We all want the best for our children! As they enter adulthood this typically includes a job that pays well, is fulfilling, and rewarding. What should your child do in college to ensure they achieve this ideal? A successful career exploration process provides insight, experience, and connections that ensure your child identifies and secures a meaningful and successful career. Here’s how you can help…
Far too many students pick a career with little understanding of what it will truly entail. A recent survey of high school seniors showed that 23% chose their career based off a TV show or movie. Young adults need a real and thorough understanding of what an occupation will mean for them. Are jobs in this field prevalent in certain parts of the country/world? Does the profession exist in a variety of industries? What skills are needed and what personality types do well? What are the educational requirements, are their certifications/accreditations required, and how much time and money will that cost? What are the typical advancement opportunities? What industry or economic factors influence this profession/industry? How has the professional changed and how will it change in the coming years?
So encourage your student to do their research! There is great information online and we recommend checking out O*net (onetonline.org). Students also need to get involved with the profession through reading trade magazines, listening to podcasts, attending meet-ups, join associations, and do informational interviews. As students learn about the profession they may learn that it isn’t what they thought it would be. However, if this insight solidifies their decision than they will have great industry knowledge when it comes time to get a job.
Students must get at least one internship! We recommend students intern at least the summer between their junior and senior year. There is nothing like actual hands-on experience in the profession to help them decide if this is the right career for them. 72% of students made minor or significant changes to their major or career choice as a result of their internship experience. Plus they will also build skills that future employers are looking for and connections that will help them in their job search.
Encourage your child to take advantage of fall & winter on-campus internship job fairs as well as seek out opportunities through their career center. Companies are increasingly posting internships on traditional job boards like Indeed.com or Internqueen.com as well.
The world of work is built on who you know. If your child’s career exploration process has included the above recommendations they will have built a strong network of industry contacts. Attending meet-ups, association meetings, conducting informational interviews and internship experiences will provide a robust network of contacts. Help your student learn to build and maintain these relationships by teaching them general networking etiquette including:
- Be responsive, return phone calls or emails within 24 hours.
- Be friendly and professional in all communications. No emojis. No exclamation marks.
- Be prepared to tell their story. When meeting new people they will almost certainly be asked ask about their background and why they are interested in the field, company, job, etc. Students need to be ready with a crisp answer.
- Write a thank you email expressing their appreciation for the contact’s time. Make it personal referencing something from their discussion.
- Connect with the person on LinkedIn after the informational interview.
- Stay in touch! If they see a relevant event, article, or book that the person might be interested in, forwarding that on is a great way to stay in touch. Students should also periodically give the person updates on their job search or when they secure a position.
As your student develops insight, experience and connections they will develop a firm understanding of the occupation they choose as well as build the knowledge, skills and connections they need to secure a great first job out of college. Want more information on how you can support your student throughout the college years? Join us for our “Help Your College Student Find a Meaningful Career” free workshop on November 6, 2017. Get more information and register at http://careerprepsite.com/events
In the coming days and weeks millions of high school graduates will pack up and move to a college. If you, or your child, are one of these students, congratulations! Achieving this milestone required studying day and night and the pursuit of activities to help load college applications with “all the right” experiences. The race to graduation has been all consuming but don’t rest yet, you have one lap left.
Beginning Day 1, tackle your college experience with the following goals in mind: to graduate with a strong sense of self; pursue a profession reflective of your interests, skills, personality and values; and land that first full-time job – or graduate school – with confidence.
Here are 5 steps to achieve your college goals:
- Engage with faculty. Seek out professors and advisors and talk about more than the assignment. Talk about life, careers, etc. They chose their careers to help guide and teach young adults so take advantage!
- Take a variety of classes. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 80% of college students change their declared major at least once. Course corrections cost time and money, so consider all options before finalizing a decision. Take a class in anything that interests you, look for trends or themes in what you like and dislike.
- Join a club, attend a guest lecture, go to a TED Talk. Explore your interests. If you find a topic, profession, or social issue intriguing check it out. These experiences will lend tremendous insight into what you want to do, and you’ll begin building a network in the process.
- Secure internships. The best way to explore possible majors and career professions is through internships. The rewards are immeasurable! These hands-on experiences, will inform what you do and don’t want from a career, help establish a network of industry contacts and meet fantastic people.
- Make Friends. During the college years some of the most impactful learning comes from peers. Be open to new people, new experiences and all the growth that comes from them.
So, get to campus and make a strong finish! You will grow, transform, and lay the foundation for a rewarding career.
Thirty-eight students recently took part in an intensive, three-day boot camp at business locations across the Twin Cities.
Read all about it at:
Congratulations December Grads! The best part of graduating in December is there is less competition for jobs. The worst part is hiring for most companies slows down this time of year. Between the busy holiday schedules and year-end budget constraints it may be weeks or months before hiring picks up in force. So use this time for RR&R…Redo, Read & Research.
First Redo your resume and update your LinkedIn profile. Update with your new degree and take this time to customize your materials to focus on the job(s) you want. Include your skills and technology experience that are commonly sought after in your chosen profession. Hone your story so you are ready to make your pitch when the job market opens up.
Then Read and learn everything you can on your chosen profession and industry. Identify the largest companies and start-ups. Read industry publications and company websites. Set news alerts to push you industry/company specific news. Check out industry association and company social media pages. Quick Tip: Join industry Groups on LinkedIn. Many of them have career pages and you will be connected to all the other members of the group.
Through this process identify & Research your top 10 Target Companies. Learn all you can about their corporate culture, entry-level roles, structure and hiring process. Learn about their products as well as the company’s recent success and challenges. Then research who you know in each of your 10 Target Companies. Utilize your alumni network and LinkedIn to find connections. Build your “prospect list” and schedule informational interviews. Your contacts may be more willing to meet this time of year when work is slower for them as well. They will have invaluable insight into your Target Companies and how best to apply for positions when they open up. Quick Tip: Follow each of your 10 Target Companies on LinkedIn. It demonstrate your interest in their organization and you will get news and event updates via LinkedIn.
Finally, set a goal and make a schedule! Plan to have 5 informational interviews by January 16th, 2017. Schedule time each day for RR&R. If you do you will be ready to start your search in earnest by the 16th, just as companies are considering what positions they need to hire for. We will be there too, look for Part II of this article on Monday January 16th!
It is the time of year when millions of 18 year olds pack up, move out and move onto college. If you are one of these students, congratulations! You worked hard to get here, studied day and night, volunteered, and loaded your college application with all the right experiences. It has consumed your life, and probably your family’s life as well. So, now with this goal met you get to relax and relish in your accomplishment right? Unfortunately, no.
Instead of waiting for college to happen to you, actively tackle your college experience with the following goals in mind: to graduate college with a strong sense of self; a chosen profession that reflects your skills, abilities, interests and values; and a great first job in that profession (or acceptance into grad school). There are five critical steps you can take to achieve this goal:
1. Engage with faculty. Seek out professors and advisors and talk about more than the assignment. Talk about life, careers, choices…theirs and yours. Learn from them, connect with them. They chose this career to help guide and teach young adults so take them up on it.
2. Take a variety of classes. 80% of students end up changing their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. However these changes cost time and money. So consider all your options before finalizing your decision. Always had a passion for writing? Take a communications course. These courses will provide you insight into what you love to do so pay close attention to the courses you enjoy (or don’t) and why. Look for trends or themes in your likes and dislikes. This will all help you define that burning question: What do you want to do after graduation?
3. Join a club, attend a lecture, go to a TED Talk. In other words, explore your interests. If you find a topic, profession, or social issue intriguing check it out. You will learn a lot and not just about the topic. These experiences will lend tremendous insight into who you are and what you want to do. Do you connect with the people at the event because they are “just like you”? Is this a passion that you want to incorporate into your professional life or will it be a personal passion? Oh and you will be building your network in the process.
4. Secure Internships. There is no better way to explore possible majors and careers than through internships. The rewards are immeasurable! You will learn what you do and don’t want from your career, build a solid network of industry contacts, meet fantastic people, and hopefully have some fun in the process.
5. Make Friends. Some of the most important learning that happens in college comes from peers. Students who share your interest, and those who don’t, will help you grow. Students who have had different experience will give you a different perspective on life. Be open to new people, new experiences and all the growth that comes from them.
So go out and take control of your college experience. If you do you will grow, transform, and lay the foundation for a rewarding career.