Thank you for taking an interest in your student's career development process.
Many parents & family members are eager to learn what services Notre Dame offers for career development. We believe that the ideal combination for future success consists of parents and families providing support and encouragement, while empowering students to take responsibility for their own career exploration and decision making process.
Below you will find insight into how we approach our work, as well as responses to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Information for Parents and Families of First Year Incoming Students
Welcome to the Notre Dame family! Whether you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the resources and opportunities offered to your student, please know we are here for you and your student.
Our advice for parents of first semester first year students is simple: be positive, be patient, and be open. Notre Dame can change your student's life, and we hope they take advantage of the many opportunities -- particularly as they start with discerning who they are as a person... their values, interests, and skills. We are here to walk with all our students through the career development process and introduce many opportunities to empower them to discern, discover, and pursue meaningful careers to be a force for good in the world.
Here are a few resources to get you started.
- 2019 Welcome Weekend parents program presentation (PDF slides shared with parents and families on August 24, 2019)
- Career Development Guide (centralized PDF resource for undergraduate students to
- UndergradCareers.nd.edu (our website designed specifically for undergraduate students)
- Insight about our philosophy, as well as frequently asked questions (see below on this page)
If you ever have any questions, please email us at CareerDevelopment@nd.edu or visit us the next time you are visiting your student on campus.
- Focus on the student. We are here for your student and what is important to them. We can help them with a wide range of issues ranging from broad career exploration to specific plans for reaching their internship, job, or higher education goals.
- Private, safe, and supportive. We respect your student's privacy, their values, and their uniqueness.
- Need your student to participate. In order to make progress your student needs to be an active participant. We can advise them about appropriate action steps but they must be the one to act.
- Connect to resources. Career counselors have a breadth of knowledge about a variety of career fields, but our main expertise lies in the career planning process. Instead of telling your student details about careers, we can help them find the resources to get the information they need.
Recommend tactics and strategies for finding a job or internship. We talk with your student about ways they can discover job or internship opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
In order to enhance our ability to assist your student, we have developed a number of FAQ's to address the most common questions we receive.
- My student is interested in “everything” and is having a difficult time choosing a major. What should he/she do?
- Does major determine or limit career choice?
- How can I best assist my student with his/her career development?
- What attributes do employers look for?
- When should my student start using Career Development services?
- Can my student take a career “test” to figure out what he/she wants to do?
- Tell me about student “placement”.
- Can my student network with alumni?
- Should my student have an internship after his/her first year?
- What services do you offer?
- What resources do you offer to help students with finding jobs and internships?
- What types of employers recruit at ND?
- How do I (or my student) learn about upcoming career events?
- What is Handshake?
It’s very normal for students to experience difficulty when it comes to choosing a major. Many Notre Dame students enjoy and excel at a number of different subjects. To help students narrow down their options, we encourage them to explore broadly and engage in self-assessment. Students should take a wide range of classes in their first year to ascertain which they truly enjoy most. Students should talk with older students and faculty to learn more about the disciplines that interest them the most. They should also take time to reflect on their values, interests, personality, and skills and gauge how those fit with the subject areas they are studying. Additionally, they can meet with a member of the Student Engagement team in our office who can show them how to research careers and majors through our Online Resources. And, of course, they should meet with their Academic Advisor to discuss course requirements and curricula.
We believe that major does not determine your student’s career path. Instead, we encourage students to study what he or she enjoy, examine their values, interests, and personality, and explore careers related to what they have learned about themselves. Notre Dame alumni from all majors go on to a wide range of career paths. For more information regarding students’ plans following graduation, please review the First Destination Survey Data compiled by the Office of Institutional Research.
The following five strategies provide a helpful framework.
- Career development is a lifelong and unique process and constantly needs revisiting and revising. For these reasons, The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development is dedicated to meeting the students where they are in their career development process. Rather than taking a “grab and go” career approach, we’d like students to look within to help them determine how to outwardly move forward.
- One of the first steps includes helping the student know him/herself by identifying his/her V(values), I(interests), P(personality) and S(skills). Students often meet with Undergraduate Career Services counselors to sort through and make sense of all of this information. Students can schedule their appointments online.
- Once the student knows him/herself, they can begin exploring various careers by:
- Conducting Informational interviews with alumni and people in the area of their career interest(s)
- Finding Internships within a specific field
- Networking at career fairs, employer information sessions, football games - the possibilities are endless
- When the student is thinking about pursuing a specific career within a particular industry, Our Undergraduate Career Services team has industry specialists designated to help the students. It is highly recommended that the students schedule an appointment with one of those Career Counselors. Again, appointments can be scheduled online.
- It is important to remember that it is the responsibility of the student to take charge of his or her own career. It is a unique process and often chaotic but in the end worth the empowering experience.
NACE (National Association for Colleges and Employers, a professional association) conducts research surveys of employers. According to a 2019 survey, employers seek the following attributes in candidates: communication skills (written & verbal), problem-solving skills, ability to work in a team, initiative, analytical/quantitative skills, strong work ethic, leadership, detail-oriented, technical skills, flexibility/adaptability, computer skills, interpersonal skills (relates well to others), organizational ability, strategic planning skills, tactfulness, creativity, friendly/outgoing personality, entrepreneurial skills/risk-taker, fluency in a foreign language.
Identifying experiences associated with these attributes list is a wonderful way for your student to approach a variety of college-aged activities. A worksheet to help students track their skills based on University learning outcomes can be found on page 16 of our Career Development Guide.
There is no specific time students should start using the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development as each student has a unique career development journey. Every first year student will engage with career development content and resources during the Moreau First Year Experience course and again through their College as part of the Sophomore Check-up program. We welcome students to visit the center early and often.
Our Undergraduate Career Services staff offers assessments that can aid students in the career discernment process, but there is no "magic test” that will tell students exactly what they should do. We recommend that students begin with our VIPS (values, interests, personality, and skills) inventories.
It’s possible that our additional assessments - the Strong Interest Inventory and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - may be beneficial as well. The Strong assesses interests (the “what” of career development), while the MBTI assesses personality (the “how” of career development) Students must first meet with a career counselor on the Student Engagement team to determine if these assessments are appropriate. Sometimes for the assessments to be most beneficial a student should take the time to gain experiences through activities and other career exploration exercises first.
The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development does not conduct “placement” for students. After all, it is the student that is networking, writing their own resume, applying to positions, and conducting their own interviews. We help students develop these necessary skills but it truly is their achievement, their accomplishment in the end. We are here to help them learn these skills to succeed in whatever path they choose to pursue.
Often we will show the students and parents first destination data as a tool for career exploration and guidance.
Yes! The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development offers many opportunities to connect with alumni through formal mentorship programs, industry career treks, on-campus networking events, and alumni clubs. We can also help your student build an impactful LinkedIn profile and navigate the alumni directory.
The short answer to this question is “no”. The word “internship” can sometimes evoke a sense of anxiety and the feeling from students that “I must have an internship my first summer or I am a lost cause”. However, the summer after a student’s first year an “internship” is not a necessity. In many industries, organizations don’t hire first year students - they may only hire interns that are rising juniors and seniors because they have more experience and coursework completed. Still that doesn’t mean that a rising sophomore should sit around doing nothing. We strongly encourage these students to do something to gain experience - whether it’s a regular summer job (i.e., retail, life-guarding, customer service, administrative office roles, etc.), research, study abroad, service, or, possibly, an internship. These activities will allow a student to learn more about him/herself, gain professional experience, and build his/her resume - all critical pieces of career development! Students can meet with a career counselor on the STudent Engagement team to discuss how to explore summer opportunities as a first year.
The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development provides students with career counseling and career development services, self-assessments, workshops, presentations for academic departments, career fairs, and mock interviews--just to name a few! Upcoming events are listed on our homepage and on Handshake, our career management platform. Students can schedule a career counseling appointment using Handshake or by calling 574-631-5200.
We offer two primary avenues: Handshake and our Online Resources. Handshake is Notre Dame’s online recruiting database with postings for both internship and full-time opportunities. This resource is available to Notre Dame students only. We also have a robust offering of additional tools through the Online Resources section of our website. Here students can access numerous databases for career exploration, job/internship searching, company research, salary information, and current industry/organization issues. We also have a section which contains information and databases specific to a number of industries. On top of this, we encourage students to network and utilize the strong ND alumni connections. Career counselors can guide students through this process and familiarize them with LinkedIn and mynotredame.nd.edu to be most effective in their networking.
Every year employers representing several industries/organizations and job functions (for profit, nonprofit, fellowship, and research) either conduct on-campus interviews or post jobs on Handshake, our career management system. Over 4,700 on-campus interviews were conducted in 2018-19 and over 8,000 jobs and internships were posted to Go IRISH.
A multitude of different ways! Students will receive bi-weekly emails from us with upcoming events. Additionally you and your student can see what’s coming up on our website events page. Students can find the same information on Handshake. We also market our events individually so students should watch for emails from the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development!
Handshake is a web-based career management platform. All students have access to the site with their Net ID.
You can help!
We welcome parents to provide their support with:
- Hiring students for internships and full-time positions
- Introducing our staff to recruiting contacts
- Offer to host a student for job shadow
- Conduct mock interviews (via phone or in person)
Getting involved is easy. Just complete our brief online form and one of our staff members will be in touch with you.