We encourage all undergraduate students to utilize the Pomerantz Career Center to develop a career plan that will allow them to meet their goals for the future.  By having a plan in place, students will increase their chances of achieving their academic and occupational goals while decreasing the amount of uncertainty and discomfort they might feel as they move forward. 

Families can assist with this process by encouraging students to meet certain career steps.  These are conversations that should ideally happen every semester starting your student’s first year.  Our recommended steps are related to various stages of career development and provide ideas on what your student should be completing and how you can help.

What Your Student Should Do How You Can Help
Meet with a Career Coach to help clarify interests, abilities, and values. Encourage your student to schedule an appointment with a Career Coach through Handshake.  We advise by major so your student can meet with an advisor who is knowledgeable about their field of study and can discuss related occupations.  
Identify occupational interests and explore career possibilities. If your student is an open major or unsure of a declared major choice, suggest taking a career interest assessment or our 2 s.h. Career Exploration course to define interests.  Or encourage conversation with a Career Coach to provide a step-by-step approach to the career exploration process for students struggling to define their academic and occupational goals.
Become active on campus and in the community by joining student organizations or volunteering as a way to explore career interests. Suggest involvement with one of Iowa’s 500+ student organizations or involvement with volunteer opportunities in the Iowa City area.  Campus and community involvement is critical for students to gain new skills and build their resume.  Plus, employers like to see involvement outside of the classroom!
Learn how job shadows and informational interviews can provide additional insight into careers and industries. Encourage your student to connect with professionals in occupations of interest for job shadows and informational interviews (basically a Q & A in which your student can gain valuable insight and advice).  Think about people you know—family members, colleagues, neighbors, etc.—that you can refer your student to.  Don’t know anyone who works in a field your student is interested in?  Suggest meeting with a career coach; we can help brainstorm ideas!


What Your Student Should Do How You Can Help
Develop tentative career goals (and a list of alternative options) and make a strategic plan to achieve those goals. Ask your student about their long and short-term goals. Talk about parallel planning and ways to establish a "Plan B." Encourage your student to meet with the Career Center for help with defining and establishing career goals.
If you need help, visit with your Academic Advisor or Career Coach.

If your career goal includes continuing your education, start to evaluate graduate/professional programs.
Have a conversation with your student about their interest in furthering their education in graduate or professional school.

Gain transferrable skills by participating in volunteer opportunities or by taking academic courses ( i.e. computer classes).

Encourage your student to give back to the local community through volunteer opportunities. The Pomerantz Career Center can help students find such opportunities.

Check in with your student to see how their mid-semester visits with their Academic Advisors are going.
Consider taking Career Leadership Academy courses to develop your leadership skills.

Talk to your student about acquiring professional development skills through our Career Leadership Academy. This four-phase academic curriculum provides an opportunity for students to develop and strengthen their leadership, communication, interpersonal, and team work skills - the skills all employers look for regardless of industry!
Create your first resume or update your resume so that you have a current resume available.
Ask your student if they have created a resume. Suggest that they visit the Career Center for assistance with beginning their resume or to have a current resume reviewed. Take this time to remind your student of all of our services.
Attend a Job & Internship Fair to find out more about prospective careers. Encourage your student to attend a Job & Internship Fair (we have one large fair every semester) to learn about careers of interest and to see what a career fair is like.
Access your Handshake to update your profile, upload your resume, and begin researching employers and available positions. Encourage your student to begin using their Handshake account. Each registered UI student has an account that they can log into to update their profile, upload a resume, sign-up for mock interviews, register their internships, apply for job and internships and sign-up for on-campus interviews. Your student would need to log into their Handshake account to see details and apply. 


What Your Student Should Do How You Can Help
Participate in internships, part-time work, job shadowing or volunteering. Suggest your student gain additional career knowledge and experience through internships, part-time work, job shadowing or volunteering. Students often gain insight and related skills from participating in activities similar to what they may do in a career. This is also a good way for your student to identify areas they no longer have an interest in.
Practice your interview skills.

Encourage your student to gain interview practice and gain confidence in their interview skills. Our mock interview program and Big Interview are two free services that allow students to gain feedback from actual employers or by observing their interview behaviors.
Get feedback on your resume.

Suggest to your student that they begin developing or updating their resume. The Career Center offers resume reviews with Career Coach (by appointment) and Peer Advisors (available during walk-in hours during the school year). This is a great way for your student to receive feedback on their resume and learn what employers expect to see.
Create a sample cover letter and have it reviewed by Career Center staff. Encourage your student to write a cover letter. Cover letters are a great way for your student to further explain the information on their resume and to make themselves stand out to an employer.
Attend Career Fairs to find and apply for internships.
Remind your student to attend both the Fall and Spring Job & Internship Fairs. More than 130 employers from various industries attend our fairs and this is a great opportunity to learn more about different careers, as well as network for job and internship opportunities.
Enroll in the Career Center's courses. Suggest your student learn how to conduct a job search or develop leadership skills by enrolling in the Career Center's Social Media for the Job Search course or the Global Leadership Initiative course -just two of the 20+ courses offered. These courses will help your student know what steps to take and how to market their skills more effectively.
Create a LinkedIn Profile.

Talk to your student about the benefits of creating a professional network. Many jobs are obtained by connections a person has with another professional. LinkedIn is a great way to build connections with alumni, as well as employers. Be sure to teach your student how to safely use social media and connect online with individuals they may not know. The Career Center has resources on the student portal page of our website that your student can refer to.

What Your Student Should Do How You Can Help
Conduct an online search for jobs. Know how to research employers. Talk to your student about job searching. Share with them your personal experiences. Connect them to family and friends that in the same industry/field that they are interested in. Encourage your student to come in and talk to a Career Coach for help with their Job Search plan.

Tailor your resume to make it job specific, use the job description as a guide. Check in with your student to see how updating their resume is going. A resume is always a work in progress and your student will want to make sure they are highlighting their specific strengths and skills.
Use your HireaHawk.com account to research employers, apply for positions and sign-up for on-campus interviews. Encourage your student to actively use their HireaHawk.com account to search and apply for opportunities. Encourage them to update and upload their current resume.
Identify people to write references for you and give them a copy of your current resume. Inform them of any jobs you apply to - they might request a copy of the job description. Ask your student if they have identified who will write their references yet. If not, encourage them to consider those that know them well and can speak to their positive qualities and attributes. Work/internship supervisors, professors, academic advisors, and volunteer coordinators all make fantastic references!
Polish your interview skills.

Encourage your student to polish up on their interview skills and take advantage of the Career Center's services including mock interviews and Big Interview.
Take advantage of all that Job & Internship Fair season has to offer - including: attending programs/presentations to help you prepare for the fair, attending a fair, networking with employers, signing up for on-campus interviews and applying for jobs and internships on HireaHawk.com.

Become familiar with all of the services and programs offered during the Job & Internship Fair season:
- Prepare for the Fair sessions
- Networking information
- Job & Internship Fair dates
- Applying for on-campus interviews and job postings

Check in with your student and encourage them to participate in and attend these events so that they aren't waiting until graduation to begin their job search and connect with employers!

1 Volunteer for Mock Interviews

Mock Interviews help students practice their interviewing skills.

If you would like to conduct mock interviews on behalf of the organization that you work for, please contact Sara Burden(link sends e-mail), Senior Associate Director, Employer Engagement at 319-335-1023.

2 Share your career expertise

Your participation as a career panelist and/or sponsoring events or providing scholarships through your organization is critical.

For these options, contact Employer Relations Team at 319-335-1023

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Join Handshake


The University of Iowa's #1 recruitment tool for employers.

3 Register for Career Fairs

Career Fairs allow you to promote your organization to students to consider for future employers

Learn more by contacting Jo Halsch, Associate Director, Events at 319-335-1023

4 Post jobs & internship opportunities

Join our free career portal and promote jobs and internship opportunities at your organizations to thousands of Hawkeyes

For questions, please contact Sherry Rhinehart, Senior Specialist, Employer Outreach & Experiential Education at 319-335-1023.

Suggested Reading Material

What Color is Your Parachute?
A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers 
- by Richard N. Bolles
You Majored in What?  
Mapping Your Path From Chaos to Career
- by Katherine Brooks
Getting From College to Career:
90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World 
- by Lindsey Pollak