Students - Career Services
There will never be a better time than now to prepare for life after Western. Keep yourself on track by following some simple steps throughout your college years.
Career Exploration Timeline
First Year: Clarify
Your goals in Year 1: Clarify your interests, sharpen your skills, get involved and begin to develop a network of faculty, staff and community members who will support and mentor throughout your time at Western.
Set Yourself Up for Success
- Attend class and schedule your study time (aim for two hours of studying for every hour of in-class time). It is easier to maintain a strong GPA than to raise a low GPA. Strong grades will provide more financial and academic opportunities down the road.
- Get to know each of your professors individually. Seriously, introduce yourself on the first day of class and ask your professor, "What do I need to do to be successful in this course?"
- Speak with faculty, staff, Career Services and others who are familiar with your field of study (or your potential field of study).
Explore Majors and Careers
- Create your Focus2 account, complete the inventories and self-assessments, and explore major and career options that may interest you based on your skills, personality, lifestyle preferences, and more. (Note: Focus2 requires your 'western.edu' email address for account creation.)
- Activate your Handshake account and begin to explore jobs and internships that interest you. If you have trouble accessing Handshake, contact Career Services.
- Take general education courses that interest you. Exploring a range of courses early will help you get a sense of what you do and do not want to study, in addition to completing general education requirements.
- Read the university course catalog to understand major and minor requirements and academic options.
Second Year: Commit
Your goals in Year 2: Solidify your commitment to your major(s), continue exploring your career options and begin identifying experiential learning opportunities (internships, student teaching, research and study abroad.)
Deepen Your Involvement
- Continue involvement in on-campus and community organizations.
- Consider taking on more active leadership roles within organizations or through campus employment.
Declare a Major
- Identify a major that fits both your personal and career interests.
- Consult with your academic advisor, family, Career Services or others to discuss major requirements and career prospects.
Prepare for Internship and Job Applications
- Write your first resume and cover letter based on a position description to which you could see yourself applying in the future.
- Participate in Career Services events like workshops and career fairs (even if you're not ready to apply quite yet!)
Third Year: Experience
Your goals in Year 3: Gain relevant experience, build your resume and grow your professional network.
Start Building Your Reference List
- Keep in touch with former employers, teachers and supervisors from past jobs and volunteer experiences.
- Begin networking with professionals in your career field via conferences, presentations and LinkedIn.
Get Serious About Work Experience
- Explore internships, jobs and volunteer opportunities that demonstrate your commitment to your field.
- Talk to faculty about opportunities to assist with research.
Develop Your Employment Portfolio
- Ask your advisor, supervisor, parents and Career Services to provide feedback on your resume and cover letter.
- Give your social media profiles a tune up. Employers will search for you online via platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and others!
Fourth Year: Activate
Your goals in Year 4: Put your experience, knowledge and skills to work and activate your plan for life after Western.
Put It All Together
- Using your resume, cover letter and social media presence, package your education, experience, community engagement and skills in a way that accelerates your personal brand.
- Participate in Career Services events to polish your materials and get interviewing experience.
Initiate Your Career Search
- Plan your search strategy, including networking, leveraging of online resources and databases, graduate school planning and personal preferences (e.g., location, desired salary, non-career considerations).
- Develop a personal branding strategy: How will you market yourself? What do you want potential employers to know about you?
- Apply, interview, and accept a great job or graduate school offer!