Your Four-Year Career Plan

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There are certain steps that you, as college students, should take to help you explore various career options.  Just like a final exam, your job/internship search or program selection is not something you should ‘cram’ for at the last minute.

It takes time, reflection, and different experiences that will help you define what you’d like to do.  Remember, deciding on a career is a process. And it's something that will not happen two weeks before graduation.

Start exploring as early as your first year. We are confident that you will be much more prepared to find a career that suits your passions, values, interests, and goals.

First Year


Second Year

  • Continue networking with students, faculty, and think about connecting with alumni on UCAN -- the University Career Alumni Network -- where you can search for and find alumni who have volunteered to talk with students about all things career-related. LinkedIn is another great resource to build your community. 
  • Start thinking about reference letters, which will come in handy when applying to graduate school or employment opportunities.  See if Interfolio Dossier will meet your needs.
  • Attend a University Career Center program or event, especially the Fall or Winter Career Expos.
  • Meet with a career coach to talk about career options, majors, summer jobs & internships, and more.
  • Login to your Handshake account, the online system for campus recruiting and connections, to see what internships are available, to see University Career Center programs of interest, and to check out employer presentations.
  • Join a student organization and consider developing your leadership skills by chairing a committee or running for an executive position.
  • Declare your major. Meet with your academic advisor to plan the remainder of your time at the University.
  • Find out more about your career options. Use the Vault Career Library and their Career Guides to learn more about different industries.
  • Arrange for an informational interview with someone in your field.
  • Spend a day “in the field” through a University Career Center Immersion or try out a real-world problem through an Employer Challenge.
  • Begin writing your resume and have it reviewed by our staff at the University Career Center.
  • Consider your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from the perspective of an employer.

Third Year

  • Continue networking by attending employer information sessions, immersion, employer challenges, and more.
  • Meet with a career coach to evaluate if you are still on track for your career development plan and re-assess your interests, values, and skills.
  • Login to your Handshake account, the online system for campus recruiting and connections, to see what internships are available, to see University Career Center programs of interest, and to check out employer presentations.
  • If you haven’t already done so, take on a leadership position within a student organization.
  • Select elective courses that will round out your academic experience and develop different skill sets.
  • Add to your reference letter file.
  • Prepare for entrance exams (GRE, MCAT, LSAT, GMAT,etc).
  • Contact graduate schools for specific admission requirements.
  • Join a professional organization related to your career interests.
  • Update your resume.
  • Write cover letters as part of your summer job and internship search.
  • Research your field even more by conducting informational interviews with alumni who've volunteered to help current students through UCAN -- our new University Career Alumni Network.
  • Schedule an appointment with the University Career Center to prepare for interviews and gain helpful tips on what to wear, how to answer specific questions, and how to research your interviewer.
  • Set up mock interviews through the University  Career Center to practice your skills.
  • Obtain an internship in your chosen field. Check out listings on Handshake and through links on the University Career Center website.
  • Consider your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from the perspective of a potential employer.
  • Expand your use of LinkedIn to build your network, contribute to discussions in fields of interest and become active in groups to enhance your reach.

Fourth Year

  • Are you still pursuing the field you want? Meet with a career coach to plan your final year.
  • If you are starting your job search, decide if you want to make your social media profiles private and consider how you are presenting yourself online.
  • Use UCAN and LinkedIn to connect with individuals, companies, or alumni who are employed by the organizations you are applying to.
  • Decide if you are narrowing your search to a certain geographic location.
  • Start utilizing those networks to gain employment.
  • Use various resources for job searching-- Handshake, professional organizations, websites, Networks.
  • Join a professional organization.
  • Continue with your involvement in student organizations and activities.
  • Add to your reference letter file.
  • Apply to graduate schools.
  • Attend University Career Center events, including Job, Graduate, and Professional School fairs.
  • Practice your interviewing skills in mock interviews.
  • Have a senior audit with your academic advisor to make sure you meet the graduation requirements.
  • Update your cover letter and resume again. It’s always a work in progress. Bring it in to the University Career Center to be critiqued.
  • Maintain a good relationship with past employers and professors who are serving as references.
  • Schedule job interviews.
  • Research organizations as part of your interview preparation process.
  • Negotiate salary and benefits if needed.
  • Find a place to live in a new city.
  • Enjoy your last months on campus.