Student Four-Year Career Plan
Having a career plan during your college years can make all the difference in embarking on a successful career or pursuing graduate studies. Here is a plan you can use to keep yourself on track.
First Year: Explore Possibilities
- Visit the Center for Career and Calling. Get to know our staff and services, and explore our website and online resources.
- Join CCC on any or all of our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Pinterest. Update your privacy settings and maintain professional online behavior (assume potential employers are checking out your profile and postings!).
- Attend Center for Career and Calling events and workshops. Learn more about the world of work.
- Clarify your interests, values, and strengths. Utilize our online interest and career-assessment tools.
- Get involved. Join a group or club that will help develop your interpersonal and teamwork skills, and make friends.
- Identify tentative majors. Explore the online catalog, and take a variety of classes.
- Establish relationships. Peer advisors, faculty members, academic advisors, and career counselors will be some of your best allies during your time at SPU.
- Get good grades. Work hard and connect with your professors, study groups, and the Center for Learning.
- Track your activities by starting a résumé. Keep relevant notes and information in a “career” file.
- Take GS 2001: “Major and Career Exploration.” If you can’t take it now, register next year.
Sophomore Year: Evaluate Options
- Meet with a career counselor. Discuss major and career options, and make a plan for evaluating and making decisions.
- Research careers. Investigate a few options using O*Net, and other CCC online resources.
- Attend the Center for Career and Calling workshops and programs. Become more “occupationally literate.”
- Stay involved. Participate in extracurricular activities to develop leadership and collaborative skills.
- Narrow down your major choices. Meet with faculty and academic advisors to clarify your thoughts and develop a plan of action.
- Get a mentor. Apply for a career exploration experience through SPU's Mentor Program. You can also "ask" for a mentor on SPU's Switchboard.
- Keep your grades up. Most majors require a 2.5 GPA for admission.
- Maintain a current résumé. Add new activities and experiences, and have a career counselor provide feedback.
- Get off-campus. Look into Study Abroad, SPRINT, or mission trips to expand your worldview and gain perspective.
- Gain work experience. Apply for an internship, volunteer position, or part-time job. The Office of Student Employment and Handshake are great places to look for openings.
- Make connections. Network, network, network! Start a list of contacts and collect business cards.
- Take GS 2950: “Finding Your Vocation.”
- Get LinkedIn. Create a professional profile on LinkedIn and join the SPU group.
Junior Year: Gain Experience
- Develop your career goals. Meet with a career counselor for guidance and action planning.
- Attend CCC events. Don’t miss the Etiquette Dinner, Job and Internship Fair, and other workshops to network and learn valuable skills.
- Become a leader. Consider student government, University Ministries, Residence Life, and student clubs.
- Conduct informational interviews. Meet with professionals who are doing things you find interesting.
- Establish valuable contacts. Build relationships with faculty and professionals who can serve as references.
- Consult with your academic counselor. Be sure you are on track for graduation; keep your grades up.
- Update your résumé and draft a cover letter. Visit the CCC for a critique before applying for internships.
- Begin assembling a professional wardrobe. Start by putting together an interview outfit.
- Become an intern. Increase your experience through internships or volunteering. Check out Handshake, and attend the Career Fairs.
- Enroll in GS 3001: “College to Career Planning.” Start planning for your future.
- Join a professional organization: Find an association related to your major or career field. Student memberships are often free.
- Explore graduate school options.
Senior Year: Make Connections
- Sharpen your job-search skills. Attend CCC workshops, job search labs, and online webinars.
- Take GS 3001: “College to Career Planning.” If you didn’t take it yet, now is the perfect time.
- Get more experience. Consider another internship, job, or volunteer activity.
- Conduct informational interviews. Learn more about careers while you network and gain connections.
- Request letters of reference. Ask faculty and internship supervisors, and create a list of references.
- Applying for Grad School? Come to the Center for Career and Calling for help with applications and essay editing.
- Join the LinkedIn SPU alumni group. This can be a valuable source of contacts.
- Perfect your résumé and cover letter. See a career counselor for a final edit.
- Prepare for interviews. Watch the online webinar; then come to the Center for Career and Calling to practice with a mock interview.
- Make a job search plan. Meet with a career counselor to strategize and organize your search.
- Meet employers. Attend the Career Fairs, Employer Panels and networking events.
- Find job postings. Check Handshake and other job boards on the CCC website.
- NETWORK. Continue making connections, update your LinkedIn profile, and consider creating a business card.
Make the Most of Your Breaks
Students: Take a CCC Class
The Center for Career and Calling offers five career classes several times each year to help you navigate your career path.
“When you leave college, there are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life.”
Author, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist