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Office of Professional Development & Community Engagement

Resources For Parents


We invite family members to partner with us to help Westminster students transition successfully from classroom to career. Your experience, credibility, and advice are invaluable, complementing the programs, services, and resources offered on campus. Does your company have internship or career opportunities? Might your organization be a site for a service learning project? Let’s talk!

A Family's Guide to Professional Development

The most valuable things parents can do to help a student with professional development, including career planning, are:

  • Listen
  • Be open to ideas
  • Help your student find information

Here are eight more things you can do to help:

  1. Advise your student to write a resume and cover letter.

    Writing a resume can be a "reality test" and can help a student identify weak areas that require improvement. Suggest that your student review sample resumes from the Office of Professional Development and Community Engagement (PDCE) or on reliable websites.

    You can review resume drafts for grammar, spelling, and content, but also encourage your student to ask a faculty member or a staff member in the PDCE to review the final draft.

  2. Challenge your student to become "occupationally literate."

    Ask: "Do you have any ideas about what you might want to do when you graduate? Are you thinking about graduate school? A career? A year of learning and development through service to the community?"

    If your student seems unsure, you can talk about personal qualities you see as talents and strengths. You can also recommend:

    • Talking to favorite faculty members
    • Researching a variety of interesting career fields and employers
    • Attending Westminster’s annual Professional Networking Symposium to learn about different professional paths.

  3. Emphasize the importance of shadowing opportunities and internships.

    The PDCE will not "place" your student in a job at graduation. However, we will help your student identify strengths, organize a coherent portfolio of materials, and develop skills that lead to effective networking, engagement, and interviewing.

    Your student can sample career options by completing shadow experiences and internships, and by experimenting with summer employment opportunities or volunteer work.

    These experiences are important because:

    • Students can learn what they like and do not like about a specific career or organization.
    • Employers are interested in communication, problem-solving, and administrative skills, which can be developed through internships.
    • Employers look for experience on a student's resume and often hire from within their own internship programs.
    • A strong letter of recommendation from an internship supervisor may tip the scale of an important interview in their favor.

  4. Encourage extracurricular involvement.

    Part of experiencing Westminster life is to be involved and active outside the classroom. Interpersonal and leadership skills—qualities valued by future employers—are often developed through athletics, student organizations, volunteerism, and extracurricular activities.

  5. Help your student to stay up-to-date with current events.

    Employers will expect students to know what is happening around them. Encourage your student to read The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. They can find these newspapers in McGill Library’s online collection.

  6. Teach the value of networking.

    Introduce your student to people who have interesting graduate school experiences. careers/jobs, and community engagement histories. Developing such professional networks can help identify ideas for summer jobs, shadowing opportunities, internships, and careers.

  7. Help the Office of Professional Development & Community Engagement.

    Let us know when your organization has a summer, part-time, or full-time job opening. If your company hires interns, the PDCE will post them on our social media and internship/career platforms.

Adapted from Thomas J. Denham. Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Contact Us

Justin R. Gregorich

Justin R. Gregorich

Director of the PDCE