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You understand the importance of interacting with your instructors and finding your favorite study space—but what about using Ashford’s career services? If you’re still in the dark about what they offer, now is the time to find out. There’s likely more going on there than the graduated student job search, and students who use these services a few times a year gain a powerful advantage. “Waiting until close to graduation is often too late,” says Cynthia Dantas, career services director for Tufts University School of Medicine public health and professional degree programs.

Seventy percent of students use their career services for résumé help, according to a 2012 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). More than half of students are making use of career counseling and internship assistance. Here’s how your career services can help:

1. Find opportunities throughout your student career

No need to wait until right before graduation to check out Ashford’s career services. Check out My Career in your student portal today. My Career is an online career and professional development center that offers much more than just resume assistance.

2. Check out your potential future(s)

The self-assessments offered through Ashford Career Services are not designed to tell you what to do, but to give you ideas that aren’t already on your radar. The questions touch on your values, motivation, skills, and interests. Learning more about yourself is a great way to ensure that your career self is your best self!

3. Network, Network, Network!

4. My Career is a great starting point for networking with other Ashford students and alumni.

Your predecessors are often open to requests for informational interviews, and might even connect you with a specific opportunity or strategic contact. “Alumni can be great mentors, internship supervisors, and advocates for fellow students interested in their field,” says Dantas. “They are important contacts in developing your professional network.”

5. Develop your best résumé and cover letter

Three words – target, target, target. If a resume is one of the first impressions an employer will have of you as a professional, it is necessary to showcase relevant skills and qualifications on your resume through the use of key words. Tailoring your work experiences shows that you can fulfill the role and do the work.

A Career Services Specialist can help you write a resume and offer feedback, just email [email protected] to request resume writing assistance.

6. Own that interview

My Career offers plenty of valuable interview resources, including information on: building a portfolio, first impressions, interview dress, informational interviews, the value of strong references, behavioral interviewing, what NOT to say in an interview, and more!

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Joanna Carmona is communications coordinator at the National Patient Safety Foundation. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Student Health 101. She has also edited collegiate textbooks for Cengage Learning and creating language learning materials for the US Department of Defense, libraries, and other educational institutions. Her BA in Spanish is from the University of New Hampshire.