Your dream job doesn’t have to be a dream. If you decide you want to work in a specific field, making a plan is a great first step. Your academic career plan will serve as a map to get you from CCV into your job. Each semester you’ll have opportunities to refine your plan and make progress toward your end goal. At each step along the way, you’ll have the support of your instructors, CCV staff, and our Career Services team to ensure your plan is taking you in the right direction.
What Does an Academic Career Plan Look Like?
- Connect with Career Services.
- Begin exploring careers:
- Identify your interests, skills, and values.
- Find out what you can do with your major.
- Research careers for job growth, salary, and educational requirements.
- Explore Vermont’s most promising jobs and Best Best career training programs.
- Work with your academic advisor to create a degree plan and to identify the sequence of courses that best meets your career and educational goals.
- Conduct informational interviews and engage in job shadowing to learn more about career fields.
- Apply for CCV work-study if you are a financial aid student.
- Activate your College Central Network account to begin receiving job alerts and explore local job opportunities.
- Determine your career readiness by taking the “Am I Career Ready” assessment on Focus2 and watching the Career Ready videos.
- Develop your résumé and plan to update it each semester to reflect the new skills and experiences you’ve acquired.
- Continue exploring career options with Career Services.
- Continue improving your career readiness using the suggestions from Focus2 identified above.
- Develop your capacity for leadership by participating in CCV’s LEAD program.
- Begin building professional connections.
- Cultivate references in your field of study.
- Search for potential schools you may want to transfer to after CCV.
- Seek out and engage in a work-based learning experience such as an internship or Professional Field Experience, or an experiential learning opportunity such as a service learning course, to strengthen specific skills needed for a particular career field.
- Consider enrolling in a study abroad course to gain experience outside of the country.
- Continue to refine your résumé, adding newly acquired professional skills and experiences.
- Start to look at local and regional job postings to see what types of opportunities may be available.
Before the Professional Field Experience or Internship
- Compile a list of possible field placement locations in your community. Identify contact information for each organization. See the internships page for ideas.
- Create a draft statement of learning goals for your field placement based on the program outcomes for your degree, which can be found in our catalog.
- Review your résumé and make any needed modifications.
- Register for your internship course or PFE and complete any pre-class assignments.
Build Your Professional Image
The academic career plan is a good guide for reaching your goals, but a positive professional image tells employers that you are reliable, responsible, and committed to improvement by accepting feedback and seeking out help when you need it. You demonstrate professionalism through your attire, responsible behavior, and appropriate communication—both face-to-face and online. Building your professional image begins with self-reflection.
Professionalism Starts Now
As a current CCV student, you should begin to build your professionalism skill set now. How can you show professionalism in your role as a student?
- Read about the basics of professionalism.
- Be on time and prepared for each class meeting. CCV faculty can serve as professional references, and they may be able to help you begin to develop a professional network in your career field. Demonstrating to your instructors that you are reliable and responsible will serve you well in college and beyond.
- Commit to improvement by accepting feedback and seeking out assistance when you need help.
- Communicate thoughtfully and respectfully with other students, faculty, and staff. Your emails and phone messages should be thoughtful, grammatically correct, and respectful.
- Dress appropriately when at a CCV academic center or event.
- Create and maintain an appropriate online presence.
Create Your Professional Image
- Call your own phone number to make sure your voicemail and ringtone sound professional. If you haven’t already done so, consider changing your primary email to something generic such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Google yourself to see what others see when they search for you. Check to see what appears on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Always ask yourself: Would I want a future boss to see this?
- Bury your digital dirt. If there are some questionable links that pop up, you’ll want to create new material that will cover it up. Consider joining LinkedIn, a professional networking site, or consider setting up a professional blog to develop a clean online presence.
- Build a web presence in your field. Follow blogs that are related to your career interests or professional association (a group of individuals in similar professions), or join an email distribution list, or listserv, that matches your interests. Search the web to find a professional association that is right for you.
- Gather and save materials for inclusion in a professional portfolio using CollegeCentralNetwork. Save your course evaluations from faculty and request letters of recommendation from any advisors, faculty, or group leaders who could speak positively about your professionalism, leadership, or abilities.
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