It’s hard to believe it is September and back to college for many students. While students are busy with move-in and re-connecting with friends, they are not usually planning ahead for what begins shortly after classes start – the Fall Recruiting Season. Most on-campus Career Fairs and recruiter sessions start in September. Parents and students tell us that job placement after graduation is one of their primary concerns, yet many students do not maximize this campus resource.


We have asked many parents and students and have found that students actually AVOID going to a Career Fair or Career Services. Here is what they have shared with us:

  1. FEAR – They are afraid. They are afraid that someone will ask them, “What do you want to do?” or “Why do you want to work for us?” and they do not have the answer. They believe their peers have it all figured out and they will be perceived as “lost” in their career direction. Without a focus, a Career Fair could be daunting.
  2. COMPETITION – Some students do not understand how to use this opportunity to stand out amongst their peers. For many, this is the first time that they might not get picked. They may face rejection and that is uncomfortable.
  3. FAMILY CONNECTIONS – They avoid Career Services because they think their family or friends will link them to a job when they graduate. They may have the connections but they don’t know how to leverage these contacts to get a job or opportunity.
  4. TIME – Students think they have plenty of time to work on this. Or, many do not think these events are worth their time. Parents and grads tell us their biggest regret is the lack of understanding of how early the process begins and the need to prioritize this effort.

During each year of college, students should be working on a piece of the search process such as updating their resume, meeting with professors, and attending career events to learn about opportunities…even as a Freshman.

Many students think that if they want an internship for the summer or job after graduation, they can start searching in March. However, many companies invest a lot of time and effort to recruit early in the year to have their spots set by December for the following summer.

What can a parent do to help their student or grad?

  1. Encourage your student to start EARLY and be aware of dates and deadlines for recruiting sessions on campus.
  2. Suggest your student meets with faculty or an advisor to make sure they are thinking about potential career tracks and opportunities.
  3. Get the FREE Ace the Career Fair Guide. It is a simple, easy-to-follow plan that covers:
    • Plan Ahead Strategies
    • Research Techniques
    • Elevator Pitch
    • How to Differentiate from the Rest
    • Follow Up Letters and More

Your student will be confident and ready to land the job. Download it here on our resources page.

If you would like to learn more about how Next Great Step helps college students and grads launch into their first job, reach out for a Complimentary Consultation We run the Fast Start Group Coaching monthly – contact us to learn the next start date.

And we just launched the book: The Next Great Step: The Parents’ Guide to Launching Your Grad into a Career. Get it HERE.