FOUR YEAR CAREER PLANNING GUIDE Planning and organizing are the keys to choosing a major and finding a satisfying career. This action-oriented plan will guide you through the career-planning process throughout your academic experience. Start today by becoming familiar with what you should do during your years at Southern Connecticut State University: FRESHMAN (AWARENESS) You are not expected to make career decisions during your first semester on campus. Goals: Explore/become familiar with the Career Services website careers.southernct.edu. Become aware of career fields in relation to tentative majors. Begin a self exploration process: assessing values, interests, skills and motivation. Familiarize yourself with the campus support services such as the Tutorial and Writing Centers. Become aware of the Center for Career Services and its programs. Develop good study skills along with establishing a strong GPA. Activities: Visit the Center for Career Services, Schwartz Hall, room 102 and take a tour. Research careers and majors in the Career Resource Library and on our website. Attend the Majors Expo. Take a variety of classes to get an idea of different academic fields. Consider enrolling in CTR 200 Career Concepts and Exploration (3 credit course). Contact Career Services for a password for the Discover Program, an online web based assessment tool. Meet with a career counselor to explore possible majors and careers that fit your interests, skills, and values. Attend Career Services workshops and programs including Career Fair. Bookmark the Career Services website as a favorite. SOPHOMORE (EXPLORATION) Select a major during your sophomore year. Goals: Explore career possibilities. Learn about occupations. Begin to build a personal career network. Investigate Experiential Learning – Cooperative Education & Internships. Research and clarify career options after self-assessment. Decide on major/career choice. Activities: Research career options in the Career Resource Library and on our website. Continue to study hard and keep on track. Participate in on-campus organizations to gain valuable work-related skills. Explore co-ops, internships, and part-time career related employment. Complete the Discover Program, an online assessment tool. Contact Career Services for a password. Conduct informational interviews. Begin to develop your resume and cover letter. Meet with faculty, advisors and/or alumni to discuss major/career options. Explore job shadowing and/or volunteer and community service opportunities. Meet with a career counselor to discuss career options. Consider studying abroad for a summer or a semester. Attend Career Services workshops and programs including Career Fair. JUNIOR (EXPERIENCE) Gain experience by participating in an internship or Cooperative Education opportunity. Goals: Build job search skills. Gain career related experience. Consider graduate or professional school. Familiarize yourself with Career Services’ job search and recruitment programs. Learn about occupations as they relate to your major or interests. Familiarize yourself with the online job search process. Activities: Participate in co-ops, internships or career related employment. Maximize involvement with campus clubs and organizations to further develop leadership skills. Continue informational interviewing – expanding your network. Identify professional associations related to career interests. Participate in job shadowing and/or volunteer and community service opportunities. Attend Career Services workshops and programs including Career Fair. Meet with a career counselor for help with job search, resume and career guidance. Continue developing your resume and cover letter. Explore the Career Services web page for tips and employment opportunities. SENIOR (CONNECT) Connect with employers and begin your professional job search. Goals: Narrow and finalize career choice. Prepare for graduate or professional school. Research labor market information. Narrow focus on positions and industry openings. Activities: Make an appointment with a career counselor to help plan your job search. Develop a refined resume, cover letter, and list of references. Practice interviewing skills and review professional dress guidelines. Begin developing a professional wardrobe for future job interviews. Sign up for on-campus interview program. Continue developing your network. Join a professional organization in your field. Complete a co-op or internship if you haven’t done so. Attend Career Services workshops and programs including Career Fair. Explore the Career Services web page for tips and employment opportunities. Explore graduate programs and complete the application process. STEPS TO CHOOSING A MAJOR STEP 5: Career Planning- Once you have chosen a major you will want to ensure that you continue with your career planning efforts. This may include conducting informational interviews with professionals in the field, remaining engaged with the Discover program, and continuing to meet with a career counselor. Research what career choices your major opens to you including the job market, salaries, and the benefits and challenges in the fields you are considering. Resources: SCSU Center for Career Services, Schwartz Hall room 102, and on the web at careers.southernct.edu. STEP 4: Declare Your Major- Meet with an academic advisor in the department of your choice to discuss the criteria for acceptance into the department and requirements to complete your degree. Although frequent major changes are not recommended sometimes it is necessary. If after taking a few classes you decide to reconsider return to step three. Resources: Online degree evaluation, faculty. STEP 3: Evaluate and Make a Decision- Narrow your options to a few top choices. List the pros and cons of the majors you are considering. At this point you may also want to take into consideration careers each major may lead to. You may also consider taking a class in one or two of the areas before making a final decision. Resources: “What Can I Do With My Major?” (available at Career Services), Informational Interviews, Clubs and Organizations (associated with the major), Career Counselor, What If Degree Evaluation (Banner Web). STEP 2: Research- Once you have a good understanding of yourself and what characteristics will help you excel in a major you will need to begin to research what majors will allow you to use those skills. Most individuals are only aware of a handful of the major and career choices available to them. If possible take a variety of classes. Research is a necessary step to discover all the options and avoid limiting yourself. Resources: Career Counselor (Schwartz Hall Room 102), Discover Program, CTR 200 Career Concepts and Exploration (3 credit course), Career Center Resource Library, University Majors Start Expo, Academic Departments / Faculty, Family and Friends, Undergraduate Catalog, careers.southernct.edu. STEP 1: Assess Yourself- Take stock of yourself and write down what you enjoy doing, your academic strengths, your passion, what type of extra curricular activities you are involved in, and the aspects of previous jobs you have enjoyed. Be realistic. Meet with a career counselor, they can give you access to assessment tools to help identify your strengths, interests, and values. Resources: Discover Program (available at Career Services). You are your greatest resource during this step!
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