4-Year Career Development Plan
Career development is a process in which everyone has a different starting point. The following plan is intended to provide you with some general guidelines to the process. Based on your background and goals some of the steps may not be applicable to your individual situation.
You are encouraged to meet with a career counselor to develop a personalized strategy that will assist you in maximizing your college experience.
- Identify and reflect on your interests, values, skills, and traits
- Discover academic and career related pursuits that match your interests
Track Your Experience
- Begin tracking activities, noting accomplishments and things you are proud of through a resume or portfolio
- Participate in clubs and activities that relate to academic and career interests
- Explore classes that are of interest, and identify academic areas that might be potential majors
- Attend campus events that will assist you with your decision making (e.g. Major/Minor Fair, Choosing a Major workshop)
- Become familiar with the Career Center and resources provided, including FisherConnects
- Focus on your academic coursework to start off your college career with a strong GPA
- Use career resources to learn more about career options and fields of interest (What can I do with a major in…, Occupational Outlook Handbook, CandidCareer, and O*Net)
- Identify key skills and experiences that are important in those career areas
- Speak with faculty and Career Center staff to learn about career options associated with various academic majors
- Conduct informational interviews to learn more about desired industries and job functions
- Research requirements for various experiential opportunities such as study abroad, service learning, internships, practicums, and undergraduate research
- Develop bullet points for current experiences to demonstrate skills and abilities relevant to desired career field
- Identify "Gap" areas in skills and experience that might be required by the career field, and consider options for building those skills/experiences (internships, volunteer, leadership roles, and other campus activities)
- Narrow down activities/volunteer opportunities to ones you are truly interested in, and become more involved
- Attend events where you can engage with professionals, such as: career fairs, information sessions, networking events, talks, and panels
Involvement on Campus
- Consider taking leadership roles, or more responsibility in relevant campus clubs
- Identify research opportunities on campus, if relevant to career and academic interests
- Attend career events that match with current career needs and interests
- Enroll in ITDY 109: Career Planning and Exploration for 1 credit
- Expand network and conduct additional informational interviews within the Fisher community. Utilize the SJFC Alumni Group on LinkedIn, FisherConnects and attend networking events sponsored by the Career Center.
- Develop a resume and application timeline for experiential opportunities
- Internships: identify organizations that fit with career interests and apply for opportunities during the year or over the summer
- Research: participate in research, particularly if applying for graduate programs or work experiences that would value the experience
- Volunteer: look for more substantial volunteer opportunities that may provide you with job related skills (e.g. Develop social media page for a non-profit), or working with a population you are interested in
- If applying to graduate school, prepare by taking practice entrance exams such as GRE, GMAT, MCAT, or LSAT
- Begin to refine interview skills with interview prep opportunities offered by the Career Center (e.g. Interview workshops, Mock Interviews)
Making a Decision and Taking Action
Creating Competitive Application Documents
- Update resume and portfolio with your relevant experiences, and bullet points that show your related skills, abilities, and results relevant to opportunities you will apply for
- Craft a cover letter that can be adapted for opportunities of interest
- Write a draft networking email to send to potential contacts
- Grow and maintain your network. Identify contacts that you can speak with regarding your career interests, and who can share information about their position or company
- Reach out to contacts, and conduct informational interviews- stay in touch throughout the year
- Develop a comprehensive strategy to make sure you are staying on track with your job search or graduate school applications. Develop and use selection criteria to conduct a targeted search. Identify your industry or academic program, organizations, geographic preferences, and job target.
- Set realistic goals for your job search activity that you will complete within a structured time frame. For example, contact 3 new people and submit 10 resumes each week.
Apply for Opportunities
- Be aware of deadlines and make sure all application materials are ready to go
- Graduate programs - resume, personal statement, recommendation letters, test scores, transcripts, and any supplemental materials a school might request
- Jobs - resume, cover letter, reference list, writing sample(s), and transcripts (sometimes)
Review your goals and choices, and revise your options as needed. Utilize the Fisher community and the resources of the Career Center in your journey.