Can’t Come to the Office? Email!
My title is “online advisor." The role is one that is still relatively unique, but it is rapidly gaining in popularity. Since most of our student teachers and alumni are NEVER on campus, we had to think of a way to bring our services to them. I advise education clients via a special email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) that has been set up specifically for that purpose.
Technology is a vital part of our lives. Electronic communication permits counselors to respond to your questions and also to review job search correspondence, such as resumes, CVs, cover/thank you letters, reference sheets, and responses to application questions, no matter where you’re located. There are many advantages to this flexible method of career counseling:
• You send materials whenever it’s convenient – after student teaching, on weekends, late at night.
• Location doesn’t matter. You can contact us from other cities, states, and even abroad.
• Online communication is ideal for quick, short questions, when coming into the office is impractical. You can email right away – as soon as a question/issue comes to mind.
• Counselor comments are easy to read; they can be saved and changes can be made at your convenience.
• Counselors are able go through documents in a more thorough fashion – thus, they are more likely to catch problems.
• When asking questions, you can go into as much detail as you want, taking time to compose your thoughts before transmitting.
• You can send as many emails as desired, when it might be difficult for you to schedule multiple in-office appointments to resolve the same issues.
• If you’re concerned about privacy, no one will see you coming to a counseling office (remember, though, that email is not always the most secure mode of communication).
• Online communication is ideal for clients with disabilities who might find it difficult or impossible to physically get to the Career Services Office.
• Communication is fast – you don’t have to wait weeks for an appointment.
• Counselors have time to research and draw together resources to respond to complicated questions (relocation issues/contacts, information on specific programs of study, hiring statistics, supply/demand data).
• The service is free.
The process, of course, isn’t perfect. Counselors can’t pick up on nuances, such as your body language and voice tone, which are apparent in face-to-face meetings. The quick give-and-take of an in-person conversation is missing. And, of course, some issues aren’t appropriate for online counseling. Even so, online advisement fills a much-needed gap and extends the boundaries of the Career Services Office far beyond its physical location.
If you need assistance with career-related issues, check with your Career Services Office to see what sort of online advisement might be available.
--Dr. Dawn Jones,
Online Education & Health Advisor,
Northern Illinois University, on behalf of AAEE