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Career decision making involves increasing self-awareness, exploring career options, as well as developing self-marketing skills. The career planning process is unique to everyone and will continue throughout your lifetime.

Making the Most of Penn State

A Penn State degree is the gateway to endless career options and opportunities. Use your time on campus to prepare yourself for a career path and to help you discover your interests and to apply your skills.

  • Meet with a career counselor to identify interests, values, personality, abilities, and to help identify career goals. Starting early helps you find a career path that you love while allowing you to leverage your time at Penn State effectively.

  • Get to know your academic advisor. Learn about majors, academic options, course content, and requirements.

  • Explore your interests and get involved on campus. Join clubs or organizations that are of interest to you to help discover what you enjoy and gain experience. Take on a leadership role to develop those skills and help stand out to a future employer.

  • Increase your exposure to career fields of interest. Job shadow, volunteer, work part-time, or find an internship. All of these can be included on a resume and can help you find what your passionate about pursuing professionally.

What Can I Do With This Major?
Your education at Penn State can open the door to endless opportunities. Use the What Can I Do With This Major online resource to help connect your studies to potential career paths.
Learn what you can do with your major now!

Career Planning Steps

There are four major components of a career plan. A career plan is always evolving and changing so revisiting each step throughout your professional career is not only normal but encouraged.

Increase Self-Awareness

Discussing connections between your knowledge, experiences, and vision for your future can lead to identifying career areas to explore.

  • Reflect on your experiences to explore what you enjoy, what you do well, and what is important to you

  • Explore interests through student activities, volunteer work, job shadowing, and course work

  • Consider taking a career decision making course

  • Meet with a career counselor to identify interests, values, personality, and abilities to clarify your career goals

Explore Career Options

Exploration can take many forms, all of which require you to be active in gathering information and applying it to make career decisions.

  • Research a variety of career options of interest. Use the Career Resource Center to find online resources and learn more about career fields

  • Conduct informational interviews or job shadow professionals in a field of interest to learn more about day-to-day operations and what skills are of value

Acquire Knowledge, Skills, and Experiences

Consider ways to gain exposure and get involved with career options that seem interesting to you.

  • Assume leadership roles in campus and community organizations to develop teamwork, interpersonal, and communication skills

  • Obtain relevant experience by pursuing internships, co-ops, part-time work, summer jobs, and research opportunities

  • Expand your understanding of diversity through study abroad, foreign languages, community services, and cultural activities on campus

Develop Self-Marketing Skills

Your resume, cover letter, and interview skills are some of the first impressions that you give a potential employer. Prepare and present yourself in a way that highlights the skills, experiences, and qualities that the employer or graduate school is seeking.

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