College Career Life Planning

Instructions for Education and Career Planning

Tools for



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Links to each tool referenced in these instructions are provided for fast, easy access.

10. Goal: Find the “Right” first job of your career.   Listen to “Early Choices => Future Opportunities”.

a) Clarify your “first job” and “early career” priorities.  You need enough income to support yourself.  However, we recommend placing much more weight on company attractiveness, industry attractiveness and “job opportunity/potential” (e.g., breadth/ relevance of experience to career plan, scope of responsibility, quality of managers/ mentors) than on initial salary early in your career.

b) Update your research on each of the industries/companies identified in step 9. f. and 9. h.   If your target companies are public, review their annual reports and 10Ks (more comprehensive annual report).  Both documents have detailed information about a company’s products/services, strategy, competition, locations, senior managers, key issues, financial information, etc.

c) Network: Networking provides a much better opportunity for “getting your foot in the door” than an unsolicited resume/cover letter or responding to a “job opening” advertisement.  Review the checklist/tutorial resources for Networking.  Do you know any employees/managers in your target companies?  Do you have friends or relatives that know someone at these companies?   Does your college have alumni that work at these targeted companies?  Contact these individuals and obtain information about the company and about other potential contacts inside the company.

d) Use “Locate Potential Employers by Industry/Location” (W521) if you are geographically constrained.

e) Use the career management tools for guidance on writing resumes, cover letters, preparing for job interviews and salary negotiation, and for interview follow-up.  

f) Check “Private Sector Job Banks” (W565) and/or your state job bank (W564) to identify some of the job opportunities at your target companies.  Remember: Many of the best job opportunities are never posted and, when you respond to a posting, you are competing with hundreds of other candidates.  Most people focus only on job postings, bombard the market with resumes and, naively, wait for phone to ring. Network to discover the opportunities that have not been posted and to identify company personnel who can help you "open the door".

g) Be pro-active, do your homework on the company/industry and network…network …network.


    Career planning and career management require time and effort, but you will never get a better return on an investment. You are investing in your FUTURE!

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