Career & Academic Plan - A Yearly To-Do List

Attending Creighton University is an investment in your future.  Dividends depend primarily on how you use your time.  The "to-do list" is designed to help you get the most out of your college experience and prepare for your future.

Freshman Year:  Who am I?

First Summer:  This is a "free" summer!

  • Take any kind of job.
  • Work at an internship or summer job in an industry or field that you would potentially like to pursue after graduation; if you discover you don't like it, you can still change direction successfully.
  • Pursue a service opportunity or some kind of big adventure.
  • Travel abroad.

Sophomore Year:  What is my passion?

  • Continue to visit with counselors in the Career Center to discuss career assessments such as the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS), StrengthsQuest, and CareerLeader.
  • Continue to build relationships with faculty outside of the classroom; become involved in departmental activities, such as guest speakers, receptions, and committee work open to students.
  • Review Academic Plan with advisor; test your interest in one or more majors by increasing your class load in those subjects; consider a semester abroad. 
  • Decide on a major/minor by the end of sophomore year and finalize Academic Plan.
  • Attend annual Major/Minor Exploration Fair and Creighton Career Fairs.
  • Attend job search, interview, internship, grad/professional school and resume workshops.
  • Identify at least five marketable skills you possess and five skills you hope to develop. 
  • Create resume, cover letter and a list of references.
  • Register with Jobs4Jays to search for jobs/internships, beginning this process in the first semester.
  • Explore internship opportunities in the community to gain crucial experience for your resume.  
  • Learn about employers/careers of interest through informational interviews and shadowing.
  • Begin to develop a network of career contacts such as professional organizations in your chosen career field.

Second Summer:  This summer "counts"; try to do one of these:

  • Work at an internship or summer job in an industry or field that you would potentially like to pursue after graduation; if you discover you don't like it, you can still change direction successfully.
  • Work at an academically related internship that supports your graduate school plans.
  • If, and only if, you cannot find one of the above, go to summer school to better your chances of graduating on time and/or prepare for graduate school.

Junior Year:  Career Preparation

  • Visit with counselors in the Career Center to discuss career assessments such as the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS), StrengthsQuest, and CareerLeader.
  • Integrate self-assessment and career information to evaluate goals and outcomes.
  • Review Academic Plan with advisor and continue to build relationships with faculty outside of the classroom.
  • Participate in and assume leadership roles in organizations, clubs and the community.
  • Research graduate or professional schools (if applicable); prepare to apply early (one year in advance) and apply for graduate, teaching, and/or research assistantships; determine application deadlines.
  • Research careers, employers, and industries using the resources located in the Career Center library and on our website.
  • Update resume, cover letter, and references as you continue to expand your skills and experience.
  • Upload your revised resume into Jobs4Jays; become familiar with on-campus recruiting and resume referral procedures.
  • Attend annual Creighton Career Fairs.
  • Attend job search, interview, internship, grad/professional school and resume workshops.
  • Learn more about employers/careers of interest through informational interviews and shadowing.
  • Continue to gain work experience through part-time, full-time, summer employment and/or internship. 

Final Summer:  This is the most important summer of your life; don't fool around!

  • Now it is critical to find an internship or summer job in an industry or field that you would potentially like to pursue after graduation.  Ask for a letter of recommendation before leaving at the end of the summer.
  • Work at an academically related internship that supports your graduate school plans.
  • Continue to talk about your career goals with everyone you meet, and to visit professionals in their workplaces whenever you can; try to go to an academic conference in your field.
  • Prepare for and take graduate school admissions tests.  Retake the MCAT if you didn't like your first score.
  • Visit some graduate schools; meet and correspond with faculty who might be mentors in your area of interest; apply to selected grad schools as appropriate.
  • If, and only if, you are headed for graduate school, consider taking summer classes (related to your grad school plans) at one of your targeted institutions.  Watch your grades!
  • If you are applying to medical school, get all of your applications in at the first opportunity on the first round.

Senior Year:  Career Launch

  • Visit graduate schools and finalize graduate school applications.
  • Attend Career Center job search, resume writing and interviewing workshops; finalize your resume and cover letter. 
  • Obtain letters of recommendation and/or compile information for at least 3 references.
  • Develop a job search plan and keep a file on all employers.
  • Attend annual Creighton Career Fairs.
  • Review on-campus recruiting and resume referral procedures.
  • Sign up for on-campus interviews through Jobs4Jays and schedule a practice interview with a counselor in the Career Center.
  • Use the job search techniques available in the Resource Manual and on the Career Center website.
  • Continue to learn about employers through informational interviews and shadowing.
  • Inform the Career Center of your employment /graduate school status.

Summer after Undergrad:  Remember: "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." 
--Confucius


If you land a job before graduation:

  • If headed for business school, consider taking GMAT during this summer and applying this fall to enter business school with one year of experience, the following year with two years' experience, and so on.
  • Remember, every August for the rest of your life, ask yourself: "In one year, do I want to be in grad school?"  Watch out for the extensive lead time to get into a graduate program.

If you are admitted to graduate school, this is a "free" summer; options include:

  • Take any kind of job and rest your mind.
  • Work at an internship related to your academic interest.
  • Pursue a service opportunity or some kind of big adventure.
  • Travel abroad.

If launching a career but without a job yet:

  • Use the Career Center to run a systematic search.
  • Stay in touch with professors who may refer you to positions.
  • Find a post-baccalaureate internship or summer job in an industry or field that you would potentially like to pursue as a career.
  • Try hard to find work you are interested in, even passionate about, that requires your college degree and your accumulated skills, and try hard not to settle for any income you can find.

Contributions to this list from Donald Asher, author of How to Get Any Job with Any Major, 2004, used with permission.

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