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Starting a Career Conversation with Your Student

Career Center Myths

Entering freshmen usually have impressions of campus career centers that are far from the truth.  Help us bust these myths!

Myth: The Career Center is only for seniors.

Busted: The Career Center serves students at all class levels – freshmen through graduate students.

How It's Done: Encourage your student to connect with us early and often. Students who start their career planning early will be more prepared and confident as they progress towards graduation.

Myth: Majors lead lead directly to a specific occupation or career.

Busted: The Career Center serves students in all majors, and provides programs designed for specific majors or groups of majors.

How It's Done: The Career Center has staff liaisons for First and Second Year Students; Internships; Education; Government, Nonprofit, International; Science; Social Science; Arts; and Business. Your student can schedule an appointment with a specific staff member. Learn about liaison programs in the Career Center’s calendar of events.

Myth: Students get jobs and internships only from employers who participate in on-campus interviewing.

Busted: Students can connect with employers through a variety of programs, events, and channels in addition to on-campus interviewing.

How It's Done: Career fairs, employer information sessions, alumni career panels, symposiums, and industry-specific road trips all offer great opportunities for networking with employers. Talk with your student about the importance of building relationships with professionals in his or her intended or chosen field.

The Next Step: Opening A Dialogue
Ask Questions

Begin conversations with your student regarding major or career decisions by asking open-ended questions. Asking exploratory questions will allow you to better understand your student’s interests and passions and begin a dialogue about these potential paths.  It is crucial for students to talk about themselves as they discover their strengths and interests in order to find paths that truly suit them. Use positive language to encourage an open and honest dialogue.

  • “Which of your classes do you enjoy the most?”
  • “In which of your extracurricular activities have you been the happiest?”
  • “What excites you about this area of study/internship?”
  • “Tell me about …?”
Offer To Help

As a caring family member, your first instinct is likely to want to give your student advice and tell him/her what to do. Resist this temptation and instead offer to assist your student.

  • “Would you like help with …?”
  •  “Is there anything I can do to help and support you?”
Above All, Listen

Listen with an open mind and resist the urge to do a lot of talking. Some of the information your student shares with you may be surprising or differ a great deal from your own experiences. Allow your student to freely share his/her thoughts, feelings, and perspective.