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Next Step Career Planning

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You're About to Graduate.....Then What?

Many graduates face questions like, "Have you found a job yet?" or, "What is your plan?" When contemplating answers to these questions, recent graduates feel lost without a plan. You don't have to be lost or confused. Take the next few minutes to tune in to the strategy suggested below and find resources to help you answer those tough questions.

Step One: The first part of this journey is self-awareness.
  • What motivates you?
  • What have been you major accomplishments?
  • What are your professional strengths and weaknesses?
  • What have I enjoyed and disliked about past work experiences?
Step Two: Contact a career counselor.

As a WSU student or Alumni you have access to the Academic Success and Career Center with professional career counselors.

  • They offer career coaching to help evaluate and improve self-understanding, knowledge of the work world, and decision-making skills.
  • Another free resource is the FOCUS 2 website. To obtain the access code for the FOCUS 2 please send an email to with the subject line: “FOCUS 2.”
  • What broad career categories am I best suited to? Why?
Step Three: Focus on your primary career plan.
Investigate how this choice will meet your requirements for work conditions, values, schedule, family plans, financial goals, and similar factors.
  • Analyze each career field to determine specific jobs that meet your interests, abilities, and values.
  • Which ones meet your expectations in terms of work conditions, hours, knowledge required, salary, benefits, challenges, and opportunities for advancement?
  • Investigate job projections for your top choices by looking at labor market conditions, rates of pay, and job creation statistics-how do your choices measure up?
  • Investigate existing employment options with different employers. What do they require and will your training provide you with the minimum requirements?
  • How much risk are you willing to take in choosing a pathway?
  • What is your next career step if you choose a particular path over another?
  • Will you need additional training and what time frame are you going to have to commit to?
Step Four: Create an action plan and timeline.
Up to this point the most of your energy has been focused on research and collaboration with a career counselor. Check out some of the tips below to help you start your job search.
  • Create a working timeline for your desired entry into the workforce.
  • Will you want to start working right away or take a break?
  • Take a serious look at your finances and find options that will foster success. The loan grace period is time limited; find options for repayment.
  • Examine deadlines for applying to specific jobs.
  • Read job listings and application requirements carefully!
  • Consult with your career counselor for feedback on your resume and cover letter.
  • Approach professional and personal references before using them.
  • Attend a mock interview and etiquette skills workshop.
  • Have all important documentation organized and ready to provide to potential employers.
  • Set goals for reaching each stage of the application process to the jobs you have chosen.
  • Plan to take any entrance tests and further training that is required and allow time to prepare.
  • Identify your short term career goals and where you want to be in 5 years.
  • Obtain a professional outfit that can be worn to an interview.
  • During your job search add to your resume by volunteering and interning.
  • Examine your social media presence and design it to reflect your professional values.