Peeriodical: Parents Can Help!

Peeriodical: Parents Can Help!

By: Gabriela Wieczorek
  4884 reads

So, your child got accepted into the university.

Gone are the days of Meet-the-Teacher Nights, Parent-Teacher Conferences, and PAC Meetings. You probably feel a little bit lost. Or maybe relieved…?  But you probably still worry: “will they succeed?” “will they have enough self-discipline to study?” “will they find a successful career after graduation?” And finally: “Is there really nothing I can do?”

Well, there is something you can do in preparing your student for a successful career. After all, this is the reason they went to university, right? And you think that getting a degree will make that career possible, right?  Not quite.  Our world has changed so much since the days we went to school, from the way we study to the way we search for careers. Think about the changes in the last 20 years in technology, politics and economy. Did you know that today’s top 10 careers didn’t even exist 20 years ago?

The advice you were given as a young person is probably the same advice you are giving your kids today: “Find a career that interests you, focus on your goal, finish your degree and find a job.” I would like to ask you a question:

How many of you, parents, are doing the job that you thought you would be doing when you were a young student?

How many of you have changed careers?

How many of you will say that a chance event had a significant influence on your career?

So, if nothing is constant anymore, what can we do to help our kids find a successful career?

Here are few tips:

  • Teach your kids to be open minded whether they have a career goal or not. It’s okay to not know what you want to do when you graduate, but it’s not okay to do nothing about it, so…
  • Encourage them to meet people and to be exposed to different options. As parents we have our networks of friends, co-workers, neighbours, professionals, etc. and we can open them up to our kids. Maybe they can job shadow someone. Maybe they can volunteer at an organization that your friend works for. Or maybe they can have a chat (formally known as “informational interview“) with someone you know about their job. Having experience from volunteering, working or job shadowing is extremely important. Not only does it look good on their resume but it allows students to reflect and discover what they are good at, what they like and don’t like, or whether there is a certain area that they would like to explore. It allows them to find out about what tasks appeal to them, what their skills and strengths are, and sometimes helps them decide what they don’t want to do after all. It also helps them build their own network, which is invaluable when looking for work.
  • Consider giving your student a nice portfolio album and help him or her organize it. Maybe when your student was still a child you were collecting their birthday cards, their crafts, and their poetry contest certificates.  Don’t stop now. Write down any experiences your student had that might prove valuable when they look for work. Keep their certificates, published articles, essays and help them build their portfolio. It will prove to be invaluable when they start looking for work.
  • And finally, encourage your student to visit Career Services at SFU. We offer workshops, as well as 1-on-1 career advising appointments for all registered SFU students and recent graduates, free of charge, at all three campuses.

Gabriela Wieczorek
Practicum Student (Career Development Practitioner Certificate, SFU)

Posted on July 27, 2010