Encourage your student to discover his or her own interests. Students are likely to be most successful in the academic subjects that interest them. This also applies to career and employability after graduation. Students should consider pursuing a particular course of study that is compatible with their abilities and interests. College gives students the opportunity to explore and match their interest areas with compatible fields and occupations.
Exploring interests outside of class, by participating in internships, part-time jobs, community service, and even freelance jobs or performance gigs can help them not only to develop skills for the job market but also to “try out” fields of interest. Even students, who may “know what they want” and are, pursuing academic study in the performing or visual arts, may need career- related resources and services that help them to support themselves as they pursue their dreams.
Planning one's future career should not be postponed until right before graduation; therefore, we strongly recommend that students first visit the Career Development Center in their freshman year. He or she can get to know the Career Counseling Staff, the career resources and the services offered. Making a career decision over the course of a few years rather than over a few months is undeniably easier.
Your student can begin by arranging an initial appointment with a Career Counselor. The counselor and student will work together to explore the student's career interests and skills, and describe how they might use the center’s services. Next, the counselor will help the student plan their own strategy for career planning. Many students begin with self-assessment to clarify their career-related interests, skills, and values. Vocational Interest Testing is also available to help with major and career decision-making. Still others begin with career exploration in our Career Resource Center, which houses a collection of print and on-line research materials covering many fields and occupations. By investigating the variety of professions that exist, a student's awareness of career options will broaden and so will his or her knowledge of the world of work.
Freshman Year: Self-Knowledge
Some first year students are ready for practical work experience, perhaps through a part-time position. The Purchase JobScore system, our customized web-based job listing service, can lead the student to hundreds of jobs and internships listed by employers exclusively for Purchase students, both on and off campus. Freshmen should also met with a career counselor to guide them to services and workshops that meet their planning needs. Offered throughout the year, these career workshops can help address their career and job search concerns. In the Exploring Majors and Careers workshop or the Career Planning and Decision Making Course, freshmen get an early jump on career planning. Other topics include: Trashproof Resume Writing, the Art of the Interview, and for the working artist, Marketing your Talent.
Sophomore Year: Exploration
Second year students can continue involvement withCDC programs tofurther connect to helpful resources. Career investigation continues through a part-time job, internship or volunteer service. Experiential opportunities can provide valuable learning experiences that help to increase a student’s self-awareness of work preferences and values. The Career Development Mentor Network matches students who have determined their career interests with a seasoned Purchase College alumnus and other professionals to gain insight, practical information, and exposure to a specific field or type of work. We also host a Career Week event where alumni and other professionals will visit campus, to present their career stories in a variety of fields.
Junior Year: Focusing
The junior year is often a time for students to further refine career goals. They recognize the importance of gaining practical work experience through an internship. The Purchase JobScore system lists thousands of internship and part-time job opportunities with local and national employers from a variety of fields. Internships are excellent preparation for full-time work as they help assist students in developing professionalism and the skills sought by employers. Each college junior has individual needs and a unique personality; therefore they may utilize the services at their own pace. They make career decisions differently than friends or classmates. Career counselors will personalize and tailor services to a student’s personal career planning needs.
Senior Year: Implementation
As senior year arrives, students should have participated many of the career preparation and job referral services as part of their job search strategy. A senior should have some internship or work experience, and has hopefully put considerable thought into what type of career he or she wishes to pursue. Opportunities abound for students to secure full time opportunities or artistic work in their particular field. Seniors have access to literally hundreds of jobs listed daily on the web-based Purchase JobScore system. Employers come to campus to conduct presentations, attend the annual Job and Internship Fair, and some employers contact the CDC staff to collect resumes for their available opportunities. Agencies and other creative organizations post freelance jobs or project work in the visual arts. Still others post paid performance gigs for graduates. The CDC also holds a Graduate School Expo, for those students planning to pursue futher education. Although every senior may not yet have a specific career objective, it is hoped that by this time, they have formulated a general career plan. This may be a decision to explore specific career options, or to begin to research graduate school programs.
Encouraging your student to become aware of his/her career planning while understanding that it is an individual process and not usually accomplished overnight can help. Your understanding of their unique talent; and their combination of interests, abilities, and values will help them make some important career decisions. With support from both their family and the Purchase College Career Development Center, they will be empowered to achieve real career satisfaction in the future.