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Career Development Timeline

Making a successful plan for your future is a continual process through which you will cycle many times. Regardless of class year, you may jump in at whatever point is relevant to you. You may also work on two stages at once.

The pathway to good decision making and successful life management typically involves the following four stages:

  1. Self-Assessment – Identify your interests, skills, values & personality style
  2. Exploring Options – Learn about different career & education options
  3. Narrowing Options – Connect your knowledge about yourself & the world of work to formulate career goals
  4. Implementing Goals – Take action through effective job search or education strategies
  Exploring Self
  Goal: Identify and clarify your interests, abilities & values; establish relationships with faculty, advisors and others on campus that will assist you.
  • Get involved with campus organizations
  • Discuss possible major programs with your faculty  advisor
  • Use your General Education requirements to explore a variety of subject areas
  • Take the Keirsey Temperament Sorter or Self Directed Search self-assessment inventories
  • Complete the online FOCUS Career Planning System (use "cardinal" as the access code)
  Exploring Careers
  Goal: Explore and determine major choice and consider potential career options.
  • Participate in a field exploration experience
  • Utilize FOCUS, written & online resources to research occupations
  • Interview or job shadow professionals working in the occupation(s) you are considering
  • Continue exploring a variety of subject areas
  Experiencing Choices
  Goal: Obtain experience in your potential career choice; carry out course selection in major.
  • Participate in an internship, part-time job, summer job, work study job or volunteer to get experience in a career of interest
  • Take the GRE, GMAT, LSAT or other required entrance exam if you are considering graduate school
  Post-Graduation Planning
  Goal: Finalize career choice for post-graduation and transition from student to employee or graduate student.
  • Start your job search 6-9 months before you graduate
  • Attend career/job fairs in Winona, Minneapolis, Chicago or other locations
  • Research potential employers – check the Career Link & job listings regularly
  • Apply to graduate schools