Start Your Journey with a Personal Roadmap

Life’s road can be daunting and full of uncertainty, especially during the college years, so we have set up this page as a guideline to help you on this journey.

Explore the information below to help you map out your career goals and navigate the path to reach them successfully! We broke everything down with recommendations for each school year to help you plan your current year and the years ahead.

The most important task during the first year is to become active in the career planning process by exploring the following:

  1. Career Services
    • Begin by becoming familiar with career and testing services staff and resources, and speak with the director about your career goals.
    • Register with Handshake - an online job posting and web resume system.
    • Review the Freshman 5 Career Planning Checklist.
  2. Self-Exploration and Assessment
    • Utilize the computerized career guidance program Focus 2 to examine your interests, skills, and values while learning about a variety of occupations/career paths.
    • Take a career interests assessment (Strong Interests Inventory or Myers Briggs Type Indicator) offered at the career services center.
    • Discuss your career interests with parents, family, friends, and others who know you well.
  3. University and Majors
    • Get to know and meet regularly with your academic advisor to discuss your career plans.
    • Explore academic majors and minors. You can also attend the Fall Majors/Minors Fair.
    • Become familiar with the University of Mary's online course catalog describing course offerings.
    • Go to class, keep up with your assignments, and focus on maintaining a solid GPA.
    • Learn more about different majors.
  4. World of Work
    • Research the world of work, including qualifications, job duties, market trends, and salaries for various occupations, at the Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*NET.
    • Join student organizations enabling you to form connections, discover interests, skills, and strengths, and gain practical experience.
    • Check out the career fairs on campus to see what businesses may have opportunities for the University of Mary students.
    • Visit the career resource library to learn more about the world of work, including qualifications, job market trends, and salaries for various occupations.
  5. Advance Now
    • Begin to gain real-life experience valued by employers through volunteer services, work on-campus, part-time employment, or summer work experience.
    • Start building your career portfolio, convert your high school resume into a professional one, create a LinkedIn profile, and list your top five strengths.
    • Take time to reflect on what you want to do and where you want to go.

The focus of the sophomore year is to select a major and develop tentative career goals.

  1. Commit to a Career Choice
    • Revisit the Career Roadmap and your career counselor to evaluate your progress and discuss possible career paths that align with your values and interests in your major. 
    • Decide on/declare a major and apply to be admitted to your major if necessary.
    • Meet with your academic advisor to confirm your degree plan and learn more about degree requirements for your major area.
    • Get to know the faculty and upper-class students in your major.
    • Continue to maintain a strong GPA.
    • Determine if graduate school is necessary for your career.
  2. Test and Strengthen Your Choice
    • Attend career fairs to gain awareness of companies/employers in your study area.
    • Begin researching internships, student teaching, and clinical placement options while applying for related summer employment.
    • Gain relevant experience from part-time employment during the year or through volunteering.
    • Contact the Mission for Life on campus to learn more about service-learning or volunteer opportunities related to your field of study.
    • Continue to participate in student organizations, clubs, and extracurricular activities to develop your skills and leadership.
  3. Begin Preparing Job Search Correspondence
    • Start creating a resume. Take a close look at the resume on the next page and use it as a model for your resume.
    • Attend a resume writing workshop sponsored by Career Services.
    • Career Services can critique your resume or have it done by an employer at the Resumania event in the spring of each year.
    • Learn more about the importance of cover letters and begin preparing a draft.
    • Consider the process of creating a work-related portfolio and deciding on relevant content.

In the junior year, preparing yourself for entry into a specific career field is important.

  1. Graduate and Professional School
    • Begin to consider different schools and programs; learn about their requirements and application processes.
    • Request a degree audit from the registrar to monitor your progress toward graduation.
  2. World of Work
    • Research career areas, including industry, employers, and jobs matching your interests, values, and skills.
    • Conduct informational interviews to learn more about your field and create networking contacts.
    • Attend professional meetings, networking events, socials, or information sessions relevant to your career field to collect information and expand your professional network.
    • Attend fall and spring career fairs to make contacts, network, and learn about job requirements.
    • Complete internships, research, or volunteer opportunities related to your career goals to gain valuable skills and experiences.
  3. Career Services
    • Market yourself effectively by updating your resume and tailoring it to your career field.
    • Sharpen your professional interview skills by participating in a mock interview.
    • Build a high-quality LinkedIn profile and establish additional professional contacts.

Throughout the senior year, actively engage yourself in the search for employment or admission to graduate school.

  1. Graduate and Professional School
    • Develop a timeline to complete all necessary components of the application process.
    • Complete graduate school applications. Remember to apply early, search for funding sources, arrange campus visits, and do all necessary follow-ups.
  2. World of Work
    • Visit Career Services to learn more about a job search timeline.
    • Be flexible and realistic in your expectations for first-year employment (the average job search can take up to six months).
    • Research employers and industries to assist you in the interview process.
    • Continue networking and develop your unique “elevator pitch” when meeting with professional contacts.
    • Develop business cards to market yourself to potential employers.
    • Start purchasing professional clothing; attend a Suit-Up event.
    • Develop a list of professional references tailored to each position/employer.
    • Continue to learn and gain skills through places like Forage.
  3. Career Services
    • Refine and polish your resume; learn to write a dynamic cover letter.
    • Continue to perfect your interviewing skills by doing a mock interview as needed. Career Services offers Mock Interview Days each semester.
    • Participate in career and internship fairs both locally and statewide.
    • Attend on-campus employer interviews or socials through Career Services.
    • Develop a list of prospective employers and begin actively applying.
    • Keep in contact with Career Services and the Alumni Association; become involved with the Young Professionals Network.
    • Obtain salary information and learn how to negotiate job offers effectively.
    • Attend Life After Graduation or Knowledge After College events.
    • When you find a job, contact Career Services to notify them and complete a First Destination Survey.