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Student Services Four-Year Career Plan

Four-Year Career Plan


The 4-Year College to Career Plan will help guide you as you progress toward graduation.  The Career Services staff is available to assist students who have questions or desire additional guidance.

First Year – Explore. Explore Career Options.

Tap into Career Services Resources

  1. Complete your HANDSHAKE ACCOUNT profile
  2. To discover careers that could be right for you, contact Career Services.
  3. Interested in additional testing? Contact Career Services and learn more

Explore Career Options

  1. Set up a job shadow experience with a career professional
  2. Research careers using your own ideas and dreams, and the results of assessments.
  3. Enroll in introductory courses to see what you like
  4. Explore academic majors at ESU’s Student Advising Center

Get Involved!

  1. Join at least one organization this year!  Visit the Center for Student Involvement, for a list of organizations and events
  2. Explore additional organizations that are atypical of your usual interests

Develop Job Skills

  1. Build a reputation for dependability, initiative and leadership
  2. Seek opportunities at work, in the classroom and in organizations to develop and/or improve strong communication and decision-making skills

Second Year – Experience.  Narrow Your Focus.

Work toward a college major and career commitment

  1. Arrange informational interviews with professionals in careers you are considering
  2. Job shadow a professional to see for yourself what a typical day would involve
  3. Begin thinking about internships.  It might not be too soon to apply for an internship
  4. Explore a study abroad experience to develop skills required in a global marketplace

Become a leader

  1. Pursue at least one leadership role this year in a student or civic organization
  2. Begin to develop a portfolio of your accomplishments

Make Career Decisions

  1. Seek experiences (volunteer, part-time work) related to your field(s) of interest
  2. Consider an academic minor or area of concentration to broaden your experience
  3. Commit to a major

Third Year – Evaluate Your Image – Become a Professional.

Create Your Professional Identity

  1. Practice being a professional in all areas of your life: Clean up your Facebook account and other social media, change your voice mail message and assess your wardrobe. Learn more about a “Social Resume"
  2. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, then create one now!  If you do have a LinkedIn page, evaluate the effectiveness of your profile using LinkedIn Profile Checklist.pdf
  3. Don’t have a resume yet?  Make one NOW

Focus on Marketable, Professional Skills

  1. Practice interviewing: schedule a "Mock Interview" with a career counselor
  2. Update your resume; touch base with your references
  3. Complete an internship

Expand your network

  1. Cultivate and/or renew professional relationships with professors
  2. Make sure that your resume is uploaded in HANDSHAKE
  3. Attend career fairs
  4. Sign up for on-campus interviews: Internship deadlines are early!
  5. Become involved in a professional association; attend conferences
  6. Contribute to professional group discussions on LinkedIn or other professional internet venues

Graduation and Beyond

  1. During the first semester of your junior year, complete the “Intent to Graduate” application.  The online application is located in Student Records on Hornet 365.  See your advisor for details
  2. Research graduate schools and determine “best fitting” programs for your interests (Deadlines are generally Dec-Feb preceding matriculation into a graduate program)
  3. Take required entrance examinations
  4. Begin working on applications
  5. Research funding options for graduate school

Fourth Year: Execute Your Plan!

  1. Professional Resources
  2. Invest in a professional interview suit (and get it tailored)
  3. Secure professional and faculty references
  4. Research salary ranges in your field; understand the value of compensation packages (i.e. benefits)

Job Search

  1. Begin your search 4-6 months before you plan to begin working
  2. Update your resume
  3. Sign up for on-campus interviews; customize your resume for each employer
  4. Send thank you notes following every interview
  5. Target companies that interest you and contact them
  6. Carefully manage your job search activities through a spreadsheet or journal
  7. Ensure that your career portfolio is current and markets your experience and abilities

Graduate School

Deadlines are generally Dec-Feb preceding matriculation into a graduate program

  1. Complete applications over the summer before your senior year or early fall of your senior year
  2. Continue your dialogue with professors and students in programs that interest you
  3. Update your resume to include internships and research projects
  4. Set up a practice group interview with Career Services

Work Your Network

  1. Attend career fairs
  2. Tell EVERYONE that you are conducting a job search and what you are seeking
  3. Attend and consider presenting at professional conferences

Report a Hire

  1. Notify Career Services by completing the ESU Destination Survey that you receive after graduation or when you find employment.
    (Emporia State University is required by the Kansas Board of Regents to report graduation follow-up information. This means that we need your help and ask that you complete this survey and let us know your plans following graduation. All information collected with this survey is presented in statistical tabulation only, with no identifying individual information revealed.)
    • Are you employed?
    • Are you in Graduate School?
    • We love good news!
  1. Be Sure you update your resume and professional social media accounts BEFORE you start your job search!!

REMEMBER: Career Services provides support to Alumni even after graduation. Feel free to contact our office if you want to utilize any of our professional services! (620-341-5407)