First Year: Discover

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Become familiar with the Career Planning Guide

  • Read through the checklist for your current year and highlight areas you want to accomplish during the year.
  • Write down two questions to discuss with a Career Counselor.
  • Consider attending a Career Services workshop or event.

Identify your strengths, interests and values (what’s most important to you)

  • Meet with a Freshman Focus Team Career Counselor during your first quarter at Cal Poly.  You can become more confident about your major and career path by meeting with a career counselor.
  • Complete the Focus2 self-assessment  which will help you to explore your skills, interests, and values.
  • Review your StrengthsQuest results and attend a Strengths-related workshop.
  • Take other career assessments such as the Strong Interest Inventory, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or values card sorts, if needed, with a Career Counselor.
  • If you are feeling uncertain about your major choice, consider joining the Major and Career Exploration Group, a career counseling group for first-year students. This group will help you explore how your interests relate to potential career paths.
  • Get involved with a club or organization that interests you.
  • Consider taking a course that explores diversity in gender, culture/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability status, and/or sexual orientation, among others.
  • Think about how you enjoy spending your free time, such as hobbies, school involvement, academic courses, and recreational activities.
  • Consider attending a Career Services workshop or event on a related topic such as “How to Get to Where You Don’t Know You’re Going” or a Strengths workshop.

Learn about and begin to build your career portfolio using Portfolium

  • Review portfolio samples of other Cal Poly students for inspiration and ideas.
  • Create a section highlighting your top 5 strengths from StrenthsQuest.
  • Begin adding relevant coursework and labs, projects, extra-curriculars, and internships/part-time work.
  • Include visuals such as photos, documents, designs, etc.
  • Join the Cal Poly Network.
  • Connect with other Cal Poly students.
  • Add the Portfolium link to your email signature, resume, and LinkedIn profile.
    Attend a Career Services workshop about Portfolium. 

Clarify your major choice and explore career possibilities

  • Make an appointment with your Career Counselor or Academic Advisor.
  • Review current and/or potential majors in the Cal Poly catalog.
  • Discuss career possibilities with peers, upper-division students, faculty, alumni, industry professionals, and family.
  • Explore the resource What Can I Do with This Major? prepared by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Career Services.
  • Look at the Graduate Status Report.
  • Search through O*NET Online and the Occupational Outlook Handbook for detailed information about careers that interest you.
  • Consider attending a Career Services workshop or event on a related topic such as “How to Get to Where You Don’t Know You’re Going” or “How to Discover Career Possibilities in Your Major.”
  • Consider joining the Jumpstart Your Career Group, a career counseling group where you will gain "career readiness" skills and develop an overall career and networking plan.

Explore MustangJOBS

  • Create your profile and upload your resume.
  • Search for jobs that interest you: your dream job, an internship, or local/on-campus part-time work.
  • Research companies that are coming to the Career Fair.
  • Access Career Services online resources, such as Big Interview, GoingGlobal, and Focus2.
  • Consider attending a Career Services workshop or event on a related topic such as “Making the Most of the Career Fair.”

Gain awareness of Career Services’ resources and services, including the Freshman Focus Team

  • Meet with a Career Counselor to learn more about the resources and services related to your current needs.
  • Look at the resources available on the Career Services website, and find three services or events that you would like to utilize this year.
  • Sync the Career Services workshops and events calendar with your calendar.
  • Consider attending a Career Services workshop or event.

Understand the meaning of a “network” and the concept of “networking.”

  • Attend networking sessions and a Career Fair.
  • View the CareerSpot networking videos on the Career Services website.
  • Begin building your LinkedIn profile.
  • Identify existing networks in your social circle, such as family, peers, co-workers club/organization members, and faculty.
  • Prepare an elevator pitch or sound bites about your education, experience, involvement and goals.  Your career counselor can help you.
  • Consider attending a Career Services workshop or event on a related topic such as a Networking Workshop or LinkedIn workshop.

Engage in activities to discover interests, skills, and strengths

Make time for and appreciate the value of reflection

  • Consider attending a Career Services workshop or event on a related topic such as “Courageous Careers.”
  • Use the following questions to help you reflect on how your experiences this year can relate to your future career plans.
    • What were your most enjoyable and interesting classes this year? What did you find most engaging about them?
    • What activities did you participate in this year? What did you find most energizing and challenging?
    • What is the most important thing you learned about yourself this year? Consider your strengths, values, personality and/or interests.
    • Given your responses above, what new career-related activities or experiences would you like to explore next year?

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