Career Services at VMI are available to every cadet.
VMI cadets have the option to commission in one of the military services at graduation. Cadets who do not choose to take an active commission in one of the military services are required to participate in four semesters of Leadership Studies during their last two years at VMI. These courses teach the basics of career and leadership development.
However, by the time a cadet reaches the second class (junior) year and begins Leadership Lab, he/she should already be familiar with how to use the Career Services resources at VMI.
Cadets who are planning to take an active military commission are encouraged to pursue internships and learn the job-search process. Even if they choose to stay in the military for 20 years, they will only be in their early 40's at that point - in the prime of their careers. Knowing how to conduct a successful job search is a valuable life skill.
There are any number of ways that you, as a VMI parent, can assist the Career Services staff.
Here are a few examples:
- Contact the HR department at your place of employment about recruiting on Post for full-time positions and internships. If your organization cannot come to Lexington to recruit on Post, perhaps they would be willing to post an internship or entry-level positions on VMI's Handshake.
- Identify internship opportunities for cadets in your organization or your community.
- Notify Career Services of such internships or post these on VMI's Handshake.
- Volunteer to come to Post to talk with cadets about your career field/organization.
- Volunteer to house a VMI cadet who is interning in your community.
There are many other ways you might be able to help extend the Career Services program at VMI. We welcome your suggestions!
Parents can help cadets move toward readiness and through the career planning process by:
- encouraging their cadet to think about career fields of interest early and often. This entails having an open mind when your cadet considers careers that might not parallel parental expectations. Your cadet has to find a career field that matches his/her interests, values, skills, and talents in order to experience satisfaction during the majority of his/her waking hours for the next 50 years.
- familiarizing themselves with the suggested Office of Career Services Four Year Plan for Cadets reminding their cadet about the steps to take each semester.
- exercising patience when cadets consider changing majors or when they are undecided about their future goals.
- reminding your cadet regularly to use Career Services. In the hustle and bustle of life at VMI sometimes cadets lose sight of the outside world. It takes time and advance planning, if your cadet needs to find summer employment, study abroad, attempt independent research, or try out different career fields before graduation.
- providing support while cadets are testing out their career interests. Help your cadet look realistically at each job he/she tries. Help your cadet stretch his/her horizons through internships and study abroad opportunities. Looking at your cadet's career options non-judgementally. Let your cadet know that you want to learn more about the career fields that interest him/her. Do some research. Show your interest - share what you have learned in an objective, non-directive manner.
- stepping back and watching when your cadet chooses to try an internship. Let your cadet experience the job and a sense of independence.
- consciously planning to reduce your role in your cadet's decisions each year at VMI. Certainly, one of the most difficult parts of being a parent is knowing when to let go and let your offspring fly on their own. VMI provides an excellent environment for learning the responsibilities that come with freedom. Part of this developmental process is learning how to earn a living. Parents cannot do this for their children. Better to let them try and fail while in college than to wait and do it after graduation, when there is little or no support system.