While there isn't one best approach to developing your career, and no perfect timeline, since each student's situation is unique, there are some general guidelines we recommend. These are explained below.
FIRST and SECOND YEARS – Aspire to Your Next
You've made an important decision in coming to Georgia Tech, and now we want to help you look to the bigger world of work to create your place long term. Georgie Tech is all about "creating the next." This can be the next big idea, invention, solution to a problem, technology advance, or anything "next." In the Center for Career Discovery and Development, we build on this campus-wide initiative by helping you create your next, as in your next career move.
During your first couple of years in college, and in future years as needed, your focus should be on your aspirations. This doesn't mean starting to define narrow career directions and goals, but instead to figure out what you are drawn to. What are some problems out in the world that you'd like to help solve? What are challenges you are interested in? Where or how do you think you could make a difference? You don't have to know the job titles or graduate programs that match up with these aspirations; you can just imagine and think broadly about what pulls you in. Some specific things you can do during this "building block" are:
- Pay attention to what interests you most in your classes and related activities.
- Watch for clues in things you read, see, or hear about out in the world.
In addition to defining your aspirations, there are some early career planning activities you should consider doing:
- Participate in Resume Blitz early every fall semester, as well as the Georgia Tech Career Fair in September, typically held Monday and Tuesday of the week following Labor Day.
- Attend C2D2 workshops/watch the resume and cover letter videos, draft your professional resume and cover letter, and create your LinkedIn profile.
- Begin connecting with recruiters in industries of interest to you. Information sessions are a good first step in this process.
- Have your resume reviewed by a career development advisor or meet with C2D2's resume expert.
- SIGI3 is an introductory way to assess values related to industries and careers (create an account with your own login & password and note it for future reference). Make an appointment with a career counselor to debrief your results.
- Identify your current skills and skills necessary for functions and roles you see for yourself in the future. If there is a gap, consider what activities, involvement, courses, competencies will help you acquire necessary skills. Create a plan to acquire and practice needed skills.
- Make contact with academic advisors of majors you are exploring.
- Coordinate with the Study Abroad program advisors to plan global experiences. The earlier in your Tech years that you explore these programs the greater the possibilities that you will be able to include them in your curriculum.
- Register with C2D2 via CareerBuzz and complete the online orientation and application for intern and co-op opportunities. (Your application must be approved before you will have access to review co-op and internship postings in your major.)
- Meet with your Career Advisor in C2D2 to learn more about experiential learning opportunities.
- If research is your goal, meet with an advisor in Undergraduate Research.
- Meet with your Academic Advisor to project ahead which semesters you will be working and how that impacts your class schedule. This is especially important for co-op students.
- Attend the Co-op and Internship Career Fair held in late January or early February of every spring semester.
SECOND YEAR – Explore Your Next
This is the time when you'll probably focus more energy on exploring career areas that interest you, based on your aspirations.
- List career choices related to your major and explore experiential education.
- Experiential education options include co-ops and internships leading to careers related to your major.
- Speak with people in potential career choice areas and engage in "shadowing" experiences.
- Develop career exploration skills. Attend the C2D2 seminars on resume writing, business etiquette, career exploration and interviewing skills, managing social media. Resume and cover letter critiques are available during walk-in hours (listed on our web site).
- Practice interviews are available at www.careerdiscovery.gatech.edu, click on “Career Exploration,” then on “Optimal Interview.”
- Target companies of interest, conduct research and apply to co-op and internship positions.
- Seek assignments in your area of interest and that will help to develop skills in the areas that you want to improve.
- Join student professional organizations in your chosen field. Become active. Attend career fairs, local meetings, conferences and seminars whenever possible.
- Develop a network of contacts through LinkedIn. Your network will be helpful when you begin your full-time career exploration / identification.
THIRD YEAR – Experience Your Next and Reflect on Your Next
Continue the activities from first and second years and assume more responsible positions in extra-curricular activities. Start to reflect (or continue reflecting) on what you're learning about yourself and your career options from the experiences you've had.
- Cultivate contacts both on and off campus. Become familiar with specialized areas in your chosen field and potential employers.
- If you are drawn to research, investigate graduate schools.
- Conduct informational interviews with people in your chosen field. Use your list of contacts, professors, and those working in your chosen field.
- Continue to review and apply for internship, co-op, or part-time career related positions and sign-up for on-campus interviews on CareerBuzz.
FOURTH and FIFTH YEARS – Position You, Launch You
Develop your career identification strategy or apply to graduate schools. Redouble networking efforts, especially off campus.
- Participate in Resume Blitz and the Georgia Tech Career Fair in September.
- Attend C2D2 seminars and workshops, update your professional resume, master the interviewing process and begin conducting your job search.
- Review job postings and sign up for interviews on CareerBuzz at: www.careerdiscovery.gatech.edu.
- Conduct your own job search.
- Attend the business etiquette dinner in the spring.
- Arrange for references. These can be professors, connections from co-op and internship positions, or others who know your interests, abilities, skills, and work habits.
- Keep your references abreast of your skills, interests and the positions that you are applying for. Make sure each reference has access to your resume.
- If inclined, take graduate school entrance exams and apply to graduate schools.