Tips for Talking to Your Student about Career over Spring Break

Hannah Guffey – February 28th, 2017

For many students, spring break can feel like a long awaited respite from a hectic semester. For parents, spring break can seem like an opportune time for students to take advantage of a lull in their studies and focus on the future. The following are just a few ideas for how to engage your student in more career related activities over break.

Check in.

At this point in the year, many students may still be undecided regarding their major and career interests, while others may be deep in the job or internship search. Some may be encouraged by the opportunities they’ve found, while others may feel anxious and overwhelmed by ambiguous next steps. As a parent, listening to what your student is experiencing can be the most helpful thing you do. Inquiring about this experience from a place of curiosity as opposed to expectation may help them to feel more comfortable engaging in this process.

Review our resources.

Spring break is the perfect time to remind your student of the resources they have access to through the Career Center website and our Handshake system. No matter where your student is in the career development process, the Career Center has something for them. If your student is considering various majors, direct them to the Majors and Careers section of our website.

Break is also a great time to take one of our career assessments. Your student can take an assessment online, then schedule a follow up appointment with a counselor once they return to grounds.

Our resume, internship, and jobs sections are great starting points for your student to begin developing their professional materials and learn more about how to begin an internship/job search. If your student has questions about specific career industries or is considering graduate/professional school, refer them to our Career Community and Pre-health & Law Advising resource pages.

Encourage small, tangible steps.

With spring break being a much needed, but short, break, encouraging your student to take small steps towards their career goals can be most effective. This could be updating a resume, fine tuning an internship or job search, or finally making that networking call. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started, and spring break is the perfect time to do just that.

Talk to people in the know.

As hinted above, this break is also a great opportunity for your student to schedule “informational interviews” with friends, family, UVA alumni, and other contacts who may be working in industries of interest. Conversations with people who actually have jobs that appeal to your student can be one of their most formative experiences. One of the easiest ways to do this is to register with the Virginia Alumni Mentoring program and connect with alumni who are eager to share advice and guidance with students based on their own experiences. These conversations can shed light on the realities of a profession, and/or result in a future opportunity.

Make an appointment with a Career Counselor.

Not sure where to start? Make an appointment with one our career counselors! The Career Center will be open over break and counselors are available to take in person, phone, or skype appointments with students. Use Handshake to schedule an appointment today!

As always, please feel free to contact our office (434.924.8900) with any additional questions about how the Career Center can support your student's career exploration and development.