Published on Dec. 1, 2021
As a first generation student, you are piloting their own path in college without following in family footsteps. By default, this makes you resilient and resourceful. However, there could be some specific challenges you might face when navigating career and major decisions because you are forging a different path than those before you.
Recently, Mizzou hosted a panel of Career Services staff members providing career tips and advice from a unique perspective. The panel members were former first generation students themselves, bringing their own experiences into how they guide students here. Take a moment to check out their tips customized for you:
Tip 1: Embrace your first gen experience
- Take advantage of the resources geared toward you at Mizzou
- Share experience among other students as a way to connect
- Talk about your first gen experience and what you have gained in your resume, cover letter, interview, and networking
Tip 2: Engage in self-reflection to understand skills, strengths and what you value
- Are your goals, your goals? Make sure your path is your own, even if you are feeling a greater sense of responsibility as the first student in your family to change trajectory.
- What have you done already and how has it influenced where you are now? Talk with a Career Specialist for more ideas of ways to reflect on who you are and what you do well.
Tip 3: Gain experience your way
- Gain transferable skills: it is your journey, so find experiences through academics, work, or involvement
- Engage in campus organizations and/or volunteer in the community
- Work part-time jobs
- Take classes in areas that interest you, check out Service Learning and Undergrad Research
Tip 4: Make Connections and Build Relationships
- Employers: attend career events/fairs
- Mentors: someone you connect with (could be formal or informal). Check out Mizzou Mentoring!
- Networking: for anything you are involved in or attend, building upon relationships
Tip 5: Use Career Services Early and Often
- Connect with your MU Career Services Office to find out what services are available to you
- Start small: engage in a resume review, take an assessment, etc.
Check out Mizzou Career Tools to filter for resources related to these tips, and go to this customized First Gen Students page for specific resources, articles, and videos. Next, take action: consider one easy step you can take soon to move in the direction of career readiness, and do it!