Career Action Plan
No matter your student status, have an idea of what your career action plan should look like and what you need to be doing for your future.

Career development is a lifelong process. Employment opportunities may vary throughout a person’s work life.

There are three fundamental questions that everyone who works both experiences and seeks to answer. Each of these questions may reappear as we “work” at our careers.

  • What kind of work do I want to do?
  • Am I job ready?
  • Where are the job/work opportunities?

You must know yourself and the market demands before identifying and evaluating your options. Our mission is to help you identify your goals and connect you with opportunities!

If you are unsure about your major or career path, begin with self-reflection. In order to make informed choices about majors and careers, students need to first evaluate their values, interests, personality traits, and skills.

  • Interests: What do you enjoy doing? What subjects do you like?
  • Personality: What energizes you? What environment suits your learning and work style?
  • Values: What is important to you? What motivates you to take action?
  • Skills: What are activities in which you excel? What are your natural abilities?

Evaluating these personal areas requires honest reflection and many students and alumni find it helpful to work with a career consultant to ensure that they are conducting a thorough self-assessment. Assessments are offered through the Career Center and, after talking with you about your interests, a consultant may recommend that you take one.

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 build workplace 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 Center for Academic 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 virtual or face-to-face practice interview through the Career Center.


Gaining Career Experiences

  • Read the suggested steps for freshmen and sophomores, as many of them also apply to juniors.
  • Update your profile and resume on Handshake.
  • Learn about using social networking sites in your job search.  Create or update your LinkedIn profile.
  • Continue developing skills and relationships through student organizations, internships, part-time employment, and volunteer experiences.
  • Take time to brush up on dining etiquette and workplace etiquette.
  • Research thoroughly career choices and interview professionals in your area(s) of interest.
  • Attend career fairs and employer panels, preparing ahead of time so you can engage employers in conversation about your qualifications and employment opportunities.
  • If appropriate for your career goals, research programs and entrance requirements for graduate school. Make plans to take entrance exams. Set up a timeline to apply for graduate and professional schools.
  • Update your resume and talk with professors and supervisors about serving as references.


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.