Parents & Families


As a response to COVID-19, the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development has made adjustments to support our students. Please click the button below to view the information that has been communicated to your student.

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Thank you for taking an interest in your student's career development process! Many parents & family members are eager to learn what career development services Notre Dame offers. We believe that 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 decision making process.


For Parents of Graduating Seniors

Our staff is here to support our graduating seniors during this challenging time. For every senior who has shared with us that they are seeking employment, we have assigned a personal point of contact in our office. This point of contact is someone our seniors can turn to for support and get connected to the most appropriate career-related resources. Additionally, Here are a few items of interest:

  • We have created a centralized resource page where we will be sharing updates, as they become available.
  • We have also created an online tool to get students easily connected to appropriate resources including: scheduling a career counseling appointment, getting a resume reviewed, practicing interviews, and more.

At the Center for Career Development we...

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• Are supportive - We respect your student's privacy, their values, and their uniqueness. 
• Are student-focused -
We are here for your student and what is important to them. We can help them with a wide range of issues, from broad career exploration to specific plans for reaching their internship, job, or higher education goals.

• Encourage participation - We can advise them about appropriate action steps, but ultimately your student needs to be an active participant. 

Student Story: Caitlin Eckerman, Class of 2020, allowed herself room to grow during her time as an undergrad - something that's been of benefit to her career discernment process. Read about the many influences and resources she utilized that led her to her current career path.

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• Connect your student 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. We can help students find the resources to get information they need.

Career Development Guide: Our Career Development Guide is a starter resource for developing the knowledge and skills needed throughout your career development process. All first-year students receive a guide through the Moreau First-Year Experience. A wide range of resources from resumes, cover letters, to even networking are provided in the guide to help develop and tone professional skills.

• Provide recommendations - We talk with your student about ways they can discover opportunities and recommend tactics and strategies for finding a job or internship. 

• Provide opportunities -  There are several career development opportunities offered to students, helping them to put their best foot forward. Through our summer funding program, global partnerships, ethical policies, and career treks we prepare students for the world outside of Notre Dame.

Career Platforms

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Handshake is a centralized resource where students can research employers, search for internships and full-time jobs, network with other students and employers, schedule career counseling appointments, RSVP for events, and much more. Parents and family members cannot access Handshake, however, we recommend that you encourage your student to utilize this resource. Students with a full Handshake profile are 5 times as likely to be messaged by employers.

For more information, visit our Handshake resource page.

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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:

  • Connecting with alumni for career networking, mentorship, and job shadow opportunities. 
  • Asking career-related questions through industry specific discussion forums.
  • Accessing exclusive online resources for career discernment and networking tips.

For Parents and Families of First Year Students

Welcome to the Notre Dame family! With so many resources and opportunities offered to your student, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Please know we are here for you and your student.

Our advice for parents of 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 discerning who they are as a person. We are here to help our students through the career development process and empower them to discern, discover, and pursue meaningful careers to be a force for good in the world.

Helpful resources to get you started:

If you have any questions, please email us at, or stop by our office the next time you are visiting your student on campus.

Frequently Asked Questions

My student is interested in “everything” and is having a difficult time choosing a major. What should he/she do? 

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.

Does major determine or limit career choice?

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.  

Will my student be assigned a dedicated career counselor for all four years?

We do not assign students one career counselor.  The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development is a centralized career center that supports all students pursuing any career path. As you can imagine, students come to Notre Dame with varying interest in career planning.. Some students know by the end of their first semester exactly what career path they want to explore.  Many of our students use their first 2-3 semesters to explore a variety of different career paths.  This is normal and encouraged.  Recognizing the many pressures and obligations students have, we meet them where they are.  If a student is not sure what they want to do with their career or how they, we have a team of career counselors who can help with personal exploration related to their skills, interests, and values. Once a student narrows down their options, we can get them connected to one of our many industry-focused counselors to further learn about and prepare for searching for internships and jobs in particular career paths. All students receive information about the Center for Career Development in the spring semester through the required Moreau First Year Experience Course. 

How can I best assist my student with his/her career development? 

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.  

What attributes do employers look for? 

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.

When should my student start using the Center for Career Development? 

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.

Can my student take a career “test” to figure out what he/she wants to do? 

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.

Tell me about student “placement."

The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development does not conduct “placement” for students. Career development is a lifelong process a student will need many times throughout their career. In essence, we educate students on how to approach career planning and equip them with the tools and resources to take ownership in the career development process. The student, not the parent, is responsible for networking, writing their own resume, applying to positions, and conducting their own interviews.  We are here to help them learn these skills to succeed in whatever path they choose to pursue. 

Often we will show students and parents first destination data as a tool for career exploration and guidance. 

Can my student network with alumni?  

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.

Should my student have an internship after his/her first year? 

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.

What services do you offer? 

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.

What resources do you offer to help students with finding jobs and internships? 

We offer two primary avenues: Handshake and our many 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 to be most effective in their networking.

What types of employers recruit at ND? 

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. 

How do I (or my student) learn about upcoming career events

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!

What is Handshake

Handshake is a web-based career management platform. All students have access to the site with their Net ID.


We welcome parents to provide their support with:

  • Hiring students for internships and full-time positions
  • Introducing our staff to recruiting contacts
  • Offering to host a student for job shadow

Getting involved is easy. Just complete our brief online form and one of our staff members will be in touch with you.