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FOUR YEAR CAREER PLAN AND HOW YOU CAN HELP

Developing a career plan and setting goals for each year of college is an effective way for students to map a clear path towards career success. Families can assist in the process by encouraging students in steps along the way. While certainly not the only possible route, the following four year schedule outlines a plan that students may find helpful and provides suggestions for family involvement and support.


 
Freshman Year | Sophomore Year | Junior Year | Senior Year

Freshman Year

What They Should Do
How You Can Help
Explore interests and abilities through courses and campus activities; keep balance in mind.
Affirm what you know to be your student's strengths and interests and encourage exploration of new areas.
Focus on writing and communication skills.
Make sure your student has read the Pirate Read book she or he has been asked to read during the summer prior to Freshman year. Students will be asked to discuss and write about the book in various classes.
Create a first draft of a resume and bring it to The Career Center for review.
Encourage your student to create a first draft of a resume before coming to school, or at the least, develop a list of activities, awards, honors, and jobs so that the information will be easy to assemble into a resume.
Setup profile on ECU CareerNET.
Ask your student if s/he has filled out a profile on ECU CareerNET, the Career Center Employment database. It takes only a few minutes and provides access to jobs and internships.
Test the waters with an internship or job shadow.
Do you have contacts at any companies in your student's expressed area of interested?
Attend a Career Fair.
Ask your student when the Career Fair is to be held. You can find the dates on our website under the Student section.


Sophomore Year

What They Should Do
How You Can Help
Talk to professionals in career fields of interest. Review the Career Success Guide for tips on informational interviewing. Consider your network of colleagues and friends and share names and contact information with your student.
Get to know faculty in their area of interest. Make an appointment during office hours to get to know faculty; discuss the career field of interest. Participate in class discussions. Encourage students to talk to you about their classes. Ask them what faculty they find the most interesting and approachable. Suggest they meet faculty during office hours.
Continue to work on resume or develop anew. Develop the first draft using the Career Center's Optimal Resume software Suggest your student make an appointment at The Career Center to review their resume.
Look for internships. Obtain a summer position in field of interest. Internships can be found through a variety of sources. Some academic programs require internships and employ faculty or advisors to serve as Intern Coordinators. Ask your student if anyone in the department fulfills that role. If not, he or she can pick up intern search tips at The Career Center.
Attend a Career Fair. Are Career Fairs in your student's radar? Ask what businesses are scheduled to participate. (Employers attending the Career Fair will be posted on our website.)
Establish a relationship with their academic advisor. Many students see their advisors only when it is time to register for classes. Advisors are tremendous resources and are available to assist students in a variety of ways. Suggest that your student connect with his/her advisor well before the registration period begins to allow a relaxed appointment.


Junior Year

What They Should Do
How You Can Help
Develop a plan for an effective job search. Set deadlines for important steps. Make an appointment with a Career Coach to discuss.
Ask if your student has met with a Career Coach to begin planning for a job search.
Get to know faculty in their area of interest. Make an appointment during office hours to get to know faculty; discuss the career field of interest. Participate in class discussions. Encourage students to talk to you about their classes. Ask them what faculty they find the most interesting and approachable. Suggest they meet faculty during office hours.
Join career-related professional associations. Seek leadership positions in co-curricular activities. Volunteer in a program that relates to their profession. When students volunteer in an area related to their career, they develop hands on experience, create networking opportunities, and get a taste of working in that field. Some academic programs require students to volunteer as part of their coursework. If your student isn't required to volunteer, suggest he or she visit the ECU Volunteer and Service Learning Center to find out what volunteer opportunities are available.
Update resume to include internship and/or volunteer experiences gained to date, school or employment projects, professional organizations, honors, awards, etc. Remind your student that the experiences gained through internships, volunteering, class activities, etc. provide valuable practical experience and resume content.
Consider if graduate school is an appropriate next step. If so, research graduate school options and apply according to established guidelines and deadlines. Encourage frank discussion regarding viability and advisability of attending graduate school. In some professions, advanced degrees are required; in others, joining the work force right away is a better option.  Refer to the article "Is Graduate School Right For You?" in the ECU Career Success Guide.
Attend both the Fall and Spring Career Fairs and practice interacting with employers to gain internships or jobs. Develop a power greeting. A description of a power greeting can be found on the ECU Career Center website. Ask your student for a power greeting demonstration.


Senior Year

What They Should Do
How You Can Help
Establish a reference list; ask employers and faculty if they will serve as references and/or write letters of recommendation on your behalf. Remind your student that he or she should always seek and receive permission from an intended reference before listing.  Note that requests should be made early in the semester. Faculty are bombarded with requests at the end of each semester.
Attend both the Fall and Spring Career Fairs with targeted resumes in hand and dressed in professional business attire. The power of a suit should never be underestimated. Recruiters expect students to attend Career Fairs dressed in business attire. Ask your student what he or she plans to wear. If he or she does not have a suit, consider providing assistance in securing one.
Conduct a thorough job search campaign. Attend on-campus interviews and information sessions. Network. Networking is an extremely effective job search strategy. Provide your student with contacts in your sphere.
Research companies prior to sending resumes. Target resumes to align with job descriptions. Schedule an appointment with a Career Coach for a resume critique.
It's not too late to create a resume. Encourage your student to create a resume and make an appointment at The Career Center for a resume critique.
Review interviewing information on The Career Center website and in the Career Success Guide. Set up a mock interview at The Career Center. Encourage your student to set up an appointment for a mock interview at The Career Center.
Notify The Career Center once upon acceptance of a job offer. Securing a job can take up to six months. Encourage your student to persevere.