The Compass - Distinguish Yourself

Develop and Finalize A Career Plan

Complete items 1 and 2, choose between 3a or 3b, then choose one from items 4-11.

1.  Develop a Strategic Graduate School or Job Search Timeline  DATE COMPLETED: ________
Considering the many steps you need to walk through, it makes sense to identify tasks and develop a timeline to keep you on track.  You may want to meet with a professional staff member in the Compass to discuss your particular needs and goals. 

2.  Secure and manage your references.   DATE COMPLETED: ________
You will want to secure positive references from people who can critically evaluate your work and academic performance.  For assistance with this process, you may want to review our handout on references, or considering starting a reference file with us for the purposes of the job or graduate school search.  You can contact your reference writers directly from the system - anytime 24/7 and from anywhere with an internet connection!

(Complete EITHER 3a - Grad. School, or 3b - Job Searching)

3a.  If applying to graduate school (if not, skip down to 3B)....  DATE COMPLETED: ________
- Learn about/identify graduate entrance exams.
Many of the graduate programs you have identified require specialized entrance exams.  Learn about these and schedule to take those that may be required early in your senior year.

-   If applying to graduate school, explore sources of graduate school funding.
Rather than add to your existing college loans as you apply to graduate school, consider sources of graduate school funding such as scholarships, fellowships and assistantships.  Do this early in your application process, as many of these sources of financial aid are awarded as soon as the application deadlines occur.

- Submit your graduate school application(s).   Don't forget to check out our section on application essays and personal statements. DATE COMPLETED: ________


3b. If job searching....

-   Connect the skills/characteristics you possess to the career fields you are interested in.
Knowing what employers want is the first step in beating the competition!  There are many resources to assist you with this, including major exploration sites, professional associations, o "Job Choices" online magazine, and reviewing job vacancy requirements.

- Explore the sub-fields of your career fields.  DATE COMPLETED: ________
There are many ways to accomplish this - you can talk to a Compass staff member or intern, explore online, utilize our Focus2 online program, or connect with alumni for informational interviews.

-   Explore three industries related to career fields identified above.  DATE COMPLETED: ________
Now that you know your general career field, you can narrow down the types of industries and organization that relate to your field.  Our national company database, Reference USA, can assist with this process.  You'll need to visit the Compass Resource Center for access to this online database.


Choose ONE of the following 4-11.

4.   Engage with the Alumni Sharing Knowledge program (ASK)  DATE COMPLETED: ________

Through the ASK program, you can shadow an alum, have your resume critiqued, conduct a mock interview, make networking contacts, gather relocation information, and learn about possible internship opportunities.

5.   Attend a Pizza with Professionals event  DATE COMPLETED: ________
We regularly schedule professionals from a variety of fields to come on campus and speak with students over lunch about what they do, the benefits, challenges, and day to day operation of their field.

6.    Go on a "Test Drive Your Career" trip   DATE COMPLETED: ________
Several times a year we will load vans full of students and travel off-site to an organization to learn first hand what working in that career field actually means.  We have gone to PR agencies, medical labs, banks, defense contractors, prisons, and much more.

7.    Personal finance/budget assignment   DATE COMPLETED: ________
Directions: Complete the Budget Assignment to get a realistic picture of your personal finances upon graduation.

8.    Attend an on or off-campus Career Fair   DATE COMPLETED: ________
Career Services, Experience-Based Education, and Community Services & Service Learning coordinate a variety of events designed to put you in contact with potential employers who seek full/part-time employees, interns, and volunteers.  Check out LakerLeads.

9.    Conduct a job shadowing experience   DATE COMPLETED: ________
There is nothing like walking a mile in someone's shoes to really understand what they do for a living, and the daily challenges and rewards they receive.

10.    Explore and join a related professional association   DATE COMPLETED: ________
Joining a professional association in your field has many benefits - you have access to online resources, job vacancies, networking opportunities, and more.  Many times, joining as a student is either free or discounted.

11.    Visit graduate schools, if applicable  DATE COMPLETED: ________

12.    Attend the New York City Career Connections program in January in Manhattan