Parents and Families

The Career Center Office

What will your son or daughter be doing this summer? With fall semester still in full swing, it may seem too early to consider spring and summer classes or internships. But in fact, now is a great time to start thinking about plans for the months ahead.

The Career Center offers a wide array of services.  Students are able to schedule career counseling sessions with one of more than a dozen specialists who focus on helping students articulate their stories.  Students want to convey their message in a way that will allow them to successfully identify jobs, internships and other valuable career experiences that matter to them.  Meeting with career counselors helps students understand their focus, which leads to developing stronger résumés and cover letters, more compelling and successful interviews and, ultimately, greater success when seeking internships and jobs.

"It's important that parents and students understand that the Career Center is an ally," Career Center Director Kerin Borland says. "We want to see our students succeed; and a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows that students who utilize the services offered by college career centers have a higher chance of obtaining job offers upon graduation."

Developing affiliations on campus is a critical piece of being part of the university community. Students should think about the professional communities they aspire to join and begin making connections within those circles.  The Career Center hosts several events that allow students to interact with university alumni and other professionals in their fields of interest. Recently, a group of approximately 20 students visited Google's offices in Ann Arbor as part of the Immersion Excursion program. During their visit, students took advantage of the opportunity to interact with university alumni working there and participated in a hands-on exercise to better understand a typical workday at the Google office.

Students can also use the Career Center to build their professional communities by taking advantage of opportunities to interact with employers to discuss available openings. Twice a year students have the chance to make personal connections through the Center's career expos. At this fall's expo, 99 different organizations sent representatives to recruit students for a mix of full-time jobs and summer internships.

Career expos and other related events are key for connecting students who know their areas of interest — usually sophomores and juniors — with organizations doing that work.

"First and second year students are encouraged to attend the career expos to see how the event is organized and to practice interacting with recruiters by asking questions about what the organization is looking for in interns or if there are specific courses that are helpful in their line of work," Borland says. "Students can also ask for suggestions of experiences that are important to have prior to applying for internships."  

Geni Harclerode, assistant director of experiential learning and employer development at the Career Center, says there are many ways to gain experiences to create compelling stories and demonstrate skill development. Internships, on- and off-campus work experience, volunteer opportunities and research projects all help students develop key professional skills employers value, like communication, teamwork and organization.

"Internships are a great way to learn more about a specific career while gaining skills that employers find attractive, but students can also explore career options through other avenues such as informational interviewing, job shadowing, or volunteering," she says. "In order to be selected for professional experiences students need to understand who they are, how they can contribute to the success of the organization, and why they are a good fit."  Harclerode encourages parents to have meaningful conversations with their sons or daughters about their career interests and what they like about the campus organizations they are involved in and the elective classes they take.

"For some parents, supporting their student in career building endeavors may include helping refine interview skills or using personal networks to help open up shadowing opportunities with friends working in a field of interest to their student," Harclerode says. "It's equally important for parents to ask reflective questions which help students think about their goals."

For more information about how you can help support your student's career planning, visit the Career Center website.  Parents of first year students are encouraged to sign up for the Career Center's electronic newsletter!


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Fall 2011 Newsletter

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