Great Jobs are Available
By C. Kevin Smith
Spring is here, and your son or daughter is graduating soon.
Congratulations! Now the question becomes – is your student ready for
the transition ahead? Has he set forth a vision that logically fits his
strengths and interests? Does she have the right frame of mind to
successfully navigate today’s competitive landscape?
Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to coach and train
hundreds of junior-and senior-level students at several universities,
including TCU. Based on these conversations, I’ve made these quick
- Life on campus is good!
- There are some talented young men and women who expect to succeed.
- Conversely, few students could articulate a compelling vision for
themselves professionally; in fact, only about 20 percent could give
specifics of a desired job and how their strengths enabled them to
potentially excel in the position.
- Many weren’t sure where to start the process of securing employment,
and there were far too many proclamations of the marketplace having no
As parents, our challenge is to turn these observations into discussion
points for growth and opportunity. Often the greater challenge is to
make our own transition – from parent to guide, from a place of telling
our sons or daughters what to do to instead facilitating a conversation.
Allow me to make three suggestions I believe will aid in starting a
discussion with your student:
1. Yes, there are jobs available, and some incredible ones at that!
Organizations, both big and small, are ramping up efforts to mitigate
the upcoming talent shortage that will be created by baby boomers
exiting the workforce. As a result, students who have differentiated
themselves (by on- and off-campus efforts) are in demand.
A key starting point for your student is building confidence. The belief
that there are no jobs can be a lack of workplace understanding, or,
quite simply, fear. Being afraid of the unknown is normal, but fear too
easily leads to doubt and inactivity.
Our state of mind before making a decision, especially a life decision,
is critical. Determine ways you can objectively encourage your student,
which does not include a speech on how wonderful they are and how lucky
any employer would be to have them. Platitudes will not corral fear.
Research and discuss industry hiring trends or desired skills and
characteristics that employers are seeking. The more objective you can
make the dialogue, the quicker you will help your student overcome fear.
2. Challenge the assumptions of your student and seek out greater
detail. Most students don’t know what they don’t know. As a result many
are choosing to distribute generic resumes to electronic application
systems that rarely result in a job. Less than 10 percent of all hiring
is made through this process despite increasing volumes of job seekers
blindly sending resumes.
A majority of hiring comes through personal recommendations, completion
of internships and other direct methods. A hiring manager needs to know
what’s unique about your student, how they will fit culturally within
the organization, and how well they will perform the duties required. Is
your student spending a proportionate amount of his or her time in
activities that can demonstrate these abilities?
If your child says he is sending out resumes but getting no response,
challenge him to engage in conversations. In fact, encourage him to
engage in multiple discussions with a variety of people in many
settings. He’s going to hear “no.” Help him understand that’s the only
way to find a “yes.” She is going to mess up on a call or in an
interview – that’s the only way to learn how to do better the next time.
This is the time to stub their toes a bit, and let them learn and grow.
One other cautionary point regarding the first observation: Life on
campus really is good … and fun! Students spend time with like-minded
peers and enjoy beautiful settings, all without much worry. Although
they know they need to do more regarding post-graduation, subconsciously
it’s hard. This is where accountability is needed from you or another
caring adult in your student’s life.
3. Passion, focus and clarity are absolute musts. Too many seniors are
still ambiguous about their career goals or speak about them in generic
terms. Others give specific answers yet have little substance behind the
claim. Employers have too many choices in candidates to try to guess how
your student is gifted or what they want to do.
Help your student strategically position him or herself for success. A
statement such as “I want a job in marketing” needs to be honed. “I
first caught the bug for grassroots marketing and the nonprofit sector
as a volunteer for Special Olympics in high school. I am completing a
psychology degree and have fully immersed myself the last two years in
community-based programming for national brands such as Frito Lay and
Pepsi as a field-marketing intern for The Marketing Arm in Dallas.
Therefore as a May 2012 graduate of TCU I believe I can best contribute
to the success of your company by …” It’s easy to see the difference, as
a parent or a potential employer.
In the end the key to accelerating the transition into the fulltime
workplace is development of a results-driven strategy. The marketplace
needs individuals who are hopeful and have confidence in their
abilities, who are outwardly focused and inclusive of workplace
experiences and relationships, and finally, individuals that clearly
demonstrate self-awareness, focus and the drive to follow a dream.
Good jobs are available. Is your soon-to-be graduate prepared and ready?
C. Kevin Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a father of three and
25-year marketing & brand strategist with organizations such as FOX
Sports, Converse and P.F. Chang's China Bistro. He is founding partner
of Meaningful Start, a private coaching practice and consultancy
designed to partner with parents and universities, hiring organizations
and career practitioners, all with the intent of accelerating the launch
and performance of new or soon-to-be graduates into the fulltime
Make Sure Your Student is Being Safe this Spring Break
Few words in college students’ vocabulary are uttered with more fervent
hope than “Spring Break.” Spring Break is meant to be a period of time
intended for rest of the mind, relaxation of the body and rejuvenation
of the spirit for students. However it has also become associated with
rowdy parties and rambunctious behavior.
Every year, thousands of college students participate in some type of
spring break activity whether it is includes traveling to an exotic
location, taking a road trip, or participating in a service or volunteer
project. In order to help prepare students for their spring break plans
– regardless of their destination – every year, the TCU Alcohol & Drug
Education Center sponsors a Safe Spring Break Campaign.
The goal of the Safe Spring Break campaign is to promote safe and sober
diving, responsible decision-making, planned strategies for personal
safety, and avoiding high-risk drinking or substance use. In addition to
these programs which will be held on campus prior to Spring Break, here
are some tips you can share with your students, particularly if they are
planning to travel during Spring Break:
• If traveling, pack copies of all your travel and identification
documents in case the originals are lost or stolen.
• If driving, get your vehicle checked out and tuned up to reduce the
chance of a break down, and don’t forget your phone charger just in
• Whether swimming at the beach, skiing down the mountain, or roofing a
house, don’t forget sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 or higher.
• If you choose to consume alcohol, remember that alcohol and other
drugs (even over-the-counter medications) don’t mix! Serious drug
interactions can occur with even common medications.
• Never leave your drink unattended, and don’t accept drinks from people
you don’t know. It is far too easy for predators to take advantage of
students by spiking drinks with drugs.
• Use the “Buddy System” and never leave a friend alone or allow that
friend to leave with new people they just met.
We want Spring Break to be fun and memorable for our students. Please
encourage your students to think about their own responsibility and
health when it comes to their Spring Break plans.
For additional information, contact the TCU Alcohol & Drug Education
Center at 817-257-7100.
News from Housing and Residential Life:
Rising Junior or Senior students who cancel their housing between July
16 – August 15 will be assessed a $500 cancellation charge. After August
15, they will be assessed a $1,000 cancellation fee.
a rising Junior or Senior student moves into the residence halls, he/she
is agreeing to the full academic-year housing license and cannot cancel
mid-year to move off-campus, etc.
Housing Sign-up information for current residents:
Students who submitted a Housing Application between February 3 and
March 2 will be issued a lottery timeslot to select their space between
March 27 – 30.
Off-Campus Housing Fairs will be held on-campus in the Brown-Lupton
University Union (BLUU) Ballroom to allow rising Juniors and Seniors the
opportunity to visit with local apartment communities about their
leasing options. These events will begin at 8:00pm on March 14 or April
For more information & a list of important links, visit our website.
TCU Parents' Association
TCU Box 297350
Fort Worth, TX 76129