Career Development for Emerging Adults

Career Development for Emerging Adults

Career development is a process through which individuals make decisions about their career paths, and implement plans to achieve their goals. The steps in this process include:   

  • Identifying interests, skills, values, and needs (Self Assessment)
  • Exploring the world of careers (Occupational Research)
  • Generating and trying out career options (through job shadowing and internships)
  • Deciding on a “career fit” (Good Decision Making)
  • Implementing a career plan (Achieving Career Goals)

The Career Development staff assists students with all of these steps while applying theories that address the stages of development common to students as they progress through college. As their needs evolve, we help them with related issues including choosing a major, finding an internship, writing a resume, preparing for interviews, researching employers, researching and applying to graduate schools, attending job fairs and much more!

Programming and tools include:
Career Development for Women: a two-credit career exploration course open to all students that offers assessment activities which link their academic interests, skills, values, personality and work environment preferences to potential vocational options.

Internship Program: In today’s job market, internships are key for students to be successful in entering many career areas. Our Internship Department works with students, employers, and faculty to develop meaningful, relevant internships. All students are encouraged to complete internships as part of their academic experience.

Career Fairs, On-Campus Recruiting and KatieCareer: A number of employers representing a wide variety of fields choose to recruit St. Kate’s students each year through campus interviews and our university’s job and internship database, KatieCareer. In addition, we offer a Career Opportunities Fair on campus each fall, and participate in career fairs with other MN colleges, including the Minnesota Private College Job and Internship Fair; a Government Career Fair; and an Education Job Fair.

St. Catherine Experience: The University created an integrated and multifaceted plan that articulates specific activities that students can participate in to achieve their academic and career goals. The plan educates them about what they need to incorporate during each year to be ready for graduation and success beyond.

How do I support my student as she makes academic and career decisions?

New students frequently identify career issues and choosing a major as top concerns as they enter college. To be supportive, you can:

  • Reassure your student that you are interested in her process of growth and exploration.
  • Encourage her to visit the Career Development Office for help with career information and choosing or changing a major.
  • Review the occupational information your student shares so that you are also clearly informed about the realities of the job market, and can help her make informed decisions.
  • Understand that changing majors is a common occurrence as students develop new interests and are exposed to more options and experiences.
  • Encourage her to major in an area that she finds interesting and enjoys. (Students who major in what they enjoy generally have higher GPAs and persist to complete a degree.)
  • Suggest that she work closely with her academic advisor and faculty, and not be hesitant to ask questions.
  • Indicate that you want her to take advantage of every opportunity that college provides, and try new experiences as a way of enhancing career exploration.
  • Help her plan for internships to get career related experience.

Developmental Stages of College Students

Change and new challenges are a part of any good educational experience. Developmental theories identify certain behaviors and characteristics common to students as they progress through their college years. These characteristics include:

FIRST YEAR – Students will:
• Demonstrate a vague awareness of career issues
• Need time to adjust to college
• Appreciate assistance in decision making
• Need encouragement to explore and take academic risks
• Explore academic interests through classes
• Develop a connection to SCU including other students, faculty and staff

• Realize the need for career information and internship experience
• Develop more complex reasoning
• Begin to set priorities
• Identify and organize academic and career alternatives
• Narrow their career focus from a broad or more generalized group of choices

SENIOR YEAR – Students will:
• Need to make choices
• Clarify and articulate their vision for the future
• Formulate and implement a plan of action
• Demonstrate more advanced critical and analytical reasoning
• Accept some uncertainty as inevitable

If you recognize some of these characteristics in your student, know that they are important to her development and college experience. At SCU we hope to challenge your student to learn and try new opportunities, as well as support her in her journey through college and transitions beyond.

What do employers value in a college degree?

Does a high GPA matter? Will a degree in philosophy or English translate into a good job? These are a few of many questions facing students and their families who seek to demystify hiring trends in the job market.

The fact remains that employers often seek a combination of education, experiences and skills which make students qualified for the positions they have available. Some fields require specific knowledge or certifications (i.e. social work, nursing, computer programming, etc.). However, most careers do not require specialized skills or a degree for entry-level positions. Employment data reveals that around 75% of entry-level positions do not require a specific major or degree. Instead, employers seek more general skills and attributes, which most students acquire in a liberal arts institution.

The top ten skills and personal qualities that employers seek as reported by the National Association of Colleges and Employers:
Communication skills | Motivation/initiative | Teamwork skills | Leadership skills | Interpersonal skills | Flexibility/adaptability | Technical skills | Honesty/integrity | Work ethic | Analytical/problem solving skills

Your student will have opportunities to develop all of these skills to complement the knowledge base in her academic discipline. We also encourage internships, clinicals, and on-campus employment in which students can develop these important transferable skills. A liberal arts major and meaningful learning experiences together with good career planning will help make a student very successful in many fields!