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Career Story: Job Placement Specialist At A Community College

Job Placement Specialist At A Community College

Job Title: Job Placement Specialist, Career Services

Type of Company: I currently work at a community college in the western suburbs of Chicago. The college serves students, alumni and local residents.

Education: BS, Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago •• MS, Human Resources Management, Loyola University of Chicago

Previous Experience: I worked for about two years at a non-profit organization assisting adults with disabilities in their job search endeavors, followed by about five years working in private sector human resources departments doing generalist work, involving mainly staffing and employee relations.

Job Tasks: I provide guidance to adults who are looking for a job or who need help in making career decisions. They include current students and alumni of the college and local area residents.

Many of my clients are immigrants who are attempting to enter the job market for the first time or move up from a menial level job. Some are working on completing their GEDs or high school equivalency requirements through special adult high school programs. Others are mid-career job changers, adults with many years of experience making a career change either by choice or because they've recently lost their jobs. Still others are traditional college students or recent alumni trying to get their "foot in the door" somewhere.

Examples of assistance I provide include resume and cover letter writing; interviewing preparation; tips on finding job leads; help in filling out online applications, uploading documents, etc., as well as utilizing career exploration software to learn about career options. We use "Career Cruising" to help students discover career choices available to them. This software contains career assessment tools and in-depth career descriptions including job duties, earnings, education required, related jobs, etc.

Other aspects of my position include maintaining relationships with local employers and encouraging them to send job leads to us, participate in our annual job fair and conduct interviews on campus. Our career services department also participates in many campus events to ensure that students, staff and faculty know of our services and how to contact us.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job really is the variety of work involved. I work with a diverse group of adults with varied and wide-ranging needs. I also enjoy the outreach component of my work, which includes presentations in classrooms, libraries and other off-campus locations.

I guess the worst part is seeing my clients become distressed or frustrated as they deal with multiple rejections in a tight job market.

Job Tips: I entered my profession after starting in human resources and using this as a springboard into career counseling. This is not the only way go though and a degree in human resources, counseling, career counseling or something closely related is usually required. Very important is the desire to help people meet their goals, as is being resourceful, creative and a good problem solver. Most important is being a good listener in order to correctly understand and address each client's needs.

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