How to Talk About Career Goals with Your Family During the Holidays

By Allie Simon, Associate Director for Career Engagement

While we might welcome winter break as a “time off” from school, studying, and assignments, we also know that this time can be stressful as a student. Whether you are engaging with family in-person or virtually this holiday season, we know that family members are often “curious” about your studies and your goals for the future.

These conversations can be challenging- especially if you are in a time of transition! While these conversations usually come from a place of care, it is important to think through how you might handle family members’ career questions. Here are some quick strategies to help you respond to these pesky questions:

Anticipate Questions

One of the best strategies to prepare for these career conversations with family members is to think through what type of questions they may ask ahead of time. Based on your relationship with your family members, you can probably predict what they might want to know about your plans or goals. Your dad might want to know, “When are you starting your job search?” while your Aunt Susie might just ask a broader question of “What are you going to do with that major?” Anticipating these questions can help you reflect and strategize your answer.

Share What You Know

If you are unsure about your career, questions about your job search, graduation goals, or major selection can bring up a lot of frustration. Instead of answering with an “I don’t know,” share what you DO know about your career plans. For example, if you are unsure of your major, share a couple majors you are considering, what classes you took this semester, and what you learned. You can also share what you are doing to explore different options for yourself, such as taking additional electives or working with an academic advisor. This type of response will show that you are actively thinking through your options!

Consider What is in Your Control

Especially with job searching, there are a lot of factors that are outside of your control. When your Grandma asks, “Where are you going to work after graduation?” you will not know the answer unless you have already confirmed and signed a job offer. These pointed questions can cause a lot of anxiety especially during an uncertain season. When these questions arise, it can be helpful to share what you can control in your job search strategy. You can share the research you have been doing on your industry, how you have strengthened your job search documents, or how you have been practicing for interviews. Shifting the conversation back to what you have control over in the job search process shows that you are working towards your plan.

Connect with the Career Connections Center

This holiday season, you may also hear many comments about the “job market” and how it has been impacted this year. While this is a reality of today’s world, as a University of Florida student, you have access to a top-ranked career center to help you find experience, develop yourself as a future professional, and plan for your goals after graduation.

Employers are still seeking UF students for internships and full-time jobs, and graduate schools are still recruiting students for their programs! The Career Connections Center can help you through this time of uncertainty and connect you to career opportunities.

We all know that questions about your career plans can be stressful, especially during the holiday season when we are connecting more with family. Remembering these tips and strategies will help you feel more confident, relaxed, and even excited about your future.

Happy Holidays!

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