Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

Your Senior Student’s Holiday To-Do List

Winter Break is CRUNCH time for your senior! As they wrap up their second semester at Wake Forest, it is crucial that your senior is prepared with a flawless resume and strong interviewing skills. In today’s ultra-competitive job market, it’s not sufficient to just be OK at interviewing.  Practicing interviews will make a real difference. When your student returns to Wake Forest, remind them to sign up for a Mock Interview to practice these skills.

Here are three easy things that you can encourage your senior student to do while they are home:

  1. Network, Network, Network…and Network some more. Winter Break is an excellent time for your senior to reach out to the Wake Forest network and discuss their career questions and aspirations. If you have questions about how you and your student can use LinkedIn to connect with valuable contacts, refer to the LinkedIn how-to page on our website. As your student meets with family friends, alumni, and other fans, direct them to our helpful Networking Tracking tool (scroll down to #3 to download tool) to make sure they stay organized, focused and on track.
  2. Attend an alumni club event. Alumni events are a great opportunity to meet Wake Forest alumni who are interested in helping current students by answering questions and offering connections. Review the list of alumni club events in your city or in your student’s desired location post-graduation. If possible, travel to their desired post-graduation location so your student can network and gather more information before they move after graduation. If your student is considering graduate school, Winter Break is the ideal time to visit a few of their places they are considering and ask lots of questions. Most importantly, students should inquire what the expected career outcomes are for graduates of the program or school and make sure that these outcomes align with their interests and vision.
  3. Work on job or graduate school applications. Now is the time to be researching and applying for job opportunities on DeaconSource and other job databases. Refer your student to the “Cover Letter” templates on our website for examples as it is important to tailor each cover letter to specific jobs and organizations. If your student is applying for graduate school, the “Graduate School” tab includes helpful resources. Check out this helpful article for students writing their personal statement.

It’s important for parents to ask students to share their expectations and plans for the job search during Spring semester.  Some students may not have the time (due to academic or other obligations) to conduct an intensive search. Other students may be interested in opportunities located in places that make the job search difficult while at college. Others may be focused on graduate school and not able to conduct a job search at the same time.  And others may be interested in jobs and organizations that hire ‘just-in-time’ or only hire people who network to them as opposed to posting opportunities.

This conversation will help students and parents understand their respective expectations for the final semester of college.  And it will likely help make this final season a more positive, and less stressful one for students and their families.

It’s most important for senior students and parents to remember that employers do not hire based on college graduation dates.  Employers hire at the time when they need a new employee and when they have found the best person for the job.  So, it’s really not useful to set a goal of having a job by graduation. It’s better to set a goal to implement every step of a thoughtful job search action plan during each week until a job is acquired.  Our office can help students in creating this action plan and accomplishing this goal.  Encourage your student to stop by our new office and see a career counselor to help them successfully navigate the path from college to career.

Category: Making the Most of Breaks