Four-Year Career Planning Checklist

First Year – Self Assessment and Awareness

Goal: To have an awareness and understanding of the career development process

  • Create your Handshake profile
  • Explore this great online resource to sign up for programs and events and apply for internship and employment opportunities
  • Take time to understand yourself as an individual. Pay attention to the classes you most enjoy, activities, talk about career ideas and possibilities
  • Meet with a CPD staff member to start your career planning process
  • Identify a few career paths to explore that are of interest
  • Develop a relationship with your academic advisor. See if various majors, electives, education requirements can align with career possibilities
  • Begin to utilize the various resources available to explore your career interests: Handshake, OOH, ONET
  • If you are undecided or do not have a particular interest, assess your values, interests and abilities by taking a career inventory in the Office of Career Planning & Development such as the MyersBriggs Type Indicator and/or Strong Interest Inventory
  • Get involved on and off campus – join student organizations, volunteer and community service opportunities as a method to gain critical experience for your resume
  • Develop your first resume and continue to refine it and adding content throughout your college years as your experience increases and your vision sharpens

Sophomore Year - Exploration

Goal: To connect your skills, interests, values and personality in order to choose a major

  • Continue to utilize Handshake
  • Start practicing and polishing up on your interview skills
  • Actively research career fields that interest you by attending career programs (Services Fair, alumni speakers, panel discussions, Employer Information Sessions)
  • Choose your major based upon alignment to your career planning and eventual credits earned
  • Join campus organizations in areas of professional interest. Continue to stay with and explore other campus activities
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals to gain further insight into the career field(s) that are of interest and begin to develop your professional network
  • Identify at least three marketable skills you already possess for your chosen career, as well as three more that you hope to develop by the time you graduate
  • Begin planning an internship experience
  • Have your resume critiqued and updated with experiences you may have participated in within the last year

Junior Year – Focus, Goal Setting, Gaining Experience

Goal: Gain relevant experience and explore career options relevant to your major

  • Continue to utilize Handshake
  • Continue to practice and polish up your interview skills
  • Secure an internship. Also consider volunteer, study abroad and community service opportunities. If feasible, securing more than 1 of these opportunities prior to graduation will increase your marketability for the job hunt and/or grad. school application.
  • Run for e-board positions in student organizations and higher offices the next year. These will provide excellent resume material and interview examples
  • Continue to attend & participate in both on and off campus career programs in order to explore your options and network with potential employers
  • Fine tune your resume, cover letter and interviewing skills as you continue to expand your skills and experience
  • Research graduate and professional school options
  • Attend the Graduate School Prep Series & Grad School Fair
  • Begin planning your final year with CPD to ensure your preparation is on target for meeting the needs of potential employers

Senior Year – Self Marketing

Goal: Identify the career path that is most satisfying, have a successful job search, interview process and secure a job

  • Apply for jobs in Handshake
  • Join professional organizations
  • Fine tune your resume and cover letter for graduation
  • Practice your interviewing skills through a mock interview
  • Prepare for your job search with all of the prerequisite material (resume, cover letter, transcripts, etc.)
  • Attend as many recruiting, informational and networking events as possible both on and off campus