Advice for Parents

Take an active role in talking about career development opportunities, career direction, and internship exploration

As a parent of a student at St. Ambrose University, you can take an active role in talking about career development opportunities, career direction, and internship exploration.

We've provided a number of resources for parents with students at every academic level of the institution. Take a look at the graduate survey employment data to see how successful our recent students were at finding employment or gaining acceptance into graduate school upon graduation.

Feel free to call us as well at 563/333-6339 to talk more about how the Career Center can make an important impact in your student's, and in the future.

How Can I Support Career Development?

» Encourage students to visit the Career Center early and often in their college career. Visit with a Career Counselor, develop a résumé, complete a mock interview, attend career fairs, and complete internships. These are just a few of the Services available at the St. Ambrose Career Center.

"Students who use the career center four or more times a semester are more likely to have job offers than those who use it once a semester."
The National Association of Colleges and Employers, NACE

» Support your son or daughter's exploration of career options, stimulate conversations regarding career plans, and be patient while he/she considers a variety of options.

If your student seems unsure, you can talk about personal qualities you see as talents and strengths and recommend contacting the Career Center to take a self-assessment inventory or researching a variety of interesting career fields and employers. A career decision should be a process and not a one-time, last-minute event; discourage putting this decision off until the senior year.

» Introduce your son or daughter to people in professional fields who can provide career information/job shadowing opportunities and advice. Encourage your student to manage their BeeCAREERS account for jobs, internships, mentoring opportunities and to develop a professional social media brand for effective networking.

» Support and encourage involvement in leadership and student organization activities, both on and off campus.

» Employers seek students with the following attributes: leadership, desired major, high GPA (3.0 or above), involvement in extracurricular activities (clubs, sports, student government), participation in volunteer work, fluency in a foreign language, and study abroad experience.

» Emphasize the importance of gaining career-related experience through internships, co-ops, volunteering, summer and/or part-time jobs.

» The Career Center does not "place" your student in a job at graduation. Colleges grant degrees and assist students in gaining career related skills and knowledge, so having relevant experience in this competitive job market is critical.

First-Year Parents

As a parent, what can I do to help my son or daughter in their first year of college?

  • Talk to your student and stay involved in his/her life. At times it may appear to you that your son or daughter does not want to talk to you. Be patient and always keep the channel of communication open. People of all ages need a varying degree of space at different times in their lives. However, most people do not want to "do it alone." More encouragement and less criticism is a "golden rule." Modeling good communication and negotiation skills provide building blocks your student will need to master. 
  • Encourage your student to explore career options and to visit our Center. We can help students decide their career paths and develop plans to reach their career goal.
  • Suggest a job shadow either in your home town or ask the staff at the Career Center to locate a practitioner in the QC area.
  • Getting involved in clubs and organizations on campus helps students acclimate with their home-away-from-home. Organized activities fill vacant time, help students meet others, and gives them an opportunity to develop spiritually, physically, socially, and artistically. In addition to communication skills, employers look for leadership and the ability to multi-task in potential employees. Being involved in collegiate activities is one way of demonstrating those skills.
  • Be supportive of your student's work study. This experience may be the first step in demonstrating a positive work ethic. Today's part-time work will influence future employment.  Work study can be the practice field for your student's skill development in time-management, multi-tasking, communication, decision-making, meeting deadlines etc. Encourage your student to be prompt to work assignments, act confidently and not complain when it appears other students are given easier projects. If your student was not awarded work study they may look at other options to earn money:  tutoring, babysitting, or other part-time jobs in the Quad Cities area.
  • Suggest to your student that he/she begin their summer job search over the winter break. Students who jump-start their careers early with related work experiences are more likely to land that desired job after graduation.  Your student will need to start building a résumé, so they can apply for these positions.

Should I be concerned if my son or daughter is undecided on a major field of study and / or what if he/she wants to change majors?

  • Many students bring with them pre-conceived career goals when they come to college. As students develop a better understanding of their skills, interests and values they may find it wise to alter their career direction. The curriculum in a liberal arts education allows students to find that understanding at an earlier level through general education requirements. Students are encouraged to identify their greatest abilities and strengths through academic challenges in a variety of courses. A significant number of students change their career direction during the first two years of college.

I want to be sure that my student will find appropriate employment following graduation. How can I help?

  • Today's candidates for employment MUST be able to demonstrate that the knowledge from their academic programs can be applied to real life work experience. This increases the importance of internships. Encourage your student to visit the Career Center and take part in activities the Center supports: Career Boot Camp, internships, etiquette dinners, career fairs and on-campus recruiting. The greater the involvement, the greater potential for getting the desired job following graduation.
  • Talk to your student about making wise financial decisions and caution them on the use of credit opportunities. One concern is to begin building personal credit; yet another concern is learning how to use restraint in controlling that credit.
  • Remind your student that their social media profiles should not be used to impress their friends, but to impress hiring managers and recruiters.
Sophomore Year Parents

How should my student be advancing their career this year?
Today's candidates for employment MUST be able to demonstrate that the knowledge from their academic programs can be applied to real life work experience. This increases the importance of internships and cooperative education.

Encourage your student to visit the Career Center and take part in activities the Center supports: résumé workshops, mock interviews, internships, etiquette dinners, career fairs, and on-campus recruiting. The greater the involvement, the greater potential for getting the desired job following graduation.

  • Update résumé
  • Draft an adaptable cover letter
  • Do a mock interview
  • Write your LinkedIn profile
  • Participate in volunteer work
  • Apply for an internship
  • Join SAU organizations or community organizations
  • Watch part-time job listings for related work experience
Junior Year Parents

Fall is the time to gently nudge your student into visiting the Career Center if he or she is not already a frequent visitor. Internships and cooperative education experiences may still be arranged; it is definitely not too late.

  • Ask to see your student's resume. You may be delighted to find skills listed that demonstrate your student's ability.
  • You might think of giving an item of professional clothing for birthday and other gifts. This will be needed for interviewing this year and in the future.
  • Help your student develop a list of potential employers in your area. Your local media and everyday contacts may be offering an internship of which your student may not know
  • Encourage your student to attend Career Center Events.
  • Talk about the importance of being a confident interviewee. Perhaps you might want to suggest a mock interview. Students practice interviewing with Human Resource professionals from various companies throughout the Quad City area during Career Boot Camp. Again, visit the Career Center's website to find out when they are offered. Talk about some of the regrettable and more pleasant interviews that you experienced. Your student needs to know that you experienced pre-interview jitters.
  • Is your student considering graduate school? Encourage them to start studying for grad school admissions exams and attend one of the Career Center's personal statement workshops. They will need to start applying for grad school the early part of senior year.
Senior Year Parents

Wow! How time flies. Your student is transitioning to being self-sufficient. You are keenly aware of how your relationship with your son or daughter is changing everyday. Your nudges are now merely offerings of assistance.

  • Ask your "almost graduate" if he / she would like you to distribute their resume to the Human Resource Director in your company, contacts, or friends who might be in a position to help. Today's job search opportunities find a competitive market, and this is just one means of marketing. Encourage your student to make this step on their own; you are the backup promoter. All other things being equal (experience, grade points, activities) it comes down to whom you know. Perhaps this person of influence could also review your graduate's resume and give him / her some pointers. If your student graciously accepts the critique, it might be an opening to a potential job.
  • Keep track of job openings in your area and in your company. Send an email of the announcement to your son or daughter. Ask what he / she thinks about the opportunity.
  • Let your son or daughter know that you have visited the Career Center's website. Encourage them to attend Career Center Events.

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 27 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!