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You have two first-round interviews next week, have a cover letter due at 11:59 p.m. that you haven’t begun writing, and want to improve your resume but don’t know how to.

Sound familiar? We’ve definitely all been there as well, but next time, consider visiting the Columbia Center for Career Education to get all your career-related queries straightened out.

If you’ve never been to CCE, or are simply wondering how to avoid waiting for a drop-in appointments, here are all the tips, tricks, and hacks to both making appointments and getting the most out of them.

Where is the Center for Career Education?

The Center for Career Education is located on the lower level of East Campus on 116th Street and Amsterdam, across from Faculty House. You can access CCE either by crossing East Walk and walking down the stairs by the entrance of EC, or by crossing 116th and entering through the gate in front of Wien Hall.

Who can use the CCE?

CCE serves students and alumni from five schools: Columbia College, School of Engineering and Applied Science. School of General Studies, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and School of the Arts. CCE doesn’t serve Barnard and other graduate schools since these schools have their own respective career centers.

What types of services does CCE offer?

CCE offers 30-minute career counseling appointments and practice interviews and 10-minute drop-in sessions for quick questions. CCE also holds periodic events, career fairs, and group sessions, and has a plethora of tips and resources on its website.

How do I sign up for an appointment?

The best strategy for ensuring that you’ll have the chance to speak to a career counselor is to book a 30-minute appointment online via Lionshare, because you can’t predict a wait time for drop-in appointments, especially during recruiting season. If it’s your first visit, log into Lionshare, click on your profile picture on the upper-right-hand corner, and follow the directions on the screen. After your specify your appointment type, time slots for the next available appointment will pop onto the screen. When you get to the scheduler page, you will be able to state preferences for staff members and appointment mediums (in-person, virtual, or over the phone). You’ll then be asked to indicate a few aspects that you want to focus on so the counselor can have an idea of what you’re working on and prepare before your meeting.

I have an application due tomorrow but I don’t see any available drop-in times. Can I still talk to a counselor?

Yes! Drop-in anytime between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday for a 10-minute Quick Questions session. Drop-in appointments are ideal for resume touch-ups, cover letter edits, and inquiring about career opportunities!

What should I expect from my appointment?

Your career counselor will try his or her best to tailor the consultation to your needs and may reach out a few days before your appointment to review your materials (such as a resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile) beforehand. Though your counselor will point out places for improvement in your materials during your appointment, they will likely not provide the specific language for edits in hopes of preserving your voice.

What can I schedule an appointment for?

Though resumé and cover letter edits might be among the most obvious reasons to go to the career center, they are far from the only ones. In fact, having no idea about what you want to do after Columbia is a completely valid reason to visit and chat with a professional to learn more about your career options.

How do you prepare for your appointment?

Since you only have half an hour with your career counselor, making the most of your time is key. Make sure to be clear about what you want to focus on when you sign up for your meeting. If your consultant asks for materials before the meeting, make sure to send them what you want to work on! If you want to focus on resumés or cover letters during your meetings, consider checking your materials against the Career Center’s “Design Your Next Steps” guide.

Still have more questions? Visit the official Center for Career Education FAQ, found here, for more answers!

Staff writer Michelle Zhuang can be contacted at

Columbia Center for Career Education CCE Resumé Cover letter interview drop-in
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