CEHD Career Services is First Gen Proud!  

CEHD Career Services is First Gen Proud!


CEHD Career Services, the University of Minnesota and colleges across the U.S. are celebrating the presence and experience of first-generation college students, faculty, and staff on campus! If your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor’s degree, then you are considered a first generation college student.

Strengths of First-Generation College Students

As a first-generation college student you have many unique strengths, qualities and skills that will help you on your career journey and move you towards career success!

Some that come to mind: Persistence, focus, motivation, self-awareness, resilience, responsibility, commitment, independence, resourcefulness, overcome barriers, value driven, determination

Along with these from Career Development of First-Generation College Students: Pioneers in Our High Schools :

  • A willingness to be first and take risks in pursuing a career
  • A genuine, intrinsic desire to have a better life through higher education
  • Wanting to bring pride to their family, school, and community with their academic and career achievements
  • A resilient spirit with the ability to persist in your goals and dreams
  • The desire and ability to overcome the odds of poverty, circumstance, lack of family support, and institutional barriers 

Career Tips for First-Generation College Students

    • Create Meaningful Relations. Have courage to share your unique story with others who can be your mentors and travel with you on your career journey. Developing connections and building your social capital will help you learn about careers, give you insights into the internship and job search and develop your network.
    • It’s okay to ask questions.  Your family members can help you answer questions about your history and values, which is a big part of finding meaning in your career. Your peers can help you answer questions about your own college experience because they may be going through it as well. Faculty and staff can help answer questions you have about career resources and share their stories. 
    • Gain Experience. A college degree is only part of what you need for career success. A career counselor can work with you to find great opportunities to explore and experience different types of work and environments.
    • You are already on your path to career success!  Keep going! Take time to acknowledge your strengths and many accomplishments. Then assess where you are in the process, determine your next steps and who can help you move forward.

Try to maintain good relationships with the people you previously worked with. Reach out to your former boss/mentor and update them with what’s going on in your life. You would be surprised to find out how pleased they are to hear from you again. They might even be willing to offer any assistance and inform you if any opportunities that come their way.”   – Barnes Kiven, CEHD Senior, Business and Marketing Education

The CEHD Career Services team  is here to help you on your career journey! Most of our staff were also first-generation students and are here to support you. Meet with a career counselor or attend one of our career events.

We hope to see you soon!


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I’m First! is an online community providing first-generation college students with inspiration, information, and support on the road to and through college.