Four-Year College Plan for Career Success
Below is an example of several steps a student can take each year of his/her college career to further develop career goals and prepare for after-graduation employment.
- Get acquainted with all career-related programs and services available to you, including a visit to Career Connection.
- Begin to explore your interests, skills, and values: understanding what you like, what you do well, and what's important to you will help you choose a satisfying career path.
- If your college offers internship or co-op opportunities, find out how and when you can get involved.
- Join at least one campus organization and become an active member. Consider becoming a community volunteer.
- Work with your academic advisor. Choose GECs that will improve your skills in writing, math, communication, and computer skills. Discuss career options and ask for tips on what you can do now.
- Talk to alumni and others who either majored in your program or are currently in a position that you would like to pursue. What advice can they provide?
- Start thinking about your resume and meet with a career advisor to fine-tune your first draft.
- Think about your part-time employment and summer employment opportunities. What could you do this summer--paid or volunteer-that would develop your skills and give you a preview of a potential career path?
- Talk to your major department advisors. 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.
- Enroll in a career development class to help clarify your career goals and review the campus services available to help you reach those goals.
- Take on a responsible role in a campus or community organization: offer to chair a committee or project team; consider running for office.
- Update your resume. Learn how to write cover letters.
- Attend one or more career fairs relevant to your major to meet employers who are hiring interns and full-time employees.
- Continue to explore your interests, skills, and values. Develop rapport with an academic or career advisor.
- Investigate new internship opportunities through college career services offices. Apply for positions at least one quarter in advance and register with your academic department for credit, if available. Plan early - some internships have deadlines as early as the Fall for the following Summer!
- Fine-tune or improve your computer skills. Visit the Office of Information Technology website for the training schedule.
- Become involved in at least one student organization in your major. Check websites for events sponsored by your department and attend these events.
- Be sure your grades are strong, particularly if you are considering graduate or professional school, or a career in a highly competitive field.
- Approach your faculty for information on potential research opportunities.
- Brush up on your interviewing skills. Practice techniques with your career advisor.
- Update your resume.
- Actively conduct "informational interviews". Learn more about careers and how to obtain an internship or job in your chosen field.
- Consider whether a graduate or professional school program is necessary for your chosen career path. Explore programs and begin the application process.
- What is your weakest area? Take a course to improve those skills, particularly writing and communications.
- Continue to be active on and off campus; find ways to contribute to issues you care about; assume leadership roles, start your own group.
- Work closely with your college and major department advisors; become involved in departmental meetings and events; visit their websites to keep abreast of events.
- Join a professional association in your field of interest.
- Get another internship.
- Visit your college career services office and websites for dates of upcoming career events.
- Attend career fairs. Meet employers who are hiring interns and full-time employees.
- Collect letters of recommendation. If you plan on attending graduate or professional school, collect any other materials needed in the application process.
- Many employers start interviewing June graduates in early October. If your college career services office offers on-campus interviews, find out what you need to do to participate.
- Watch for all career or job search strategy workshops offered on campus. Take advantage of the free assistance and support available.
- Consider another internship - often job leads are a result of a successful internship.
- Meet with a career advisor for assistance. Hone specific job search strategies.
- Be sure that you have collected letters of recommendation from your faculty, advisors, and supervisors.
- Attend the career fairs. Meet employers who are hiring interns and full-time employees.
- Start researching companies and organizations you wish to pursue for employment.
- Start applying early for career-related jobs or finalizing graduate and professional school applications. Apply and interview for positions 4 to 8 months prior to graduation. Sign up for on-campus interviews if available.
- Network - give your resume to anyone who can help your career search process and continue to do informational interviews.