. Yet Porterfield also believes that the college’s duty to their students doesn’t end once they graduate, and the school recently created a new position on campus for student and postgraduate development. In addition to this post-graduation support, the school’s career services department offers coaching, career planning, leadership advice, and much more to help students get a solid start on a future career.

  2. Davidson College:

    Davidson College’s career services department offers all the traditional career services resources, from help with networking to listings of internships, but the school is taking what they offer one step further. They plan to create a one-year postgraduate program that matches students up with nonprofit organizations in order to help students develop their skills before heading out into the larger job market. Even better, the positions are paid, allowing students to start repaying their college loans while gaining some solid work experience.

  3. University of Florida:

    Students at U of Florida have access to a pretty impressive set of resources through their career services department. There are career road maps, help for distance learners, and most importantly, career planning. Students can even log into a service called Gator CareerLink to schedule appointments for career planning help or to get assistance in finding jobs and internships. Visitors to the website can take advantage of great reads on their blog, learn about events, and get advice on the best careers for their majors.

  4. Clark University

    Some of the students who’ve been hit hardest by the poor job market are those in the liberal arts. Clark University is one school trying to rectify that problem. The school has created Liberal Education and Effective Practice, or LEEP, which helps to guide students both through their academic training and in building professional skills. The career services department helps these students, and others at the school, to take part in career workshops and alumni mentorships, and even freshmen are encouraged to plan internships and research projects. In addition, Clark’s students can take advantage of a resume builder, an online interview practice program called InterviewStream, and a number of useful how-to guides.

  5. Wake Forest University:

    Wake Forest University is another school hoping to help liberal arts students learn a bit more about their potential career paths, but in a pretty interesting way. Andy Chan, who runs the school’s career services department, is working directly with professors, asking them to bring students into the career services offices to take part in webinars with successful alumni. The school’s career services department has been a leader in helping to build practical professional skills and career knowledge in students and even hosted a conference called “Rethinking Success: From the Liberal Arts to Careers in the 21st Century.” One look at the career services website will show you that the school takes its mission seriously, offering loads of advice and programs for mentoring, internships, entrepreneurship, and job hunting.

  6. Sweet Briar College:

    Sweet Briar College’s career services department has consistently been ranked among the best in the nation and continues to offer a wealth of valuable, career-focused resources to students. As soon as students enter the private women’s college, they’re encouraged to develop a four-year plan which will guide them through their studies, internships, and career experience. Students, career services staff, and faculty work together to help students develop not only the academic skills they need but also the professional ones, with support from internship programs, a strong alumni network, and assistance with applying for jobs or graduate school.

  7. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology:

    The Office of Career Services and Employer Relations at Rose-Hulman is an excellent destination for students who are looking for a little help getting a leg up on their future careers. And they must be doing something right, as the school reports 98% of students having either gone on to work, graduate school, or a position in the military within five months of graduation. Part of what makes the department so successful is that they begin working with students freshman year, helping them develop a four-year career plan. From there, students can take advantage of the industry relationships career services has, attend networking events with alumni, and even get help finding a mentor.

  8. Cornell University:

    Even Ivy League grads need a little help finding work in today’s highly competitive job market. The school boasts one of the largest career libraries in the nation, holding more than 600 books that students can use to develop their careers or prepare for graduate school. Additionally, students can find help in planning their careers, getting internships, and networking through a series of job-related events throughout the year. Students can also bring in their resumes to the career service office and get feedback from staff or find help in honing their interviewing skills with pre-taped practice interviews

  9. Pennsylvania State University:

    From drop-in career counseling to online workshops and presentations, the career services department at Penn State offers students a wide range of ways to prepare for their post-college years. One of the coolest services offered by the school is the Nittany Lion Career Network, which leverages alumni and industry connections to offer students access to job postings, leads, career fairs, and other useful tools they can use to find employment. Additionally, students who plan to work in education can make use of the eCredentials program, which allows them to centrally store and distribute all of their required application documents to potential employers.

  10. Clemson University:

    Clemson University is home to The Michelin Career Center, which offers an impressive array of resources, classes, and services to students. Students can drop in and get career counseling, find out more about internships, or learn about job fairs and other employment events on campus. In addition to these on-campus perks, students can also take advantage of the ClemsonJobLink, an online career network that can help Clemson students and alumni find work or take part in the school’s cooperative education program that alternates work semesters with academic ones.

  11. Yale University:

    Yale is another Ivy League school that’s going above and beyond to help students find jobs after graduation and to learn professional skills while still students. All of the career-related resources, counseling, and tools available to current students are also available to alumni, which can be a big help to students who can’t find work several months after graduation. Students can come into the campus offices to schedule practice interviews, explore careers, or just get advice, but there are ample resources available online as well, including a helpful eRecruiting web portal.

  12. Southwestern University:

    Southwestern University divides its career services offerings into three categories: explore, experience, and engage. Students can learn about career options, gain experience through internships, volunteering, jobs, and leadership roles, and then search for a job or graduate school opportunity. Even better, on the school’s website students can read a career-focused blog and take advantage of the PirateLink job search engine.

  13. North Carolina State University:

    One of the many programs offered by this North Carolina school’s career services program is called “Kick Start Your Career,” which engages students through a semester of weekly seminars on topics related to job hunting, interviewing, and even choosing a graduate school. Students can opt to attend additional programs that offer mock interviews, professional panels, business fashion shows, and even instruction on proper table manners and etiquette. The Career Development Center on campus offers a number of other resources as well, from job fairs to college planning, making it one of the best and easiest places for students at this school to find career guidance.

  14. University of Washington:

    One of the greatest things about UW’s Career Center is the web resources they offer. Students can sign on to HuskyJobs to look for work, read the career services blog, write a resume, connect on Facebook, talk to career counselors, or even take part in online and streaming workshops. Of course, there are plenty of on-campus resources to take advantage of as well, including a wide range of events, career planning help, and a large career-focused library.

  15. University of Texas at Austin:

    The Sanger Learning & Career Center at UT Austin has ranked among the top 10 career services programs in the nation, and it’s not hard to see why. The career center has a solid online presence that extends beyond their own site onto social media. And students on campus can take advantage of an impressive array of resources including access to tutors and academic coaches, career counseling, assistance in applying for graduate school, and even a credentials service.

  16. Bentley University:

    The award-winning career services program at Bentley University has resources to help both current students and alumni in looking for a job or moving on to other higher education. The school offers students access to a Virtual Career Center that is full of resources on writing a resume, interviewing, and internships, among other topics. Even more exciting is their “HIRE Education” program, which breaks down the four-year experience into Explore, Experiment, Experience, and Excel, pushing students in different areas throughout their academic careers.

  17. Northeastern University:

    Northeastern’s career services program has done a great job of reaching out to students via social media, with profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and a host of career videos, all of which make it easier than ever for students to reach out for career help and assistance. On their own website and in their offices, students will find a range of useful resources, even those that can hook them up with alumni in the field, nonprofit jobs, or employers-in-residence.

  18. University of Oregon:

    Students at this Pacific Northwest school certainly won’t be left out in the cold when it comes to searching for jobs, as the school boasts an impressive array of services and resources through its career services department. One of the best features is perhaps the blog, which offers students a chance to learn about alumni and what it takes to get hired through regular updates to the site. Additionally, students can participate in workshops, get help prepping for an interview, and even find work overseas with help from the Career Center. A recent feature called “You’re Hired!” on the center’s website is also helpful, featuring the stories of recent grads who’ve found work and sharing how they did it.

  19. University of Notre Dame:

    The Career Center at the University of Notre Dame is a great place for students to begin looking for work or to even start thinking about the sort of work they’d like to do. The center offers a career and job search guide, ways to get and stay connected via social media, as well as numerous resources and programs that can help students find work. One unique resource offered by the center is an online library, allowing students to read career-focused materials without even having to leave their dorms or apartments.

  20. University of Richmond:

    The resources offered through the career services at the University of Richmond are plentiful and include a career network, on-campus recruiting, career expos, resume help, and a students-only job search engine called SpiderConnect. Results from the school seem promising and speak to the commitment of the career services department in helping students, as 97% of grads have work of some kind one year after graduation.