The most successful careers generally do not just happen—they are built through consideration and planning.

The most successful careers generally do not just happen—they are built through consideration and planning. You are likely in school because you want to build your future career success. And YOU are making that happen right now! Education is one valuable part of the career success equation, but what other things do you need to find career success?

Reflect on each of the following areas and answer the questions to explore how each may potentially influence your career success and what you can do to address it now:

Work Experience

When considering recent graduates for jobs, employer surveys have shown that employers place more emphasis on work experience—especially experience gained while in school—than they do on academic credentials (such as GPA and major). Reflect on your level of experience to see how you will stack up against the competition when you are ready to enter the job market and think about what you can do to ensure success:

  1. Do you currently have experience in your target career field? If so, how many years and what type of experience? How will this experience help you as you advance your career? (If you are not yet sure of your specific career target, than make a note of that, and pick a field you might be considering from your research in Phase 2 of the class.)
  2. If you do not yet have experience in your target career, what are some of things you will do to get experience (volunteer, internship, job shadowing, etc.)? How might you find ways to gain experience? Where would you want to do this? When would you ideally want to start getting your experience? If you are advancing in your current career, how will you gain new experiences to help get you to the next level?
  3. What are some of the resources and support you might have available to you to help you create a plan to get experience?

Relationships

As you explored in your Discussion Board assignment for this phase, relationships matter when it comes to career success. Networking is not just for people who are looking for a job, but for everyone, and the best time to build your relationships and network is now. Reflect on what you can do now to continue to build your network:

  1. Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to networking. On a scale of 1–10 (10 being extremely comfortable), how comfortable are you personally with networking, and why? In what ways do you think you could increase your comfort level score by just one point?
  2. Based on what you have explored and learned throughout this course, how well-established do you think your network is? Are there people you never thought of as being in your network but now realize they are? If so, how might you let them know that you consider them as a part of your network!?
  3. How might you add new people to your network?
  4. Do you have your profile on a professional networking site? If not, what are your future plans for capitalizing on this tool? As with everything on the Web, you want to make sure anything you publish online represents you well. Employers and important people are searching for you now. How will you make sure your future—or current—professional networking profile is showing your professional brand well?

Final Questions

  • What was it like for you to answer these questions (easy, hard, scary, exciting, etc.), and why?
  • Did you know you have your own dedicated career coach assigned to you to support you through every phase of your career? How do you think having a professional career coach as your partner will help you find career success? What will you do to tap into this resource?
  • If you do not yet know all the answers, or want to learn more about how you can ensure your future career success, what will you do?
  • What obstacles and challenges do you anticipate as you continue your career planning and management?
  • What steps will you take in the next month to continue to ensure your career success?
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