Early Start = Early Success

Career-planning checklist for first-year students

Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013 8:16 am

Whether you have detailed plans for your budding neurolinguistics career or you’re still wondering how to narrow down your choice of majors, Grinnell’s career staff can help. With commencement often the last thing on a new first-year student’s mind, we’ve come up with a checklist to help you stay on track:

  1. Figure out what productivity techniques work for you.
    Develop good time management, goal setting, stress-relief, and study habits. You’ll need them to establish a strong GPA and stay healthy and happy at Grinnell and beyond.  Career counselors, academic advisors, hall wellness coordinators, and others can help.
  2. Get involved.
    Volunteer your time and join student organizations that let you explore your interests and build skills. Don’t see the opportunity you want? Take a cue from your fellow Grinnellians…start it!  
  3. Start your resume.
    A polished resume helps win spots in competitive programs and nail internships and campus jobs.  Our career counselors can help.
  4. Mix up your classes.
    Take a variety of classes and stretch yourself.  Now is a great time to explore all your interests.  Make an “educated” decision about your major, and find the field of study you love.  Talk to your faculty advisor about your options.
  5. Gain work experience.
    Take advantage of Grinnellink internships, volunteering, part-time jobs, and summer jobs to develop your skills, add to your resume, and identify the types of work you most enjoy. Even if it’s not the job of your dreams, ask for additional responsibilities or chances to contribute.
  6. Assess your interests, abilities, personality, and values.
    Explore online tools or work directly with a career counselor to learn more about yourself and the types of careers others like you have enjoyed.
  7. Identify possible majors, careers, and professional associations.
    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio…” As Shakespeare eloquently pointed out, there’s always more to explore.  Take advantage of this time to learn about the options open to you. Our career counselors can help.
  8. Shadow alumni.
    Ask alumni or others who work in the fields you’re considering if you can shadow them for a while. They’ll enjoy sharing, and you’ll learn what it’s actually like in their fields.  
  9. Meet with a career counselor.
    You’re not alone. Career counselors are experts at helping you navigate your professional life—whether you want to be an entrepreneur; find a job in business, government, or non-profits; or attend graduate school.
  10. Attend career workshops.
    Each semester, our staff offers workshops at levels to suit first years through seniors.  Keep an eye on the calendar and find the ones that appeal to you.

You can turn to career services for help in all of these and more.  We join forces with alumni, employers, faculty, and staff to help you as you reach for your dreams.