The school year has officially began and I couldn’t be more excited! I love meeting with new students and reconnecting with returning ones. It’s always a fun time to hear about students’ experiences and summer opportunities. It’s important to begin right away to develop a rapport with new students and continue a positive one with others. As a career coach, I need my students to know from day one that career development is important. There are many activities we do as coaches to meet with our students.
- We send a welcome letter before students arrive on campus to let them know we are here and ready to serve. I make sure to include their major and how I am looking forward to helping them reach their goals in that major.
- We host a career lunch party as an informal “meet and greet” for students to stop by and see who we are and learn about what we do. I follow up with a thank you letter to all of “my” students who attended. This followup has opened the door for students to set up our first meeting. In this thank you letter, I also ask students to send me back a mini bio about themselves: major, subjects they enjoy, hobbies, other interests in music, movies, and anything else they feel I should know. I also share these things about myself so they are able to get to know me as well.
- At my first meeting with new or returning students, I make it informal. We talk about the summer, what’s new, how they chose our school, etc. We do delve into how I can help them this year and what their goals are. I have my new students get set up to take our career assessments and that gives us an opportunity to meet again and discuss their results.
- I participate in an activity we do called House Calls where various faculty and staff go around students residence halls and “check” on how they are doing. This helps students become familiar and see me outside of my office.
5. Lastly, I have opportunities to go into classes and speak with students on various career topics such as resume writing, interview tips, and how to market yourself. This is a great way for students to ask questions and see my credibility as a career coach and a resource for them.
All of these opportunities involve talking to students and opening up the communication lines. Students want to know that you care and when they understand that, they will be willing to start a conversation. They will want to meet with you and share their goals and dreams. They will seek out your advice and help. They will also tell their friends about how their career coach has helped them and you will meet even more students.
What have you done as a career coach or educator to start the conversation?