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Marquette University
Career Services Center

Holthusen Hall, First Floor
1324 W. Wisconsin Avenue
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-7423
Fax: (414) 288-5302
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Career Development: A parent’s guide to helping sons and daughters

  1. Freshman Year: Developing a Blueprint
  2. Sophomore Year: Building a Foundation
  3. Junior Year: Evaluating Progress
  4. Senior Year: Deciding and Committing

The first step in the career development process is self-assessment. Once students have identified interests, skills, values, and personality characteristics, it is time to begin occupational research to learn more about different careers and the world of work. After they have narrowed down what career areas might be a good fit, it is beneficial to enroll in a variety of academic courses in majors they are considering, job shadow professionals in the career fields of interest, conduct informational interviews, and obtain career-related work experience.

Upon gathering the necessary information on the career areas students can begin prioritizing and narrowing the options, followed by making final decisions. They can determine the steps required to implement their career decision and develop a timeline. Periodically, they should meet with an academic advisor to assess academic progress and a career counselor to identify career goals.

Once students have implemented their career decision, it is good to re-evaluate their choice from time to time to determine if it is meeting their needs. If not, they can always go back to self-assessment and conduct further occupational research to identify if there is another major or career that may fit better. Remember that people change careers 4-11 times throughout their life, which makes career development a life-long process.


 

Freshman Year: Developing a Blueprint

Questions they might ask:

  1. What major should I choose?
  2. What is a college education all about?
  3. How do I find out what I want to do with my life?

Consider this:
As new students, their concerns about majors and careers may be just beginning. By planning how they will involve themselves in different courses and experiences and by exploring career ideas with an academic advisor and a career professional, they will begin to be responsible for their own future.

Recommendations for parents:

  1. Although it may seem helpful and appropriate, refrain from suggesting or selecting your son or daughter’s major for him or her. Instead, ask about likes, dislikes, strengths, and goals.
  2. Let your son or daughter know that they should consider college as a preparation for life. The decisions they make in college will influence their future. Support those decisions.
  3. Remind them that they don’t have to decide on a major right away, however, encourage them to make a tentative career choice. Know that change is possible.
  4. Recommend that they start their personal development by joining at least one student organization, helping them develop skills employers value.
  5. As part of the First-Year Seminar class, all students will gain exposure to Career Services. They will take part in a self-assessment activity. Ask them to tell you about this over breaks.
  6. Remind them to read the college catalog to become familiar with available majors.
  7. During summer vacation, encourage them to get a job with opportunities to gain work experience and improve interpersonal communication skills.

 

Sophomore Year: Building a Foundation

Questions they might ask:

  1. Is this the best major for me?
  2. How do I plan a meaningful and marketable education?
  3. How can I develop my work related skills?

Consider this:
Your son or daughter may want to declare his or her major at this time. By meeting with his/her advisors to discuss available options, your student may be prepared to make a decision.

Recommendations for parents:

  1. Suggest that they talk with a career professional and take career inventories to help confirm their choice of major.
  2. Ask them to explore ways to gain on-target work experience through internships, part-time, and volunteer work.
  3. Help them choose electives that will give them additional desirable skills.
  4. Persuade them to participate in resume writing and interviewing activities through the career services center while beginning to develop a resume.
  5. During summer vacation, encourage them to get a job with opportunities to gain work experience and improve interpersonal communication skills.

 

Junior Year: Evaluating Progress

Questions they might ask:

  1. How do I identify specific job possibilities to go with my major?
  2. When should I start thinking about my job search?
  3. Is graduate/professional school for me?

Consider this:
Graduation may not be as far off as they think. The junior year is not too early to identify and gather information about companies and/or graduate/professionals school. Students need to know the steps necessary for gaining meaningful employment or for gaining admission to graduate/professional school.

Recommendations for parents:

  1. Support them in joining student and professional organizations related to their majors or careers.
  2. Help them polish their resume and stress that they have it critiqued by a career professional.
  3. During summer vacation, encourage them to get a job with opportunities to gain work experience and improve interpersonal communication skills.

 

Senior Year: Deciding and Committing

Questions they might ask:

  1. How do I identify my employable skills?
  2. Is interview preparation really necessary?
  3. What exactly is the job search process?
  4. What am I going to do after graduation?

Consider this:
It’s time to make final decisions about career options. Students should stay in touch with the Career Services Center for both information about job openings and assistance with personal presentation skills.

Recommendations for parents:

  1. Insist that they develop a job search plan complete with strategies that will work for them.
  2. Assist them in purchasing a professional suit complete with shoes that will be used when attending career fairs, interviews, and graduate/professional schools.
  3. Help them practice interviewing skills by asking them questions.
  4. Encourage them to participate in a practice interview.
  5. Encourage them to use the Career services resource library and web page to research companies and regularly check job vacancies.
  6. Help them develop a network of contacts consisting of family and friends.