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Help Your College Student Prepare for a Career

February 25, 2015

By Mario Vela

Help Your College Student Prepare for a Career | A job and a career are very different. Help your child prepare for a career when they graduate from college with these 4 approaches. | The image shows a female college student in front of a chalkboard with diagrams that show how to get a job. She looks like she is floating away with the balloons drawn on the chalkboard.

It’s the time of year when college seniors and their parents worry about what comes next. Will they get a job? Will they be able to afford living on their own? While you’re thinking of your child’s future, have you considered how to prepare him or her for not just a job but for a career?

In my professional career, I’ve spent years helping colleagues and college students enhance and prepare for their careers. A career is much different than a job. A job pays the bills and happens in the present, but a career is made up of all of the jobs we have taken and will take, how we advance, and what our overall goals are.

I’ve noticed that first generation college students have a tendency to let their careers take control of them. There are two main factors that contribute to this:

  • Limited industry exposure
  • Limited networks

Basically, college seniors about to embark upon the adult workforce often don’t know what they’re preparing for, and therefore don’t have a plan for their future life-long career, but rather for their first job out of college. But you can help. There is a great opportunity to help your child learn what’s out there and prepare for a career by:

  • Visiting different companies
  • Meeting with industry leaders
  • Attending industry events
  • Working with faculty experts

When students understand the various opportunities available, from company culture to seeing a typical career path at a large organization, they can get a better idea of what is important to them. They can figure out the kinds of careers they want. The sooner they figure that out, the more prepared they will be to control their careers and make fewer missteps along the way.

Encourage your child to meet with his or her career counselor or advisor at school. They should be able to help your child arrange these opportunities like visiting different companies, attending campus networking events to meet with industry leaders, etc.

Once your college student knows what’s really out there, he or she can determine a career path and stick to it to ensure faster success.

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