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Strategies for Freshmen & Sophomores


You control your career destiny! Just going to class and picking up your diploma after four years doesn't cut it. You need to become active on and off campus.  Becoming marketable to employers or graduate schools is a four-year job. Here are the top 10 things you can do during college to make yourself marketable at job-search time. In fact, if you do all 10 of these, you'll be unstoppable:


1. Keep your grades up—Employers and graduate schools want candidates with good grades. That will probably never change. Doing well academically not only proves that you have a knowledge base, but indicates a strong work ethic—a trait that employers value.


2. Identify your interests, skills, values, and personal characteristics—The first step to clarifying your career goals is to go through a process of self-assessment. Visit your career center and take advantage of the self-assessment instruments.


3. Actively explore career options—You owe it to yourself to find a career that enriches your life, not one that brings you down. Actively exploring careers means talking with professionals in occupations of interest and observing professionals on the job. Your career center probably has alumni and other volunteers who are willing to talk to you about their careers. Also, attend any career expos, career fairs, and career speaker panels that are offered.


4. Become active in extracurricular activities and clubs—Active involvement in activities and clubs on campus is highly valued by employers and graduate schools. Joining a club is fine, but becoming active within that club is what matters most. Become a leader, hold an office, or coordinate an event. You will develop your skills in leadership and teamwork—skills that recruiters covet!


5. Get involved in community service—It's important that you begin to understand and appreciate the importance of giving back to your community, and that you live in a larger community than your college or hometown. Typically, students look at community service as a chore. After they've served, however, it's usually one of the most rewarding experiences they've had! Recruiters love to see that you've volunteered to help in your community.



6. Develop your computer skills—Take advantage of the computer courses and workshops your college offers. You can also learn a lot by just experimenting with different software packages on your own. Finally, you should learn how to develop your own web page or web-based portfolio. There are many web-design software tools that make it real easy to develop your own web page! Contact your college's information technology office to see how to get started.


7. Develop your writing skills—Over and over, company and graduate school recruiters complain about the lack of writing skills among college graduates. Don't avoid classes that are writing intensive. Work at developing your writing skills. If there is a writing center on campus, have them take a look at your papers from time to time. Remember, the first impression you give to recruiters is typically your cover letter or personal statement.


8. Complete at least one internship in your chosen career field—More and more, internships are the springboards to employment and getting into graduate programs. Many recruiters say that when they need to fill entry-level jobs, they will only hire previous interns. In addition to making yourself more marketable, internships also are a great way to explore careers and determine whether or not certain careers are for you. When you work for a company as an intern for three to four months, you get a really good feel for whether the field (and company) is one in which you want to work day in and day out!


9. Gain an appreciation of diversity through study abroad, foreign languages, and courses—We are now, more than ever, working within a global work force. For you to be successful at work and in your life, you must stretch yourself, and learn about people and cultures different than yours. Take advantage of the wonderful study-abroad opportunities and the courses relating to diversity. This is your time to travel! Most people find it harder to take time to travel as they begin their careers and start families.


10. Use your career center all four years—Your college career center can help you throughout your entire college career. Here is just a sampling of what your career center can help you do:


--Choose your major and career direction,

--Explore career options,

--Obtain an internship,

--Write a resume and cover letter,

--Develop your interviewing skills,

--Identify your skills, interests, and values,

--Develop a job-search or graduate school plan,

--Connect you with prospective employers (career fairs, on-campus recruiting, and more) and

--Connect you with alumni mentors.


Remember, you control your career destiny. Don't wait until your senior year to start realizing your goals. Your career train is on the move. Jump on board now so you can reach your destination!


(Source: Bob Orndorf, National Association of Colleges & Employers)



Major and Career Profiles

How to Set Goals
How Prepared are Today's College Graduates?

What Do Employers Really Want?
Finding Your Career Passion

What is a Liberal Education?

Career Guide for Liberal Arts Students
Career Success for Liberal Arts Majors

What Can I Do With my Liberal Arts Degree?
Marketing Your Liberal Arts Degree


Career Adventure


Here are the six essential lessons for thriving in the world of work and having a satisfying, productive career.

1.  There is no plan  -  The economy changes too fast for your career to have a plan.  See the big picture.  Be flexible.  To ready to adapt to changing circumstances and situations.  Explore and try things out.  Ask lots of questions.

2.  Think strengths, not weaknesses  -  Find your advantages. Think of a time when everything was going right and you were at your supreme best. What were you doing, where were you, who were you with? What words describe you at that moment? These are some of your strengths! When you are operating at your peak, doing something you love, chances are you are using all your strengths. That’s why you are able to operate with so much energy and focus.


3.  It’s not about you  -  Serving others serves you best. It’s about making a contribution that’s bigger than one person, for the greater good of others. Most successful people improve their own lives by improving others’ lives. They help their customer solve its problem. They give their client something it didn’t know it was missing.


4.  Persistence trumps talent  -  Keep showing up. Many successful people say it was their determination to achieve a goal that gave them the courage to jump at an opportunity or take a risk that brought them closer to their goal. Sometimes just sticking to it and putting one foot in front of the other is what is needed to get you through those times of doubt.


5.  Make excellent mistakes  -  Take risks, but fail forward.  Ask yourself:  When did your last mistake or failure teach you a really great lesson that you wouldn’t have learned if you’d played it safe?

6.  Leave an imprint  -  Do something that matters.  Years from now you'll ask yourself: Did I make a difference? Did I contribute something? Did my being here matter? Did I do something that left an imprint?


(Source: Daniel Pink)


What is Networking?
How to Use Networking to Find a Job
Job Networking Tips
Networking Tips for Your Job Search
Proven Networking Techniques for Job Seekers

Six Ways to Crack the Hidden Job Market

Managing Your Career Campaign

The Hidden Job Market

How to be an Effective Networker

Networking: Utilizing Your Contacts

Hidden Job Market: Finding a Job With No Competition

How to Access the Hidden Job Market

Accessing the Hidden Job Market


Career Success is Within Your Reach


Are you waiting for career success? Do you believe that if you wait long enough sooner or later your dreams of success will come true?


When it comes to success, you are better off spending your time working toward being successful than losing precious moments waiting for it to happen.


What are the traits of successful people? They have drive and a belief in themselves. They are confident. They seem to have the Midas touch. But instead of trying to emulate the qualities that made them successful, we sometimes assume that "they must know someone." Or, "they were lucky." We forget that they worked hard to get where they are today. We didn't see their struggles. We just see the end result, and we want what they have, NOW.


Career success is not just for the lucky. It's for those who want it and work hard to get it. There's no mystery to the process. Follow certain steps and you will be successful. Deviate from these steps and success will take longer.

So how do you grab career success? Follow these steps:


1. Believe that you will succeed

Self-belief is such a crucial and sometimes overlooked element. You have to believe that success is within your reach. If you do not believe it, who will? The clients that I coach who make their career dreams come true are those who believe in their goals. How can you become a believer? Sit down with a piece of paper in front of you. Write without editing your words. Create your ideal career and life. Create a picture you can look at every day. What does your picture look like? Does it inspire you? Does it bring excitement into your mind? Belief comes from within. You just have to dig it out every once in awhile.



2. Get the facts

Once you are a believer, back up your beliefs with facts. Find out specifically what steps you need to take to make your picture real. This way you will be comfortable taking action. For example, let's say you want to expand into another industry. What facts do you need? Do you need more training? Is the cost of training within your reach? If you make the investment will it put more money in your pocket when you are done? Do you care about money, or are you more interested in a better quality of life? Write down your questions and get your answers. Then you will be ready to act.


3. Commit to your success

Successful people say "I will" versus "I'll try" or "I may someday." There is something powerful about making a commitment. First of all, the decision to be successful is made, and the back and forth is done. Second, you have focus and direction that transforms your outlook and gives you purpose. As human beings we do not always like to make commitments. We feel that we need to keep ourselves open to all opportunities because we are afraid that we may walk away from something better. Yes, you are walking away from something and that "thing" is confusion. Commitment gives you something greater. A reason to get out of bed every day.


4. Put a plan in place

Once you are committed, map out how you will succeed. Use the facts you gathered in step two ("Get the facts") to guide you. Break down your success plan into smaller pieces. Put these smaller pieces into your calendar. Make to-do lists. Manage your priorities and say yes only to those things that will bring you closer to success. Delegate and eliminate those tasks that take up your time. And if you get sidetracked or distracted, use your plan to get back on track.


5. Keep moving no matter what

There may be days when you do not want to do the work or you do not believe the effort you are putting in will be worthwhile. It's normal to feel this way. Your journey will be filled with ups and downs. Success comes to those who keep moving. It's ok to have doubts. Keep taking action anyway. Take small steps every day, no matter what. Small steps today lead to big dreams achieved tomorrow.

So what do you say? You have only one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!


(Source: by Deborah Brown-Volkman)


Finding the Work You Love

How to Make Your Life a Success

Changing the World Starts with You

How Successful People Think

What Skills Lead to Success
Skills for the Future Workforce
Strengthening Your Soft Skills

What Are You Going to Do with What You Have?

Redefining Happiness

Stop Wishing, Start Doing


Career Philosophy

Career Orientation: There is a difference between a job and a career. And there is a difference between job hunting and career planning. The college track student is reminded to be intentional about his or her career planning efforts and to be deliberate about adopting techniques and strategies that will foster a professional career planning orientation and avoid the less sophisticated, less effective, job hunting orientation.

Proactive Approach: Students need to be proactive, plan ahead, and begin early establishing a relationship with their college career center. A career is too important to be tended to only under desperation circumstances and in a state of panic. It is not wise to solicit help from the career center on short notice. It is not advisable that students wait until the last minute to address any component of their career planning or job search process.

Ongoing Process: Career planning is a process, not a one-time act. It is multifaceted and progressive. To be successful in their career pursuit, students will need to understand that important things in life take time and require planning. One visit to the career center will not solve all their problems, nor will it equip them with everything they need to be effective in the attainment of their career goals.

Beyond the Degree: A degree alone will not guarantee a lucrative career upon graduation. In order to be regarded as a serious candidate in today’s competitive job market, students will need to extend their education beyond the classroom and expand their experience beyond the degree. To have the necessary credibility, students must get involved in extracurricular activities and projects, relevant clubs and organizations, and internships that can provide opportunities to apply their knowledge and gain experience before graduation.

Goal Oriented: The more goal-oriented students are, the more likely they are to obtain career success. Once students explore their range of career options, they should be encouraged to set realistic and attainable career goals. Without some notion of where they want to go and what they want to do, students will lack the sense of focus and direction necessary for career success. Choosing their career goal before they choose their academic major is oftentimes more advisable.


Active Participation: To ensure they are adequately prepared and fully equipped, students will need to take full advantage of the services offered and actively participate in the various programs, events and activities sponsored by the career center. Students’ attendance at career workshops, career fairs, information sessions, and other career-related events provides them the tools necessary to effectively manage their career.

Professional Growth and Maturity: College is an appropriate time for students to begin thinking and acting like professionals. If they intend to pursue a serious career, it will be necessary for them to devote adequate time and energy to such critical details as professional attire, professional behavior and attitude, etiquette, employer expectations, workplace culture, networking techniques, prospecting techniques, negotiation techniques, job market research methods, job search strategies, interview preparation, and résumé writing skills. Too often, young candidates head out into the job market with no training in any of these important areas, and they suffer the consequences.

Self-Awareness: Students’ ability to make good decisions about their career and education are greatly enhanced by their ability to clearly and accurately define who they are. A deep understanding of one’s personal traits is the basis for understanding one’s interaction with the world around them. It is advisable that students assess themselves in terms of their interests, skills, strengths, weaknesses, talents, abilities, values, beliefs, needs, and attitudes. Students can gain greater confidence in their goal-setting and decision-making when they possess a firm understanding of their unique personality.

Holistic Perspective: Students must realize that effective career planning and career development require a holistic and broad-based perspective. The concept of a career encompasses more than the simple matters of employment. Career issues are intricately related to one’s personal life. They are expressed through academic pursuits, extracurricular activities, volunteer community service, leadership development, membership in clubs and organizations, and continuing education, including graduate and professional school. The concept of a career encompasses a broad array of life issues, including family, relationships, finances, health, and leisure.

Assume Responsibility: Students will need to take responsibility for their own career planning and job search efforts. It is not the role of the campus career center to find a job for their students. More often than not, the career center will focus on teaching job search skills rather than actually placing students in jobs. While many job openings will be posted through the career center, and many interviews will be available through the career center, the majority of opportunities that await students will be the ones they discover through the comprehensive career planning and job search process taught by the career center. It is the intention of the career center to provide the tools and resources that empower students to manage their own independent campaign.


Mistakes I Made at My First Job
College Habits That Don't Fly in the Workplace
What I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Career

Find Your Passion
How to Know Your Life Purpose
Design Your Life
Don't Find a Job, Find a Mission
Do What You Like, Like What You Do
Unconventional Career Advice

Our Definition of Failure is All Wrong


The Human Touch


The vast majority of companies still value the personal relationship when looking for new hires. Networking still has to have the human touch. That’s the difference in becoming a serious candidate instead of a mere applicant.  Be the initiator instead of the responder. Certainly many job postings today have online submission guidelines that should be followed, but also take a copy of your resume and deliver it in person if that’s an option. You might simply follow up with a phone call or an e-mail message.  Many younger job-seekers today are more about interfacing than they are about interacting. When 100 candidates or more all apply using the same interface, it can be difficult to stand out.


(Source: Fast Company Magazine)


Corporate Nightmare

Stop Wishing, Start Doing

Millennials in the Workplace

How to Find Your Passion

Ten Principles of a Great Conversation

Accessing the Hidden Job Market

How Successful People Think

What Should I Do With My Life?

Soul at Work

In all the work we do… the job and career… impenetrable mysteries are involved. In our work we find deep pleasure, meaning, fulfillment, and a way to make a living. When the unique character of our soul blends with the character and quality of our work, we find a sweet blend of nature and effort that heals many wounds. Finding the right work often appears to be the panacea that will finally make life worth living. A career gives us our very identity and offers a profound sense of meaning and purpose in life. What we do in life is the most important factor in expressing our individuality. The work we do reveals our values, vision, longings and desires, ethical sensitivity, and passions… the greater part of our soul.


(Source: Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life)


Career Planning Resources

Career Exploration Tools

Job Market Tools

Resume Writing Resources

Extracurricular Activities

Skills Employers Value

Career Topics|Articles


Getting Serious About Your Career


1. Plan Ahead

Many of us stumble into a career doing less research than when we make a major purchase. When buying a car, most of us do research, compare prices, shop around, and talk to people. Our careers last longer than most vehicles. We owe it to ourselves to devote time and effort to choosing a career or making a career change. One way to do this is through the career development process.


Career development is an ongoing, lifelong process.  It is an active process.  We must be the driving force behind the process, gathering information, setting goals, and making decisions.  Career development is an introspective process of self-assessment and reflection.  And it is a time-consuming process that requires proactive thinking and advance planning.  Career development is a holistic process, which integrates our changing needs, wants, relationships, and situations with the ever-changing world of work.



2. Assess Yourself

If you’ve been thinking about your career path and are seeking some sense of focus and direction, you can begin by answering the first and most important question, “who am I?”   Knowing the answer to this question and having a deep understanding of who we are helps us in our career planning. We can use this information to evaluate possible careers or career changes, look for opportunities, and find greater satisfaction in other areas of our lives as well.


Typically, the process starts with self-assessment. Understanding who you really are is critical to effective career planning.  Breaking the process down can be helpful:


Interests  -  What interests do I have?  What do I enjoy doing?  What do I have a passion for?  What excites me?  What activities do I enjoy doing that I don’t realize the passage of time while I am engaged in it?


Skills  -  What skills do I possess?  What are my talents and abilities?  What is it I can do that I do better than others? 


Values  -  What are my values?  What things do I believe in?  What motivates me to work?  What things in life do I consider to be important?  What gives me a sense of purpose?


Career Planning Resources

Career Exploration Tools

Job Market Tools

Resume Writing Resources

Extracurricular Activities

Skills Employers Value

Career Topics|Articles


3. Explore Your Options

Once you have done some self-assessment, you can move to researching and exploring your options in the world of work. You’ll need to gather detailed information and learn about various careers. 


This exploration may include on-line and library research and other activities that allow you to learn about various occupations.  It may also include talking to people in the field through informal discussions, information interviews, job shadowing, and mentoring.


Your objective is to match your personality traits with appropriate vocational settings.  What careers align best with your interests, skills, and values?


4. Get Focused

From your self-assessment and exploration you should have a clearer idea of what you are looking for.  Now is the time to establish your direction and set some goals. Where do your interests, skills, and values intersect?  Where do your talents and the needs of the world cross?  What do you want to do with your life?  What do you want to work towards?  What do you want to accomplish?  What is your mission?  What is your purpose in life?  What will you gain satisfaction from doing?  What is your calling?


Setting your goal includes identifying specific action steps that will move you forward.  Your stated goals might include your area of interest or specialty, your functional area, your choice of an industry, your choice of a location, region, or market, and the names of companies or organizations.



5. Take Action

Sometimes people get stuck looking for the “perfect” action step. Remember that any step forward is an accomplishment.  In the action phase, you begin making choices about the activities you want to commit to.  Based on your goal, you can select the appropriate academic major, coursework, clubs and organizations, extracurricular activities, community service projects, part-time jobs, and internships.  Any activity or project that will get you closer to your goal is a good use your time.  Involvement in these activities increases your experience, skills, and credibility.


In this phase of the process you might want to begin thinking about strategies.  It would be wise to begin working on such critical elements as resume writing, cover letter writing, interview preparation, job search strategies, networking techniques, prospecting techniques, and job market information.  


Because this process is a cycle, after taking action you should re-assess how your plan is going. You may need to alter your goals a bit. Perhaps you stumble across a different occupational path that appears to be a better fit for you. Use this information to ensure your path is taking you where you really want to go.


Real World Tips for College Grads
Get Noticed and Get Ahead
Welcome to the Real World
Reality of the Real World
Rules to Follow to Get Ahead in Your Career
Transition Tips for New College Grads
Career Success: Tips to Excel in Your Career
Tactics for Getting Ahead at Work
Showing Professionalism in the Workplace

Six Steps for First Time Job Seekers


Congratulations, you've done it! You made it through college, have your degree in hand and are finally ready to make your mark. You are now in the real world and it's time to get your professional life started. If you are in the middle of this crossroad, it can be scary, exciting, confusing, overwhelming or all of the above. Following are some steps to make a successful college-to-real world transition.

1. Pinpoint Your Direction
After four (or five, or six) years of college, you are completely certain about what you want to do, right? If not, now is the time to determine what your strengths are and identify what kind of careers suit you. Are you someone who loves to be around people? Or are you happier crunching numbers or creating computer programs? Consider all of your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and interests when thinking about your career plan. Read about fields that interest you and talk to others who are doing jobs that you find interesting. Focus your direction on positions and fields that match your interests and talents.

2. Do Your Research
It is vital to learn as much as you can about the companies that interest you and to consider all of your options, says Pam Webster, a recruiting manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. She should know: Enterprise is the nation's largest recruiter of college graduates. "You should be open-minded about opportunities in companies and industries you might not have thought of before," she says. Once you have identified companies that you want to target, Webster suggests looking at their Web sites, reading news articles and talking to current employees to learn as much as you can. "You also need to look at a company's stability," she says. "Is the company going to be there for the long term?"

3. Assemble Your Toolkit
It is important to have the right tools for any task. The tools needed for a job search are a résumé, cover letter and a portfolio of your work. Take the time to develop a résumé and cover letter that clearly convey your strengths and experience. Here are a few tips to remember:


--Think about the type of résumé you need. A functional résumé, which highlights your abilities rather than your work history, is a good choice for first-time job seekers.

--Focus on accomplishments and results you have achieved, rather than simple descriptions of experiences.

--Use action words in your résumé and cover letter to describe your experiences, such as "initiated," "produced" and "managed."

--If you are low on practical work experience, look to your part-time work, school activities or volunteer positions. "Evaluate all of your experience and translate how it applies to any job you might apply to," Webster says.

4. Network
One of the most important tasks in any job search is networking. Take advantage of any resources you have, including your school's career placement office, friends who graduated before you and are already working, friends of your parents, former professors, and neighbors. Join professional organizations and attend professional conferences. Send e-mails to ask if your contacts know someone who can help you. Establish an account with a reputable on-line networking community (i.e. LinkedIn). Pass your résumé around and ask others to do the same. Call your contacts to see if they know someone who works for a firm you are interested in joining.

5. Play the Part
If you want to join the professional world, you need to act and look the part. Buy a business suit and wear it to all of your interviews. "Make sure your e-mail address and voice mail greeting are appropriate," Webster says. That means if your e-mail user name is "crazygirl2005," you might want to get a new account. Webster says you should also remember to be professional at home. "Be prepared for a phone call or a phone interview at any time," she says. The more you play the part of a well-trained professional, the more people will see you as a professional.

6. Don't Give Up
The real world can be a real challenge. Set realistic expectations and recognize that you will probably have to start at the bottom and work your way up. You will likely face rejection as you start looking for your first full-time job, but everyone goes through it. Just remember to be proactive, be persistent and remain confident that there is a great job out there for you!


(Source: Kate Lorenz, Career Builder)


Larry Smith: Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career

21st Century Career Success
Reality Checks for Career Planning
What is a Career?

Brendon Burchard: How to Get Ahead

Steve Jobs: Rules for Success
Paradigm Shift: Job Search vs. Career Management

Career Planning Guide: A to Z

Michael Litt: Why You Have to Fail to Have a Great Career

Brendon Burchard: How Successful People Think

Proven Networking Strategies of Successful Entrepreneurs

Career Ship: Mapping Your Future

Myths About Choosing a Career

Scott Dinsmore: How to Find and Do Work You Love


Your Life's Work


I first got into the career field because I recognized how central work is to the happiness of the individual and the character of any society. Work offers the individual the opportunity to share acts of love and beauty, to see goodness reflected in the image of his or her work. Since work is what we do with most of our waking lives, we must, if we count life valuable, consider what we are working for. For all too many, work is drudgery, the thing to do to pay the bills, or a mad chase for material wealth and social status. I saw how bored, alienated, under-challenged, or over-stressed so many are in their work, and how their unhappiness at work affects families, friends, and communities. It seemed to me that the popular conception of work as principally a matter of economics and social status was at the heart of the matter. Many individual tragedies of alienation, emptiness, and despair, as well as community, national, and global problems seemed to be aggravated, if not caused, by this conception of work.

A growing number of people are expecting to find a place for their heart and soul in their work, a place to express their unique talents and abilities. They want a greater sense of joy and meaning in their work. Your life's work is the work you were born to do -- the most appropriate vehicle through which to express your unique talents and abilities. More than a job or a career, it is your special gift to humanity. Traditionally, your life's work was called a vocation, a word which literally means calling. The work you love -- your calling or life's work -- is your unique and living answer to the question, what am I here to do on this earth?


(Source: By Laurence Boldt, How to Find the Work You Love)



Habits of Employees That Get Promoted
Shocking Statistics: Millennial Challenges
Confused Millennial: Entering the Workforce
How to Get a Promotion at Work
New Grad to New Job

Fastest Ways to Get Ahead in Your Career
Professional Behavior at Work
Guide to Getting a Promotion


Career Insights

"Meaningfulness begins with recognizing that you are not alone, that you are part of the human community, that everything you do sends a ripple through the entire human family. Allow your natural compassion to suggest creative ways that you can serve. Meaning is not found in acquisition, but in feeling ourselves a part of something greater. To the extent that your work takes into account the needs of the world, it will be meaningful. To the extent that through it you express your unique talents, it will be joyful."

-Laurence Boldt / How to Find the Work You Love

“What the world needs is more people who know what they really want to do, and who do it at their place of work as their chosen work. The world needs more people who feel true enthusiasm for their work… People who have taken the time to think out what they uniquely can do, and what they uniquely have to offer the world.”

-Richard Bolles / What Color is Your Parachute?


"There can be little joy in aimless activity. It is debilitating. Negative attitudes and poor self-esteem fester in the frustration of purposeless labor. Aimless labor is like traveling in a rudderless ship. You are powerless to propel your vessel toward your
port of call. On the other hand, virtually nothing on earth can stop a person with a positive attitude who has his goal clearly in sight.”
-Waitley & Witt

“One of the most powerful processes we've found to cultivate the passion of vision is creating and integrating an empowering personal mission statement… Accessing and creating an open connection with the deep energy that comes from a well-defined, thoroughly integrated sense of purpose and meaning in life… Creating a powerful vision based on principles that ensure its achievability… A sense of excitement and adventure that grows out of connecting with your unique purpose and the profound satisfaction that comes in fulfilling it.”
-Stephen Covey / First Things First


Career Planning for Today's College Students
Competitive Job Market Strategies

What Can I Do With This Major?

Proven Networking Strategies of Successful Entrepreneurs

How to Feel Satisfied in Your Career

How Prepared are Today's College Graduates?

Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career


Shortcut to Nowhere

As each semester draws to a close, and we are no less than a few weeks away from graduation, students start making their way into the Career Center to see about getting a job. For many of those who wander in right before graduation, in desperation mode, this represents the first and only visit they've ever made it to the Career Center. To them, pursuit of their professional goals is nothing more than simple job hunting. Our challenge in the Career Center is to demonstrate to students the huge difference between career planning and job hunting.

For too many of our students, career planning is a foreign concept. Even though they chose to come to college because they saw a link between their college degree and career success, they really are no more serious about their career than to relegate it to mere job hunting.

For most important things in their lives, they know they have to put forth extra effort, plan and prepare, and even do a little research. But, somehow, when it comes to their careers, they suddenly get lazy. They suddenly feel a great need to take all kinds of shortcuts.

Most people, it seems, exert more time and energy planning their vacations, their weddings, and their purchases of automobiles and homes. Most people understand the importance of preparation when it comes to the necessary effort required to participate in sports and athletic competition. But when it comes to their careers, planning is something they generally don't think they need to do. When it comes to the competition of the job market, the desire to exert rigorous effort is missing. When it comes to their careers, it's all about job hunting.

They answer ads in the newspaper, they scan job lists, they post their resumes on the internet, they go through staffing agencies, they rely on on-campus recruiting, and they fill out applications in the HR department. And they have deluded themselves into thinking that they're really doing something.

Career planning, on the other hand, is about setting a career goal and selecting the right major based on that goal. It's about exploring career opportunities and researching various industries and companies. It’s about developing an early passion for a cause or an ideal and engaging in worthwhile activities that will help build knowledge, experience, skill and credibility while still in college. It's about knowing what you want to do and pursuing that objective.

Career planning is about not being at the mercy of the job market. It's about being the initiator in the job market, not the responder. It’s about being a serious candidate, not just an applicant. It requires a relationship-oriented mindset, not a task-oriented mindset.

As we see our students head out into the job market, we have not observed that they encounter difficulty or failure because the market is bad or because they lack qualifications. The reason they fail is because they lack focus and credibility and because they have replaced real career planning with mindless job hunting.

Students can take charge of the direction of lives. They can learn to manage their careers. They can be successful in their pursuit of a rewarding profession if they will begin early enough devoting the necessary time and energy to the process. They must not wait until the last minute.


Proven Networking Strategies                         

Career Overview            

Occupational Outlook Handbook         

My Plan                               

Career Overview            

My Majors   





Birmingham-Southern College

Box 549010 | Norton Campus Center, Suite 214

Office 205-226-4719 | Appointments 205-226-4717