University of Wisconsin–Madison

U-CLaSS: career advisors suggestions to instructors (Fall 2020)

Earlier this fall we held a U-CLaSS session with Career Advisors here on campus. Members of the Teaching Academy asked them “what advice would you share with instructors based on your experiences as career advisors here on campus?”

What Career Advisors want to tell instructors:

Top of the list: Please tell your students about Career Advising Services! Add information about Career Advising to your syllabus, including a link to our services, or make an announcement in class. Advising is more about the process rather than specific career facts. Ideally, Career Advisors would like to see students earlier in the process than they currently arrive at their offices.

Check what your students might be thinking of doing in their future careers, stay aware of the landscape in your field, and be aware of hiring trends. Talk with your students about job opportunities outside academia. Help students to realize that there is always more than one path toward a career.

Ask your students to reflect on how their coursework connects to their own life and future career.

Keep in mind that you may be the only “grown up” that these students can talk to about paths toward a career. Students are surrounded mostly by other students, some students may be the first student in their family to attend college, or they may not be comfortable talking to family members about a potential career.

If possible, connect your students to others in the field who can advise them on future careers, including potential employers. Alumni are often willing to share their stories and advice. Or introduce your students to relevant networks and encourage them to explore on their own.

Make sure you are accessible to students via different communication routes. Some students are more comfortable using email to discuss career information, others may prefer stopping in during an office hour, and some students may be comfortable approaching you before or after class.

If your course has ties to an industry, career, or specific accreditation, connect your learning outcomes directly to those real-world options.

What students tell Career Advisors:

Students want instructors to tell them about their own career paths. How did we end up in our current job here on campus? Sharing our stories helps students learn that many of us took more of a winding road to get to where we are today than they might have thought.

Students want to know how their work in our courses applies to the real world. This is especially true of courses in their major, but it is also true for even the electives they take. Students often do not understand the value of what they do in the classroom and need us to help them translate those skills and knowledge to what they do in the real world.

Regarding graduate school:

Admission guidelines are often not clear to students. Students are often confused about the different paths for graduate school, specifically the difference between a career masters and an academic program.

Career Services advisors can help students explore graduate options and programs.