Published: Nov. 18, 2019

Whether your student is considering a summer internship, full-time job or further education,job fair
fall break can be a great time to check in with them about their future plans.
Here are a few tips for talking with your student about their future.

Listen and check in

Many students feel anxiety or pressure when it comes to thinking about the future. It can be helpful for your student to find a space to share how they are feeling and feel supported – whether they are excited or nervous (or both!). Listen as they talk, and validate their feelings. Remind them it’s normal to feel uncertain of what the future holds, and encourage them to be open to opportunities and ideas. 

Even if your student is not thinking about future career plans yet (which can be frustrating!), helping them reflect on things they like or don’t like about their classes and experience at CU can be a great starting point. Students who enjoy their major are more likely to excel in their classes, which is very important to employers and graduate schools.

Connect student experiences to future goals

While the program your student chooses to study is important, it may not always determine their career. With the world of work constantly changing, it’s becoming more common for people to change careers several times during their professional lives. Fortunately, all majors at CU and many student experiences outside of the classroom will teach them the skills they need for future opportunities.

Encourage your student to think about how they are currently involved in campus. By getting involved, they can gain hands-on experience for their resume and develop valuable skills. Job recruiters today are focusing more on people who can communicate well, work in teams, be flexible and adaptable, and are enthusiastic about learning new things. Here are a few ways your student can start developing these skills at CU:

Expand their network

Between family, friends, professors, supervisors and CU alumni, your student already has a wide network – but they may not know it. Talk with your student about the connections they are making, and how to maintain a professional network.  Encourage them to stay in touch with former co-workers, supervisors, professors, classmates and others they meet throughout their academic journey. They can easily do this through LinkedIn. The people in their network can be instrumental in the internship or job search process, or may serve as a professional reference or mentor.

Offer encouragement

When you get to a point in the conversation where your student seems excited about an idea or option, encourage them to find out more. Perhaps you know someone in the field that your student could talk to. Maybe they can use LinkedIn to find a CU Buff alum in the area who would be open to having coffee. There is a ton of information online about different fields, but talking to someone who has done that career is especially helpful.

Whatever your student’s plans are, here are a few steps they can do over fall or winter break:

  • Update their résumé.
  • Set up an account in Handshake, CU’s online resource for jobs, internships and career development appointments.
  • Make an appointment with a career development advisor.
  • Research companies or graduate schools that interest them.
  • Connect with a family friend for an informational interview about their career.

Career Services is here to help

Whether your student has a plan for the future or they are still figuring things out, Career Services is here to help. Encourage them to stop by drop-in hours Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and meet with a career development advisor.