Career Conversations Guide For Families

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Career Exploration and Development
261 Schwartz Center

Encourage your student to start exploring careers and acquiring experiences early

Freshmen should not limit themselves to only familiar careers. This is their opportunity to explore various options within the world of work. Students who make this a priority often feel more connected to the university, excel academically, and have a heightened sense of purpose. Intentional planning can also help students avoid unnecessary debt.

Help your student think about who they really are - explore together

You know your student, and although it may not always feel like it, they care about what you think. Help them reflect on their past academic successes and interests. What were their most and least favorite subjects in high school? What occupies their free time? Can they list their hobbies and passions? Do any themes emerge? Get them started with our online assessment tool – Focus2:

Be open and ready to listen as your interests and goals may not be theirs

Just as you are likely different from your parents in terms of personality, abilities and interests, your student may be different from you. Remember what it was like for you at their age. It can be difficult trying to establish and integrate who they are into specific career aspirations.

Resist the urge to do everything for your student - empower and encourage them

While wanting the very best for your student, parents can feel pressure to become over-involved. Instead, help your student uncover resources, do the work, and offer support along the way. Help your student craft an exploration timeline containing realistic and meaningful next steps and obtainable completion dates.

Suggest your student talk to a career expert at Career Exploration and Development

These are experienced professionals with access to a variety of resources that can help your student make informed career decisions by uncovering more about themselves and their future place in the workforce. 92% of the students and alumni that we serve strongly agree that they would recommend our services to fellow students and graduates.


Things You Can Do To Help

Talk to your student about the career decisions you have made and why.

Does your student know what you do at work every day? Do they know what skills and abilities you employ? Share with them what you find rewarding, frustrating, and even earnings, if comfortable. Disclose what you might have done differently and help them understand what it took to reach your goals. This may be an enlightening experience for both of you!

Encourage speaking with other professionals about what they do.

Seek out opportunities for your teenager to observe and talk to others about their careers. This can be as easy as taking them to work with you and allowing them to meet colleagues in positions that interest them. Contact
Career Exploration and Development or visit our website for suggestions on how to connect with employees in different professions, potential questions to ask them, and interviewing tips/guidelines.

Encourage volunteering, interning, and part-time employment as a way to gain exposure.

Not only will these experiences provide first-hand insight into a position or career, they can also bolster the resume, be a good networking tool, and demonstrate initiative to prospective employers.

Career Progress Checklist


  • I have considered what is important to me in my career and life.
  • I understand the need for self-reflection because I realize I am my own best resource in the career and life planning process.
  • I have identified my strongest abilities and skills.
  • I am aware of my weaknesses.
  • I have identified the personal values that define the ways I find purpose and meaning.
  • I have identified my interests.
  • I can describe my preferred work environment.
  • I have thought about the type of lifestyle I want.
  • I can articulate experiences and achievements that clarify a pattern of interests and abilities that are relevant to my career.
  • I have a personal definition of success.

Knowledge of Employers and Careers

  • I have focused my career choices and researched these fields using a variety of current career/employer information
  • I have conducted an informational interview with at least one person in each of the career fields I am considering.
  • I have sought the wisdom of those I trust to provide input on my career aspirations.
  • I have decided on a career field and have declared a major that is complimentary.
  • I have started to develop a broad list of position titles to research.
  • I have developed a well-defined career objective that focuses my employment search on particular organizations/employers.
  • I have participated in internships, extracurricular, and volunteer activities that relate to my chosen career.o I have crafted a career plan to support me in reaching my goal.

Less than half checked? Visit Career Exploration and Development TODAY!