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Six Ways to Support Your Student’s Career Journey

​​Six Ways to Support Your Student’s Career Journey

Students often identify their families as a primary source of career information and support. The most valuable things parents and family members can do to help a student with career decisions are listen, be open to new ideas and help your student find information.

Career planning is an ongoing process that involves understanding your personal interests and skills; exploring possible major and career paths; experimenting through experiences; and identifying and taking the appropriate next step - whether that step is a job search, graduate school application, or other option. There are many ways you can assist and support your student’s career journey along the way.

Encourage exploration.

Many students mistakenly think they can only plan their career once they know exactly what they want to do. The truth is, career planning is a lifelong process that will continually change and grow as a person’s interests, employment and life circumstances change. Anyone can start, or re-start, the process at any time.

Students in the early stages of career or major decision-making can use online tools and assessments (we’ve gathered a list of tools here!) to learn how their interests connect to possible career choices. Students who are ready to explore industries and jobs can do so by volunteering, talking to alumni or other professionals in their fields of interest, or gaining experience in a part-time job or internship.

Suggest a visit to the Career Center.

DePaul’s Career Center provides a wealth of career planning resources—job postings on Handshake, career fairs, resume assistance, a robust career library, and career advising, just to name a few. The Career Center helps students at every stage of their journey, whether they’re just starting out or are in the midst of a job search. Encourage your student to take advantage of the Career Center’s programs and resources throughout their time at DePaul.

Support extracurricular involvement.

Getting involved on campus, whether it’s through an on-campus job or joining a student organization, is a great way to meet new people, develop skills and explore career interests. Problem-solving, interpersonal and leadership skills—qualities valued by future employers—are often developed in extracurricular activities.

Emphasize the importance of career experiences.

Gaining relevant experience is critical to long-term success. Studies have shown that recent graduates who had a relevant job or internship while in school were more than twice as likely to acquire a good job immediately after graduation. Internships are an excellent way to develop tangible work experience, build relevant skills and make professional connections (click here for a few tips on how to find one).

Talk about the importance of networking. 

Networking is one of the most effective ways to find a job. Encourage your student to begin building their professional network by talking to their professors and other professionals in the field(s) they’re interested in pursuing. DePaul students can connect with alumni for informational interviews and career conversations through the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) network. LinkedIn is also a great tool for networking - the Career Center’s LinkedIn Basics overview can help your student get started.

Reassure your student that a tough job market is temporary.

It can be difficult to plan for the future when the job market - and the world - are so uncertain. However, the ebb and flow of the economy is constant, and brighter days lie ahead. In fact, plenty of companies are hiring for jobs and internships right now. Check out the Career Center’s list of the 500 most recently posted jobs on its career services platform, Handshake. It’s updated weekly. Encourage your student to login to Handshake and update their profile at depaul.handshake.com to explore current listings, as well as career events and resources.

You can also share Handshake’s list of 500 companies hiring college students and recent grads​​. It includes organizations across all 50 states, including dozens from the Fortune 500.​