One of the most valuable things a family member can do to assist their student with the career development and planning process is to listen and maintain an open mind to often unclear and changing ideas. Career development and planning can be overwhelming and stressful for students. It requires parents and family members to be patient, empathetic and understanding, even if you don’t agree with their thought processes, ideas or decisions.
Below is a list of things you can do to help your student get focused:
Encourage visits to Career Services
Career Services is available to all students from all majors. Early conversations with Career Services can help your student maximize his or her time at WVU Tech. Therefore, encourage your student to begin working with Career Services early during his or her college experience. We suggest first year students make their first appointment with Career Services during the spring semester of the first year.
Suggest building a resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile
A good resume is critical for every student, whether he or she is applying to summer jobs, internships/co-ops or full-time employment. The earlier your student puts one together the better. Please suggest that your student have at least one other person review their resume and cover letter before submission to any employer. If your student does not know where to start, encourage them to attend a Career Services workshop or make an appointment with Career Services.
Encourage future career planning
While many at WVU Tech come to the university with a decided major and post-graduation plans, sometimes plans change and your student may need to make adjustments to their major and career path. Career Services works with students to coach them through making a career decision. A career decision should be an ongoing process and not a one-time, last-minute choice. Therefore, Career Services provides access to career assessments and occupational information to assist students in making informed career decisions.
Suggest campus involvement in clubs/athletics
Potential employers and graduate programs look favorable on involvement in college outside of the classroom. Interpersonal, leadership and team work skills can be developed through:
- Participation in the Student Government Association
- Serving as an Orientation Leader or Resident Assistant
- Participation in an on campus club or organization
- Assisting faculty with research and projects
- On-campus work
- Becoming a tutor
- Participating in community service
- Becoming a member of an athletic team or intramural sports club
Help your student build a career network and encourage attendance of Career Events
Good networking skills are critical to finding job. While it is important to help your student identify their natural networks such as friends and family, it is also important to encourage them to access the networking opportunities offered through WVU Tech. These include attending company information sessions offered on campus, career fairs and other events sponsored by their academic program or Career Services.
Encourage professionalism online
Recruiters and hiring managers are viewing information about potential candidates online. Social media can be an important tool in the job search process, so we encourage students to set up a Linkedin profile by the junior year. It is also important engage your student on refraining from posting information that may negatively affect their future job prospects. Career Services offers workshops to students on these topics each year.
Emphasize the value of internships, co-ops or volunteer experiences
Relevant work experience can be critical to finding employment in today’s job market, so internships and co-ops are vital. Students can participate in a variety of experiential learning activities that will help them build valuable workplace skills and often secure post-graduation faster (and with higher salaries) than students that did not participate in an internship or co-op.