Career Development Framework: Undergraduate Students
This framework is a guide to help you think about the tasks that correspond to each year of enrollment. Each experience that you gain through your undergraduate program will assist you in your decision making process about your career path. Career development is a series of steps and decisions that you will make over your lifetime to determine the most appropriate path for you.
Check out the rest of the Career Services website for online resources, including Career Development Presentations, Optimal Resume, Sample Resumes, Wheelock Works (an online job listing database), and our monthly e-Newsletter. We also organize annual spring career fairs, and offer individual career counseling, career development workshops, and more!
FRESHMAN YEAR: Explore Career Options and Build Your Academic Foundation
- Take advantage of a variety of academic classes that are offered in order to help you determine what your interests are.
- Participate in extracurricular activities or volunteer work that interests you and will help you to gain a better understanding of yourself and how to build community.
- Assess your interests, values, and abilities to assist in the decision making process of choosing your major.
- Attend activities on major exploration throughout the year to help you determine what major may be the best match for you.
- Pay close attention to your studies, work hard, and request assistance from appropriate departments to help you succeed academically.
- Introduce yourself to faculty and administrators and get to know them. They could become a positive reference for you in the future.
- Work towards acquiring new skills and learn how to conduct yourself professionally in the workplace, including appropriate workplace etiquette.
- Reflect on the skills that you gained through your HGD experience and how this experience can be used toward your professional goals.
- Create your resume, and include your Human Growth and Development (HGD) Experience in your document.
- Consider gaining valuable experience in the summer by participating in employment or an internship that is related to your career interests.
- Familiarize yourself with Career Services services and resources and online resources, such as career development presentations, Optimal Resume (an online guide to build your resume step by step), and specific resources for different majors.
- Sign up for Wheelock Works, an online job listing system that has part-time, full-time, summer, internship, and volunteer opportunities.
- Declare your major if you have made a decision about an appropriate career path.
SOPHOMORE YEAR: Gather Information and Get Involved on Campus
- Focus on studying and getting good grades. Continue to connect with departments who offer academic support.
- Declare your major if you haven't already done so in your First Year.
- Review job descriptions within career fields of interest to become familiar with the skills, qualifications, and background that employers are seeking.
- Conduct informational interviews with several professionals in career fields that interest you, and if possible, request to shadow the individuals for a few hours at their places of employment.
- Update your resume to reflect any additional work or volunteer experience that you may have gained.
- Participate in workshops scheduled during the Spring semester on Academic and Career Exploration.
- Attend the Career Services Spring Career Fairs to learn about different organizations, and begin making connections with employers for the future.
- Continue to be involved in extracurricular activities or consider joining on campus clubs or teams now. By being involved you will build skills that can translate to the workplace, such as communication, collaboration, and time management.
- Consider taking on leadership roles within on campus organizations.
- Explore summer employment and internships that will enhance your skills in a particular career field.
JUNIOR YEAR: Increase Experience in Your Chosen Career Field
- Gain as much knowledge and valuable experience as you can from your pre-practicum or practicum.
- Continue to build your network of contacts in both academic and practicum settings.
- Work with staff from the Career Services to update your resume, and include the valuable skills and experience you have gained.
- As appropriate, gather documents from your field placements for your portfolio.
- Be open to taking on leadership roles on campus.
- Continue conducting informational interviews to learn more about the careers that interest you.
- Consider what you may want to study if you are interested in attending graduate school.
- Meet with faculty members about your career interests - they can provide valuable advice.
- Participate in campus-sponsored events, including the Applying to Graduate School workshop.
- Continue to attend Career Services-sponsored events, including the Spring Career Fairs, so that you can connect with employers in your field and gain perspective about the types of skills/experience organizations are looking for.
- Attend a variety of sessions during the Spring semester about Academic and Career Exploration.
- Schedule a mock (practice) interview to practice your interviewing skills before meeting with employers.
SENIOR YEAR: Network and Focus in on Your Career Choice
- Continue to check out online job listings through Wheelock Works. Pay careful attention to the skills and qualifications that employers are seeking.
- Schedule an appointment with Career Center staff to revise your resume and cover letter.
- Participate in Career Services career development workshops over the course of the academic year.
- Develop a portfolio which illustrates your skills and abilities in your chosen discipline.
- Attend Academic and Career Exploration sessions in the Spring semester in order to increase your learning about a variety of academic and career development topics.
- Schedule a mock (practice) interview during the year to better prepare yourself for employer interviews.
- Think about at least three Key Strengths that you possess, and discuss examples of your strengths in an interview setting. Use employer job descriptions to see if the skills/qualifications section may relate to your key strengths.
- Participate in Career Services Spring Career Fairs to expand your list of employer contacts.
- Network with Wheelock alumni who are working in your chosen career field and conduct informational interviews.
- Continue to develop your leadership skills and abilities through participation in on campus organizations.
- Request references from individuals who know you well months in advance of your graduation, and always ask for positive references.
- Research graduate schools early in the fall semester, be aware of application deadlines, and begin your applications if you plan to attend right after graduation