Planning your career—and your life—happens in stages, and these stages don't happen in the same order for everyone. Throughout your time at NIU, explore the options that fit you best while preparing for your post-graduation life.
Wherever you are in your journey, Career Services can help you progress toward your vision of student career success.
I want to find a major that's a great fit for me.
The first step to a great post-college career is exploring academic options that fit with your interests, goals and skills. Also, start preparing for your career by gaining the knowledge, skills and experiences employers want.
- Schedule a career counseling appointment to help you make the decisions that are right for you.
- Meet with your academic advisor regularly.
- Pursue career testing/assessment at Career Services.
- Use Academics PLUS Pathways to design a custom experience with your general education courses.
- Visit What Can I Do With My Major? to learn how majors that you're considering overlap with career options.
- Learn about Career Clusters which groups careers in the same field that require similar skills.
- Get familiar with the Career Services website. Start with the career resources pages.
- Employers care about your GPA! Use academic support services, like the Writing Center and tutoring, when needed.
- Find an activity or student organization you enjoy that reflects your interests and values.
- Start building your resume by taking on a part-time job or volunteering.
- Get to know at least one faculty or staff member who is willing to serve as a reference for you
I'd like to connect my major to a career.
It's time to explore how your major connects to career options. For some majors, the connection seems obvious. For other majors, you'll want to invest more time to figure out how your classes relate to what you want out of your career. Need assistance with identifying career options for your major? See a career counselor for help with decision-making and to learn how to explain to future employers how your major has helped prepare you for the workplace.
Start acquiring the qualifications that employers and graduate programs will want to see when you apply for internships, jobs and graduate school. It takes time to get these skills and experiences, so don't wait until graduation is around the corner to get started.
- Visit What Can I Do With My Major? to learn how your college major connects to jobs.
- Talk with relatives, professors, neighbors and recent college graduates about how they chose their careers and found jobs after college. Their success stories will help and inspire you.
- Look for service learning, leadership or other co-curricular experiences that you can document through Engage PLUS for a possible transcript notation.
- Pursue career testing/assessment at Career Services to learn how your interests and values connect to different jobs.
- View internship and job listings on Huskies Get Hired so you can find out what types of jobs interest you.
- Consider whether graduate school is right for you.
- Learn about Career Clusters which group careers in the same field that require similar skills.
- Write—or update—your resume to help you determine what skills you still need to acquire.
- Talk with a career counselor about planning an internship search strategy.
- Go to an internship fair or similar career event to learn what to expect. Start building a collection of professional attire.
- Participate in leadership experiences.
- Develop your technology skills by taking free classes at Lynda.com and gather examples of your work by volunteering to help a student organization or other group with technology needs.
- Learn how employers define career readiness so you'll know how to be a more competitive candidate for internships and jobs.
I'm having second thoughts about my major/career path.
If you're having second thoughts about your major or career path, know that many students question or change their majors and career choices. You're asking important questions that will shape your future. Career Services is here to help! Contact us as soon as possible.
- Facing challenges with your classes? Reach out to your instructors and visit faculty office hours.
- Schedule a career counseling appointment. We'll help you look at all of the factors impacting your decisions about majors and careers in a supportive and encouraging environment.
- Your academic advisor can consult with you about requirements for different majors and can discuss academic options.
- Career testing/assessment can provide information to help you determine which majors and careers are right for you.
- Visit What Can I Do With My Major? to learn more about career options and how college majors connect to jobs.
- Exploring Career Clusters will help you research career options by industry and may open up new choices for you to consider
I'd like some help with finalizing my post-college plans.
Prepare for Your Post-College Career
It's time to finalize your post-graduation plans. With the support of NIU Career Services, use the qualifications and career planning skills you've been acquiring to create the career that you want.
Start early. Growing numbers of employers hire spring graduates in the fall of their senior year. Also, employers are often interested in meeting students who have completed internships. If you haven't completed an internship or a similar experience, consult with Career Services soon.
If you're applying to graduate or professional school, plan early so that you have time to narrow your choices, prepare applications and meet admission deadlines.
Important Career Planning Strategies
- Update your resume and visit the Career Resource Center for a resume review. Make sure that all of your application documents (resumes, cover letters, job applications or admission essays for graduate school) demonstrate the connections between your qualifications and the career opportunity you're pursuing.
- Create a LinkedIn profile and take advantage of its networking features to meet NIU alumni and industry professionals. Contact Career Services at 815-753-1642 to learn more about LinkedIn training.
- Identify a combination of three to five professors, advisors and supervisors who know your work and will provide references or letters of recommendation. Keep your references updated about your career plans and always ask permission before listing them on a reference page or job application.
- Learn how to communicate effectively with employers about your strengths, qualifications and what you've gained from your NIU degree. Consider meeting with a career counselor, participating in Practice Interview Week and attending career fairs/events to develop this skill.
- Apply for jobs through Huskies Get Hired and meet with a career counselor to customize your job search strategy
- Review Career Clusters for the skills needed and tips for how to get started in your field.
Word of mouth is an important way you can help fellow NIU students learn about Career Services. We welcome you to use these resources to help inform your fellow Huskies about the value of using NIU Career Services each term while at NIU. Wherever you are in your journey, we can help you progress toward your vision of student career success.
- Email our flyers promoting NIU Career Services. Send these to members, friends or to future Huskies.
- Find Career Services posters that are displayed around campus
- See when events and fairs that are happening on the NIU Calendar, post them to your social media and share with friends
- Check out the YouTube playlist with videos related to Career Services