Career & Internship Services

Planning Your Career / 4-year Plan

Planning Your Career

Career planning is lifelong and involves the basic processes identified below. Career planning can be messy and although it appears it should be an orderly process, it often is not.

UMD Career and Internship Services is here to assist you. Our best advice is to start early! Learn more about how we can help by visiting our office and connecting with us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, “Peer into Your Career” blog and Pinterest.

The Career Planning Process

career planning process

Assess Yourself

Analyze and articulate your interests, skills, values, personality and strengths and relate them to educational and career plans.

  • Take career assessments such as: Strong Interest Inventory®, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and/or StrengthsQuest™ available in Career and Internship Services, and the Personal Style Inventory and/or Transferable Skills Inventory.
  • Get involved in activities, clubs and/or organizations to test out your interests.
  • Consider enrolling in CnEd 2535 “Major and Career Exploration."
  • Consider tentative major(s) after talking with advisors, counselors, instructors, friends and family, and taking a variety of liberal education classes.

Explore Options

Identify, evaluate and use sources of information relevant to making career decisions.

Examine the world in which you want to work and determine tentative options.

  • Explore careers using a variety of resources available on the Career and Internship Services website including the UMD Graduate Follow-up Report with information about what recent UMD graduates did the first year after graduating and What Can I Do With This Major under “Deciding on a Major.”
  • Conduct informational interviews and job shadow with professionals in fields of interest to you to learn about potential careers and begin the networking process.
  • Get involved: participate in student activities, clubs, organizations, volunteer opportunities and/or get a part-time job to explore your career interests, build your resume and add to your network of contacts.
  • Attend internship and job fairs to collect information on possible internship and job openings and network with potential employers.
  • Join professional associations and organizations and LinkedIn groups related to your interests.
  • Explore graduate or professional school programs related to your interests.
  • Learn the academic system: UMD Catalog, class schedule, liberal education requirements, major requirements and course prerequisites.
  • Use Grad Planner, which incorporates your coursework, to explore course requirements for various UMD majors.

Develop Skills

Build skills, knowledge and reputation.

  • Participate in internships, co-ops, research projects, clinical or field-work, part-time or summer jobs, and/or volunteering to gain relevant experience and skills.
  • Find an internship on GoldPASS, the University of Minnesota Job and Internship posting site, or develop your own with the help of a Career Counselor or the Employer Relations Coordinator in Career and Internship Services or a faculty member.
  • Discuss possible research opportunities with faculty in your fields of interest.
  • Consider enrolling in CnEd 3010 “Internship Preparation.”
  • Attend job and internship fairs to explore opportunities with employers.
  • Develop and maintain a portfolio of your accomplishments and work.

Market Yourself

Obtain the skills and knowledge to seek and change jobs or gain admission to graduate or professional school.

  • Consider enrolling in CnEd 3535 “Strategic Career Planning” or CnEd 4010 “Job Search and Career Success.”
  • Discuss your strategies and options with a Career Counselor in Career and Internship Services.
  • Write your resume and cover letter (pages 20 and 41) or personal statement (page 66) using the guidelines in the UMD Career Handbook and have them reviewed in Career and Internship Services.
  • Update your portfolio containing examples of your accomplishments and work.
  • Practice interviewing by participating in mock interviews with Career and Internship Services’ staff and/or by using InterviewStream.
  • Research employers and industries and/or educational options.
  • Attend job and internship fairs to network with employers and find opportunities.
  • Sign-up for on-campus interviews through GoldPASS.
  • Identify and contact people to serve as your references.
  • Continue to build and use your network of professionals.

Manage Career

Develop the skills to be effective in your chosen career and to make on-going career-related decisions and transitions.

  • Review and update your career goals on a regular basis.
  • Update your resume, LinkedIn profile and GoldPASS account.
  • Join and be active in professional associations.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Continue to add evidence of your accomplishments and work to your portfolio.
  • Become a mentor.

4-year Plan

First Year (1-30 credits)

  • Plan to graduate in four years by following the 30-60-90 Student Success Roadmap
  • Learn the academic system by reviewing the UMD Catalog, class schedule, liberal education requirements, major requirements and course prerequisites.
  • Explore your interests, skills, personality and values. Consider taking the Strong Interest Inventory, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or StrengthsQuest available in Career and Internship Services
  • Explore possible career choices using the Career Resource Center, "What Can I Do With This Major", the UMD Graduate Follow-up Report , which lists what recent UMD graduates are doing, the UMD and local libraries, conducting informational interviews, and attending job fairs.
  • Consider tentative major(s) by reading the UMD Catalog; talking with advisors, counselors, instructors, friends and family; taking various liberal education courses; and attending the annual UMD Major/Minor Fair.
  • Study the UMD Catalog to learn about resources on campus
  • Visit Career and Internship Services to become familiar with the services offered.
  • Get involved and begin the networking process. Participate in student activities, clubs, organizations or volunteer opportunities.
  • Enroll in major core courses with the help of advisor, faculty and/or counselors.
  • Do your best academically.
  • Become familiar with academic standards necessary for acceptance into some majors.
  • Seek help for difficult courses from the instructors, department tutors and/or campus tutors.
  • Write your resume.  Resume samples are available in the Career Handbook and a resume review service is available in Career and Internship Services.
  • Begin building your portfolio.
  • Summer
    • Get experience.
    • Get a job and/or do volunteer work that will provide you with an opportunity to learn about a career that interests you.

Second Year (31-60 credits)

  • Continue exploring your interests, values, personality and skills.
  • Continue to research majors and career fields of interest to you.
  • Sign up for group and/or individual career counseling in Career and Internship Services.
  • Continue to study the UMD Catalog and learn the academic system.
  • Complete introductory courses in prospective major field.
  • Maintain a strong GPA.
  • If required, prepare and apply for acceptance into your desired major.
  • Enroll in CnEd 2535 Major and Career Exploration course to explore career options related to your interests, values, skills and personality.
  • Join organizations related to your interest areas.
  • Attend job fairs and/or Graduate and Professional School Day.
  • Establish tentative goals.
  • Explore potential careers through informational interviews with professionals employed in your area(s) of interest.
  • Develop relationships with academic advisors, faculty and key administrators. These people will potentially serve as references during your applications for scholarships, internships, graduate school and full-time career opportunities.
  • Update your resume and your portfolio. It will be so much easier if you keep both of these up to date.
  • Register with GoldPASS, for information on internships and full-time career opportunities.
  • Summer
    • Get a job and/or do volunteer work in an area of your interest.
    • Develop skills.
    • Build a good work reputation.
    • Get involved in community activities.

Third Year (61-90 credits)

  • Explore your major by enrolling in several required courses.
  • Choose upper division electives outside of your major to enhance your qualifications and complete degree requirements (consider minors).
  • Research industries, companies and internships.
  • Plan and implement an internship, field or clinical experience.
  • Consider enrolling in CnEd 3535 Strategic Career Planning course, if you have not already done so, to explore your career options and learn how to present yourself effectively for an internship, job or graduate school.
  • Check graduate school requirements including entrance test requirements and deadlines. Information is available from Career and Internship Services.
  • Continue to maintain a strong GPA.
  • Expand your own professional network through club activities, student chapters of professional organizations, family, faculty and staff. Inform people of the kind of opportunity you seek.
  • Continue to interview professionals working in your field(s) of interest for information and to establish a network of contacts.
  • Research graduate school possibilities, their application procedures and deadlines.
  • Attend job fairs and/or Graduate and Professional School Fair.
  • Prepare to take appropriate graduate school admissions tests.
  • Attend workshops on resume writing, interviewing and other job search information.
  • Update your resume and your portfolio.
  • Update your registration with GoldPASS, and review internship and full-time career opportunities.
  • Practice and refine your interviewing skills.
  • If planning on attending graduate or professional school, check application and exam deadlines.
  • Summer
    • Try out work or an internship in your chosen field.
    • Continue to test career decisions.
    • Compile inventory of interest and qualifications.
    • Take appropriate graduate school admissions tests.

Fourth Year (90-120+ credits)

Job Search
Senior Standing
  • Ask faculty and employers to be references for you.
  • Complete course requirements for major field and graduation requirements.
  • Participate in an internship, field or clinical experience.
  • Consider enrolling in CnEd 3535 Strategic Career Planning, if you have not already done so.
  • Begin your job or graduate school hunt early.
  • Plan and conduct a thorough job search.
  • Apply during fall semester to graduate or professional programs.
  • Attend workshops on resume writing, interviewing and other job search information. Learn how to market yourself.
  • Practice interviewing.
  • Research businesses and/or organizations where you might like to work.
  • Sign up for on-campus interviews.
  • Discuss career opportunities with faculty and counselors.
  • Continue networking, cultivating contacts and talking with professionals in your field of interest.
  • Attend job fairs and/or Graduate Professional School Day.
  • Update your resume and portfolio, and craft a cover letter.
  • Meet with a career counselor for assistance with your job or graduate school search and for review of your resume, cover letter or personal statement.
  • Send letters of application and inquiry to prospective employers.

Additional Resources