A freshly minted college graduate, a nurse at mid-career, a City Council member whose term is ending: Along with thousands of others, they’ve come to UC San Diego Extension’s Center for Life/Work Strategies to get help figuring out the next step for their careers.

They’ve each gained new-found insight about the working world and the job search process thanks to UC San Diego Extension’s unique emphasis on one-on-one training, assessment programs and free career clinics.

For example, did you know your major selling tool isn’t your resume but the stories about your accomplishments that you mention during a job interview? There’s more: Contrary to popular belief, employers expect applicants to negotiate salary during interviews, and it’s OK to “close the sale” by straight-out asking for the job.


“While books, videos and online courses can be helpful, we dive deeper and get to the heart of the individual’s needs and create personal solutions based on their needs and goals,” career coach Camille Primm said. “We offer on-demand individual coaching and support through mock job interviews and resume building instead of the typical group sessions.”

The mock job interviews are even recorded so people can take them home on a DVD and learn by watching themselves. In the resume-building sessions, career coaches work one-on-one with job seekers to help them focus on their goals and improve their resumes.

“People pay several hundred dollars for a professional resume review. Ours costs $140,” Sarah Spicci, the director of UC San Diego Extension’s Center for Life/Work Strategies, said. “Our services are reasonably priced or free, in order for us to provide resources to as many people as possible.”

Other services include two-hour Acting for Everyday Life classes to help people think about how they present themselves and emotional intelligence-testing sessions. “You meet with a certified emotional intelligence coach who will walk you through your results and explain how they affect you in your life,” Spicci said.

One of the best things about UC San Diego Extension’s Career Services is how they help people open their eyes to the job connections they already have, she said.

“They realize they have a very strong network, a kind of personal board of directors—people in your industry you can call on if you need guidance, mentors you look up to. For example, if you’re at the manager level in mid-career and want to get to a director level, you might already know people who can talk to you about how they got to their level.”

Even people who aren’t looking for new jobs can learn from UC San Diego Extension’s Center for Life/Work Strategies.

“We teach people how to have good conversations with their managers and take charge of managing their own careers,” Spicci said. “The days of a company really taking care of their employees are gone. We want to provide people with tools to help them understand their interests, motivations and values. Ultimately, they’ll be able to control their careers and reach their goals.”

Visit Career Services to learn about the wide range of career services available through UC San Diego Extension.

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