A Little Hen Starts a Big Journey: Freshmen and the Career MAP

As freshmen at the University of Delaware, we fly the figurative coop and nestle into college. At first it’s a scramble to find a routine, from getting to classes on time to deciding whether to eat dinner at Russell or Perkins, and we prioritize studying and socializing over sleep. However, as the weeks pass, we slowly adapt to dorm life (or commuting) and doing our own laundry. Soon, we develop a sort of “roadmap” for our collegiate lives. But what about the long-run? What do you plan to do once you graduate, and how will you do it? If that seems like a loaded question, don’t worry: use the Career MAP.

The Career Services Career MAP (or “My Action Plan”) serves to set students on the path to success. Do freshmen really need to utilize this tool so early in the game? The answer: yes! Whether you’ve known your dream job since your toddler days or, like myself, have no idea where you’ll be in five years, the Career MAP will help. It consists of four stages: 1) Self-Awareness and Career Exploration, 2) Gain Experience and Learn about the World of Work, 3) Develop Career Management Skills, and 4) Implement Career Goals. If you’re not necessarily on the first step, the MAP is flexible—you can skip around or adjust it as you see fit. For instance, if you’re dead-set on finding a specific job, you might want to skip to Gain Experience and Learn about the World of Work. Freshmen who are still a bit confused ought to start at Self-Awareness and Career Exploration.

I’ll write a little about my own plight. I have broad interests—very broad. I’m currently a cognitive science major, but I’ve considered adopting multiple majors and minors, from fashion design to neuroscience to psychology to biochemistry to English with a focus in creative writing—and the list goes on. Frankly, I have no idea what I want to pursue as a career, and I wonder if I should go to graduate school, too. Thankfully, Career Services provides resources to combat my desire to do everything.

All students at the University of Delaware have a Career Services liaison, specific to your major, who can offer career advice, provide personality assessments, discuss internships, and more. This is a golden resource, as are the personality tests. You can take the Strong Interest Inventory assessment and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator at the Career Services Center. Both these tests provide students with individual information—your likes and dislikes, your values, even possible careers that coincide with your interests. Besides the suggestions offered by these tests, you can browse the job postings available on your Blue Hen Careers page, found on the Career Services website. If you know you’ll stick with your major but aren’t sure what to pursue career-wise, you’ll want to pick up a Major Resource Kit, which provides valuable, major-specific information about careers, classes, and graduate school.

Career Services offers much more, from resume critiques (drop-in hours are 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm) to mock interviews. Take some time to stop by, pick up a few pamphlets, and have a chat. Plan a meeting with your liaison, too. You’ll be glad you did.

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