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.
- Visit the Career Services Center and our website at www.stcloudstate.edu/careerservices to learn more about our services.
- Meet with a career counselor to help clarify your academic and career interests and options.
- Take the FOCUS or MBTI career assessments to identify careers that match your interests, skills, values, and personality.
- Get involved in 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.
- Participate in volunteer opportunities that can add to your skill set.
- 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 strongest talents and skills (academic and personal).
- Attend a seminar on how to choose a major and explore careers.
- Get to know your instructors, begin building relationships, and seek out an academic mentor.
- Choose part-time and 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.
- 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.
- Declare a major and meet with your major advisor to plan coursework that meets your major requirements.
- 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 with professionals who are working in fields that interest you.
- Join a club or organization related to your major.
- Volunteer with an organization that will give you experience related to your major or career field.
- Check out study abroad programs for a chance to study in a foreign country and gain valuable experience living in another culture.
- Write your first resume and have it reviewed. Attend the Career Services Center resume writing seminar to help you get started.
- Explore internship possibilities.
- Choose part-time and summer jobs or internships that relate to your major.
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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.
- Make a tentative career goal and a list of alternative career options.
- 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.
- Gain leadership skills through 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.
- Update and polish your resume and have it reviewed by an advisor in Career Services.
- Write a sample cover letter and have it reviewed.
- Conduct informational interviews to help you focus your career goals, obtain real world information and NETWORK!
- Practice your interviewing skills by doing a mock interview.
- 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.
- Register on www.scsucareers.com. Learn how to search for jobs and internships, post your resume, and sign up for on campus interviews.
- Complete an internship. Connect with your major advisor or internship coordinator to discuss how to incorporate internships into your academic plan.
- If you are considering graduate or professional school, begin researching programs and reviewing application requirements. Plan on taking any entrance exams during the summer prior to your senior year.
- Complete an internship during the year or the summer before 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.
- Register with the Career Services Center on www.scsucareers.com.
- 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.
- Start your job search early – don’t wait until after you graduate! Many fields start hiring new graduates a year in advance.
- Last chance to get hands on experience – do an internship, volunteer, and get involved on campus.
- Finalize your resume and bring it to Career Services to have it reviewed.
- 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.
- Use the Career Services Center website and Resource Library to research employers and company information, salaries, job outlook, and more.
- Join a professional organization related to your career field.
- 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.
- Take advantage of the Career Prep Party, career fairs, Feedback Fridays, and on campus interviews to network with employers.
- Attend job fairs to seek out employment opportunities.
- Explore position openings on the internet through the Career Services Center website.
- Network, network, NETWORK!
- Identify interesting job opportunities and submit applications. Stay organized by keeping a log of all employer contacts, interview offers, and follow-up activities.
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