CAREER PLANNING AND JOB SEARCH CHECKLIST
Are you overwhelmed with your job search? Break it down into manageable activities and check them off as you complete them.

Step 1: Assess Your Skills and Interests

____      I have identified my strengths, skills, interests, and values.

____      I have made a list of possible job titles and fields of interest.

____      I can name two or three careers I plan to pursue.

Step 2: Explore Careers and Find Your Best Fit

          I have researched potential career fields, including typical entry-level positions, tasks and work activities, skills and knowledge
          required, salaries, and the best geographic locations for the positions.

____      I have conducted informational interviews with professionals in the fields of interest.

____      I have researched organizations or companies that might hire someone with my skills, interests, and background.

____      I have identified the top three geographic locations where I’d like to live and work.

____      I have identified at least 10 potential employers for the type of work I’m seeking.

          I have gained experience in the field of interest through internships, work-study positions, volunteer experience, part-time or
          summer jobs.

Step 3: Prepare for Your Job Search

____      I have created a BroncoJOBS account at

          I have had my resume and cover letters critiqued by a professional in the field or a staff member at Career and Student
          Employment Services.

____      I have prepared a portfolio or work samples to highlight my experience, skills, and talent.

____      I have developed my 30-second introduction for short encounters with employers.

____      I have analyzed my education and can communicate how it can benefit employers.

____      I have identified three to five professional contacts who will serve as references.

          I have prepared for interviews by practicing my responses to typical questions and/or doing a mock interview with “Perfect
          Interview” at

____      I have an interview suit that is appropriate for the field in which I plan to work.

____      I have a professional-sounding answering machine/voice mail message in case an employer calls.

____      I have a neutral/professional e-mail address to give to employers.

          I have made sure that my profile and information posted online (Facebook, Myspace, etc.) is professional, and I would feel
          comfortable if employers saw it.

Step 4: Start Searching
____        I have uploaded my resume(s) to BrocoJOBS at

            I regularly check BrocoJOBS and other industry-specific career web sites for career opportunities. I read the appropriate job-
            search resources for my field(s) of interest.

____        I have a system for keeping track of my contacts, interviews, and other job-search activities.

____        I follow up on every interesting job lead immediately.

____        I have developed a list of potential networking contacts and keep in touch with them.

____        I keep a copy of my resume next to my phone in case I receive a call from an employer.

____        I follow-up each cover letter with a phone call or e-mail to the employer requesting a job interview.

____        I send thank you letters or e-mails to every person who interviews me.

Job Search Checklist has been adapted with permission from Liberal Arts Career Services/UT Austin.

                                                    Need help with any of these activities?
 Check out the Career Planning and Job Search Guide or visit Career and Student Employment Services at WMU

                                            CAREER PLANNING AND JOB SEARCH GUIDE

                            Ewa Urban Career Advisor for Arts and Sciences
                Career and Student Employment Services 1401 Ellsworth Hall – First Floor
         (269) 387-2745


       Before you start exploring what careers may be most fulfilling for you, learn about yourself by asking questions about your skills,
       interests, values, and personal qualities:

                             INTERESTS                                                                    VALUES
•      What am I interested in doing?                                   •     What satisfactions do I seek in a career?
•      What activities have I enjoyed the most?                         •     In what ways must I be challenged and rewarded?
•      What kind of people would I like to work around?                 •     In what type of work environment would I be happy?
•      What kind of job setting would I enjoy?
                             SKILLS                                                                  PERSONALITY
•    What are my strengths and weaknesses?                             •    What personal qualities do I possess that will help me?
•    What are my skills and abilities?                                 •    How will my personal style influence my career choice?
•    What skills do I want to use on the job?                          •    How will I get along with my supervisor/co-workers?
•    What skills do I need to acquire?

These resources will help you further determine your strengths and clarify your career goal:

Self-           instruments:
Self-Assessment instruments                                             elf-
                                                                       Self-Assessment activities (access at
     FOCUS (access at; free for WMU     
     students)                                                              Self-Assessment Worksheet
     MBTI and Strong (call 387-2745; fees may apply)                        Ideal Job Description Worksheet
                                                                            Values Worksheet

     Your next step is to explore different occupations that relate to your interests. You will need to gather information about potential
     career paths and positions to make an informed decision. The following activities and resources will assist you in your career

IDENTIFY POSSIBLE JOB TITLES.                                       “What Can I Do With This Major” Links at (Click on
     Use to find out what you                  “For Students and Alumni,” then “Career Resource Links”
     can do with your major. Circle several job titles that
     look interesting; you will have to research them in
     more detail.

EXPLORE THE TASKS, SKILLS, AND WORK                                                                  Titles:
                                                                    O’Net Dictionary of Occupational Titles
ACTIVITIES TYPICAL FOR THESE ROLES.                                                      Handbook:
                                                                    Occupational Outlook Handbook:
                                                                    Vault Online Career Library:

TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES,                       Transferable skills are the skills you have acquired during any activity in your life
WITH AN EYE ON TRANSFERABLE SKILLS.                            (jobs, classes, projects, hobbies, sports, etc.). You can transfer and apply them
                                                               to what you want to do in your next job.

MATCH YOUR SKILLS AND ABILITIES TO JOB                         Read job descriptions carefully, highlighting key words or phrases describing the
REQUIREMENTS AND BE ABLE TO DESCRIBE THEM                      position responsibilities and required skills. Practice connecting your
WELL.                                                          qualifications to position requirements.
TALK TO PROFESSIONALS in the careers you are                      Find professionals working in your field of interest using:
interested in pursuing. Think of family, friends,            WMU Mentor Program at
neighbors, or professionals you know. Schedule               America’s Career Info Net:
informational interviews with them to gain a realistic       Reference USA or other public libraries
perspective of the career and the field, and to learn what   Community Information Directory in public libraries
employers look for in entry-level candidates.                     Prepare a 30-second introduction to get ready for informational interviews.
                                                                  Include your name, WMU class status, major, professional interests,
                                                                  purpose of call.
                                                                  Prepare a list of questions to ask. For ideas, visit
                                                                  (Career Resource Links)
                                                                  Always send a thank you letter.
                                                                  Attend Campus Career Events (Calendar of Career Events at

IDENTIFY THE TOP THREE GEOGRAPHIC AREAS                  (Career Resource Links - Company and
where you want to live and work                                   Community Research)

START BUILDING A LIST OF POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS             (Career Resource Links - Company and
for the type of work you are seeking.                             Community Research)
RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS that may hire someone                            Online
                                                                  Vault Online Career Library
with your skills, interests, and values.

TRY IT OUT. Find an internship work-study position,
                    internship, work-                    (Register at BroncoJOBS and Search for jobs and
volunteer experience, part-time job on or off campus or
                      part-                   campus,             internships)
a summer job to get exposure to the career field you are (Career Resource Links - Off Campus
considering.                                                      Experience)
                                                                  Vault Online Career Library


PREPARE A RESUME, COVER LETTERS, AND                              Learn how to write a targeted resume and cover letters at
PORTFOLIOS TO REPRESENT YOU WELL.                       
                                                                  Review samples in the Career Search Manual
                                                                  Post your resume in BroncoJOBS
COMMUNICATE PROFESSIONALLY                           Make sure that your profile and information posted online (Facebook,
                                                     MySpace, etc) presents you as a professional.
                                                     Set up and use a professional-sounding email address. Make sure your
                                                     voice mail message is professional.
                                                     Identify 3-5 individuals who will serve as your PROFESSIONAL
                                                     REFERENCES Ask their permission.
                                                     Tap into your NETWORK of field-related professionals.
                                                     Attend CAREER FAIRS and network professionally.

PRACTICE INTERVIEWING                                Use “Perfect Interview” at to practice answering
                                                     difficult interview questions.
                                                     CHECK BroncoJOBS for ON-CAMPUS INTERVIEWING SCHEDULES.



Regularly CHECK BroncoJOBS and other INDUSTRY-       Identify opportunities in specific geographic locations:
SPECIFIC JOB SEARCH SITES for career opportunities   Review websites specific to your major: (Career
                                                     Resource Links)

CONTINUE TO DEVELOP A LIST OF POTENTIAL              Visit to learn how to conduct
NETWORKING CONTACTS AND KEEP NETWORKING              effective job search through networking.
TO IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES                            Register with
    Make sure to follow up on each job lead.
    Send thank you letters.

                    CAREER SEARCH MANUAL                                              CAREER ADVISING
                                                                               Drop-in Advising Schedules
                                                                                      By appointment:
Call: (269) 387-2745

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