Career Planning Guide for Parents and Faculty

For First Year Students

During the first year of college, students will be involved in assessing their skills, interests, and abilities.

  • Support your student's exploration of new areas of study and interests.
  • Support involvement in campus activities while urging him/her to balance this with classroom achievement. This is a great avenue for discovering interests, skills, and abilities, and applying them to future career endeavors.
  • Encourage your student(s) to contact the Career Center and complete a self-assessment inventory to better assess his/her skill sets.
  • Inform your student about the importance of getting to know faculty, staff, advisors, and administrators on campus. These individuals can be great resources, but they can't assist the students if they don't know them.
  • Encourage your student to consider a summer, part-time, and/or volunteer position that will help him/her learn more about an occupation.

For Second Year Students

Generally, during the second year of college, students begins to explore majors and career options more seriously.

  • Be patient. Do not insist upon a major or career choice immediately (However, students should be narrowing their choices, even if they haven't solidified a specific major/minor.)
  • Suggest that your student(s) talk with faculty and career advisors about potential choices.
  • Encourage your student to participate in career-related workshops and programs, including job/internship fairs. These fairs provide a great way to network and conduct informational interviews.
  • Support your student in exploring internships and/or other field experiences where he/she can find out more about specific career paths.
  • Direct your student(s) toward family, friends, or colleagues who are in fields of interest.
  • Suggest learning a foreign language, developing computer skills, and taking on a leadership role in a campus organization or club. These skills and involvements will enhance employability upon graduation.

For "Mid-Career" Students

By the junior year, it is important for your student to experiment with possible career options.

  • Encourage your student to attend Career Center workshops and get assistance in preparing a quality resume and cover letter.
  • Discuss the importance of gaining experience in his or her career field through internships, cooperative education programs, summer jobs, campus jobs, and volunteer experiences on campus and in the local community. Completing internship(s) for academic credit impresses employers.
  • Do not conduct the internship or summer job search for your student(s). Help with networking opportunities, but allow him/her to gain the valuable learning experience that comes along with this process. Encourage your student to attend job/internship fairs to network and explore available opportunities.
  • Remind your student about the importance of having solid references. Your student should begin asking professors, employers and advisors to serve as references in their internship/job search.

For Graduating Seniors

The senior year is a time when organizing and conducting a job or graduate school search begins in earnest.

  • Do not nag your student about not having a job yet. This can often have the reverse effect. Use positive reinforcement.
  • Encourage your student to participate in the on-campus interviewing program through the Career Center. For a complete list of employers that visit campus, view the online calendar.
  • Stress the importance of preparing a professional resume, dressing professionally, and attending job/internship fairs. Also, remind your student about the importance of following up.
  • Continue to push the process along by providing networking opportunities and potential job leads. However, listen for indications that you are pushing too hard - and back off!
  • Inform your student of SHIP Career Connection, Ship's FREE on-line job service/career management system.
  • Be prepared to support your studen(s) through the ups and downs of the job and graduate school search. Not every desired job or graduate school acceptance will come through. Your student(s) will need assurance that for every door that closes, another opens.
  • If pursuing graduate school, remind your student to stay organized and prepare to take the appropriate graduate school exams (GRE, LSAT, MAT, MCAT, etc.)