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Golden Guide Career Advice: Use Your Resources

Lydia Lazar

shelves of books in library

Golden Tip No. 2: Use the resources available to you.

Golden Guide Career Advice is a new series from the AMA in partnership with Lydia Lazar, author of Dean Lazar’s Golden Guide: Pragmatic Career Advice for Smart Young People. A new tip in the series will be posted each Tuesday—all tips are available here.

Do you have a career question? Contact Lazar at deardeanlazar@gmail.com—the answer may appear in a future post.

If you are already out of school, go to the library or a local bookstore. Look around for mentors and advisors in your workplace and community. There is wisdom and experience all around you.

If you are still in school, don’t ignore Career Services. This is an office staffed by professionals whose job is to help you figure out your career goals and support your efforts to find internships and jobs. Many students dislike going to the Career Services Office, but if you approach the team there with an open mind, I am sure you can find something useful from the encounter. Don’t hesitate to go back multiple times and consider meeting with more than one counselor or staffer, as different people may suggest diverse resources to you.

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Whether you have graduated or are still on campus, you have access to the professors who taught you. They are scholarly professionals committed to helping young people discover their full potential. Ask a professor for a few minutes of their time (be sure to be gracious and appreciative) and use the encounter to ask them about their careers, their research, current controversies in the field and how they see their field changing. Tell them about your interests and ask them for career advice.

Remember that school and public libraries—and librarians—are always available to you, and don’t forget bookstores where you can browse the latest popular publications. Check the footnotes and indices of books for references that can help widen and deepen your understanding of the subject.

The internet offers an amazing array of resources for people looking for information, however it can often be overwhelming and even misleading. It can easily be a time waster as well, so be intentional in how you use the internet for research. Be strategic about your search terms and think critically about the credibility of the sources and material that surfaces.

As you progress in your career—and if you are open to it—you will definitely encounter people who can help you think through your career challenges. They may be your immediate supervisors or colleagues, or they may be people you meet through family, friends, your community or professional activities. Think expansively about what interests you professionally and intentionally work on widening your circle of professional acquaintances.

One of the keys to building a successful career is knowing a lot of diverse people in many different professional domains. You can learn a lot from other people’s career experiences, and building a broad network will give you a lot of “loose ties” that will come in handy when you are ready to explore new companies, new cities and new industries.


Dean Lazar's Golden Guide

For more career tips, read Dean Lazar’s Golden Guide: Pragmatic Career Advice for Smart Young People, available on Amazon and at your local bookstore. Do you have a career question? Contact Lazar at deardeanlazar@gmail.com—the answer may appear in a future post.

Lydia Lazar is founder and president of LHL Consulting. She is the former associate dean for recruitment and career services at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, and previously, dean of international law and policy overseeing international student admissions (LLM) at Chicago-Kent College of Law.