Helping students find their focus

February 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Posted in Advising interns, career center, Finding internships, Preparing interns | 2 Comments
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Jennie Prince

As a Career Professional, I’m sure you run into a few students who are not sure what they want to do when they graduate.  Just a few, right?

For me, this can be time consuming, yet most exciting and rewarding work – it is our opportunity to help bring focus out of chaos.  The word “career” means path.   Our job is to help students with a process of self discovery that will clarify their unique path – and offer long-term success in a rewarding career.  But we know this doesn’t come without significant investment.  Help clear the debris by probing into the following areas:

Vision – We are far more apt to translate our wants into an action plan, when we clearly articulate them.  Encourage students to consider what the perfect job looks like and what they know they DON’T want.  Writing a vision statement is the first step in turning dreams into a clear plan.

Values, Temperament, Personality, and Interests – Assessments can help you and your students truly understand these individual areas that power our “satisfaction meter”.  Try guiding students to a free resource on internships.com called the Internship Predictor (LINK).  The Internship Predictor integrates a cross section of items for assessing preferences in personality traits, interests and values.

Skills and Talents - Life experiences, coursework, extracurricular activities and work/volunteer experiences all combine for a unique package.  Students will benefit from identifying, evaluating and learning how these skills translate into the work place.  Additionally, they will need to know how to translate this into a unique package to market themselves.

Culture, Industry and Location – These preferences also require consideration and become significant criteria when targeting companies.   While culture isn’t as easy to research as industry and location, make sure to encourage networking with working professionals/professors/career services and use the links below for more great resources

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2009/index.html

http://www.inc.com/inc5000/2010/top100.html

http://www.bizjournals.com/

Job Boards – I use job boards like indeed.com and monster.com to help students find real jobs, with real requirements, and real descriptions.  Usually we aren’t looking for employment – we are looking for descriptions that pique interest.  If we can’t find a job that excites them, we may need to go back and reassess.

Internships – Internships have many great advantages and they help bring additional clarity to career decision making.  Encourage students to try more than one internship – they may be surprised by how much they learn about what they REALLY like in a job.

This post was written by Jennie Price, native of Ohio and huge Buckeye fan, and lover of water sports and fun.  Find out more about Jennie and the rest of our bloggers on our new About Us page.

2 Comments »

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  1. Looking for some internships where HS grads can work a job,learn the job and it will provide assistance with college cost in that career. Please email any possibilites in the NC area. Thanks

  2. Jennifer,
    It sounds like you are interested in co-op programs that are generally offered through a partnership between schools and companies. Co-ops tend to be a long-term arrangement (longer than internships) and the company pays a wage to the student and may also offer financial assistance for school and housing (it varies depending on the company/school). You can find co-ops on job posting sites, company website, through the schools or by contacting target companies directly.
    Hope this helps!


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