How you can help with a student’s career decisions
Families play vital roles in the lives of college-aged children. Researchers have found close relationships with family help students adjust to college life, make effective career and relationship choices, and develop self-confidence and a sense of personal autonomy.
Families are invaluable resources for students to explore vocational interests, and potential careers. Yet many parents struggle to identify how to support and encourage their student in clarifying their career path especially during tumultuous economic times.
You can help empower students in their career development stages: Assessment, Exploration, Decision Making and Implementation.
Students continually explore who they are through coursework and extra-curricular activities. Assessing their skills, interests and values are common ways to clarify potential career paths.
- Encourage their vocational self-discovery and exploration process
- Offer positive encouragement to reflect on their strengths
- Encourage your student to be true to self, values, interests, and talents
- Give constructive feedback on specific abilities you see in him/her to help develop a solid sense of self
How we can help:
- Career Counseling Appointments to clarify vocational questions and potential next steps while in school and following graduation
- Career assessment tools such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Strong Interest Inventory, available in the Macalester Career Development Center, with follow-up interpretation discussions with a career counselor
Students explore and test their career options through coursework, internships, work experiences, networking, and volunteer service.
- Students often overlook existing networks that they can access to gain career information and advice. Encourage your student to consider their existing personal network and their occupational paths. Who do you know in your personal circles that may be willing to chat briefly with your son/daughter on possible career plans?
- Suggest exploring an internship, volunteer opportunity, or part-time. More than 60 percent of Macalester graduates complete an internship, which offers valuable on-the-job experience and connections within a potential career field.
- Suggest your student make connections with faculty. Students ultimately need professors to write letters of recommendation for internships, scholarships, or graduate school applications. The greatest success in course work and the most substantive recommendations are often proportionate to the level of communication students have with faculty.
How we can help:
- Explore and locate internships, volunteer and job opportunities
- Prepare job search materials including resumes, cover letters, curriculum vitaes (C.V’s), portfolios
- Identify potential networking opportunities within the Macalester community
- Prepare for informational interviews (strategy discussions, mock interviews)
- Offer advice on professional etiquette and communication
- Provide non-judgmental listening and honest feedback
- Initiate conversations on career plans, listen, respond, and ask questions
- Help your student clarify ideas, priorities, and concerns
- See the situation from your student’s perspective
- Help to develop independent decision-making skills and increase motivation
- Identify strengths and potential career paths to be considered through discussion on academic courses, extra-curricular activities and personal ideals
How we can help:
- Career counseling appointments with counselors to explore potential paths
- Connect student to alums and professionals in their desired field to identify and explore viable possibilities
- Encourage student to reflect on decision-making style and variables play a role in their decision, including cost of living, fixed, and flexible living expenses
- Broaden your child’s financial literacy through discussions about budgeting, cost of living, credit, loan repayment options
- Help your son or daughter develop contacts for information, advice, and assistance in career planning and job search issues
- Refer your student to colleagues, friends, neighbors, parishioners, family, and community members with experience related to his or her interests
- Offer encouragement to approach people and ask this kind of information
- Encourage students to avoid procrastination and begin the career planning process early
- Encourage students to take advantage of all resources available to them
- Discuss various career opportunities with your son or daughter. Discuss what you do professionally. Introduce him/her to people in various career fields. Help him/her to look at different career options
- Encourage your student to develop a resume and interviewing techniques
How we can help:
- The Career Development Center offers individual counseling appointments and workshops to explore and develop strategies for common paths upon graduation including a full-time job search, graduate school, fellowship and full-time internships
- Counselors can meet with your son/daughter to critiques resumes and other job application materials
- Offer training for interview strategies and mock interviews for diverse paths/purposes
- Clarify your son/daughter’s understanding of business etiquette, professional communication, and salary negotiation
Parents: You can help Macalester students on their career path! See volunteer opportunities and sign up.
Our e-newsletter, CDC #irl, highlights upcoming events, job fairs, on-campus recruiting, job and internship opportunities, and information on the resources provided by the CDC. We send this to all students weekly on Mondays. Sign up if you’d like to see what we’re up to!