Career Planning: Start Today!

Sound career choices require information - information about you and about various occupations. Whether you are deciding on a major or preparing for your job search, there are steps in the Career Development process which will support your efforts. The staff in the Career Development Center will assist you in your journey - one which is unique to every individual. 

In support of its mission to educate and engage students in a targeted, self-directed job search process, the Career Development Center offers this Career Success Plan to guide you.

1.) ASSESS: interests, values, skills

Talking with our Career Advisors and taking career interest assessments can help you find out about yourself and aid in developing a plan for your journey. If you have not yet declared a major, you will want to discuss options with your Academic Advisor. If you have declared a major but don’t feel sure about your choice, contact the Career Development Center to meet with a Career Advisor and discuss a career assessment.

  • Talk with a Career Advisor about goals for the assessment process.
  • Take a personality and/or interest inventory through our office.
  • Schedule appointment with your Academic Advisor to go over your academic plan.
  • Meet with your Career Advisor to begin choosing a career cluster and pathway.
  • Get involved on campus and in the community. This is a great way to clarify your interests, values and skills. The Center for Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL) is a great place to start!

2.) EXPLORE: your career options

The next step is to relate your self assessment to different majors and career fields. Researching different fields are important for learning how occupations are organized by similar skills, abilities and interests. The CDC uses the 16 Career Cluster Model to illustrate how occupations are organized.  Other topics to consider are: nature of the work activities, education/training, work environment, career ladder, outlook, salary and benefits, personality characteristics, and advantages and disadvantages.

  • Look up majors and occupations in the 16 Career Cluster Model.
  • Explore hundreds of different careers using our Candid Career videos.
  • Use CareerShift to contact alumni or employers to schedule informational interviews and/or job shadowing.
  • Review resources and websites on the CDC's webpage.
  • Continue to meet with Academic and Career Advisors.


3.) BUILD: job-search skills

After you have declared your major, explored different career fields, and selected a field, it is time to develop job search skills so you can successfully communicate your skills and abilities to employers. Knowing yourself through self assessment and identifying what is important to potential employers through career exploration will enhance your job search abilities.  Whether you are applying for internships, or full-time career positions, you will first need to learn to develop effective resumes, cover letters, and interviewing competencies.


4.) EXPERIMENT: gain experience

Once you have developed your job search skills, you can get practical information and experience through a variety of programs. To be competitive in today’s job market, you should have at least two (2) internships before graduation.  Other ways include participating in: Experiential Learning (EXL), Service Learning, Student Employment, or Study Abroad programs.  You may also consider conducting informational interviews, job-shadowing, or volunteering to gain greater insight into a particular field. It is important that you “test” your skills and abilities, gain related experience, and start building your professional network.

  • Search Lightning CareerLink for internship opportunities
  • Check with your academic department on internships offered through their program.
  • Visit web site and offices of EXL and Study Abroad.
  • Attend career fairs offered through the CDC
  • Meet with your career advisor to review your plan for gaining experience.

5.) IMPLEMENT: your plan

As you finish each internship or experiential learning opportunity, update your resume to reflect the skills and abilities gained. This can be done through our Document Drop Program, Walk-In Advising or meeting with your Career Advisor to answer any remaining questions and review your career action plan. If you are going to graduate or professional school, you will want to meet with faculty in your department. Both the job search and graduate school admission processes take time to implement. 

6.) PRACTICE: life-long career management

Your first job out of college is the first of many jobs you will have after graduation. In a longitudinal study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers held an average of 11.7 jobs from ages 18 to 48, with the majority of the jobs being held from ages 18 to 24. (In this report, a job is defined as an uninterrupted period of work with a particular employer.) The skills you develop early on will lay the foundation for future career success. We will help you learn the Career Development process. You will use it throughout your professional career.



Contact us today! 
8:00am - 4:30pm
KUC 328
(615) 898-2500
Lightning CareerLink
Student & Employer Database

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