Career & Professional Development: for parents and families  >  CPD news for parents and families

November 2017 news

Ending the semester strong

It may feel like the semester has just begun, but the end of the semester and winter break are right around the corner. This time of year can be very busy as classes wrap up and final exams appear on the horizon. Before your student leaves campus and embarks on well-earned rest and relaxation, encourage them to start thinking about how they can make the most of their winter break.

Encourage your student to:

Meet with a career advisor: After finals but before the new semester is a great time to be proactive and schedule an appointment with a career advisor. Other than the brief time the university is closed, our office remains open over break, and we are happy to talk with students in person or by phone.

Update or get started on your resume: Your student can refer to our Career Planning Guide for resume examples. This resource is available in print in our office and online.

Start thinking about summer opportunities: Internships, co-ops, research, volunteering, shadowing, and part-time jobs are just some of the many ways students can get experience over the summer. Students should start looking now to avoid missing opportunities.

Explore career options: Students can use our many resources to explore different majors and careers. This can also be a great time for students to talk with and job shadow professionals working in careers of interest in their hometown.

Learn the graduate school application process: If your student is considering graduate or professional school, they can use our many resources to learn the process and see sample application documents.

Develop key professional competencies: Is your student career ready? It’s never too early for students to start developing professional skills that will help them be a strong applicant and transition smoothly into the world of work.

Purchase interview attire: Does your student have the clothes they need for job fairs, interviews, or internships? Holiday sales are a great time to shop for professional attire; this also makes a great gift!

We look forward to continuing to work with your student as this semester winds down and as we gear up for the spring!

October 2017 news


Where do our Hokies go after graduation?

Who are their employers? How did they connect with them?
Where are they continuing education? What programs, degrees?
Who gave them advice? What do they wish they'd done differently?

Is your student exploring their major or career options? Or perhaps they are in the midst of the job search process. The First Destination after graduation report is a wonderful resource for students to learn about their fellow Hokies’ pre-graduation experience and after-graduation status as they complete their Virginia Tech degree. The First Destination Report is based on our annual survey of all B.A., B.S., and A.S. graduates.

cover of career planning guide

Career Planning Guide

Please encourage your student to pick up a hard copy of our 2017-2018 Career Planning Guide if they have not already done so! This comprehensive guide explains resume preparation, cover letters, other job search correspondence, interview preparation, planning for graduate or professional school and much more.  

Course Request

Course Request will take place October 17- 24, 2017. This often elicits student reflection on their choice of major, whether they are needing to select a major, or are now considering a program of study that may be a better fit. Career and Professional Development can assist them with their decision-making process and we offer assessments to explore their interests, skills, values, personality preferences, and strengths. Students may call our main number at 540-231-6241 to schedule a career exploration appointment. They can get started with great information on exploring self, careers, and majors.

Dining etiquette can be critical to career and job search success!

Our annual etiquette dinner is an opportunity to learn and practice good table manners to assist you in being successful in your job and internship search and as a new professional. Employers want to observe your conduct during meals and social situations, particularly for jobs requiring a certain demeanor with clients and superiors. On a practical level, interviews can last several hours or all day; the employer is gracious to host you for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. The meal is a time to interact with Virginia Tech faculty and staff, employer sponsor representatives, and follow students. Through networking, speaking with your table host and follow attendees, and the formal presentation, students will learn how to maintain a professional image at any formal event, such as an interview meal, business lunch, or even a wedding! We want to help you prepare to make the best impression you can!

Date: Wed. November 1, 2017

Time: 5:00-8:00 PM

Location: Owens Banquet Room, Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Other: $11 fee per student and business professional attire required.

Registration is open now and can be accessed by logging into your Hokies4Hire account and selecting Dining Etiquette from the Events tab.

September 2017 news

Career fairs and On-Campus Interviewing Program – Time to prepare!

Your student is settling in, as classes have begun, but do remind them that career fairs are just around the corner! This fall, we are sponsoring two new career-field focused fairs:

  • FOCUS: Careers in agriculture and sciences | Tues. Oct. 17.
  • SPECTRUM: Careers in human services, public & government service, and sales & customer service | Wed. Oct. 18.

We are ready to assist your student with their fair preparation by reviewing their resumes via walk-in advising.

Our On-Campus Interviewing [OCI] Program opens with ten weeks of interview opportunities during fall semester. The application deadline for interview week one is Sep. 3, for interviews occurring the week of Sep. 18-22, so this process begins early! Encourage your students seeking internships and post-graduation jobs to visit our website to learn all about Hokies4Hire (H4H) and how to participate in OCI. If you work for an organization interested in recruiting our Virginia Tech sudents, please do not hesitate to contact our employer relations staff.

Interview preparation a concern? Students may take advantage of our online resources, including InterviewStream, and our Mock Interview Program to polish their skills and increase their confidence with the interview process.

As your students explore their career options, CandidCareer provides thousands of informational interviews featuring industry professionals. These videos provide the inside scoop on careers as well as advice that will give your student an edge in their job search.

Have a wonderful start to the fall season, and Let’s Go Hokies!!!

August 2017 news


Support your students as they make their mark!

Dear parents and families of our Virginia Tech students,

How will your student make their mark(s) on their future — in the workplace, in their community, in their family, around the world? Encourage them to begin thinking about it now! It all starts with your student!

No two fingerprints are the same; each is unique.  So it is with your student — no duplicates; we are all originals. In combination, their strengths, personality, interests, preferences, experiences, and passions make each student distinctively different and of great worth.

During their college years, they have hundreds of opportunities to discover themselves and what is important to them.  Curiosity should be their guide into new adventures, and they should make certain to take advantage of every opportunity — experiences that help them explore and develop, classroom subjects that excite them, and career options that align with their interests, knowledge, strengths, and skills.

Urge your student to allow the Career and Professional Development Staff to jump into this big adventure of theirs so that we can introduce them to self-assessments to learn more about themselves, internships, career information, and alumni who can inspire them!

With very best wishes,

Donna Cassell Ratcliffe

Donna Cassell Ratcliffe, Director, Career and Professional Development

We are here for your student as they prepare to make their mark!

Career and Professional Development welcomes our new and returning students and their families to an exciting fall semester! Here is how you can help us to help your son or daughter get off to a great start:

  • If you have a first-year student joining us this fall, please encourage them to visit us to learn the steps of the career exploration process, and the many resources we have to assist them with their career development needs, such as choosing a major, and/or researching their career options.
  • Traitify is a visual personality assessment that is fun and easy to use, and a great way for your student to get started exploring, “Who Am I?” Here are the simple steps:
    • Login to Traitify
    •  Create an account and begin the assessment
    • In less than 10 minutes they will have instant results
    • Upon their return to campus, your student may schedule an appointment with a career advisor to talk about their Traitify results and to learn additional resources they may use in their exploration process.
  • Urge your upper-class student to create or fine tune their resume for the many career fairs taking place this semester. This information will help get them started, and we are happy to critique their rough draft via walk-in advising or a scheduled appointment.
  • Have your student keep track of the career fairs scheduled throughout the academic year. Many students have never attended a career fair, so have them review this information for successful preparation.

Career and Professional Development welcomes and serves all students in all majors at Virginia Tech, first-year through graduate level. Please encourage your student to come see us! Here’s to a great fall semester!!

May 2017 news

Summer Break “To Do List”

Where did the academic year go? The lazy, hazy, days of summer are almost here, and while we want our students to enjoy their time away from Virginia Tech, here is a list of items to help them prepare for their return in the fall.

  1. Are they traveling? Encourage your student to take their resume with them. They never know who they may meet while they are on the road. Now is the perfect time for them to update their resume or if they don’t have one, create it! See our guidelines for developing a resume.
  2. Is their summer job already lined up? Encourage them to add a volunteer experience to their schedule. In the spirit of Ut Prosim, they can give back to their community, develop their skills, and expand their network. Employers love to see volunteer experience on resumes!
  3. Students can research what they could do with their major after they graduate. Here are some great resources to get them started:
    Choosing a major / What can I do with my major?
    What's out there? / Career research
    Post-Graduation Survey and Report, which tells first destination after graduation, whether continuing education or first jobs and employers.
  4. Remind your students that networking can occur even when they’re having fun! Someone they meet during the summer might be able to help them as they explore career options. Does your student have a LinkedIn account? There are more than 124,000 Hokies on LinkedIn! To learn more about networking, online presence, and how creating a LinkedIn profile can be helpful to them, students can see:
    Your online identity / LinkedIn and more 
  5. Now is the time for students to get ready for their fall job search. Career and Professional Development provides Hokies4Hire for students to upload resumes and view job listings from employers who specifically seek Virginia Tech students. 
  6. Summer is a great time to go shopping for interview attire! There is more time to search for just the right attire and make any alterations necessary.

The Career and Professional Development staff wishes you and your family a wonderful summer season!

April 2017 news

Doing a little spring cleaning? Coming to Spring Family Weekend? We are seeking donations for Career Outfitters!

Career Outfitters is a program sponsored by Career and Professional Development that provides new and/or gently used business attire to students for career events (such as interviews, job fairs, and networking receptions) at no charge. Help Virginia Tech students dress for success with donations of:

  • Suits for men, and women
  • Ties, belts, purses, and shoes
  • Blazers, dress pants, and skirts
  • Shirts and blouses

Please make sure all items are clean and in wearable condition.

Donation drop-off dates, times, and locations:

Friday, April 21, 2017
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Smith Career Center
Corner of Washington Street and West Campus Drive

Saturday, April 22, 2017
9:00 - 11:00 am
Commonwealth Ballroom
Squires Student Center

Saturday, April 22, 2017
11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Spring Family Weekend Tailgate Check-in Table
Dietrick lawn (Washington Street, across from Cassell Coliseum)

Thank you!!

Is your student immersed in the job search process?  Career and Professional Development is here to help!

Whether you have a senior searching for permanent employment or a continuing student looking for summer opportunities, please encourage them to visit Career & Professional Development for assistance.  

The resume and cover letter are the foundation of a successful job search.  These documents may be critiqued through walk-in advising or by scheduling an appointment with one of our career ;advisors. To assist students in getting started on these documents, we offer a Resume and CV Guide and a Cover Letter Guide online.

Does your student feel confident about the interview process?  Interview Stream and our Mock Interview Program can offer the practice they need to excel during an interview. 

Career and Professional Development has so many resources to assist students in the job search process. Our career advisors are happy to work with students as they determine the most helpful resources for their job search.

March 2017 news

Where do our Hokies go after graduation?

Who are their employers? How did they connect with them?
Where are they continuing education? What programs, degrees?
Who gave them advice? What do they wish they'd done differently?
The Post-Graduation Report tells that and more.

Is your student exploring major or career options? Or perhaps in the midst of the job search process? The Post-Graduation Report is a wonderful resource for students to learn about their fellow Hokies’ pre-graduation experience and first destination after graduation — whether continuing education or employed.

The latest report, on the 2015-2016 graduates, is now published; this is based on our annual survey of all B.A., B.S., and A.S. graduates; the survey stays open continuosly for six months past commencement. In the report you can choose to view by major, college or whole university. The report includes:

  • Sources of advice on planning for graduate school 
  • Sources of learning job search skills
  • When job-seeking students began their job search 
  • Number of offers received

We also provide detail reports that tell:

Quick view of:

Access all annual reports and multi year summaries.

February 2017 news

Internships, Gaining Experience, and Spring Connection Job Fair

What is an internship?

An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. [National Association of Colleges and Employers]

An internship is just one of many ways to get experience during college. Over 90% of our graduates had career-related experience during their time here at Virginia Tech. Even so, 1/3 wish they had gotten more! Encourage your student to get started with Internship Central!

Experience – Students Must Have It!

According to an annual survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 90% of employers said candidate experience is a factor in hiring decisions. Advise your student to seek multiple types of experience including field study, part-time and summer jobs, volunteering, service-learning, shadowing, para-professional opportunities, co-op, undergraduate research, and extracurricular involvement including leadership roles. Depending on their major and career field, other terminology and types of experience may be available.

These experiences can help your student try out and confirm their career interests, develop real world skills that enhance their qualifications for future employment, make contacts in their field, and possibly gain offers of full-time employment.

Spring Connection Job Fair

In addition to the many career/job fairs taking place this semester, the Spring Connection Job Fair will be held Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Please encourage your students to take advantage of these events as they search for internships or post-graduation employment.

January 2017 news

Career Outfitters

In the spirit of Ut Prosim, Career and Professional Development is pleased to once again provide new and/or gently used business attire for our Virginia Tech students. Our mission is to not let any student be excluded from career events (interviews, career fairs, information sessions, or networking events) due to a lack of appropriate attire.

Please share with your student that Career Outfitters opens for a limited time at the beginning of February. In this two-day shopping event, your students may browse, try on, and select, at no charge, what they need to be confident in all their career-related events. Available attire includes jackets, pants, skirts, shirts, shoes, ties, and more!

Career Outfitters free shopping dates for students:
Wednesday, February 1, 2017: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Thursday, February 2, 2017: 9:00 am – Noon
Location: Smith Career Center

For the most current information visit Career Outfitters on Facebook!
Questions? Please contact Ms. Becca Scott at 540-231-6241 or by email:

Top five reasons to refer your student to Career and Professional Development and a few resources to get them started.

5. They need to strengthen their interview skills.
- Interview Stream
- Mock Interview Program

4. They need career-related experience or are searching for permanent employment.
- Cooperative Education and Internship Program [CEIP]
- Job and internship search 
- Social and professional media
- Career fairs

3. They need to create a resume or cover letter.
- Resume guide
- Cover letters

2. They are questioning their choice of major.
- Choosing a major
- Virginia Tech Majors A-Z
- What VT grads do with their majors, first year after graduation
- Career Resource Library

And, the #1 reason to refer your student to Career and Professional Development:
We prepare students to succeed!
- Advising: appointments and walk-in.

December 2016 news

Our advisors have so enjoyed working with your students this fall semester! One of the most popular advising topics right now involves the choice of major or what they would like to do with the majors they have selected. You are the most important influence on your student’s career development! We hope the handout, “Career Coaching Your Student,” is helpful to you as you support your student's career journey.

Traitify, formerly Woofound, is a quick self-assessment that may assist your students as they begin to explore their  interests.

Another wonderful resource for career exploration is Candid Students may access informational interviews featuring industry professionals, giving them the first-hand, inside scoop on careers.

Please encourage your students to schedule appointments with us as needed, to determine what resources and next steps will assist them in their decision making process.

Plan now for spring semester career fairs!

As the new year approaches, that means spring semester is just around the corner!  Please remind your students to take a look at the many career fairs offered during the spring and to mark the dates now on their calendars!

Students who have never attended a career fair may review these tips on successful preparation.

Winter break is the perfect time for students to create or fine tune their resumes. We are happy to critique their rough drafts via walk-in advising or a scheduled appointment.

The Career and Professional Development staff wishes you and your family the happiest of holiday seasons and we look forward to working with your students in the new year!

Questions about the CPD news for parents and families can be directed to:
Ms. Heidi Thuesen
Assistant Director
Career & Professional Development