Career Planning and Success

As a College of Charleston student, the key to developing a successful career plan is starting early and being consistent. There are specific actions you can take during each year of college to set yourself up for career success upon graduation, as shown below in our four-year Career Success Plan. (Graduate Students: Adjust the timeline of the plan to meet your needs.  For example, if you are in a 2-year program, combine the Explore and Experience steps for your first year and the Engage and Excel steps in your second year.  Recognize that you may be at different stages of the process depending upon your background and experience).

Career Success plan: your four-year guide to building a successful career Year one: Explore Know Yourself, know your options, get involved Year two: Experience Declare a major, gain experience, stay involved Year three: Engage Build your network, increase experience, research companies and grad schools Year four: Excel Leverage your network, apply to jobs or grad school, make your decision

Use the checklist below as a guide to stay on track with your career development:

CAREER SUCCESS PLAN 1 Explore KNOW YOURSELF Learn more about yourself through assessing your skills, interests, and values and compare to majors and careers that may be a good match. KNOW YOUR OPTIONS Meet with Academic Advising to discuss courses associated with majors of interest and take introductory courses to help identify the best fit. Shadow a professional to explore possible career paths associated with majors of interest. Use LinkedIn to connect with CofC alumni within majors of interest to learn about what they are doing with their degree. Consider messaging them to schedule an informational interview to learn more about their career and advice they have for pursuing this field. Create a broad career plan to help you work toward your goals that includes further shadowing professionals, conducting informational interviews, and participating in experiential learning opportunities. GET INVOLVED Get involved in clubs on campus or volunteer with a local organization to get exposure to areas of interest and gain leadership abilities. Consider applying for an on- campus job or part time job to gain transferable skills and experience that employers seek using Handshake. Create a resume and visit the Career Center for review. 2 Experience DECLARE A MAJOR Declare your major and meet with Academic Advising to discuss a plan for class enrollment. Explore the Academic Catalog to identify potential minors. Begin looking into graduate school programs if needed or desired. Research the program’s focus and makeup,learn about admission requirements, and be aware of deadlines for each application. GAIN EXPERIENCE Update your resume adding new experiences/skills and eliminating high school education. Use handshake to search for summer internships and opportunities that provide experience in your field of interest. Gain interviewing skills that prepare you to secure an internship or experiential learning opportunity by participating in a mock interview. STAY INVOLVED Continue involvement in clubs and organizations and consider taking on a leadership role or volunteer to lead a project. View your experiences in light of the transferable skills being gained so you can communicate your abilities to employers. Develop relationships with professors and supervisors who could serve as potential references for future applications. 3 Engage BUILD YOUR NETWORK Update your LinkedIn account and establish additional connections with colleagues, acquaintances, and employers. Engage with accounts of employers and organizations of interest. View your classes and experiences as a way to build your personal network. Strategically ask individuals to be a reference for job and/or graduate school references. INCREASE EXPERIENCE Continue exploring career paths and gain experience by participating in experiential learning opportunities such as internships and research opportunities. Tailor your resume when applying. Revisit career plan and modify if needed, narrowing your career focus. Compile your works into a portfolio that could be displayed to employers in interviews. Hone your interview skills through mock interviews at the Career Center or through InterviewStream. RESEARCH COMPANIES OR GRADUATE SCHOOLS Develop a job search strategy or a timeline to prepare for graduate school. Attend the Career Fair and connect with employers, practice networking, learn about businesses, and find internships and jobs. Explore graduate schools and prepare to take entrance exams, develop a CV, and draft your personal statement. 4 Excel APPLY TO JOBS OR GRADUATE SCHOOL Have your graduate school CV and admissions essay reviewed by the Career Center. Apply for graduate schools and ask for strong letters of recommendation. Begin the job search process one semester prior to graduation. Tailor your resume to each position to which you apply and keep a log of your progress. LEVERAGE NETWORK Attend the Career Fair to network with employers and learn about professional opportunities. Continue engaging with others on LinkedIn and publish posts frequently. Utilize these connections to ask for advice on entering your field and learning about opportunities. Actively seek out networking opportunities to assist in your job search and become a member of professional organizations related to your field. Maintain relationships with your references, providing them with your resume and job description when applying for positions and keeping them updated on your status. MAKE YOUR DECISION Research median pay, needed experience, and common responsibilities of your position of interest in order to reasonably negotiate. Take the First Destination Survey upon graduation Become an engaged alumni and maintain relationships