Parents as Partners: Supporting Career Education and Professional Preparation

 

Career development is a cycle. When you think of your own career path, most likely it looks more like a winding road than a straight line. Many of the experiences along the way may have been essential in your current success but so many of us know that having a solid foundation of career education (self-knowledge, understanding of occupational opportunities, and skill development) coupled with professional preparation makes the transition from college to the world of work smoother.

To help students prepare for their careers ahead, the Career Services Center offers Career Checklists for students, with specific tips at each developmental level. We know that you also can play a critical role in encouraging your student to become educated about career preparedness, and as such we have developed some ideas of how parents can support their student while still empowering them to be in the driver's seat.



The Career Services Center has activities and resources to help students complete all of these steps either on their own or with a career counselor. Encourage your student to make an individual career appointment by calling (414) 288-7423, or stopping by the Career Services Center (Holthusen Hall) for a drop-in appointment.

 

Laura Kestner, Director of the Marquette University Career Services Center

 


For parents of Freshmen...


Encourage your student to consider college as a preparation for life. The decisions she makes in college will influence her future. Support those decisions.

Although it may seem helpful and appropriate, refrain from suggesting or selecting your student's major for him. Instead, ask about likes, dislikes, strengths, and goals.

Remind your student that he doesn't have to decide on a major right away, however, encourage him to make a tentative career choice. Know that change is possible.

Encourage her to schedule a career counseling appointment. During an appointment, students meet with a career counselor to discuss the career issues of their choice. The counselor will likely ask about personal and career background, interests, coursework, and related aspects that effect career decision making to ensure a good understanding of the student’s unique situation.

Talk to him about taking a career course. Each semester the Career Services Center offers courses on topics ranging from career planning to job search. Currently some of these courses are listed in the course bulletin under the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences but are open to all majors.

Encourage her to get a job with opportunities to gain work experience and improve interpersonal communication skills. There are many part-time jobs for students on campus, and summer is also a great time for students to get experiences that can inform career decisions and build skills.

Review the Freshman Career Checklist for more ideas of what we encourage students to be doing or thinking about at this point in their college experience.

 


For parents of Sophomores…


Encourage her to schedule a career counseling appointment. During an appointment, students meet with a career counselor to discuss the career issues of their choice. The counselor will likely ask about personal and career background, interests, coursework, and related aspects that effect career decision making to ensure a good understanding of the student’s unique situation. Career counselors can also point your student in the direction of career inventories to help confirm her choice of major.

Although it may seem helpful and appropriate, refrain from suggesting or selecting your student's major for him. Instead, ask about likes, dislikes, strengths, and goals.

Talk to her about taking a career course. Each semester the Career Services Center offers courses on topics ranging from career planning to job search. Currently some of these courses are listed in the course bulletin under the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences but are open to all majors.

Encourage him to look for a career-related part time or summer job. A carefully chosen part-time or summer job gives more than money. Part-time work is a superb introduction to a career field under consideration.

Review the Sophomore Career Checklist for more ideas of what we encourage students to be doing or thinking about at this point in their college experience.

 

 

For parents of Juniors…


Ask him about his occupational targets. Having one to three clear occupational targets will help him better communicate with those in his professional network and with potential employers. An occupational target is a personal statement defining the specifics one wishes to attain through work.

Encourage her to activate her MU Career Manager Account. MU Career Manager is the on-line career management tool for Marquette University students, alumni and employers.

Help him develop his professional network and encourage him to join LinkedIn. More than 75% of new hires are identified through professional networks. Joining LinkedIn and connecting with industry-related groups and the Marquette University Alumni Association is a great place to start developing a network. Share your professional contacts with him as well.

Help her determine her transferrable skills. Transferrable, functional skills are built into a liberal arts education and are valued by employers. A bit of reflection will allow students to see that courses, research projects, college work experience, extracurricular activities, internships and field study experiences have all been instrumental in providing skills that employers value.

Encourage him to schedule a career counseling appointment, or consider taking a career course offered by Career Services Center staff.

Review the Junior Career Checklist for more ideas of what we encourage students to be doing or thinking about at this point in their college experience.

 

 

For parents of Seniors…


Ask her about her occupational targets. Having one to three clear occupational targets helps students better communicate with those in their professional network and with potential employers. An occupational target is a personal statement defining the specifics one wishes to attain through work.

Encourage him to activate his MU Career Manager Account. MU Career Manager is the on-line career management tool for Marquette University students, alumni and employers.

Help her develop her professional network and encourage her to join LinkedIn. More than 75% of new hires are identified through professional networks. Joining LinkedIn and connecting with industry-related groups and the Marquette University Alumni Association is a great place to start developing a network. Share your professional contacts with her as well.

Be available for a practice interview to help him develop his interviewing skills. Selling himself in the context of job interviews involves effectively communicating his well-earned and genuine skills, accomplishments and talents that relate to fit for a position. Review a list of frequently asked interview questions with him.

Help her build a career wardrobe. It is important to project a professional image. As you know, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Encourage him to schedule a career counseling appointment for a variety of assistance, including career exploration, self-assessments, resume and cover letter development, and/or interviewing skills.

Review the Senior Career Checklist for more ideas of what we encourage students to be doing or thinking about at this point in their college experience.


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