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Career Planning

Career planning is more than just making a decision about a major or an occupation. It's a continuous (and lifetime!) process of determining where you are and where you want to be, and developing strategies that support your career and life goals. It's also about making the most of the opportunities that are available to you throughout life in order to achieve a satisfying and rewarding career.

In college, career planning skills are valuable in implementing your academic major and career decisions. In the future, they will be useful when you want to advance in a career, move from one job to the next, or even change career direction.

Not sure how to "do" career planning? Career planning skills can be learned! The steps listed above are part of the career planning process. After reviewing each section (and following through on the recommendations!), you will have the knowledge to develop effective career plans in college and in the future.

 

Career Planning Steps

 


 

Step 1: Develop a Career Action Plan

College is a series of transitions. You start by transitioning into college and end by transitioning out of college. In between, you are transitioning from one academic year to the next. Interestingly enough, career development is also a series of transitions or phases.

The career action plans (see below) offer tips for making the most of each year of your undergraduate experience. As a whole, they serve as a "map" for charting your course through college and a reference for measuring your on-going progress. There is no definite starting and stopping point with each plan so take time to review all of the plans. If you follow the recommendations, you will make a more effective transition through college, and along the way, you will prepare for a career after graduation.

 

 

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Step 2: Follow the Advice from Professionals

Professionals who are working in your field of interest are good resources when preparing for your future career. Clarion alumni and employers who hire Clarion graduates can be particularly helpful in offering recommendations for planning your college experience.

  • Career Planning Advice (.pdf)
    Recommendations for planning your college experience from Clarion alumni and employers who hire Clarion graduates.

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Step 3: Learn about Employer Qualifications

Learn about the qualifications (knowledge, skills, and experiences) that employers say college graduates should possess.

  • What Qualifications Do Employers Seek? (.pdf)
    A report summarizing employer responses to a Michigan State University survey about the qualifications that they seek in college graduates.
  • The Total Package (.pdf)
    Another report by Michigan State's Collegiate Employment Research Institute regarding the skills and competencies sought by employers.

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Step 4: Assess and Develop Your Skills

In survey after survey of employers, they indicate that it is important for college graduates to have a basic set of skills. The following resources will help you to learn about these skills, assess your competency level for each, and develop a plan for honing them.

  • Skills for Success (.pdf)
    A list of skills that are helpful to have...no matter what position or career field you seek.
  • Your Personal Skills Assessment (.pdf)
    A form to help you assess your level of development for a variety of skills, provide evidence of your competencies, and develop a plan for improving your skills.

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Step 5: Get Experience

One of the top qualifications valued by employers is experience.  You can gain experience in a variety of ways:

Campus Involvement
Community Service
Internships
Informational Interviewing
Job Shadowing
Part-time Employment

All of these opportunities provide ways to enhance your social skills, managerial skills, planning skills, organizing skills, supervising skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills and communication skills.

 

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Step 6: Keep a Record

Beginning in your first year of college, you should keep a record of your classes, campus and community activities, leadership positions, work experiences, and achievements. When you begin to prepare a resumé, these worksheets will make the process easier.

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