Challenging and Supporting Your Student During Their Job/Internship Search

by Jessica Melita

A combination of challenge and support is a key tactic that can assist you and your student in their internship or job search.

You may find yourself in the ‘challenge’ mentality. Challenging your student to take the first step, challenging them to apply for something out of their comfort zone, challenging them to even glance at the position postings you send them via email. As a young adult, my father challenged me to stop making statements that ended like they were a question. In business, he saw this demonstrated by women that lacked confidence and he did not want that for me. It took many years and several reminders, but I believe this is a wonderful example of challenging your student for the better. Your student will appreciate you down the road, if not already.

In order to support your student, do not start out every conversation asking your son or daughter how the search is going or if there is an update. I am sure you will be the first call (right after they post their news on Facebook and Twitter)! Setting a time to talk about the search each full moon/week/day to meet both of your needs and interests might be a helpful compromise to keep your student organized and you informed.

Sometimes, when those closest to us are searching for an internship or job we forget about all of the other things they have going on; remember they have other interests, hobbies, and responsibilities too. Text them a picture of their dog from home. Send them a card saying how proud you are that they got a good grade on a difficult assignment. Ask to see pictures of an intramural game with friends. Whatever it was that you talked about before the internship/job search, be sure to keep that conversation going as well.

As you very well know, your son or daughter might not be interested in following in your career path. If your son or daughter’s housemate, sorority sister, chemistry lab partner, etc., is interested in the career path you work in, offer to talk with them about it. Offering your time, energy, and advice will not only help out others, your student will be grateful you have the chance to share your sage advice with someone else (especially if they are not interested).

Encourage your student to utilize Miami University Center for Career Exploration & Success. Resumes for undergraduate students are different than the resumes you are likely reviewing for the people you are hiring who have been working for some time. Send your student to the Career Center for a resume critique so they are on the right track. Encourage them to seek out a mentor and conduct informational interviews. Encourage them to talk with upper-class students, encourage them to talk to faculty, encourage them to talk to anyone and everyone! Support and assist them in their quest to find someone in the industry they can talk to who has taken their desired career path.

While job searching, I received the following note from a family member that stated, “When dreams take flight, follow them”. This simple statement let me know that whatever dreams I had, no matter if I failed, moved away from home for a few years, or was still working to ‘discover myself’, I would continue to be challenged to improve, was always supported, and most of all, was respected to make my own decisions toward my career aspirations.