Talk to any recent graduate out there in the job market and they’ll tell you, “I wish I’d started thinking about career stuff sooner.”

Here at CES we’re big proponents of the “start-early” mantra (seriously, we get giddy when a first-year student comes in wanting to talk about career options). We also understand that the whole topic of careers can be overwhelming and students may feel pressured to make decisions.

Here are some simple things you can do to help your career that—bonus—also improve your academic experience:

  • Get to know your faculty—make use of office hours. Talk to them about their fields of research and their early job history. When you need letters of recommendation, suggestions about internship possibilities, or a potential contact, your professors can be a helpful resource.
  • Talk to alumni at every opportunity—if alumni are participating in an event on campus, get involved! They are usually thrilled to talk to current students and they can be your best sources for the inside scoop on their industries and organizations. (Shameless plug: We bring alumni to campus every year for our ASK Night event).
  • Interview at least one professional about their career—we guarantee that somebody you know is doing something you find interesting. Is it your favorite Uncle Rob? Or your best buddy’s mother? How about your sister’s boyfriend’s cousin? Play a little “six-degrees of separation” with your friends and family and you can probably come up with someone who will sit down with you and tell you about what they do.
  • Get involved on campus or the community —volunteer for roles with responsibility. Resume-building experience can come from anywhere!
  • Spend thirty minutes talking with a career advisor—get to know CES and our resources. We’re here to guide you.

No matter where you are in your education, these suggestions can help you explore your career options and enhance your academic experience. That’s something to crow about!

© 2009, 2013 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound
Photo: jschneid