How to Talk “Career” With Your Student 

Conversations about the future are not always welcome by students, especially when it comes from a family member. Additionally, you may not feel like it is your place to invade, or you may feel concerned about your student’s future. However, these conversations are crucial to students’ success in the career search process. Follow our suggestions below to learn how to talk about future plans with your student. 

How to begin the conversation: 

Prepare to actively listen and show encouragement. 

Active listening will create a space for your student to feel heard and can help them confidently process their decision-making. 

Be open to discussing and exploring careers related to their passions and interests. 

The goal is not to pressure your student to go down a career path that YOU want to see them succeed in. While you may be stressed about them choosing a career, remember they are likely stressed as well! Therefore, narrowing down options that relate to their everyday hobbies and passions can create a more exciting environment for them to explore. 

Be realistic in thinking about long-term outcomes. 

When thinking about different career paths, it may be easy to simply look at the most interesting or high paying job. Unfortunately, the decision takes more than that. Evaluate many factors including finances, how long it will take to achieve the career, job availability, and long-term career goals. 

What to include in your discussion: 

Encourage involvement on campus. 

Being involved in clubs and organizations can provide them with a lot of career-related opportunities that may open them up to new possibilities. Plus, being active in a club or organization is a way for students to gain the skills employers seek on resumes! 

Highlight the importance of internship experiences. 

Having hands-on field experience will allow your student to narrow down the type of career that best suits them. Additionally, employers site internships as the most influential factor in tough hiring decisions and the best recruiting strategy for entry-level hires.  

The PennWest Career Center understands internships and other forms of experiential learning can be overwhelming for students and families. We are here to help guide students towards the best opportunity to fit their preferences and needs. 

Support networking. 

Remind your student that reaching out to current professionals can be a fantastic way to gain insight into different career paths and what it takes to get there. One conversation can lead to a whole new array of connections and opportunities. 

Promote the Career Center Resources: 

Encourage your student to visit the PennWest Career Center. You may not be able to help them with everything, but they will be in good hands as we help them become career ready.  

Visit our website to find help with specific needs and locate an expert who can work with your student directly! 

Overall, the goal of your conversation should aim to build their confidence in choosing the career path that is right for them and provide resources to ease the process. 

By Hailey Fry
Hailey Fry