Frequently Asked Questions:

How do students get involved with Career Services? Students can schedule an appointment with a career counselor to work on their personal and unique career development plan. For answers to quick questions or to have a resume reviewed, students can also take advantage of our weekly workshops.

Is the Center for Career Development open during the summer? Yes, we are open year-round. Summers are quiet in our office and a good time for unhurried career exploration.

What happens during a typical career advising appointment? This depends on where students are in their career development process. If exploring careers and interests, students may work with a career counselor to investigate their interests, skills, and values and to apply this information in formulating career goals. Career Counselors administer and interpret the results of career assessment tools. As is true of any advising session, students can be confident that all information is kept confidential. Students may also use an appointment to discuss field experience opportunities, and to learn more about how to best approach their job search (addressing networking, resumes, interviewing, evaluating compensation packages, etc.). 

When should students begin working with Career Services? Career Services works with students from enrollment until graduation and beyond. Ideally, a student will start exploring careers as early as their first year so that they can prepare for field experience opportunities and the eventual job hunt. Career exploration and planning outlines our suggested two-year career exploration plan for students. 

Will career assessment or vocational testing tell my student what career is best? While our testing does a very good job of assessing interests and values, it should not be seen as a foolproof means of choosing a job. Vocational testing should be used in collaboration with workshops, counseling, internship experiences, and advice from family and friends to help students find a broad career path that offers many possibilities for personal and professional growth. 

Why would a student who has decided on a major need to use Career Services? In any major, there are a number of career paths that students may take depending on their interests and abilities. Shadowing, networking, gaining hands-on experience through volunteer work can help students to develop skills that are valued by employers and to gain experience that can clarify or solidify the direction of their career. Our office is a valuable resource for finding such opportunities, and for providing access to alumni and employers.

Is it common for students to start out knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives but then become uncertain or consider a completely different direction? The college years are a time of rapid and profound change. College exposes students to new ideas and disciplines that can open their minds to possibilities and opportunities they never considered. Our career counselors are skilled in supporting students who are reconsidering their career focus. Frequently, career counselors will administer assessment instruments that clarify important aspects of career development such as interests, natural abilities, and values. The goal is to give students the information they need to make career decisions that are consistent with who they are and what they want from life.

How does Career Services help students who are undecided about a career or academic major? One of the main reasons students seek our services is to assist them with clarifying their career goals. Our career counselors can guide them through the process of self-assessment and career exploration in order to help them determine the right direction at this point in their lives.

What is Career Services' role in finding students a job after graduation? Career Services offers extensive services geared toward helping students secure jobs upon graduation. Through one-on-one advising and workshops we help students learn to network and search for jobs, create resumes and cover letters, and prepare for interviews. Our office markets and sponsors several job fairs annually and hosts employers who recruit directly on campus. In addition, many employers market their job opportunities directly to HCC students through the HCC career center website. 

In general, how can my student become more competitive for the job market or graduate school?

To become competitive for the job market, students should focus on three areas:

  • Academics: Grades show intellectual competence, self-discipline, and the ability to learn new material. Students should be able to articulate what they learn in their coursework in terms of specific intellectual skills. 
  • Leadership Experience: Employers value well-rounded graduates. Students should be able to show examples of strong leadership, communication, organizational and teamwork skills. Participation in student organizations, as well as athletics, can provide excellent opportunities for development in these areas.
  • Experiential Learning: Internships, community service projects, campus involvement, and part-time jobs are all important opportunities to gain hands-on experience in a variety of career fields. Students can identify and confirm their areas of interest as well as develop industry-specific skills needed for a full-time job or graduate school. 

How can I be supportive of my student? The most patient parents can be challenged while their student decides about the future. Because college is a time of exposure to new ideas and increased knowledge about career options, a student's need to explore may increase and the length of time this takes will vary considerably. Being knowledgeable about today's job market is an important part of being supportive. Keep in mind the following points:

  • The job market is changing faster now than at any other time in history. 
  • Advances in technology are influencing every aspect of the marketplace. 
  • A large percentage of future jobs will require the skill level obtained through at least two years of post-secondary training or a four-year college education.
  • Job opportunities are evolving at a rapid pace. Many of the jobs that are in existence today weren't heard of just ten years ago.
  • Because of the rapid evolution of jobs, people entering the workforce today are expected to change careers three to four times during their lifetime.
  • Life-long learning will be a fact of life for all workers in order to continuously upgrade needed skills in the ever-changing work world.


Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040