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Career Services - Parents

Welcome SU Parents to Summer 2014 Orientation!

  • Test your career knowledge-Click here for quiz (14-15 Great/12-13-OK/9-11-Good/7-8-Needs help/6 and below-Not going to talk about it!)
  • Click here for parent power point

Services We Provide:

Parent Mentor Network-I need your help!

What We Did This Past Year

The highlights of the 2011-2012 academic year are listed below. The number of students we serve, services we offer and partnerships we forge continue to increase every year. The overall numbers tell some of the story:

First Destination Survey-May 2014

In response to: What best describes your post-graduation status as of right now?

  • Click here to view this year's graduation data
  • Click here to view some of the student dangers for your son/daughter

Power Point Resources

  • Click here for motivating students-pp

Youth In The Office: Are Your Parents Meddling In Your Career?
-True Tales Of A 26-Year-Old Receptionist Jenna Goudreau Forbes Staff- Youth In The Office: How I Found Career-Changing Mentors

Ryan Webb, an executive recruiter at Access Group in Salt Lake City, Utah, specializing in accounting and financial services hiring, thought it was a strange anomaly when, four months ago, a college senior in his early 20s came in for a preliminary interview with his mother.

“The mother was quite overbearing,” Webb recalls. “She was insistent and demanding to sit in on the interview. The son seemed embarrassed. I had to ask her to wait outside.”

Then Webb started receiving calls from parents. One father phoned to ask about the status of his child’s resume, admitted that he was the one who submitted it, and then asked for sample interview questions. Another time, he was conducting a phone screening, and the interviewee’s mother jumped on the line and started interjecting and answering questions for her son. By the time January rolled around and a candidate showed up with her mother, father, aunt and cousin in tow, he knew it went beyond a passing oddity.

Today’s young people face more than a tough economy and stagnating wages. Many will also contend with overprotective helicopter parents, who continue hovering through their college years and into their first jobs. And if a parent’s good intentions cross the line, they often inadvertently ruin their child’s career prospects.

A Michigan State University survey of 725 employers in 2007 discovered that nearly one third (31%) had seen a parent submit a resume on their child’s behalf (sometimes without their knowledge) and over a quarter (26%) had been contacted by a parent promoting their child’s candidacy.

Recruiters and career counselors say this phenomenon has intensified over the last few years. In a recent survey of over 1,300 senior managers by staffing firm OfficeTeam, executives recounted the most unusual or surprising behavior they’d heard of or witnessed from the parent of a job seeker. They told of parents’ requests to attend the interview, stopping hiring managers at the grocery store to plead their child’s case, asking a politician to pressure the interviewer, following up after the interview to ask how the child did, calling to ask about the salary and work schedule, and inquiring as to why the child was not hired.

“More and more I’m seeing parents meddling in their children’s college education or career,” says Tim Elmore, founder of Growing Leaders, an Atlanta-based non-profit that mentors and develops leadership skills in young people. “They are disabling kids.”

Elmore believes over the last 30 years parents have increasingly prioritized their children’s safety and self-esteem, often shielding them from fear and failure. Those born after 1990, he says, are especially at risk of what he deems “artificial maturity”—being overexposed to information and underexposed to real-life experience. Before cell phones, a college student might have called home once a week. Now they talk to parents multiple times a day, and increasingly move back home after graduation. “The parents think: I cook for you and do your laundry; I’ll go to the job interview too.”

Elmore recently spoke with one employer who said he needed a therapist because the new recruits’ parents were driving him crazy. He’d dealt with one Atlanta mother who thought she was her 22-year-old son’s agent. When the child first secured the job, she tried to get involved with salary and benefit negotiations. Six months into the job, she showed up unannounced to ask why he hadn’t received a raise. “Employers are just baffled,” Elmore says, “and the kid ends up looking like a bonehead.”

Career coach Rebecca Weingarten speculates that over-involved parents may want their children to achieve something they weren’t able to or could be wrought with fear for their child’s job prospects in a down economy. Especially if they have invested years of their time and tens of thousands on their education, they may push to achieve what they believe is an acceptable return on that investment. However, it negatively impacts the child in 99.9% of the cases, she says.

“It does hurt the candidate’s chances of getting a job,” says Webb, the recruiter. “I can’t present someone to a client if I think the parent’s going to come.”

He notes that it puts the young person in a bad situation because they may feel as if they have very little leverage. If a parent paid for their education or allows them to live at home, they might consider it disrespectful to ask them to back off. At the same time, deep down they might be relieved when a parent steps in because it postpones the scary responsibilities of adulthood. But someone needs to draw the line.

Elmore agrees that once a child goes to college or seeks full-time employment, the parent needs to make the transition from supervisor to consultant. If the parent is not establishing appropriate boundaries, then the child must. “Make decisions with long-term outcomes in mind,” he advises. “Ask yourself: If I let Mom control my job search, am I prolonging my childhood? Will it hurt my chances of securing the job I want?” Because parents, like their children, only have as much power as they’re given.


Parents Guide to Career Development
by Tom Denham

I love parents, but they make terrible career counselors. They simply can not provide objective advice because of the emotional attachment to their children. However, parents can help by listening and by being nonjudgmental. Here are 10 other ways.

1. Encourage your child to visit the career center (and you go too!) – Next time you visit campus, drop into the Career Center and meet with a professional. When your son or daughter is feeling anxious about his/her future, offer a business card and say, “Please call this person. They can help you.” Many students use their first semester to “settle into” college life, and so perhaps the second term is the optimal time to gently prompt them to go. Whether your son or daughter uses the services or not, you are paying for them!

Ask him/her (in an off-handed way), “Have you visited the Career Center?” If you hear, “You only go there when you are a senior!” then reassure them that career services are not just for seniors. The sooner he/she becomes familiar with the staff and resources the better prepared he/she will be. Career Centers offer a full range of services including: mock interviews, alumni career networks, workshops, recruiting programs, advising, and career books/handouts on job searching and graduate school.

2. Advise your student to write a resume - Writing a resume can be a “reality test” and can help a student identify weak areas that require improvement. Suggest to him/her to get sample resumes from the Internet or the Career Center Library. Feel free to review drafts for grammar, spelling, and content, but recommend that the final version be critiqued by a Career Center professional.

3. Challenge your student to become “Occupationally Literate” – Ask: “Do you have any ideas about what you might want to do when you graduate?” If he/she seems unsure, you can talk about what you see are his/her values, interests, personality traits and skills. You can also recommend: 1) Taking a self-assessment inventory such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey, 2) Talking to faculty members, and 3) Researching a variety of interesting career fields and employers. A career decision should be a process and not a one-time, last-minute event. Discourage putting this decision off until the senior year.

4. Allow your student to make the decision – Occasionally, you can ask about his/her career plans, but too much prodding can backfire. It is understandable to want them to pick a major that is “practical.” However, it should be balanced with his/her own interests and passions. Only sometimes does picking a major means picking the career for life. It’s common for students to change majors after further study, internships, and career counseling, so don’t freak out when they come up with an outrageous or impractical idea. Chances are plans will evolve. Feel free to make suggestions about majors and career fields, but let him/her be the ultimate judge of what’s best. Career development can be stressful. Perhaps this is the first really big decision that your son or daughter has had to make. Be patient, sympathetic and understanding, even if you don’t agree with your child’s decisions.

5. Emphasize the importance of internships – The Career Center will not “place” your child in a job at graduation. Colleges grant degrees, but not job guarantees, so having relevant experience in this competitive job market is critical. Your son or daughter can sample career options through summer employment, volunteer work and most importantly internships. Why internships? Employers want not only a college degree. They want experience and internships are the answer. Several internships can help develop key communication, problem-solving, and administrative skills. Many companies hire from within their own internship programs. A recommendation letter from an internship can sometimes tip the scale of an interview. Never forget the importance of internships!!!

6. Encourage extracurricular involvement - Part of experiencing college life is to be involved and active outside the classroom. Interpersonal and leadership skills, qualities valued by future employers, are often developed through extracurricular activities.

7. Persuade your student to stay up-to-date with current events – Employers will expect students to know what is happening around them. Make sure they are reading about current events. When they are home on break, discuss national and world issues with them.

8. Expose your student to the world of work – Most students have a stereotypical view of the workplace. Take your child to your workplace and explain what you do for a living. Show him/her how to network. Help him/her to identify potential employers.

9. Teach the value of networking- Introduce him/her to people who have the careers/jobs that interest them the most. Have him/her contact people in your networks for information on summer jobs. Encourage your child to “shadow” someone in the workplace to increase awareness of interesting career fields.

10. Help the career center - Call the Career Center when you have a summer, part-time or full-time job opening. The staff will help you find a good fit. If your company hires interns, have the internships listed in the Career Center. Join the Career Center advisory network and use your “real world” experience to help students. Offer to participate in a career panel or workshop.

Tom’s Tip: “My father didn’t tell me how to live, he lived, and let me watch him do it.” – Clarence Budinton Kelland

Keep Climbing!




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