Four-Year College Plan for Career Success

Listed below are some suggested activities you can do each year to help prepare for a career. Please know this timeline is a suggestion only and that it represents the ideal process. And remember career services staff and/or academic advisors are available to assist you each step of the way. 

First Year

  • Your first priority is to adjust to campus life. Learn how to balance academic requirements with campus activities and a social life.
  • Keep your GPA up and seek out academic assistance, tutoring, professors’ office hours, etc. when needed.
  • Explore your academic major options. With the assistance of academic advisors choose GECs that will help you explore different majors.
  • Make a list of previous jobs, volunteer experiences, and courses you’ve taken.  Note what aspects you enjoyed in each experience and see if there are patterns that reveal your strengths and potential majors/career paths.
  • Join a student organization related to your planned or potential major. It’s helpful to talk with students already in your major and these groups often invite alumni or employers to speak.
  • Become acquainted with career services offices and professionals on campus and determine which offices/services you can use by looking at www.careers.osu.edu
  • Look for ways to gain exposure to career fields you’re interested in through internships, volunteering, and part-time and summer jobs.
  • Attend job fairs to learn more about various career fields and entry-level jobs.  A complete list can be found at www.careers.osu.edu  
  • Continue developing the qualities that brought you to Ohio State such as leadership, analytical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills. These are some of the same skills employers are looking for.
  • Talk to alumni and others who either majored in what you plan to major in or who are working in the career field you hope to pursue. Ask your academic advisor or career counselor about additional opportunities for networking.

Sophomore

  • Try to choose a major and actively pursue internship opportunities. If you are uncertain about your major, plan to enroll in ESCE 2272 to explore different majors and careers or work with the Exploration department.
  • Begin to define your interests, skills, and values. Make a list of career or graduate school possibilities and learn more about the most interesting options.
  • Consider pursuing global experiences – study a foreign language, study/intern abroad, volunteer locally, English Conversation Partners, etc.
  • Visit any career services offices and professionals for your major and find out what services are available.
  • Attend career information events throughout the year. For more information visit www.careers.osu.edu
  • Update your resume and have it critiqued by a career professional.
  • Learn how to interview successfully and how to write a really good cover letter. (See OnPACE modules on Buckeye Careers website [http://onpace.osu.edu] and follow up with a Career Services Professional.)
  • Strengthen transferable skills by obtaining a part-time job, summer job, internship, or volunteer experience. Find job listings by talking to people in your network, looking online, and attending job fairs on campus.
  • If you are considering medical school, law school or other graduate school options, talk to a career professional about timelines and preparation.
  • Talk to each professor you have each semester to develop professional connections.  Start collecting letters of recommendation from professors as well as supervisors from your employment, internship, and volunteer experiences.

Junior

  • Make an appointment to see a career services professional to ensure you are on target to achieve your career goals.
  • Thoroughly investigate your favorite career options. Use informational interviewing to learn more about those options. ContactOhioState alumni for conducting educational and career informational interviews.
  • Continue to obtain experience that will position you well for graduate school or employment after graduation, such as volunteer work, part-time jobs, summer internships, and leadership positions in student organizations.
  • Attend employer information sessions in your field of interest. Begin to do in-depth research into companies you will target for full-time employment next year. Keep an eye on their financial status to gauge stability.
  • Update your resume and brush up on your interviewing skills.
  • Join a professional association in your field of interest.
  • If you plan to attend graduate or professional school after graduation:
  • Continue identifying graduate school programs that are compatible with your educational and career goals.
  • Begin obtaining letters of recommendation from faculty for your graduate school applications.
  • Attend the Graduate & Professional School Expo in October www.careerconnection.osu.edu/gradexpo
  • Become familiar with admissions procedures. Find out if you will need to take a standardized test for admission and plan to take it at an optimal time.

Senior

  • If you need to obtain experience in your chosen field, search for internships or part-time jobs through the career offices/services available to you. As you get closer to graduation, search for full-time job listings.
  • Regardless of your graduation date, begin to actively conduct your full-time job search 6-9 months prior to graduation.  Participate in on-campus recruiting if it is offered for your major.
  • Network with potential employers as much as possible your final year at Ohio State and attend employer information sessions.
  • Start researching companies and organizations you wish to pursue for employment and go to career fairs held throughout the year.
  • Participate in a mock interview.
  • Polish your resume, job search letters, and interview skills.
  • Meet with a career services professional to determine which job search strategies would be optimal for you and learn more about career resources you can use during your search.
  • Be sure that you have collected letters of recommendation from your faculty, advisors, and supervisors.
  • Interview for positions before you graduate (ideally 6-9 months prior to graduation).
  • If graduate or professional school is your next step after graduation, meet with a career or academic advisor to plan your application process this year.
  • If you haven’t already done so, find out if standardized tests are required to apply to your target programs and plan to take them as soon as possible.
  • Have your application and statement of purpose reviewed by a Career Connection counselor and a faculty member.
  • Attend the Graduate & Professional School Expo in October www.careerconnection.osu.edu/gradexpo

 

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