How to Support Your Williams Student Throughout Their Career Preparation:
- Encourage your student to visit the Career Center “early and often”.
Williams offers comprehensive career development support for all students. Expert, trained Career Advisors are available to help First Years every step of the way from career exploration, internships and major selection to their ultimate job and graduate school applications. There’s exciting news: each member of the Class of 2020 has been invited to an individual appointment at the Career Center during September. Students will receive important information about the 4-year preparation process, including: interest assessments, custom resumes and cover letters, practice interviews, the 28,000 member alumni network, and funding for unpaid summer internships. What’s more, students have direct access to over 2,500 Williams-sourced premium internships and post-graduate jobs. You should encourage your student to schedule their First-Year appointment right away to take advantage of these extraordinary opportunities and to develop a personal relationship with the Career Center early and often.
- Understand the importance of internships.
In today’s job market gaining relevant co-curricular experience is increasingly important. Internships provide students the opportunity to explore different interest areas, augment their academic preparation, and distinguish themselves. Internships also serve to create critical contacts and build networks that are essential when seeking employment upon graduation. Williams offers an Alumni Sponsored Internship Program (ASIP) which funds almost 150 unpaid summer internships. In addition, Winter Study internships (January) are available for credit and offer the opportunity to gain relevant experience across a variety of fields. Encourage your student to work with their Career Advisor to establish an individual internship action plan.
- Be supportive, encouraging, and patient as your student explores options.
In his book Identity: Youth and Crisis, Erik Erikson, a leading psychologist of the 20th century, wrote, “In general it is the inability to settle on an occupational identity which most disturbs young people.” With this in mind, generally it is a good idea to give students considerable leeway when discussing career options. Most students have had limited exposure to different career paths outside of those that their immediate family members and friends have pursued. In college, as students are deciding on their academic majors, they naturally ask the question, “What can I do with a major in _______?” That said, in our annual senior survey, students consistently tell us that parents and family provide them with valuable information to help them achieve their post-graduation plans. So, while your student may not consult you regularly on the career question, they ultimately rely heavily on you once the time comes to make the transition from college to career. Each student is different and will require a different level of support. If you would like more assistance with this challenge, we suggest two books that provide proven advice:
The Path to Purpose by William Damon, Free Press, copyright 2008
Ready or Not, Here Life Comes by Mel Levine, Simon & Schuster, copyright 2005
- Keep your eyes open for opportunities.
We rely on parents and alumni like you to alert us to unique internship and job opportunities that are a good fit for Williams students. Also, consider creating internship or job opportunities at your organization that Williams students might apply for. Please forward internship or entry level job listings to our office by emailing [email protected].
- In summing up:
College is a tremendous time of personal growth and development. By encouraging your student to visit the Career Center early and often, develop an internship action plan, and think intentionally about how their co-curricular experiences can support their professional decisions, your student can graduate from Williams having explored, defined, and achieved their postgraduate goals.