Career Planning Checklist

 

 

CAREER PLANNING CHECKLIST

Would you build a house without a plan? Even though there is an obvious answer to that question, many people attempt to build a career without a plan. A Career Plan is a flexible tool to guide you in making decisions regarding courses, extra-curricular activities, part-time/summer jobs, and special projects. Each year of college, your courses and activities provide experiences upon which to build and revise a Career Plan. Career planning doesn’t require a great deal of time. What it does require is initial drafting followed by periodic assessments, additions, and revisions. The results are a better picture of who you are, what you can do, where you want to go, and how to get there.

 

 

FIRST YEAR – ASK & EXPERIENCE

Student

  • Enroll in core courses.
  • Get to know other students, faculty, and staff on campus.
  • Familiarize yourself with our website and “like” our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest pages to stay up-to-date with events we hold, articles related to getting a job, and current part-time/full-time positions available.
  • Visit Career Services. Most seniors who did not stop by early regret that decision.
  • Conduct informational interviews with people in your area of interest. Information can be found in our office about this area.
  • Keep your grades up and seek help from the Academic Support Center or Writing Center, if needed.
  • Take our online career assessments that help identify what careers best match your interests, skills, values, and abilities.
  • Get involved with clubs and organizations, volunteer, and/or obtain a part-time job to gain valuable experience. See our online Get Involved Guide for ideas related to your major.
  • Make sure that your social networking pages are neutral; do not post negative and/or profane comments, inappropriate photographs, or other questionable posts.
  • Attend the McKendree Career Fair to gather information on potential careers and employers, as well as to simply get acquainted with the format of this type of fair.

Parents/Families

  • Encourage student to make grades a top priority.
  • Promote Career Services and our resources to your student. Our Top 10 List on the website will give you more information on our resources.
  • Inform your students that we offer career counseling if they are undecided on their major, or not sure about career opportunities within their major. We offer two online career assessments for students.
  • Encourage student to become involved in campus activities and clubs, and speak with them about ones that may match their interests. Please see our online Get Involved Guide for ideas.
  • Be aware that a part-time job, even if unrelated to career interests, will be beneficial to them. Employers want graduates to have work experience!
  • Be open to ideas your student has regarding majors and career fields.

 

SUMMERS – WORK EXPERIENCE

Student

  • Obtain a part-time position and/or be involved in volunteer service. Build related work history!
  • Develop solid work habits.
  • Become involved in leadership activities and special projects.
  • Continue personal growth/skills development.

Parents/Families

  • Encourage student to find a part-time position and/or get involved in volunteer service.
  • Continue to speak with them about their interests and skills.

 

SOPHOMORE YEAR – ASSESS & EXPLORE

Student

  • Explore potential occupations and then select a major with your academic advisor. Visit companies and working professionals in your field of interest and conduct informational interviews.
  • Find three to five people in your field of interest to serve as mentors. One way to find contacts is through the alumni mentoring program on College Central Network.
  • Gain relevant work experience through volunteering, part-time work, or activities.
  • Attend the McKendree Career Fair to gather information on potential careers and employers, as well as to simply get acquainted with the format of a career fair.
  • Talk to Career Services about completing an internship for academic credit your junior and/or senior year.
  • Explore the possibility of studying abroad for a semester.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile, and be careful of what you are posting on other social media sites.

Parents/Families

  • Speak with your student about various majors and career fields they may be considering.
  • Encourage your student to visit Career Services for career counseling if they are undecided on their major.
  • Assist them in developing a list of people you may know in their field(s) of interest so they can contact them for an informational interview and/or shadowing. There are also McKendree graduate mentors available through the College Central Network online system.
  • Encourage student to get (or remain) involved in activities and clubs related to their interests and skills.

 

JUNIOR YEAR – EVALUATE & NETWORK

Student

  • Enroll in your major courses for the majority of your classes. Take electives in various areas and think about enrolling in the class Careers, Job Search, and Beyond (taught by Career Services), which prepares students to get a job and enter the working world.
  • Create a LinkedIn account and regularly update information to your account.
  • Register and post your résumé on College Central Network to have access to full-time/part-time/paid internship positions posted specifically for McKendree graduates.
  • Complete an internship for academic credit.
  • Participate in the Career Conference to increase your knowledge of networking techniques, interviewing skills and how to financially succeed after graduation.
  • Explore the possibility of studying abroad for a semester.
  • Begin to plan your job search strategies. Draft your résumé and cover letter to have them reviewed by Career Services.
  • If graduate school is an option, begin studying for your entrance exams and applying.
  • Continue to participate in meaningful extra-curricular activities. Seek a leadership role within the group if possible.
  • Check academic status related to credits and GPA to ensure you are on track to graduate.
  • Check your voice mail message and email address to make sure they are professional.
  • Build strong professional relationships with people that could be potential references for you.
  • Attend McKendree’s Career Fair to gather information on potential careers. Attend our Career Conference and Dining Seminar.

Parents/Families

  • Encourage student to attend career fairs and other professional events through the Career Services office.
  • Encourage student to start searching for career-related experiences.
  • Encourage student to get (or remain) involved in activities and clubs related to their interests and skills.
  • Speak with student about career-related goals.

 

SENIOR YEAR – MARKET YOURSELF AND SEARCH

Student

  • Clean up social networking sites for any inappropriate content, and create a LinkedIn account if you haven’t done so already to network professionally with others. Check your voice mail message and email address to make sure they are professional. Google yourself.
  • Complete graduation requirements and an internship for academic credit.
  • Attend the Career Fair and take advantage of on-campus interviews with employers.
  • Participate in the Career Conference to increase your knowledge of networking techniques, interviewing skills and how to financially succeed after graduation.
  • Register and take graduate school entrance exams and submit applications if attending.
  • Make sure you have a polished résumé, cover letter, and other employer correspondence.
  • Ask three to five professional people if they would be willing to serve as your professional references, and then create a references page. Ask for letters of recommendation if needed.
  • Schedule a mock interview session with Career Services. Purchase appropriate interview attire that is suited for your field.
  • Target places of potential employment and begin researching the companies.
  • Start the job search process early in your senior year through several methods.
  • NETWORK with as many people as possible and obtain their business cards to follow up!
  • Join related professional organizations while you are a student.
  • Register and post your résumé on College Central Network to have access to full-time positions posted specifically for McKendree graduates, as well as to obtain notices of certain openings.

Parents/Families

  • Encourage your student to participate in events sponsored by Career Services and other professional events.
  • Give your student ideas for people who are in their “network” system, since so many jobs are found this way.
  • Ask student how you can help, but DO NOT give them too much assistance! While they can use resources you may have, they should be writing their own résumé and cover letter, doing their own company research, and attending events on their own.
  • Listen to them. This is a stressful time for most students.

 

Career Readiness Competencies

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving

Oral/Written Communications

Teamwork/Collaboration

Information Technology Application

Leadership

Professionalism/Work Ethic

Career Management

National Association of Colleges and Employers, 2016