Parent FAQs


What is the career development process?


We encourage you to visit our Career Planning Guide for Parents and Students under the Parent links section.


When should my student begin using Career Services?


We encourage students to begin utilizing our services as soon as they arrive on campus. We are not here to simply assist them in their job search, but instead want to work with them on their career development through a variety of services we provide. The sooner your student begins this process the more prepared he/she will be at graduation. We also offer free assistance to our alumni as long as it is needed.


What can I do to help my student in his/her career development?


As a parent, there are many things you can do to assist your student. The first step would be to truly listen to their ideas and concerns, without giving unsolicited advice. This is especially true when they may be considering careers you didn’t envision for them! It’s also important to encourage them to start early and keep encouraging them when they get frustrated or discouraged by the process of choosing a major. Please also know that it’s common for students to change their major, with many reports concluding that up to 70% of students change their major at least once during their college career. Also, be a resource for your student since many people you know may have information that could be valuable for your student in deciding on a career field. It is beneficial for him/her to speak with and shadow as many different people as possible in various career fields. Let him/her know that they don’t need to pick “the job” before they choose the major, but instead should choose a major that will offer many opportunities because it matches his/her interests and skills. Lastly, encourage your student to connect early with Career Services and faculty, and become involved in campus life. The skills that employers look for after graduation take time to develop.


Can a career test/assessment or career counselor tell my student what major/career he or she should pursue?


No, that is a decision that your student must make on his/her own. It takes a great deal of time, thought, and research by the student and should not be rushed. However, both a career counselor and an assessment can serve as a great resource in the decision making process. Indecision is normal and there is nothing wrong with that as long as your student is taking steps to find an answer. We encourage students to meet with us to discuss assessment results and how to move forward with the information.


Why should my student participate in activities, club, and volunteer service? Why should my student have a part-time position? I am afraid that my student will not have time for everything.


Many of the skills employers seek (see the question below on what employers value) can be gained from experiences outside of the classroom. Possessing those skills will make your student much more marketable to employers upon graduation, will teach them valuable life lessons, and will give them a better idea of what they enjoy.


Will my student be unsuccessful in the future because they are having so much trouble with their career planning?


Some students know early in their college career what they want to do, others think they know what they want to do but change their mind, and others do not decide for quite a while. Your student may take a while to determine their major, but it does not mean they won’t be successful after graduation.


Where can I find information about career events on campus?


The Career Services website has a “Calendar of Events” link under the Student area where you can find the events, dates, times, and locations of all Career Services events.


What assistance is available if my student cannot decide on a major?


Career Services offers three assessments that can help a student discover what their interests, skills, and values are - Do What You Are, Focus, and Strong Interest Inventory. The career assessments are available on the Career Services website under the “Student” link, except the Strong which is a paper based assessment available in the Career Services Office. Your student must contact our office for the online assessment passwords. Once the assessments are completed, the student should make an appointment with one of the Career Services professionals to discuss how the results apply to choosing a major and what to explore in order to move forward in his/her career development.


Why would a student who has decided on a major need to use Career Services until right before graduation?


We can help your student with a variety of other areas, such as creating resumes and cover letters for part-time positions and then mock interviewing for these positions. We offer a mentor program through our College Central Network system where alumni employers can provide information to students. We coordinate the academic internship program, and can assist your student with his/her search in regards to contacts and preparing him/her for the search. We also offer numerous events that are beneficial for students to participate in, and networking opportunities through our contacts.


My student needs a part-time job during college to off-set some costs. How can Career Services help?


Career Services maintains contact with local employers about position openings off campus. The vacancies are posted under “Job Opportunities” on the “Part-time Opportunities” link. On-campus positions are managed in the Office of Financial Aid.


Do you have resources for locating internships?


Yes, Career Services administers the academic internship program for junior and senior-level students and has a large database of employers in the Career Resource Center, located in the Career Services Office in Clark Hall. All students who are interested in the academic internship program should contact Career Services and talk to their academic advisor. For students interested in an internship experience without earning credit or who are in their earlier years of collegiate study, Career Services provides resources to help search and apply for internships, as well as prepare for interviews.


How important is it for my student to complete an internship before graduation or immediately following graduation?


Approximately 70% of recent college graduates who were hired in the last few years had completed an internship, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Employers want to see that related real world experience because it shows that the student has the ability to work and perform successfully in a professional environment. Combining an internship with other part-time jobs, activities, clubs, and a solid GPA can really help your student stand out.


How can Career Services help my student find a full-time position after graduation?


There are many ways that Career Services can help. Students can make an appointment with one of the Career Services professionals; refer to the Career Planning Guide for information on all application materials including resumes, cover letters, references pages, thank you letters, interviewing, professional dress, and more; schedule a mock interview with Career Services; browse and check-out resources from the Career Resource Center for a period of time; upload a resume on College Central Network (online job and resume database for McKendree students and alumni); attend job fairs and other job search events sponsored by Career Services. While we cannot guarantee a job for your student, McKendree has a high graduate success rate and we will work with your student to give them as many opportunities as possible. The internship program is highly recommended as well to make professional contacts. Students can also learn a great deal about career options from professors, family friends, parents, peers, the Internet, and a variety of other sources. It’s important that students utilize a variety of resources!


How important are grades/GPA?


In numerous surveys conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers consistently rank GPA as a factor when considering candidates for hire. This GPA can help indicate to an employer how well your student learns and performs. Please encourage your student to take their studies seriously!


What do employers value when they consider candidates?


Verbal and written communication skills, honesty/integrity, interpersonal skills, academic achievement, motivation/initiative, strong work ethic, teamwork skills, computer skills, analytical skills, flexibility/adaptability, detail-oriented, organizational skills, leadership skills, and self-confidence are the primary skills that are often listed by employers in surveys conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.


Can I post a job with Career Services?


We greatly appreciate the support of our parents. If you or your employer would like to recruit McKendree students and graduates, you may post openings on our College Central Network system that is a link under the “Parents as Resources” page. Please contact 618.537.6805 to post a part-time or summer position, or for further information.


Should my student go to graduate school?


This depends on your student and what career path he/she wishes to pursue in the future. Some fields, such as medicine or law, require an advanced degree to continue and other fields have much greater opportunity with an advanced degree. However, graduates do not always receive a better position and higher pay simply with a master’s degree and no relevant experience, so there is no right or wrong answer. Your student may also decide they want to work for a while and then go on to graduate school once they have decided what area they want to focus on, which is often found through gaining experience in various areas. If your student is interested in graduate school, they should start the search process early so they can make an informed decision. Career Services and faculty can assist them with resources in this area.


What assistance does Career Services provide for applying to graduate school?


Career Services assists students in locating graduate school information, provides hard copy test preparation materials for the GRE, LSAT, GMAT, and MCAT in our Career Resource Center, speaks individually with students about graduate school, and conducts mock interviews. We also provide information about applying to graduate schools and the various tests on our webpage under “Graduate School” in the “Student” area. We also work closely with Kaplan (a graduate school test preparation company) to provide information about numerous free online test preparation services, and we periodically host webinars and bring professional speakers to campus to discuss the art of applying to graduate school.


How can my student find jobs outside of St. Louis?


There are many search options for students now through the Internet. They can search national databases (www.indeed.com, www.flipdog.com, and www.monster.com to name a few), and many Chamber of Commerce sites allow individuals to view their company list for contact names. Information in the geographic area of interest can also be found by going to http://www.rileyguide.com/, which provides websites and online newspapers for state and local job listings.  McKendree leases College Central Network as a service to our students, graduates, and employers, and in addition to jobs our employers post they offer national job listings. It may also be helpful for the student to participate in an internship in the cities he/she is interested in the summer before he/she graduates.


Should my student take time off before working?


If your student wants to experience something they could not do while working full-time and it gives him/her experience it may benefit his/her to delay the job search. Examples of this are traveling abroad, joining the Peace Corps, volunteering for a political project, or participating in a service project. However, if he/she wants to delay their job search because he/she wants to simply relax at home or because they do not know what to do next, please encourage your student to contact Career Services so we may assist them.


Should my student study abroad?


Study abroad experiences can be a positive way to enhance many skills that are valuable in the work place – communication skills, independence, language skills, cross-cultural communication and understanding, resourcefulness. While study abroad is a wonderful personal growth and skill development opportunity, it is important for the student to consider other reasons for going abroad. Programs related to their major or minor field of study and career goals are the best choice. Living with people of the host culture or students of different nationalities is also most beneficial. There are many options for study abroad programs that are tailored to fit the various needs and goals of each student. Successful study abroad requires financial and academic planning, as well as the desire to go and motivation to learn and understand at a cultural and global level.