Don’t Waste That College Tuition: Tip #2 for Helping Your Student Succeed

Posted by on Mar 12, 2018 in Career, College, parents | 0 comments

Don’t Waste That College Tuition: Tip #2 for Helping Your Student Succeed

What is the SECOND step parents can take to help their students find career success?

Insist that they get work experience during high school and college!

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised how many college seniors have very little work or volunteer experience to put on their resumes. And that really hurts their chances for getting that all-important first job or internship.

A lack of work experience hurts them in much bigger ways, too. When students don’t work or volunteer, they miss opportunities to learn crucial things about themselves and the world of work. Career decisions can’t be made in a vacuum, and students need information that comes through first-hand experience.

Here are just a few things that students begin to learn about themselves and employers when they work or volunteer:

  • The kinds of tasks they like and dislike. Lauren works as a receptionist one afternoon a week in a small office. She loves greeting people and answering the phone. But setting appointments is just too detail-oriented for her. Now she knows a possible career for her should be focused more on people, less on details or paperwork.
  • The types of coworkers they enjoy. Ryan does a summer marketing internship with a company after his freshman year of college. He has always thought computer nerds boring, but discovers he enjoys the quirky humor and analytical skills of the IT people. By contrast, the marketing team seems a bit uptight. Now he’s investigating whether the IT field is a better fit.
  • The types of customers and industries that feel right. Maria has always been a fashionista, so she knows she will love the fashion industry. But after a summer of working in a local clothing boutique, she realizes that retail fashion is not what she thought. Customers are demanding and unappreciative of her fashion flair.
  • Expectations from supervisors or customers. Andrew volunteers for a non-profit logging information about donors. He’s not getting paid, so he’s surprised when the supervisor expects him to keep a specific work schedule. He also notices that using earphones while he’s working is frowned upon.
  • Their strengths and weaknesses. Lauren is a people person, but she needs to work on improving her organizational skills. Ryan is quite good at analyzing data, but he needs to improve communications about his findings. Andrew is flexible and easy-going, but he needs to develop professionalism. Maria is highly original and creative, but she dislikes routine and repetitive tasks.

As students spend more time out of the classroom bubble, they begin to understand themselves in a deeper way and gain insights about the workplace — priceless tools in refining their career and academic choices.

Potential employers value work history, even if it’s not directly related to an advertised position. A work and significant volunteer history tell an employer that the student knows something about workplace expectations. It also implies that they know how to manage time.

Some students prefer to spend their summers taking classes or participating in sports, church, or family activities. But even a part-time job can pay huge dividends for their future. Don’t discount the value of roles at the local burger joint, yogurt shop or grocery store.

(If you missed the first step, it’s here)

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