Timeline for Career Planning & Job Searching for Students

Career planning is a very individual process. However, here is a suggested timeline that may enhance your career preparation and help you stay on track.

FRESHMEN YEAR

Self-Assessment and Career Planning Activities

  • Explore your career interests by visiting with your Career Center, faculty, advisors, counselors, friends, and professionals. Talk to people and use helpful tools such as career assessments and career counseling appointments.
  • Utilize your self-assessments to identify jobs that match your personality, abilities, values, interests, skills, academic training, and life experiences.

  • Write the answers to the following Key Questions as part of your self-assessment:

1) What Do I Want To Do?
2) What Can I Do?
3) What Do I Need To Do To Develop Myself Further?
4) How Can I Get The Job I Want After Graduation?

  • Join student organizations to develop interpersonal, leadership and diversity skills.

Summer Break After Freshman Year

  • Get a summer job (if you're not already working) to gain experience and earn money.

SOPHOMORE YEAR

Career Exploration and Investigation Activities

  • Read books and periodicals about the world of work, office politics, corporate culture, and career advancement. Conduct informational interviews to learn from people who are doing a job that interests you.

  • Create a file of information about specific careers and narrow your potential choices to two or three options.

  • Create a resume and cover letters.  Develop your job search skills.

  • Write out the answers to the following Key Questions:

1) What Do I Have To Offer An Employer?
2) Who Needs What I Have To Offer?
3) How Do I Make Them Want To Hire Me?

Summer Break After Sophomore Year

  • Get a summer job where you will continue to build a good work experience file and reference list. Develop job-related skills - communication, team skills, computer, writing.

JUNIOR YEAR

Career Development and Experience

  • Create a career action plan and job search log and put them in a binder. Add your notes on short-term and long-term career goals, and your written answers to Key Questions.

  • If graduate or professional school is in your future, research programs and entrance requirements. Take any required entrance exams - GRE, GMAT, LSAT, etc.

  • Establish professional relationships with faculty, counselors, and employers.

  • Review and update your resume and job search correspondence. Attend seminars and workshops on resume writing, cover letters, and effective interviewing techniques.

  • Seek out internship experiences to gain valuable skills and to check your qualifications for work in your chosen field.

  • Network! The aim is to develop your people network so that job leads will develop.

Summer Break After Junior Year

  • Get a summer job or internship in your chosen field.

  • Further develop your job-related and computer skills.

SENIOR YEAR

Job Search/Transition to Workplace Activities

  • Rev up your job search campaign.  Put it into high gear!

  • Check CougarJOBS often for job listings and information about upcoming career events.

  • Network! Network! And network some more!  Talk to everybody you can who may be able to assist you in your career and/or job search.

  • Keep your career action plan and job search log updated with job search results.

  • Have your resume critiqued at the Career Center and attend career workshops.  Assess how you perform during job interviews.  Participate in videotaped mock interviews.

  • Use the Internet to thoroughly research employers.  Read recruitment ads and job listings to identify those organizations actively recruiting job candidates.

  • Schedule on-campus and company interviews with as many employers as possible.

  • Apply to graduate and/or professional school, if that is part of your plan.

  • Consider any job offers you receive and accept the job that best fits your career needs.

  • Find a mentor who can help you adjust to your new work environment.

  • Perform effectively, be a team member, support your manager, and move up in the organization.