What You Can Do to Help Your Student

Parents of First Year Students:

  • Support your student’s career exploration if he/she is undecided; many students change their majors
  • Be open to conversations about your own career experience
  • Be willing to give feedback (if asked!) about your student’s skills and abilities
  • Encourage your student to find an internship for freshman summer to develop work skills for co-op and explore options
  • Remind your student that Career Services can help with major choice, first college resumes, and job and internship search

Parents of Second and Third Year Students:

  • Urge your student to seek other ways to get skills and experience in a field of interest if he or she is not planning to do co-op.
  • Help your student think of possibilities for summer jobs or internships.
  • Assist your student with networking, a lifelong process that is instrumental in finding a job.
  • Provide any connections you can - friends of the family, family of friends, anyone can lead to a lead.

Parents of Juniors:

  • If your student is interested in grad school, this is the year to learn about the application process, research and explore programs, think about financing and start to prepare for the GRE, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT exams.
  • The end of junior year is a perfect time for students to begin work with Career Services on planning the after-graduation job search.

Parents of Seniors:

  • Encourage your soon-to-graduate student to attend the Career Services programs designed for seniors; parents will receive email notification of these events
  • Remind your student that some opportunities are only open in the fall, like highly competitive training programs (most often in the fields of business, engineering and IT.)
  • Companies recruit at large Career Fairs here in October and February. Encourage your student to come to Career Services events to help prepare for Career Fairs
  • Seniors in all majors should be encouraged to use the coaching and resources at Career Services to help them find an after-graduation job.

What Other Advice Can You Give Your Student?

(The following tips are adapted from “The Professional Generation Gap” by Margaret Heffernan on fastcompany.com)

Remember this is just the beginning: There are not a lot of entry-level CEO jobs. Entry level jobs are just that – everyone has to start somewhere. Students who have 3 six month co-ops in their fields are extremely well positioned for entry-level positions. Entry-level jobs often include less-than-glamorous elements. A “winner” entry-level job should offer more than just a paycheck. It should provide an opportunity to shine, to pursue an interest or develop desired skills or experience, or to work for a great company or for a great cause.

Look inside: Successful careers require knowing what you want and how to get it. But without a lot of experience, how can your son or daughter know either of these things? Discuss things he/she’s done -- exams, jobs, projects -- and ask some good questions. What was satisfying about them? Did he/she prefer work that involved other people or independent projects? How
competitive is he/she? These conversations can be most rewarding, but remember: your job is just to ask the questions. And to know, also, when to back off or refer to Career Services!

Experiment: Very few kids really know what they want to do when they graduate, so some spend time trying things. This can be nerve-wracking for parents. One day he’s working in retail and the next day thinking about medical school? Try to be patient; for some, these experiments are the only way to find a true calling.

Talk about money: Many kids have unrealistic expectations about money. You can help your son or daughter clarify the importance of salary in their career plans. In these conversations, money needs to be neutral: what is important is that expectations and goals match financial resources.

Scrutinize values: Aligning personal values with the values of your workplace may be the single most important component of a satisfying career. If your children want to change the world, ask if s/he should join a conservative institution. If s/he loves order and routine, are startups a good idea?. It isn’t about good and bad careers; it is about finding the right fit.

Make a plan: When your son or daughter has a sense of what s/he wants to do, encourage her/him to make a plan. Who do they know who can help? Where are the key information sources? Do they have the skills they need and, if not, how will they acquire them? Plans can illuminate opportunities as well as providing momentum.

Talking to people: Whatever you call this activity- connecting, talking to people, networking – it is a key means for people to learn about the job market from insiders and find information that helps in job search. Talking to people to learn yields much more reliable results than approaching people you don’t know and hoping they will lead you to a special stash of jobs. People help people with whom they are engaged. Starting with people they know and expanding their network using LinkedIn can help students find people, learn from others’ experience and make a plan that will work.