Helping Your Student Develop a Career

Helping Your Student Develop a Career

Families can encourage students during the career development process.

Encourage your student to visit the LSU Olinde Career Center.

Next time you visit campus, drop in to the Center and meet with a professional. When your son or daughter is feeling anxious about his/her future, offer a business card and say, "Please call this person. They can help you." Many students use their first semester to "settle into" college life, and so perhaps the second term is the optimal time to gently prompt them to go.

Ask him or her (in an off-handed way), "Have you visited the Career Center?" If you hear "You only go when you are a senior!" then reassure them that the services are not just for seniors. The sooner he/she becomes familiar with the staff and resources the better prepared he/she will be. The LSU Olinde Career Center offers a full range of services including: mock interviews, alumni career networks, workshops, recruiting programs, advising, and career books/handouts on job searching and graduate school.

Advise your student to write a résumé.

Writing a résumé can be a "reality test" and can help a student identify weak areas that require improvement. Suggest to him/her to get a sample résumé from the LSU Olinde Career Center library or from the internet. Feel free to review drafts for grammar, spelling and content, but recommend that the final version be critiqued by an LSU Olinde Career Center professional.

Allow your student to make the decision.

Occasionally, you can ask about his/her career plans, but too much prodding can backfire. It is understandable to want them to pick a major that is "practical." However, it should be balanced with his/her own interests and passions. Only sometimes does picking a major mean picking the career for life. It is common for students to change majors after further study, internships and career counseling, so don't freak out when they come up with an outrageous or impractical idea. Chances are plans will evolve. Feel free to make suggestions about majors and career fields, but let him/her be the ultimate judge of what's best. Career development can be stressful. Perhaps this is the first really big decision that your son or daughter has had to make. Be patient, sympathetic and understanding, even if you don't agree with their decision.

Emphasize the importance of internships.

The LSU Olinde Career Center will not “place” your child in a job at graduation. Colleges grant degrees, but not job guarantees, so having relevant experience in this competitive job market is critical. Your son or daughter can sample career options through summer employment, volunteer work and most importantly internships. Why internships? Employers want not only a college degree. They want experience and internships are the answer. Several internships can help develop key communication, problem-solving, and administrative skills. Many companies hire from within their own internship programs. A recommendation letter from an internship can sometimes tip the scale of an interview. Never forget the importance of internships!

Encourage extracurricular involvement.

Part of experiencing college life is to be involved and active outside the classroom. Interpersonal and leadership skills, qualities valued by future employers, are often developed through extracurricular activities.

Persuade your student to stay up-to-date with current events.

Employers will expect students to know what is happening around them. Make sure they are reading about current events. When they are home on break, discuss national and world issues with them.

Expose your student to the world of work.

Most students have a stereotypical view of the workplace. Take your student to your workplace and explain what you do for a living. Show him/her how to network. Help him/her to identify potential employers.

Teach the value of networking.

Introduce him/her to people who have the careers/jobs that interest them the most. Have him/her contact people in your networks for information on summer jobs. Encourage your student to “shadow” someone in the workplace to increase awareness of interesting career fields.

Help the LSU Olinde Career Center.

Call the LSU Olinde Career Center when you have a summer, part-time or full-time job opening. The staff will help you find a good fit. If your company hires interns, have the internships listed at the LSU Olinde Career Center. Join the LSU Olinde Career Center Tiger Network and use your “real world” experience to help students. Offer to participate in a career panel or workshop.