by Shelley Moore, Assistant Director of Career Services

You have done it – maybe you feel you did it well, maybe you feel there are things you can share to help your student learn from challenges you have experienced. What is it? Career planning. But how do you turn your wisdom into something that will make a difference in your student’s life?

Encourage Them to Start Early

It is never too early for your son or daughter to start thinking about his/her eventual career. Even if it is your student's first year on campus, now is the time to begin conversations about career planning. It is important for your student to make the most of their college years, gaining an education and experience; and developing leadership, interpersonal, and technical skills. This is the time in their life when students will be building the framework for what will be documented on their résumé, ultimately leading them to a fulfilling career. The current economic situation has made this process of career planning very important to their success and the lack of preparation very costly. It is crucial that your student use this time to develop the necessary skills to recognize and obtain both technical and transferrable skills and then document and promote those skills to employers. The Penn College Career Services Office educates and prepares students with these goals in mind, and parents can help by reinforcing these messages of early preparation.

Advise Them to Seek Assistance

Many students have little to no experience with career planning…and that is okay! When talking to your son or daughter about preparing for their future careers, encourage him/her to look into all of the resources the College offers. As a student, and as alumni, your student is eligible to take advantage of the many learning opportunities designed around career preparedness in both individual appointments and group workshops. Parents and Career Services staff can partner to help students obtain skills to design a résumé portfolio that best describes their skills and abilities, that increases their interviewing skills, and applies the knowledge they have gained to any and all job seeking situations for the duration of their career lifespan. Although the ‘job-seeking’ points in a student’s career lifespan are often uncomfortable and filled with insecurities, the goal of Career Services is to make the transitions from school-to-work and work-to-work an exercise filled with skills that have been honed to produce the best possible outcome. It is expected that your student may often ask you specific questions about résumés, interviewing, and the job market. You can feel confident in directing them to our office.

Recommend They do Research

Most classes your student takes will end up having homework assignments and classroom assignments. The same can be said of Penn College's approach to career planning. Our office philosophy is “don’t do it for them, teach them how to do it” and to that end, our activities are designed purposefully to have students practice the skills related to preparing for their careers. Because the majority of students we see are in the very beginning stages of career planning, there is a lot of opportunity to build a strong foundation. So, what should students be looking at as they navigate through their career planning?

  • Get Involved – Employer’s are interested in students who have been actively involved in campus life and their program of study. Talk with your son or daughter about the clubs and organizations they can get involved with on campus.
  • Take Part in an Internship – Even if your student isn’t required to have an internship before graduation, employers are always looking for students who have work-based experience in their field. Discuss potential internship or summer work experiences that are available to your student.
  • Research Employers – While your student is here, they can look into the employers who have hired graduates from their major. Who is your student interested in working with? Where is your son or daughter looking to settle down after graduation? Are they flexible with geographic location? What salary should they expect to make upon graduation? This is important information to gather along the path to graduation. You can help by starting the conversation with them.

The recovering job market demands that new college graduates come to the workforce with more education, technical skills, and experience than ever before. You can help your student succeed by encouraging early career planning, connection with Career Services, and continued research into their career field.