Four Year Planning Guide
WHAT IS CAREER DEVELOPMENT?
Career development is an exciting, ongoing process that involves self-assessment, exploration, gaining experience, and transitioning to the world of work. Making good decisions related to your career requires high levels of personal awareness as well as knowledge about various opportunities and the realities of the workforce. College is an excellent time to learn about yourself and experiment with different occupations that may interest you. It is strongly recommended that you begin your career planning early (yes, even during freshman year!) and visit the Career Services Center often to best prepare yourself for a great career after graduation!
This outline is intended to help you in your career planning. Review the suggestions below and then develop your own career path that will help you make the most of your academic, personal and career growth!
1st Year - Self Assessment
Start to identify your strengths, values, abilities, interests and skills. Get involved on campus and explore different options.
- Attend an Advising & Registration Day.
- Participate in New Student Orientation.
- Get involved! Identify at least two student organizations or residence hall activities that will help you explore and define your career goals while building important communication, teamwork, and critical thinking skills. To learn more, visit Mainstreet.
- Visit the Career Services Center and our website at www.stcloudstate.edu/careerservices to learn more about our services.
- Take the FOCUS, Kuder Journey or MBTI career assessments to identify careers that match your interests, skills, values, and personality.
- Develop a resume for part-time jobs, internships or service-learning projects and update it regularly as you participate in new experiences. Attend a resume writing seminar for assistance.
- Find a part-time job to start gaining work experience and important skills - visit scsucareers.com
- Participate in volunteer opportunities that can add to your skill set.
- Meet with a career counselor to help clarify your academic and career interests and options.
- Get off to a good start academically - work hard in your classes. Develop strong study skills to help you succeed in the classroom. Take advantage of free tutoring through the Academic Learning Center if necessary.
- Determine the values that are important to you in a career (prestige, salary, flexibility, challenge, etc.).
- Identify your main areas of interest (hobbies, school subjects, extracurricular activities, etc.) and what majors or careers they might relate to.
- Make a tentative list of 5-10 majors/careers you want to explore further.
- Take a variety of classes to complete your Liberal Education requirements - explore new topics you may be interested in.
- Get to know your instructors, begin building relationships, and seek out an academic mentor.
- Visit with your advisor to register for classes and to help you with completion of your Husky Academic Navigator.
- Choose summer jobs that relate to your career interests.
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2nd Year - Career Exploration
Narrow your choices of major (and minor) and apply for admission to your major. Research careers that relate to your major.
- Enroll in introductory courses in majors you may be considering to see if it is a good fit.
- Utilize the Career Resource Library, Career Services Center website, and other reference materials available to help you with career exploration and preparation.
- Make an appointment with a career counselor for help with choosing a major and exploring careers.
- Take COLL 111, Career and Life Planning (2 credit course).
- Talk to faculty and current students in the major(s) you are interested in to learn more about the field and academic requirements.
- Visit with your advisor to complete your Husky Academic Navigator.
- Choose your major and meet with your new major faculty advisor to set up an academic plan and discuss your goals. Meet with a career counselor to clarify your decision. Get to know faculty in your major.
- Establish short-term and long-term goals related to your career.
- Find out what types of careers you can pursue with your major.
- Conduct informational interviews or job shadow with professionals who are working in fields that interest you to get "inside information" about the career or the world of work.
- Continue to get involved and start gaining experience related to your major. Start the internship exploration process.
- Volunteer with an organization that will give you experience related to your major or career field.
- Check out education abroad programs for a chance to study in a foreign country and gain valuable experience living in another culture.
- Attend the Career Prep Party and Feedback Fridays to start networking with employers and to identify internship/job possibilities.
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3rd Year - Gain Experience
Relate interests, abilities and values to possible career choices and gain experience. Be creative and consider opportunities where you can obtain transferable skills.
- Continue researching and trying out different career choices.
- Make a tentative career goal and a list of alternative career options. Discuss them with career counselors, faculty members and professionals.
- Choose your courses carefully to stay on track for graduation. Consider a minor or enroll in classes that will complement your major or career goals.
- Relate course projects and papers to your career field.
- Secure a career-related internship during the year or the summer before your senior year. Connect with your major advisor or internship coordinator to discuss how to incorporate internships into your academic plan.
- Continue to gain leadership skills through part-time work, student or professional organizations, student government, residential life, or volunteering.
- Continue your career research in the Career Services Center resource area - research employers, salary information, employment outlook, etc.
- Attend Career Services Center seminars on resume writing and interviewing skills.
- Continue to update and polish your resume and cover letter and have it reviewed by Career Services staff.
- Update your profile on scsucareers.com - search and apply for jobs and internships, post your updated resume, and sign up for on campus interviews.
- Continue to conduct informational interviews or job shadow to help you focus your career goals, obtain real world information and NETWORK!
- Practice your interviewing skills by doing a mock interview to get feedback on your interviewing skills.
- Attend job fairs to connect with potential employers for jobs or internships. Attend the Career Prep Party to learn how to maximize your career fair experience.
- Start to evaluate graduate and professional programs if you are considering graduate or professional school. Register and plan on taking any admission exams (GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT) during the summer prior to your senior year.
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4th Year - Secure Employment
Start early and be actively engaged in the job search process. Identify and apply for jobs or prepare for graduate school.
- Start your job search early – don’t wait until after you graduate! Many fields start hiring new graduates a year in advance.
- Serve in leadership roles on campus and in the community.
- Do an internship if you haven't already done so, or consider doing a second internship to gain more experience and transition to your career.
- Attend Career Services Center seminars on interviewing, resume writing and job searching.
- Meet with a career counselor to brainstorm job search strategies for your field and create an individualized job search plan.
- Visit the Career Resource Library, and use resources on our website to prepare yourself for the internship and job search.
- Continue to perfect your resume and cover letter bring it to Career Services to have it reviewed.
- Research potential employers you might want to work for.
- Use scsucareers.com to search and apply for jobs, post your resume, get employer contact information, and more.
- Take advantage of the Career Prep Party, career fairs, employer presentations and on-campus interviews to network with employers.
- Talk with individuals (professors, current or previous employers, mentors) who will serve as your references and give them a copy of your resume.
- Polish your interviewing skills by doing mock interviews. Prepare answers to common questions and know how to highlight your skills and experience.
- If you plan to go to graduate school, narrow down your choices and submit applications. Make sure you pay attention to deadlines – many applications are due as early as January.
- Visit the Career Services Center or go online to research things like salary negotiation, relocation, etc.
- Identify interesting job opportunities and submit applications. Stay organized by keeping a log of all employer contacts, interview offers, and follow-up activities.
- Create a LinkedIn account if you haven't already. For more information, attend a LinkedIn Seminar sponsored by the Career Services Center.
- Transition to the world of work!
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