Career planning can be a stressful and confusing process. It may seem like everyone else has a career direction or knows what major to select except you. It can be intimidating to think that you have to pick a career for the rest of your life. The good news is that you don't have to select one career for life. According to David Birch in the Journal of Career Planning & Employment, students can expect to have 3-5 different careers, and 10-12 different jobs during their work lives.
College provides a great foundation for life-long learning and career development. The following planning model can be a useful guide as you start the career preparation process. Remember that this is only a guide, individuals can move through the career selection and preparation process at different times. Also, many activities will overlap from one stage to the next.
Job Shadowing & Fairs
View the current events to find out about upcoming opportunities
Explore careers using multiple websites and resources.
To help you with your career development, incorporate the "E4" steps into your time at Elizabethtown College (view the 4-year Career Exploration Plan for specific activities to do each year).
Self-awareness, values clarification, and skills identification
The exploration phase is a time for you to become aware of your skills, values, interests, lifestyle preferences and external factors and determine how these areas may impact your career options. Self and career exploration should not be rushed. There is no test or individual that can tell you what to do with your life. College is a time to explore alternatives.
Sophomore Year: ENVISION
Test out options, get involved in possible career areas, and clarify direction
At this stage you may narrow down your career options by actively pursuing information, contacts and exposure to tentative career areas. Participate in job shadowing, externships, service learning, and part-time jobs.
Junior Year: EXPERIENCE
Make career and/or major decisions and gain experience
By this stage, you should be prepared to declare a major and identify a tentative career goal. You may further clarify your career direction as you participate in internships, research, co-curricular activities or related employment experiences.
Senior Year: ENACT
Implement post-graduate plans
You should now have a career field and/or specific position in mind. Now is the time to implement the next steps related to your career, either volunteer or service opportunities, graduate school or employment.