Career Planning Guide

It began before you even entered college and it will continue long after you graduate. Ultimately, you will have more career success and job satisfaction if you are an active participant in your career development. We hope this plan serves as a guide for a successful and fulfilling journey.


First Year

I’m really not sure I’ve chosen the right major. Help! Everybody else seems so sure of their choice. Am I the only one who doesn’t know?
If I major in ________ what can I do with that?
A resume? I’m only a freshman, do I need one now?


– Start Gathering Information for the Journey
– Ask Plenty of Questions

  • Learn about resources available to you at Maryville – the people, places and things that can help you. Start in the Office of Career and Professional Development located in the University Library.
  • Begin the self- assessment process. What do you like? What don’t you like? Use the Strong Interest Inventory to identify your interests and their relevance to career choices. Get the password for this assessment tool in the Office of Career and Professional Development.
  • Enroll in core courses and identify subjects that interest you. Strive for good grades your very first semester. Your GPA can be used as a screening factor for employment in an internship or full-time job.
  • Talk with your academic advisor to create an academic plan. Know how many credit hours are required to graduate and take responsibility to stay on track.
  • Work with a Peer Tutor if you need extra help in your classes.
  • Start building a resume by getting involved in campus activities.
  • Obtain a part-time or summer job related to your career interests.
  • Review the resource books on a variety of career fields available in the Office of Career and Professional Development.


Sophomore Year

I think I want to switch majors. Can I still do that and graduate “on time”?
My parents want to know if I can get a job in this field. How do I find out?
How do I find out what this career is really like?- Explore New Opportunities
– Establish a Solid Career Foundation

  • Review: What Can I Do With This Major?
  • Talk with your faculty advisor about the requirements for your major and career possibilities in that subject.
  • If you have not done so, take the Strong Interest Inventory to review or refine your career interests.
  • Become involved with campus activities or a community service project.
  • Learn about cooperative education and internships to gain experience in your field.
  • Consider joining a professional association as a student member.
  • Arrange an informational interview with someone in the field you are considering.


Junior Year

How do I even start looking for a job?
Should I start now?
Can I get academic credit for the job or internship I already have?
I think I know what I want to do, but how do I focus on specific job possibilities?
Maybe I should consider attending graduate school. How do I do that research?

– Chart Your Course and Set Strategic Goals

  • With your advisor’s help, select elective courses to expand your employment marketability.
  • Take a leadership role in campus organizations. Consider being an RA, a Peer Tutor, a PACK Leder, or an Orientation Leader.
  • Start updating your resume and have your resume reviewed in the Office of Career and Professional Development.
  • Talk with faculty members about graduate school programs. Explore university Web sites for application and admission requirements.
  • Be sure to register for co-op or internship credit and discuss your learning plan with your faculty advisor. Do this within the first month of the semester.
  • Build your network of contacts through participation in professional events in your field.
  • If needed, begin the “Extreme Makeover” by assembling an appropriate professional interview and work wardrobe.
  • Edit your profiles on social networking Web sites to remove any questionable content that could sabotage your job search.


Senior Year

I graduate this year. When do I start looking for a job?
Do I need to practice for my job interviews?
None of the companies that come to campus or post jobs are looking for people in my major.
How do I find out about other opportunities?
What if I don’t get accepted to graduate or professional school?
Will the Office of Career and Professional Development “place” me in a job?

– This is What You’ve Been Working Hard to Accomplish
– Go For It

  • Verify with your advisor that you will meet all graduation requirements.
  • Consider another internship or cooperative education position that gives you additional experience.
  • Create a job search folder and keep your resumes, cover letters and job contact information organized and up-to-date.
  • Obtain a copy of the most current Job Choices magazine from the Office of Career and Professional Development.
  • Finalize details on your resume. Proofread several times. Update as needed.
  • Complete a basic cover letter that you can customize for any job you may seek.
  • Participate in mock interviews to fine-tune your interviewing technique.
  • Attend the annual Etiquette Dinner to polish your social and dining skills.
  • Complete salary research for your occupation. This helps in negotiating your starting salary.
  • Use on-line resources and learn how to find employers that traditionally don’t recruit on college campuses.
  • Develop an alternative to graduate school attendance. Always have a Plan B.
  • Identify references. Be sure to select those who know you well and can speak to your qualifications.
  • Review your cell phone message, your e-mail address and your social networking profiles again to present the best professional image to potential employers.

– Invest time and effort in your job search
– Don’t wait until graduation to start

  • Career Assessments
  • Career Connections
  • Career Fairs
  • Etiquette Dinner
  • Internship and Co-op Information
  • Interviewing Tips and Techniques
  • Job Search Strategies
  • Mock Interviews
  • Occupational Information Resources
  • On-Campus Recruiting
  • Resume and Cover Letter Writing Help
  • Salary Information

The Office of Career and Professional Development  won’t “place” you in a job. We are here to teach you how to conduct your own search. Use these services to learn the techniques to help you throughout your career.