Parents & Families

Thank you for taking an interest in your student's career development process! Many parents and family members are eager to learn what career development services are offered at Notre Dame. We have found the ideal combination for future success consists of families providing support and encouragement, while empowering students to take responsibility for their own career exploration and decisions. Below are some helpful tips on how you can be both informed and supportive.

2 things to know about Notre Dame students

  1. Every student is unique. While some students may come to campus knowing exactly what career they want to pursue, many students often change their minds. This is OK and is actually to be expected. Academic majors may inform, but do not determine, career success (you can see this in our first destination data). 
  2. Students have a lot of competing interests for their time. We conduct an annual online "check-in" early in the spring semester which gives us insight into how to tailor and refine our services to best meet the needs of students. The check-in consists of questions based around student career interests, past engagement in career development, and how we can best support them. One of the questions we ask is "Which of these barriers are preventing you from engaging in the career development process?" More than half of first years and sophomores cited these two barriers:
    • Lack of free time due to my busy schedule
    • I am nervous about engaging in the career development process

If your student is nervous, that's normal. We will guide them through resources that can help them reflect on what they are learning and how they can translate that into a meaningful career.

3 things to know about the Center for Career Development

  1. Career development is a lifelong process and is much more than simply looking for a job at a career fair.  We teach your student skills they will need the rest of their professional life.  Once they graduate, there are no career fairs, clubs working with employers, or 
  2. We start with discernment – helping students learn the importance of reflecting on their values, interests, and skills. One of the ways we do this is through the Moreau First Year Experience course which begins in February and dedicates 2 weeks to career content.
  3. We have many resources for every step of the career development process to create a tailored approach. We have resources for everything from discernment to skill development, employer research to finding an internship, building a network to finding a mentor, interview preparation to job offer negotiation, and much more.

3 things you can do as a parent

For most of your student's life you have been the problem solver -- the person who has the answers. When it comes to career development, you will not likely have all of the answers. Some of our staff are parents. We know how important your students are to you and the investment you have made in them. You want what is best for them. They are transitioning to adults now. Here are 3 tips to help:

  1. Be patient. Allow your student to explore all that Notre Dame has to offer. There is no need for first year students to make a decision on their future career.  Along with learning in the classroom, your student will discover their interests through clubs, activities, service work, research, and relationships they develop with friends, faculty, alumni, and employers. This is one of the tremendous benefits of a Notre Dame education.
  2. Acknowledge that thinking about a career is one of many topics on your student's mind.  "I know you have a lot on your plate. I am here for you. How are things going?" 
  3. Be supportive. "How can I help?" can be much more helpful than "What are you going to do after graduation?"

3 resources your student should use

While we offer dozens of resources, here are a few that your student may mention.

  1. First Destination Data shares insight about the first step Notre Dame graduates have taken in their careers upon earning their degrees. Our comprehensive dashboard is available to the general public (including you!) and allows you to filter by academic major and graduation year. You can view the data here.
  2. Handshake is our most widely used resource. On this password-protected platform students can:
    • Research employers
    • Search and apply for internships and full-time jobs (we typically have more than 10,000 postings on the site at any given time)
    • Network with other students and employers
    • Schedule career counseling appointments
    • Learn about and RSVP to attend employer events
  3. IrishCompass is an exclusive, online community which provides an opportunity for Notre Dame students and alumni to facilitate career-related connections. Students can benefit from the system by researching more than 10,000 alumni for career networking, mentorship, and job shadow opportunities.