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

February 2018 news

It is the time of the year when your student is being asked: “Where are you going for the summer?” “What does an internship in your field look like?” “Are you going to have a job this summer?”

As your student begins thinking and talking about their summer plans, it is important to encourage them to:

Gain experience: It can seem like a daunting task for many students, but you can support your student by helping them break down the process into smaller, more feasible steps.  Gaining experience does not only come from paid summer internship positions.  Job shadowing, undergraduate research, volunteering, and cooperative education programs are all great ways to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields!

Through his experience, Andrew Bolkhovitinov (Mechanical Engineering) learned that “Everyone you meet knows something you don’t. One of the most valuable resources at a company is the employees’ knowledge-base. Also, I learned how crucial clear and concise communication is in the workplace.”

Providing your student with descriptions of ways to gain experience may open up their mind to other options. There are a variety of sites for students to check out when it comes to finding opportunities. Interested in learning more about the importance of gaining experience? Check out this Gallup News article!

Attend career fairs: Career fairs provide students with the opportunity to network with employers while gaining experience in a professional setting and possibly even landing an internship or job.  All students are encouraged to attend any of the fairs, whether they are hosted by a Virginia Tech college or department, Career and Professional Development, or a chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association. There are also virtual fairs that you can suggest your student attend as well.

Participate in information sessions, which are a wonderful, often overlooked, pre-interviewing step for students to take as they transition from seeking to interviewing for opportunities.

Hone interviewing skills as they are necessary for the job search process, but are often primarily gained through experience.  As your student prepares for their interview, they may find it beneficial to glance over a few quick tips and potential interview questions to ease their nerves.  Suggesting that your student visit Career and Professional Development for a Mock Interview appointment or practice an interview using Interview Stream are other ways to support your student through this process.

Important February 2018 dates:

January 2018 news

Professional Development

Learning how to become a professional is vital to one’s career success, but it is often a topic not discussed among students. Career and Professional Development provides programs, events, and information to assist students in becoming a professional in whatever field they feel is their calling.

Career Outfitters

Professional clothing is both a professional necessity and a large expense. From interviews, career fairs, and day-to-day work, it is beneficial for your student to have at least one professional outfit.

Career and Professional Development collects new and gently used clothing throughout the year, and on February 1st and 2nd, our office will open our building as a clothing closet for Career Outfitters. All students are invited to stop by the Smith Career Center to learn about professional attire (including how to tie a tie and tailor a suit) while looking for their own professional outfit. The best part of the program is that the outfit is free and for the student to keep!

Are You Career Ready?

If you ask a room of people, whether employers, faculty and staff, or students, what skills every professional should have, you will often hear the same answers. Communication, teamwork, leadership, and other skills are almost always mentioned.

Based on research conducted on employers that hire college students, our staff has developed seven professional competencies that every Virginia Tech student should develop before graduating. Head over to our Develop page where students can assess their own career readiness!

Graduate/Professional School Prep

Is your student considering graduate or professional school in the future? Whether your student is still deciding if graduate school is right for them or if they are beginning their applications, Career and Professional Development provides advice and resources for continuing one’s education. Our office even has a dedicated staff, known as Health Professions Advising (HPA), for those interested in pursuing a health related field.

With many programs having applications deadlines in the early spring semester, it’s never too early to speak with a career advisor about preparing for and applying to graduate or professional schools.

Upcoming Events

Early spring is a popular time for many of Virginia Tech’s career fairs, such as the Connection Fair, Business Horizons, and the Architecture + Design Career Day. To learn more about upcoming career fairs, visit our career fairs listing!

Career Outfitters – February 1st and 2nd

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!!

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