Career Pathways Planning by Semester
It's important to pursue a job/career that "fits.” To discover the best jobs/careers for you, it is important to first identify your skills, interests, personality and work-related values.
Semester 1: Discover Your Interests, Abilities and Work-related Values
Think about your likes, dislikes, and any choices regarding career options or majors you have made.
- What kinds of things do you enjoy doing so much that you would want to do them every day?
- What are your strongest skills?
- What are your hobbies/interests?
- What did you like (or dislike) about a past job or volunteer experience?
- What do you think you would like about being a__________ or majoring in__________?
- What is important to you in a career (i.e. helping others, making lots of money, having creative freedom, being in a position of influence)?
- If there are certain careers you would not like, what is it about those careers that you think you would dislike?
Action Steps - Semester 1
- Meet with a member of the Career Connections Center team to talk about your interests, abilities and values as they apply to the world of work.
- To help you find your fit, we offer Focus2, a free resource for Westmoreland students and alumni. Focus2 can be used for ongoing
career exploration and career planning.
- Follow the link, click REGISTER, enter your information and the access code westmoreland
- While not required, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a member of the Career Connections Center team, your pathways advisor or counselor to go over your results with you.
- Get involved with on campus clubs and activities. Think about which activities interest you the most, and what skills you would like to gain or develop through those activities that will help you in your job or career.
Semester 2 : Explore, Learn about Careers that Interest You
Actively explore the world of work by reading about careers and talking to people in those careers.
- Have you researched the careers that interest you?
- Have you had talked with anyone who is working in the jobs/careers that interest you?
- Have you had an opportunity to observe people in these careers?
- Did you look at a variety of occupations before deciding that you want to be a(n) ____________?
Doing so can:
- Help to make an occupation “come alive.”
- Give you current information about the career field.
- Help make future job interviews seem less threatening.
- Help you to make valuable contacts.
- May expand your career options.
Action Steps - Semester 2
- Talk with alumni and other professionals working in careers that interest you.
- Observe a professional at work! Meet with a member of the Career Connections Center team to learn how to set up a job shadow experience.
- Research careers using web sites such as “What Can I Do with a major in…. Offered at Westmoreland County Community College” located in the Explore the Possibilities section of Focus2.
- Begin to develop a resume using the Getting Started Guide in the Resources section of Focus2 and other resources available on the Career Connections Center web pages.
- Target electives to increase marketability; consider a certificate related to your interests
- If you haven't already, get involved with on campus clubs and activities. Think about which activities interest you the most, and what skills you would like to gain or develop through those activities that will help you in your job or career.
- Check out YouScience (students will receive login information via email). YouScience
is an online career guidance tool to help students discover their aptitudes through
a series of aptitude challenges or as YouScience describe them, “brain games." Once
completed, the system generates an amazingly accurate profile. Young and older adults
say YouScience is "scary accurate" and opened their eyes to careers they had not considered,
as it describes your talents and abilities, and helps you have productive college
and career discussion with your family, friends, faculty and staff at college.
- Students MUST use YouScience on a laptop, desktop or Chromebook and it is best if they use Google Chrome as their browser.
- Plan at least 90 minutes to complete YouScience. Results will be ready by the following morning and you will need to log back into your YouScience account to view them.
- Be aware of the chat tool in the bottom right hand corner of the website. Students and staff members are welcome to chat with any questions.
Semester 3: Test Careers by Gaining Hands-on Experience
Become an active learner to develop the skills needed to be successful in your life and career.
- Have you sought opportunities to gain experience and develop skills through your classes, through hands-on experience, and through extracurricular activities and organizations?
- Have you had a chance to get any experience in the career field(s) that interests you?
- Have you submitted an application to complete an internships or practicum? Have you had any career-related volunteer work or part-time jobs?
Employers generally favor students who have had experience related to the field for which they are applying. No matter what your major is, career-related experience can give you an “edge” over students who do not have experience in their area of interest.
Action Steps - Semester 3
Test-drive career opportunities and gain career-related experience through internships, practicums, career-related part-time jobs, or volunteer work.
- Visit Purple Briefcase to upload your resume and search the postings for job and internship positions.
- Get involved! Take on leadership positions in student activities, organizations and volunteer groups that can help you to develop your skills and interests
- Attend workshops, take part in learning expos in your program area, go to job fairs to practice your networking skills and make valuable contacts.
- Complete a practice interview using StandOut and/or with a member of the Career Connections Center team.
Semester 4: Learn to Build Connections for Career and Professional Success
Learn effective job search strategies and how to implement them.
Conduct an active, not a passive, job search. Determine if further education is needed to prepare you for your intended career field.
Identify transfers schools and plan a strategy for applying to them.
- Do you have a plan for locating and obtaining a job in this field?
- Do you know the most effective job search strategies?
- Do you know how to develop and utilize your personal and professional network in your job search?
- Do you know how to effectively articulate your skills and experience on your resume, at a job fair, and in a job interview?
Action Steps - Final Semester
- Meet with a member of the Career Connections Center team to develop job search strategies and to fine-tune your resume, cover letter, portfolio and interviewing skills.
- Visit Purple Briefcase to update your resume and search the online job postings.
- Sharpen your interviewing skills by participating in practice interviews on StandOut and with a member of the Career Connections Center team.
- Participate in on-campus interviews, employer information sessions, learning expos and other networking events on- and off-campus.
- Be sure to meet with the transfer counselor if considering continuing your education.