No matter where you are in the career planning process, you may feel overwhelmed by decisions. You may wonder if you’re taking the steps necessary to be competitive for jobs or graduate programs. Before making any career decisions, evaluate your interests, skills, and values to understand what types of careers will suit you.
As you continue learning about yourself and potential careers, there are steps you can take to increase your knowledge of occupations and to strengthen your resume. Following is a Career Action Plan that provides recommended steps beyond self-assessment to help you reach your goals.
Freshmen and First-Year Students
Inquiry and Awareness
- Learn more about UA majors if you are still exploring possibilities. Think of each major in terms of the skills and knowledge you will gain to prepare you for a variety of occupations. See our page on What Can I Do With This Major? to view information related to UA majors.
- Browse the Occupational Information Network to expand your knowledge of possible careers.
- View brief videos of professionals from hundreds of occupations describing their careers.
- Review the list of classes for the majors you’re considering. Talk with an academic advisor to plan a course of study related to your interests and career goals.
- Meet with a career consultant in the Career Center to discuss any questions you have about career planning.
- Complete an informational interview with someone in a profession of interest to gain his or her perspective and advice.
- Get to know upperclassmen, faculty members, and administrators who can provide you with information about majors and career options (begin to build your career network).
- Visit the Center for Service and Leadership to learn about volunteering. Volunteering not only allows you to serve the community, but also to explore new career options, network and strengthen skills that can be documented on your resume.
- View the Organizations Directory to identify opportunities for campus involvement.
- Working part-time or interning in your field of interest is a great way to gain exposure to a career while acquiring experience to add to your resume. Browse student employment opportunities on campus and also talk with employers in the Tuscaloosa area.
- If you need help with study habits or test anxiety, visit the Capstone Center for Student Success.
- Become familiar with campus resources that can help with your adjustment to college.
- Demonstrate professionalism in your interactions and emails. Prioritizing developing a positive personal brand.
Sophomores and Second-Year Students
Assessment and Exploration
- Read the steps recommended for freshmen as they also apply to sophomores.
- Talk with a career consultant if you are considering changing your major.
- Take on a role of responsibility in a student organization or community project to develop leadership and time-management skills while building your resume.
- Identify career mentors. Talk with a career consultant about informational interviews and job shadowing.
- Talk with the Cooperative Education Office or internship coordinators in your academic areas about applying for experiential education opportunities related to your major.
- Begin to develop your resume and meet with a career consultant for feedback and assistance.
- Update your Handshake account and post your resume online; begin searching for summer jobs or internships.
- Schedule a practice interview through the Career Center.
Gaining Career Experiences
Job Search or Grad-School Planning
- Read the suggested steps for juniors, as many of them also apply to seniors.
- Meet with a career consultant to have your application materials (resume and cover letter) critiqued and to discuss different job search strategies. Begin to apply for jobs or entrance into graduate/professional schools.
- Schedule a practice interview if you’ve not done one, or if you wish to improve your skills.
- Identify both on- and off-campus recruiting opportunities. Sign up for on-campus interviews through Handshake. Recruiting season runs from September through November and February through April.
- Continue your efforts to build contacts through campus and community involvement and stay in touch with people in your network who can assist you in the job search.
- Let the UA Career Center know your employment status. Your report counts toward the total placement rate, which impacts UA’s accreditation and ranking among universities.