Career Planning

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Career Planning

Career Planning is an on-going, life-long process of decision-making regarding the world of work. It is a process that encourages you to accept individual responsibility for your life. Often the Career Planning process is divided into four steps, correlating with four years of college. Although these four steps may occur at any time and do not necessarily need to take four years, the steps themselves are important.

  • Self Assessment - Know Yourself
  • Career Exploration - Know your options
  • Career Decision - Research and narrow options
  • Establishing and Implement a Plan of Action

I. Self Assessment

What drives you?
What do you consider important?
What qualities are a part of you?
What capabilities have you acquired?

The first step in planning your career is to learn more about yourself and what you want. This step is essential in order for you to find a career that will be truly satisfying. You need to know your options in order to make an informed decision. Here are some suggestions to help you:

  • Explore various courses
  • Get to know your professors, advisors, and fellow students
  • Join a club/organization
  • Get involved in volunteer activities
  • Visit the NU career center and take advantage of available assessment resources: Sigi 3, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Strong Interest Inventory
  • Check out the Career Library for Career Planning materials.

II. Career Exploration

What careers correspond with your self assessment?
What are the requirements for entering that field?
What is the job outlook for that field?

Second, find out more about the work world and how you might fit into careers that interest you. At this point, you should have a good idea of what you want in a career and are ready to start researching your options.

  • Identify and research careers and companies
  • Interview people in your chosen career field
  • Acquire experience through volunteer or employment options
  • Continue developing leadership skills and making connections through campus and community involvement
  • Visit the Career Library. Two very helpful resources are the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles
  • Continue taking a variety of courses to explore careers or enhance job skills
  • Take advantage of the tools available through Career Services.

III. Career Decision

Have you discussed your ideas with others?
Have you researched the career that you are considering?
Have talked to someone in that field or ‘tried out’ that career?

By now, you have narrowed down a career field or major. It is now time to consider your options and make a decision. One way to narrow your options is to talk to faculty, advisors, or people employed in your field of interest. It is also important to gain experience and ‘try out’ your career of choice. Following are some tips on how to do that:

  • Meet with a faculty advisor and choose electives that add value to your career goals
  • Develop a contact network – join student affiliates of professional organizations
  • Gain experience through part time employment, cooperative education, internships, volunteer opportunities, etc.
  • Attend Career Fairs and talk to those who are working in your field of choice
  • Begin developing a resumé/cover letter
  • Attend workshops on resumé writing, interviewing skills, etc. offered through the Career Services Office

IV. Develop a Plan of Action

Have you established your goal and developed a plan to reach it?
Does your goal require additional education/training?
Do you feel confident in your presentation skills?
Do you have an idea of where to start in order to find your dream job?

Now, you are ready to put the plan into action. You may start looking for employment or researching graduate schools or other training programs.

  • Ask faculty and/or professional contacts to act as references
  • Polish your resumé, job search letters and interview skills
  • Attend career and graduate school fairs
  • Continue developing a network and keep a journal of contacts
  • Begin developing a professional wardrobe
  • Take advantage of services available through the Career Services Office

For additional tips and resources, visit our online Resource Center.