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Your Plan for Career Success

Use this plan as a guide for your journey through the three stages of career development at NIU.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The items below are suggestions. It might make sense for you to complete some items earlier or later than where they are listed.
  • You do not need to complete one stage before working on another one. For example, don’t wait until you have a solid career vision before you start to prepare for your career or build your network.
  • Some of the items are listed in more than one year, because repeating them can be a good idea.

Stages of NIU Career Development

Vision
Developing a career vision over time based on who you are, what you want, what you have to offer and what’s out there.
Preparation
Becoming competitive for future jobs and graduate programs by building job-specific skills and developing career readiness competencies.
Implementation
Building your network and securing your next step after college.

  • Schedule a Career Connections appointment to learn how Career Services can help you achieve career success, build your career vision, set up mock interviews and more.
  • Login to Steppingblocks Digital Career Counselor.
    • Complete the Personality Assessment to apply your personality traits to the world of work.
    • Use the Outcomes feature to learn about careers of NIU alumni in different majors.
  • Create a Focus 2 Career account and complete the career assessments.
  • Identify the career clusters that match your career interests.
  • Attend a Career Choice Basics online workshop. Check our website for schedule.
  • Investigate possible majors, minors or academic certificates by reviewing course options, talking with faculty and advisors, and taking intro classes.
  • Identify career options linked to your major or majors you are considering.
  • Learn the facts about careers you’re interested in.
  • Conduct one or more informational interviews, discussions with people in careers you are considering that will give you inside information about what the career is really like. Ask about job shadowing as well.
  • Attend a career fair to learn about internships and post-college jobs.

  • Attend a LinkedIn online workshop and start or enhance your LinkedIn account. Check our website for schedule.
  • Join the NIU Career Services LinkedIn group to learn about events and gain valuable career tips.
  • Explore useful resources in the Career Services Learning Lab, found in the Organizations section of Blackboard.
  • Login to Huskies Get Hired and set up your account.
  • Attend a career fair and talk with employers to build your network.
  • Create or update your resume. Bring it to Career Services (PCLB 220) for a drop-in resume review.

  • Enroll in UNIV 301: Braven Leadership and Career Accelerator.
  • Declare your major if you haven’t already.
  • Identify organizations in your chosen career field. Browse their websites and job openings to better visualize your future career.
  • Continue to conduct informational interviews. Ask the person being interviewed for advice and job shadowing opportunities.
  • Attend academic department events to learn about career and graduate school options related to your major.
  • Considering adding a second major, a minor or a certificate? Consult your academic advisor to map out courses across semesters.
  • Running into obstacles in your career path? Having second thoughts about your career vision? Schedule a career counseling appointment for assistance.

  • Prior to the career fairs, attend Career Services’ Career Fair Prep Workshop (details announced each semester).
  • Attend the All Majors Internship and Job Fair in the fall and/or spring to learn about internship opportunities.
  • Conduct one or more of these activities to build your skills and competencies:
    • Work a part-time job.
    • Get involved in a student organization and consider taking on a leadership role.
    • Volunteer for an on-campus or community organization.
    • Get involved in Research Rookies.
  • Discuss your career goals with your academic advisor. Ask about courses that will help you get prepared.
  • Maintain or improve your GPA. Attend all class sessions and seek academic assistance as needed.
  • Schedule a career counseling appointment to discuss internships and other ways to become competitive for your future career.

  • Attend a resume writing online workshop. Check our website for schedule.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile. Schedule a career counseling appointment to have your profile reviewed.
  • Get to know professors in your major. They can be great references for jobs and graduate school applications.
  • Update your resume. Bring it to Career Services (PCLB 220) for a drop-in resume review.
  • Search for internships and part-time jobs on Huskies Get Hired. Set up job alerts to get notified of new opportunities. Come to Career Services for a drop-in Huskies Get Hired walkthrough.
  • Create your professional introduction to let people know your background, goals, and what you have to offer. Come to Career Services for a drop-in elevator pitch session.
  • Check out our Graduate School Planning Guide for tips and resources as you consider enrolling in graduate or professional school.
  • Schedule a mock interview with a career counselor, who will tailor questions to the job or internship you are applying for.

  • Didn’t get a chance to take UNIV 301: Braven Leadership and Career Accelerator your sophomore year? Enroll during your junior year.
  • Get an internship to help focus your career vision.
  • Continue to conduct informational interviews. Ask about job shadowing opportunities.
  • Attend academic department events to learn about career and graduate school options related to your major.

  • Get an internship to build job-specific skills and career readiness competencies.
  • If an internship is not the right fit for you, schedule a career counseling appointment to discuss other ways to build the skills you need.
  • Review the career readiness competencies. Create a list of experiences you’ve had that demonstrate these and add new experiences as they happen.
  • Conduct one or more of these activities to build your skills and competencies:
    • Work a part-time job.
    • Get involved in a student organization and consider taking on a leadership role.
    • Volunteer for an on-campus or community organization.
    • Get involved in Research Rookies.
  • Seek out activities that are most relevant to your career goals. Interested in finance? Become treasurer for a student organization. Want to become a teacher or a counselor? Take on a summer job at a day camp.
  • Maintain or improve your GPA. Attend all class sessions and seek academic assistance as needed.
  • Check in with your academic advisor to make sure you’re on track for graduating.
  • Attend the All Majors Internship and Job Fair in the fall and/or spring to meet employers and learn about internship opportunities.

  • Get an internship to expand your network and work on projects that will look great on your resume. Internships may lead to job offers.
  • Attend an interview skills online workshop. Check our website for schedule.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile. Schedule a career counseling appointment to have your profile reviewed.
  • Update your resume. Bring it to Career Services (PCLB 220) for a drop-in resume review.
  • Search for internships and part-time jobs on Huskies Get Hired. Set up job alerts to get notified of new opportunities. Come to Career Services for a drop-in Huskies Get Hired walkthrough.
  • Update your network on your internship search plans. Tell them what you are looking for and send them a copy of your resume.
  • Ask people who know your work to serve as references for your internship. Keep your references updated as your search progresses.
  • Create your professional introduction to let people know your background, goals, and what you have to offer. Come to Career Services for a drop-in elevator pitch session.
  • Build strong interview skills. Check out our interview tips, and login to the Big Interview system (access code 0778) to practice interviewing at any time.
  • Check in with professors about preparing to apply for graduate school.
  • Attend Career Services’ Graduate and Professional School Fair, held in the fall semester each year.

  • Continue to conduct informational interviews. Ask about job shadowing opportunities.
  • Attend academic department events to learn about career and graduate school options related to your major.

  • Conduct one or more of these activities to build your skills and competencies:
    • Work a part-time job.
    • Get involved in a student organization and consider taking on a leadership role.
    • Volunteer for an on-campus or community organization.
    • Get involved in Research Rookies.
    • Consider an internship, even if you have already completed one.
  • Maintain or improve your GPA. Attend all class sessions and seek academic assistance as needed.
  • Seek out activities that are most relevant to your career goals. Interested in finance? Become treasurer for a student organization. Want to become a teacher or a counselor? Take on a summer job at a day camp.
  • Check in with your academic advisor to make sure you’ve fulfilled all graduation requirements.
  • Make sure to apply for graduation prior to the deadline.

  • Schedule a career counseling appointment at the beginning of the school year. Discuss your goals for landing a job after college and the timeline for your job search.
  • Apply for post-college jobs throughout the school year.
  • Prior to the career fairs, attend Career Services’ Career Fair Prep Workshop (details announced each semester).
  • Attend the All Majors Internship and Job Fair in the fall and spring to meet recruiters and learn about job opportunities.
  • Add to your network through employer events, industry guest speakers and NIU alumni. Connect through LinkedIn.
  • Update your network on your job search plans. Tell them what you are looking for and send them a copy of your resume.
  • Ask people who know your work to serve as references for your job search or graduate school applications. Keep your references updated as your search progresses.
  • Update your resume. Bring it to Career Services (PCLB 220) for a drop-in resume review.
  • Search for full-time jobs on Huskies Get Hired. Set up job alerts to get notified of new opportunities. Come to Career Services for a drop-in Huskies Get Hired walkthrough.
  • Create your professional introduction to let people know your background, goals, and what you have to offer. Come to Career Services for a drop-in elevator pitch session.
  • Schedule a mock interview with a career counselor, who will tailor questions to the job you are applying for.
  • Pay attention to deadlines for applying to graduate programs. Bring your personal statement to the University Writing Center before you submit your application.

Share Your Success

NIU students and alumni: Tell us about your job, internship or grad school enrollment

Contact Us

Career Services
Peters Campus Life Building 220
815-753-1642
careerservices@niu.edu

Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

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