Grace Potter gives commencement address to Champlain College Class of 2016

College: Maximizing Your Time

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

First Year of College

Your first year of college is all about transition and adjustment. Ideally, here are the things you will accomplish to stay on track:

  • Complete the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and attend a workshop to learn about your personality
  • Schedule an appointment with your career coach to learn about Career Collaborative and create a Four-Year Career Development Plan of your own
  • Participate in a community service activity
  • Attend the Activities Fair and join campus organizations/activities to explore interests, skills, values, and develop social skills
  • Attend all job fairs for part-time on-campus employment to start learning about the world of work and exploring career interests
  • Use work-study or part-time work to build experience and transferable skills
  • Explore the Career Collaborative web site and JobSpot to learn about career resources and jobs
  • Undeclared majors participate in a one-on-one interpretation using the Strong Interest Inventory
  • Complete a job shadow or informational interview to learn more about specific occupations
  • Create an ongoing reflective journal and begin building your resume and portfolio
  • Begin to identify people who can become your support system, references & professional network

Second Year of College

In your second year, it’s all about exploration. Complete the following things to stay on track for graduation:

  • Narrow your interests by talking to people in career fields that interest you
  • Continue to be involved on campus through student activities, campus organizations, and community service to demonstrate your ability to manage your time and energy
  • Explore leadership opportunities through campus organizations
  • Attend job, internship, and graduate school fairs to learn about career options
  • Continue to collect items for a career portfolio—excellent papers, brochures you designed, awards, and research projects to demonstrate your competencies and track your educational and extra-curricular activities
  • Attend a resume workshop and develop the first draft of a resume with your career coach
  • Gain exposure to your field of interest by attending a major-related conference, participating in an employer tour, conducting an informational interview or shadowing someone who works in your field of interest
  • Research and apply for part-time jobs and/or internship opportunities to gain practical experience in your field of interest
  • Research companies/organizations you might want to work for in the future
  • Prepare your application to study abroad

Third Year of College

In your third year, it’s all about taking stock of your experience so far and making a plan for what you still want to do before you graduate. Do these things to stay on track for graduation and career success:

  • Participate in study abroad or a cultural immersion experience
  • Attend relevant fairs (job, internship, and graduate school fairs) to learn about career and education options
  • Assume leadership roles in campus organizations
  • Investigate graduate schools and programs and begin taking standardized tests
  • Develop a strategic and supportive Board of Advisors (friends, family, faculty, other contacts) to dialogue with concerning education, career, and life issues
  • Participate in a self-assessment exercise to identify and relate your skills, interests, values, and what matters most in making effective career decisions and marketing yourself to employers (MBTI, Strong, or Card Sort, for example)
  • Update your resume and cover letter and meet with your career coach to have them reviewed
  • Evaluate your online profile on social networking sites and consider joining a business-focused online networking group such as LinkedIn

Fourth Year of College

Finally, your fourth year is all about tying up loose ends and making sure you’re taking the right steps to get where you want to go. Stick to these suggestions and you’ll be well on your way:

  • Continue the development of documents for your job search: cover letter, resume, thank-you letter, list of references
  • Participate in on-campus practice interviews and employer interviews
  • Create an account and use CareerShift to research companies and organizations
  • If further education is part of your plan, research graduate schools and talk with your advisor about good programs; complete applications
  • Meet with your career coach to discuss job search strategies
  • Purchase your recruiting and interviewing wardrobe
  • Attend relevant Internship and job fairs
  • Attend “Meet and Mingle” business etiquette dinner
  • Attend job search workshops to identify key resources/strategies

Source: Career Collaborative