Helping Your College Student Make Smart Career DecisionsOctober 24, 2019
As a parent, you obviously want what’s best for your child. Whether you have opinions about what career path they should take or want to give them the freedom to choose on their own, it’s pretty hard not to wonder what occupation they will end up choosing or falling into. The truth is, deciding on a career is a process that takes time for many students. Sometimes letting them decide is the easiest route – but there’s nothing wrong with providing a little guidance along the way. Here are some tips to guide your child toward making smart career decisions.
Encourage Them to Research and Explore
Whether your child is set on a specific career path or is rather undecided, it’s important to encourage them to explore different career paths. If they are set on a specific career, you should provoke them to research the career – from understanding what the day to day job functions will consist of, to getting a grasp on the typically starting salary and potential earnings, doing the research will help them either solidify their decision or decide to explore new options. If they are unsure of what they want to do, then you should brainstorm ideas with them. Find out their likes and dislikes, provide them with resources, and perhaps point them toward the Kuder Career Planning System.
Encourage Open Communication
Your child needs to feel that they can come to you with career questions and ideas. You know your child better than anyone, from their likes and dislikes to their personality traits. Allowing them to bounce ideas off of you will be an effective way for them to nail down their career path and feel more sure of their decision. Be sure you don’t dismiss certain careers they are interested in due to bias. Likewise, don’t force them into a career path due to your personal opinions. Allow them to discuss the pros and cons with you objectively, and provide your honest opinion as to whether you think the career path will make them happy. If they are unsure about their career and don’t talk about it often, probe them with questions that will help them understand what type of environment they want to work in. Ask which classes they have enjoyed, which they have disliked, which issues they are passionate about, etc. Taking initiative to have conversations will be a positive influence in their career decision.
Students who take advantage of networking opportunities have a much easier time deciding on their career path than those who do not. Promote the importance of networking with professionals in a variety of fields to your child so that they can get a real-world perspective on their prospective career paths. This will also provide them the opportunity of potentially getting a foot in the door with an employer in the career path. By networking before they finish school, they will have a list of valuable contacts before even getting into the job market.
Encourage Them to Build Their Resume
At the end of the day, your child will need to build real-world experience to get an effective start to their career. Building experience that they can add to their resume is important whether they are undecided or have their career path planned out. Emphasizing the importance of job-shadowing, volunteering, and obtaining internships or part-time jobs will help your child build their resume and be ready for success in their career, all the while helping them solidify their career decision.
Being objective and allowing your child to choose their career path can be difficult, but if you follow the principles above and encourage your child to be proactive in choosing a career, they will be set to start on a good career path.
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