Advice for Parents
As a parent of a St. Ambrose student, take an active role and talk about career development opportunities, career direction, and internships.
We have a number of resources for parents that can help. Take a look at the graduate survey employment data and see the success recent graduates had in finding employment or acceptance into graduate school.
Feel free to call us at 563-333-6339 to learn how the Academic and Career Planning Office (ACP) can play an important role in your student's life now, and in the future.
Ways to Support Career Development
- Encourage your student to visit the Academic and Career Planning Office early and often in their college career. They can visit with a Career Advisor, develop a résumé, complete a mock interview, attend career fairs, and complete internships. These are just a few services available through Academic and Career Planning.
"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
- Encourage your student to check out the Major Map for their specific major to learn more about how to work toward career success during college. These maps help students to find the next right step for them, no matter where they are at in their career journey.
- Support your student's exploration of career options, talk to them about career plans, and be patient while they considers a variety of options.
- If your student seems unsure, point out the qualities you see as their talents and strengths, and recommend they contact the ACP for a self-assessment inventory or to research a variety of career fields and employers. A career decision should be a process and not a one-time, last-minute event; discourage them from putting off a decision until senior year.
- Introduce your student to people in professional fields who can share 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 Academic and Career Planning Office does not "place" your student in a job at graduation. Colleges grant degrees and assist students in gaining career-related skills and knowledge. Having relevant experience in a competitive job market is critical.
As a parent, what can I do to help my student in their first year of college?
- Talk to your student and stay involved. At times it may appear that your son or daughter does not want to talk to you. Be patient and 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 goal.
- Suggest a job shadow in your hometown or ask 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, helps students make friends, and provides opportunities 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 college activities is one way to demonstrate those skills.
- Be supportive of your student's on campus job. This experience may be the first step in demonstrating a positive work ethic. Today's part-time work will influence future employment. Work study and temporary campus jobs 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 on time to work, act confidently, and not complain when it appears other students are given easier projects. If your student was not awarded work study funding 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 during winter break. Students who jump-start their careers 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 student is undecided on a major field of study or wants to change majors?
Many students bring pre-conceived career goals when they come to college. As students develop a better understanding of their skills, interests, and values they may alter their career direction.
The curriculum of a liberal arts education allows students to find that understanding at an earlier level through general education requirements. Additionally, the Career Center can help with career and major exploration. Students are encouraged to identify their greatest abilities and strengths in a variety of courses. A significant number of students change their career direction during the first two years of college.
I want my student to find appropriate employment following graduation. How can I help?
Today's candidates for employment MUST be able to demonstrate they can apply what they learned in their academic program to real-life work experience. This is why internships are important. Encourage your student to visit the Career Center and take part in internships, etiquette dinners, career fairs, and on-campus recruiting. The greater the level of involvement, the greater the potential for getting that desired job after graduation.
Remind your student that social media profiles should not be used to impress their friends, but to impress hiring managers and recruiters.
How should my student be advancing their career this year?
Today's candidates for employment MUST be able to demonstrate they can apply what they learned in their academic program to real-life work experience. This is why internships and cooperative education are important.
Encourage your student to visit the Career Center and take part in résumé workshops, mock interviews, internships, etiquette dinners, career fairs, and on-campus recruiting. The greater the level involvement, the greater the 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
Fall is the time to gently nudge your student to visit 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 résumé. You may be delighted to find skills listed that demonstrate your student's ability.
- Consider giving professional clothing for birthday and other gifts. It 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. Suggest a mock interview. Students practice interviewing with Human Resource professionals from companies throughout the Quad Cities area during our Career Fair Prep Week each semester. Talk about some of the regrettable and more pleasant interviews you experienced. Your student needs to know if you also 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.
Wow! How time flies. Your student is transitioning to being self-sufficient. You are keenly aware of how your relationship with your student is changing every day. Your nudges are now merely offerings of assistance.
- Ask your "almost graduate" if they would like you to distribute their résumé to the Human Resource Director in your company, contacts, or friends who might be in a position to help. It is a competitive job market, and this is just one way 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 résumé and give 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 student. Ask what they think about the opportunity.
- Let your student know that you have visited the Career Center's website. Encourage them to attend Career Center Events.