Griff Center Parents Support
The Griff Center for Academic Engagement believes that you play a vital role in the success of your student. We invite you to share with The Griff Center in facilitating the career development journey of your student by becoming informed of the career services and resources we offer.
EXPLORE | Parents’ Role:
- Encourage your student to visit the Griff Center to take a career assessment to learn about career interests, abilities, and values
- Encourage your student to utilize Handshake to find part-time jobs, work study positions, volunteer opportunities, and internships
- Discuss the value in meeting with professors and academic advisors with your student
- Talk with your student about getting involved in campus organizations and activities
- If your student is undecided, encourage your student to meet with a coach in the Griff Center
- Listen to your student talk about different career options she/he may be considering
- Help your student come up with a list of friends and relatives that may work in a field of interest to contact for informational interviews
EXPERIENCE | Parents’ Role:
- Encourage your student to take classes and get involved in student organizations that will enhance academics and make them more marketable
- Discuss career options with your student
- Remind your student about career fairs
- Provide contacts to help your student network
- Encourage your student to obtain an experience that relates to their career goals
- Encourage your student to come to the Griff Center for resume and cover letter reviews, and practice interviewing skills
ENGAGE | Parents’ Role:
- Ask your student how you can help
- Be patient, listen to the concerns and fears your student may express, and encourage your student without becoming frustrated
- Offer to talk with your student about career goals and how her/his interests and skills relate to those goals
- Offer professional contacts for your student to network with
- Encourage your student to attend career fairs
- Encourage your student to come to the Griff Center for resume and cover letter reviews, job and graduate school application queries, and practice interviewing skills
What Other Advice Can You Give Your Student?
(The following tips are adapted from “The Professional Generation Gap” by Margaret Heffernan on fastcompany.com)
Remember this is just the beginning: There are not a lot of entry-level CEO jobs. Entry level jobs are just that – everyone has to start somewhere, and often include less-than-glamorous elements. A “winner” entry-level job should offer more than just a paycheck. It should provide an opportunity to shine, to pursue an interest, develop desired skills, or to work for a great company or for a great cause.
Successful careers require knowing what you want and how to get it. But without a lot of experience, how can your student know either of these things? Discuss things he/she’s done -- exams, jobs, projects -- and ask some good questions. What was satisfying about them? Did s/he prefer work that involved other people or independent projects? How competitive is s/he? These conversations can be most rewarding, but remember: your job is just to ask the questions. And to know, also, when to back off or refer to the Griff Center!
Very few students really know what they want to do when they graduate, so some spend time trying things. This can be nerve-wracking for parents. One day he’s working in retail and the next day thinking about medical school? Try to be patient; for some, these experiments are the only way to find a true calling.
TALK ABOUT MONEY
Many kids have unrealistic expectations about money. You can help your student clarify the importance of salary in their career plans. In these conversations, money needs to be neutral: what is important is that expectations and goals match financial resources.
Aligning personal values with the values of your workplace may be the single most important component of a satisfying career. If your student wants to change the world, ask if s/he should join a conservative institution. If s/he loves order and routine, are startups a good idea? It isn’t about good and bad careers; it is about finding the right fit.
MAKE A PLAN
When your student has a sense of what s/he wants to do, encourage her/him to make a plan. Who do they know who can help? Where are the key information sources? Do they have the skills they need and, if not, how will they acquire them? Plans can illuminate opportunities as well as providing momentum.
TALK TO PEOPLE
Whatever you call this activity- connecting, talking to people, networking – it is a key means for people to learn about the job market from insiders and find information that helps in the job search. Talking to people to learn yields much more reliable results than approaching people you don’t know and hoping they will lead you to a special stash of jobs. People help people with whom they are engaged. Starting with people they know and expanding their network using LinkedIn can help students find people, learn from others’ experience and make a plan that will work.