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Parents & Family

Enhancing Career & Grad School Marketability

When it comes to post-graduation plans, will your student's opportunities be subpar or soaring?

Regardless as to whether your student's focus includes employment or graduate school, the steps for success begin the first year and build thereafter.

Being purposefully engaged in activities and leadership opportunities aimed at building a resume and/or curriculum vitae can enhance your student's employment and graduate school marketability.

Being Proactive

Besides good grades, employers and graduate school personnel are looking for candidates who have held executive positions in campus organizations, designed and coordinated research and other creative/scholarly projects, participated in service learning activities, and completed two to four internships.

In addition, they are impressed by seeing involvement in study abroad programs, independent studies and senior thesis/capstone projects, as well as published papers and attendance at scholarly conferences. Sound overwhelming? It can be if students are not building their resumes and curricula vitae on an ongoing basis. The key is to start early.

Looking Ahead

Career planning is an essential component of this process. It involves defining and setting career goals and then mapping out pathways by which to accomplish them. Developing a career plan does not have to be formal, time consuming or rigid. It does not have to be long and detailed. It may be as simple as making a series of mental notes. The important part to begin to think ahead, set goals and take steps.

The following tips can help your student develop a career plan:

  • Evaluate your personal and professional competencies within the scope of career opportunities available in today's marketplace

  • Begin to formulate goals for post graduation and for five years from now

  • Write a personal mission statement that articulates your professional and career goals based on considerations from the first two bullet points

  • Note which of your current academic, co-curricular and experiential activities correspond to your personal mission statement and define areas of deficiency

  • Brainstorm options for enhancing your academic and campus leadership opportunities by perusing the BW web site and talking with a faculty advisor, mentor and/or career center advisor

  • Look ahead to the summer and to junior and senior years to map out where you can add these opportunities. Assume executive roles in campus organizations and learn more about experiential programs, research opportunities and more

  • Commit and take action. Remain open to reassessing and revising your career plan as needed. Consider it a work in progress and a tool for helping you stay on track