Career Center

Four Year Planning Guide

You'll want to map a path to the career that suits your skills, talent and personality. We can help you make choices at key times in your university career.

We'll help you do a self-assessment, dive into the exploration and line up the experiences that will shape you for the work world.

Our Four Year Planning Guide below will assist you, or download our Career Planner as a pdf.

Our Four Year Planning Guide

1st Year – Self-Assessment

Start to identify your strengths, value, abilities, interests and skills.

Get involved on campus and explore options.

Consider taking advantage of our:

  • Academic Learning Center. Free tutoring when you need it.
  • Advising and Registration Day. Connect with resources needed to be successful in your first semester.
  • Advisors. Register for classes.
  • Career Counselors. Clarify your academic and career interests and options.
  • Career Center. Assistance with your career planning needs.
  • Events and Job Fairs. Take the opportunity to get familiar with how they work.
  • FOCUS and Myers-Briggs Types Inventory. Take these assessments to identify careers that match your interests, skills, values and personality.
  • Mainstreet. Get involved! Identify at least two student organizations or residence hall activities that will help you explore and define your career goals while building communication, teamwork and critical-thinking skills.
  • Huskies First Four Days. Meet other students, learn more about St. Cloud State University and find ways to connect with the Husky community.
  • Write a résumé. Develop a résumé for part-time jobs, internships or service-learning projects. Update it regularly.
  • Handshake. Find a part-time or summer job to start gaining work experience and important skills.
  • Volunteer opportunities. Gain experiences that expand your skill set.
  • Other tips:
    • Get off to a good start academically. Work hard in your classes and develop strong study skills to help you succeed in the classroom.
    • Determine the values that are important to you in a career (prestige, salary, flexibility, challenge, etc.).
    • Identify your main areas of interest (hobbies, school subjects, extracurricular activities, etc.) and which majors or careers they might relate to.
    • Make a tentative list of 5-10 majors or careers you want to explore further.
    • Take a variety of classes to complete your liberal education requirements. Explore new topics.
    • Get to know your instructors. Begin building relationships and seek out an academic mentor.

2nd Year – Career Exploration

Narrow your choices of major (and minor) and apply for admission to your major.

Research careers that relate to your major.

Consider taking advantage of our:

  • Advisors. Ask for help with your class selection.
  • Career Counselors. Get help choosing a major and exploring careers.
  • Networking Events and Job and Internship Fairs. Start networking with employers and identify internship possibilities.
  • Career Resource Library, Career Center, and other reference materials available.
  • COLL 111, Career Planning. Course introduces you to the process of career exploration and research.
  • Education Abroad. Check out programs for a chance to study in a foreign country and gain valuable experience living in another culture.
  • Informational Interviews or Job Shadow. Meet with professionals who are working in fields that interest you to learn about the career and the world of work.
  • Internship exploration.  Start gaining experience related to your major.
  • Volunteer. Find an organization that will give you experience related to your major or career field.
  • Other tips:
    • Enroll in introductory courses in majors you may be considering to see if it is a good fit.
    • Talk to faculty and current students in the major(s) you are interested in to learn more about the field and academic requirements.
    • Choose your major and meet with your new major faculty advisor to set up an academic plan and discuss your goals. Meet with a career counselor to clarify your decision. Get to know faculty in your major.
    • Establish short-term and long-term goals related to your career.
    • Find out what types of careers you can pursue with your major.

3rd Year – Gain Experience

Relate interests, abilities and values to possible career choices and gain experience.

Be creative and consider opportunities where you can obtain transferable skills.

Consider taking advantage of our:

  • Career Counselors, faculty members and professionals. Make a tentative career goal and a list of alternative career options to discuss.
  • Job Fair Prep. Learn how to maximize your job and internship fair experience.
  • Career Center Resource Area. Research employers, salary information, employment outlook, etc.
  • Choose your courses carefully. Stay on track for graduation. Consider a minor or enroll in classes that will complement your major or career goals.
  • Events and Job Fairs. Connect with potential employers for jobs or internships.
  • Graduate and Professional Programs. If you are considering graduate or professional school, start to evaluate this now. Register and plan on taking any admission exams (GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT) during the summer before your senior year.
  • Informational interviews or Job Shadowing. Focuses your career goals, obtain real world information and network.
  • Internships. Secure a career-related internship during the year or the summer before your senior year. Connect with your major advisor or internship coordinator to discuss how to incorporate internships into your academic plan.
  • Leadership Skills. Developed through part-time work and student or professional organizations such as Student Government, Residential Life, Volunteering/Service Learning, or Department of Campus Involvement.
  • Resume and Cover Letters. Continue to update and polish these; have them reviewed by Career Center staff.
  • Update your profile in Handshake. Search and apply for jobs and internships, post your updated resume, and sign up for on-campus interviews.
  • Other tips:
    • Relate course projects and papers to your career field.
    • Research. Learn as much as you can to prepare for your desired career field.

4th Year – Secure Employment

Start early and be actively engaged in the job search process.

Identify and apply for jobs or prepare for graduate school.

Consider taking advantage of our resources to actively pursue employment opportunities:

  • Make an appointment to brainstorm job search strategies for your field and create an individualized job search plan.
  • Career Events and Job and Internship Fairs. A great opportunity to network with employers.
  • Job Fair Prep. Practice your interviewing skills with employers.
  • Career Center.  Visit us for interviewing, resume writing and job searching tips, and more!
  • Graduate school. Narrow your choices and submit applications. Pay attention to deadlines – many applications are due as early as January.
  • Internship. Strongly consider doing an internship. If you have already done one, consider doing a second internship to gain more experience and transition to your career.
  • Interview. A great opportunity to network with employers on-campus.
  • LinkedIn. Create an account to connect with potential employer contacts.
  • Reference Letters. Request them from individuals (professors, current or previous employers, mentors) and give them a copy of your resume.
  • Resume and Cover Letter. Take them to the Career Center to have them reviewed.
  • Handshake. Search and apply for jobs, post your resume, get employer contact information, find upcoming dates for employer presentations and more.
  • Other tips:
    • Don’t wait until after you graduate to start your job search.
    • Many fields start hiring new graduates six months in advance.
    • Serve in leadership roles on campus and in the community.
    • Identify interesting job opportunities and submit applications. Stay organized by keeping a log of all employer contacts, interview offers and follow-up activities.
    • Research potential employers who you might want to work for.
    • Research topics such as salary negotiation and relocation, etc.