Guide to Career Planning as a First-Year Student

By Haley Wiercinski, Junior majoring in Political Science and Student Success Coach


Sometimes as college students we get so caught up in experiencing college, making friends, joining clubs and organizations, keeping our grades up, that we forget that we’re in college in order to prepare for a career (among other things). College is a great place to learn life skills, but it is also a time when you are surrounded by a bunch of resources ready to help advance your career. Whether you are a first-year student or about to graduate, it is never too early to start thinking about your career. 


So, what can I do as a first-year or second-year student to prepare for my career? 

1. Career and Professional Development Services at ASU 

The number one thing I would recommend you do to prepare would be to meet with Career and Professional Development Services. They have resources for students looking for jobs – whether that be on- or off-campus – as well as resources to help students get ready (and become successful) at applying for jobs after graduation. 

 The career center can help students prepare for future careers by: 

  • Giving career advice that explores your interests
  • Setting up internships or other jobs to put on your resume or that provide experience
  • Helping you improve your resume 
  • Preparing you for interviews, including practice/mock interviews
  • Exploring potential careers 
  • Preparing for grad school 
  • Getting career resources, and searching for internships or jobs on their website
  • Setting up online professional-looking profiles (Handshake, LinkedIn, etc)
  • Introducing you to alumni in your field 

Meeting with a career advisor would be extremely beneficial to helping you prepare for your career after graduation. You can drop by online or  in-person.

2. Academic Advisor 

Since your major can be your guide to a degree in your field of interest, meeting with your academic advisor to ensure you are on track to graduate ensures that you are preparing yourself for graduation and a career after college. Your advisor will make sure you stay on-track with classes, help you decide what classes to take to best prepare you for your occupation or major, or help with any questions you may have about your major. If you think you may have changed your mind on what you want to do after college, then your academic advisor is who you meet with to switch majors and help figure out your future goals. Your tuition pays for you to have access to resources like an academic advisor and career services, so you should definitely take advantage of them. 

3. Get an early start!

  • Look at the jobs that are relevant to your major. Scrolling through job opportunities before you even graduate can be a great way to see what's out there. Your first year is a time to try out different things and find out if this is what you want to do the rest of your life.
  • Attend on-campus career fairs and events. New career opportunities and employers are always coming to campus! Even if you aren't ready to start your official career just yet, attending these events gets you in front of employers where you can ask questions, understand what they look for in hires and get recommendations from experts in your field.

The transition to college is not always easy, but luckily you have many resources on campus to help you. You do not have to do this alone, go to advisors, talk with faculty, discuss with other students. Thinking about your career in the beginning of your college experience can give you a huge head start, but remember that college is also about making friends, enjoying new experiences, and broadening your horizons so don’t get too caught up in preparation! 


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