How can parents participate in their students’ career explorations?
It’s important that students know all about what their parents do in their jobs—it helps them develop a sense of career maturity. When parents talk with their students about potential careers, majors, and interests, they can help lay out a road map. Often students think of careers in terms of prestige or money, but often those decisions turn out to be wrong because the students aren’t happy. It’s important for parents to give well-intentioned input, to help students weigh pros and cons.
Parents can also help students connect to the Career Center by making sure students know the benefits of coming here during their first year at Iowa, at least to look around and meet with a career adviser. By sophomore year, students should develop their résumés and focus on landing internships or career-relevant jobs. Internships serve as a laboratory of learning, and 25 to 35 percent of students end up working for their internship employers. During sophomore and junior years, it’s a good idea to start attending career fairs and networking with the companies that are recruiting. Junior year, students should start researching companies that interest them. If students follow this type of career development plan, they’ll have productive job searches when they’re ready to graduate.
Do companies recruit students from all majors?
Each year, more than 200 companies come to campus, and it’s true that many of them only want to talk to students in certain majors, such as accounting, management information systems, or computer science. But many employers don’t care what your major is. Liberal arts students generally have a wide variety of interests, and that benefits them at the end of the race. A liberal arts education, which all Iowa students receive, helps students meet their goals and find satisfying careers because they are exposed to such a variety of opportunities.
What kind of reputation does the The University of Iowa have with employers?
The University and its students have an outstanding reputation with employers. Iowa is known to produce well-educated students who can thrive in diverse workplaces. When we talk to businesses that employ a lot of Iowa alumni, they talk about how much they love The University of Iowa. We’re lucky—it’s an easy sell and it’s fun helping our students connect with great employers.
In this issue of Parent Times, we’re highlighting a variety of extracurricular activities in which Iowa students participate. Do these types of activities make students better job candidates?
Anything you can put on your résumé that shows leadership activities in controlled environments—whether it’s in residence halls, in the Greek community, or in part-time jobs—is going to be a plus. The only time I would discourage extracurricular activities is when there would be a tradeoff with academics. Some majors are so challenging that students find they have to drop activities they enjoyed in their earlier years of college—most students recognize that and reprioritize their time commitments well.
How are Iowa graduates faring in the job market?
Historically, over 90 percent of students who graduate from Iowa are working or in graduate school within a year. I believe employment prospects are good for graduating students—we’re having a banner year in the Career Center so far. Everything we do in the Career Center is about building relationships with employers on students’ behalf. We send representatives to all four corners of Iowa and around the Midwest, especially Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. We also get out to New York and California. We encourage employers to do three things: come to campus to interview students, tell us about job openings, and offer internships.