A A Email Print Share

Career Basics: General Planning

Start planning your career now or you may have a difficult time finding a job. One year is not enough time to do an internship or undergraduate research and investigate the specifics of your field. Those students who do not really know what they want to do in the second term of their senior year are at a serious disadvantage. Give yourself the advantage. Get out there and decide which career path to take and develop a method to attain your goals. The following is a list of steps you can take each year to plan for your career.

Freshman

  • Decide which career is for you. So you are a biologist, does that mean you want to work in industry as a technician or in academe as a faculty member? If you are a chemist, do you want to start up a polymer science company, or would you prefer to do clinical trials for the FDA.
  • Visit career services and look through the library to see which types of places you could do the job you have in mind.
  • Decide what benefits and logistical issues are important to you. Is your main concern to have good health care and a stable job? Are you more interested in how much you will make? Do you want to live in a city or a rural setting? All of these types of questions will help you define your career goals.
  • Look into internships or undergraduate research to give yourself an advantage when you are job hunting.

Sophomore

  • Start to explore your selected career options by job shadowing or finding a mentor in that position.
  • Attend resume and interview workshops. It takes time to develop good skills, start now.
  • Look into internships or undergraduate research to give yourself an advantage when you are job hunting.
  • Start taking courses that will help you in your specific career. This will also give you a better chance at the internships you would like.
  • Explore outreach programs. Volunteer work is becoming more and more important on a resume. Make sure you take the time to do some outreach before it is too late.
  • Attend meetings of student professional organizations.

Junior

  • Decide if you will need to attend graduate school or a pre-professional program to attain your goals. Look up ranked lists of schools in your field.
  • Continue to attend resume and interview workshops.
  • Look into internships or undergraduate research to give yourself an advantage when you are job hunting.
  • Continue taking courses that will help you in your specific career. This will also give you a better chance at the internships you would like.
  • Make sure you have started to develop relationships with faculty and professionals.
  • Job shadow or interview people in your career of choice.

Senior

  • If you will be attending a graduate or pre-professional program, make sure you get all application materials. Start working on essays.
  • Attend an Orientation workshop in the Career Services Center.
  • Visit career services and sign up for the resume service and interview schedule.
  • Attend job fairs.
  • Decide which companies to apply to for positions. Find a contact and start sending out resumes and letters.