For most parents, the methods to assist your student in their career development prior to junior year have been mostly conversation and reflection oriented. Parents of juniors can best help their student by taking action.
The principal method to assist your student is to tap into your personal and network on your child’s behalf. Work with your child to set up informational interviews with your contacts within the career fields they are interested. These may include job functions, companies, industries or just well-connected people. These contacts do not have to be a hiring manager or have an formal internship program or opening; they just need to be someone who might be helpful in providing information for your student and leading them to other contacts who could also help. 70% of positions are filled through networking so it is important to expand your student’s network by tapping into your own.
During the fall semester, make sure your student is well-prepared to professionally articulate his knowledge, skills, experiences and aspirations with the your contacts. Your student should have a set of clear goals and questions for each meeting. He can prepare for these meetings by getting feedback from you as well as from one of the OPCD career counselors. Visit our Informational Interviewing page to learn more about proper preparation as well as methods to tap into the Wake Forest alumni and parent network.
You may need to provide financial support to your student during their summer internship as many attractive internships are unpaid. In addition, your student may have to incur expenses in such as housing, transportation, and other living expenses. Even if a position pays a stipend, it may not be enough to cover all of the expenses. If at all possible, don’t let these expenses prevent your student from participating in a crucial personal and professional development opportunity. The internship is an foundation-building investment – in the same way that you would consider a college education or an semester abroad experience as investments. While it may seem difficult to afford right now, it will pay for itself many times over – as soon as next year during the senior year job search and also down the road.