For many students (and parents), preparing for a career largely motivates the decision to attend college. The Office of Career Services encourages you to understand the four-year career plan and to work with your son or daughter to ensure that he or she is beginning the career planning process early.
Become a Stonehill Career Mentor
Parents are invited to share career guidance and advice with students and Stonehill alumni through the Stonehill Career Mentor Database. By sharing your experiences and expertise you can greatly help young people to enter the world of work.
The Career Development Plan
To help demystify the career planning process, the Office of Career Services at Stonehill offers a career plan for your son or daughter to follow to prepare for post-graduation.
Below are the most common misconceptions we hear in the Career Services office about career planning:
Myth #1: Your major is your career.
The biggest fallacy that we hear is that what you major in determines what your career will be. In fact, people often end up with careers that are not directly connected to their course of study.
We urge students to select a major that interests them and one in which they thrive, rather than a major that they think will get them a job. Often, a student’s academic and co-curricular success, rather than a specific major, will impress employers. There are certainly exceptions. If you want to be an Accountant, you should major in accounting!
Myth #2: You should know what you are going to do when you arrive at college.
Even before students go to college, they encounter many pressures to answer this question: “So what are you going to do after you graduate?” For most students, it’s o.k. to remain undecided when arriving at Stonehill. Students often don’t know where their talents and interests lie and they can explore different options during the first two years.
Myth #3: Starting salary determines lifetime earning potential.
Many parents want their son or daughter not only to have a job, but also to have a job with a high starting salary.
It is, of course, reasonable for a parent to expect their son or daughter to be self-supporting, but it probably isn't wise for a parent to define what that support will be.
Many of our students are initially drawn to careers in the service sector that don’t pay as highly as their parents' jobs do. Also, there are many fields – such as advertising, media, or public relations—in which young people are expected to work at a lower starting salary and to “pay one's dues” for a few years before realizing a higher salary.
Myth #4: Liberal arts majors don't have marketable skills.
Sometimes friends, family and even other students pressure liberal arts students because they don't understand the relationship between liberal arts and careers.
The fact that a student is not preparing for a specific job does not mean that the student isn't prepared or qualified for a good job. Our liberal arts graduates excel in demonstrating the transferable skills that employers are looking for in an employee. They do very well in the job market. Career Services can help students make connections between their skills and talents and potential career options.
First, remember that the vast majority of our students find excellent jobs after they leave Stonehill and have very satisfying careers.
- In any given year, about half of our students have either a job, admission to a graduate school, or placement with a post-graduate service program by the time they graduate from Stonehill.
- By the following year, at least 96% of our students will have found a placement.
In a few short years your son or daughter is going to acquire credentials that will appeal to an employer, graduate school or service program Stonehill students possess a great reputation with employers. As one employer told us:
“Stonehill students show incredible maturity. They take the job search process seriously and make good choices. We retain a huge percentage of Stonehill alumni and that is why we keep coming back to recruit.”
So, What are Employers Looking For?
Employers typically are looking for the following when they interview a college senior or recent graduate:
A variety of experiences
Internships, international study, campus activities, service experiences, foreign languages, and summer jobs are an extremely important part of a student’s portfolio. These opportunities can demonstrate important qualities of leadership, as well as practical experience.
So much of today's workplace involves all types of communication: working on teams, giving presentations, writing, and speaking in public and on the phone. Good communication skills are always in demand.
Technical skills are important. Some employers are concerned that a student can use standard applications (such as PowerPoint or spreadsheets), while others may require more specific abilities.
Choices that make sense
Employers typically are more interested in the “why” rather than the “what.”
An employer in a technical field may be very interested in hearing about an art history course that grew out of an interest developed during a student’s semester overseas. A technical course taken merely to fulfill a requirement may impress the same employer much less.
When Should a Parent Worry?
When there is no momentum
It is normal for students to be unsure about career opportunities. Parents should not pressure students into premature decisions. It is a concern, however, if the student does not seem to be thinking about careers at all. There should be some kind of forward motion, leading from exploration and testing in the first three years to concrete planning as a senior.
When choices don’t seem to make sense
Students make a lot of choices in their college years. It is important for parents to respect those choices and to support their son or daughter. As we have said, the student will be working, so it is critical for the student to choose a career path that he or she will find fulfilling. However, students sometimes appear to be making choices for no apparent reason or for superficial reasons. This is most obvious in the selection of courses.
Students may take courses that surprise the parent, but that interest the student. What is disturbing is when the student seems to choose courses for no apparent reason or because the course is scheduled at a convenient time or the teacher is rumored to be an easy grader.
Likewise, summer employment can vary from internships to babysitting; often the reasons why they are choosing the employment can be equally important as what the student is doing. Employers are looking for choices that make sense for the student and the future career path.