The Career and Professional Development Office is dedicated to providing resources to help students discover their career path. Our career timeline offers milestones, advice, and tips for exploring potential careers, gaining work experience, and preparing for the future while studying at the University.

First Year

  • Familiarize yourself with the Career and Professional Development Office, our staff, services, and available resources.
  • Activate your Handshake account, which provides access to more than 200,000 employers.
  • Learn more about yourself by completing the Focus 2 assessment  to identify your values, interests, skills, and strengths.
  • Take a career exploration class.
  • Pursue summer work, volunteer experiences, or a part-time job that relates to your major or interests.
  • Begin recording activities and experiences (paid and unpaid) to build your resume.
  • Join student organizations that match your interests.

Second Year

  • Update your profile on Handshake as well as your resume.
  • Declare your academic major if you have not already done so. If you are still undecided or cannot meet or maintain the academic requirements of your preferred major, meet with your academic advisor. You can also explore other options through the Career and Professional Development Office.
  • Identify at least two career interest areas.
  • Meet with a Career and Professional Development Specialist from our office to begin the process of relating your skills, interests, and values to your choice of a major and future career.
  • Begin to identify what is important to you in a job (work values). Collect data on related career options and typical starting salaries (Focus 2).
  • Conduct two to three informational interviews in your fields of interest.
  • Arrange a job shadowing experience.

Third Year 

  • Update your resume.
  • Update your profile on Handshake. Search for internships, co-ops, employer events, and on-campus interview opportunities.
  • Attend networking events sponsored by the Career and Professional Development Office.
  • Research graduate schools if you plan to attend. Take appropriate entrance exams.
  • Prepare a portfolio of your work samples to highlight your experience and skills.
  • Pinpoint the type of industry or organization in which you would like to work and identify a few geographic locations.
  • List at least five occupational titles appropriate to your interests and abilities. Identify the level of education and skills necessary to attain your employment or career goals.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile to establish a professional presence.
  • Acquire professional attire suitable for a job interview.
  • Conduct a mock interview with a Career and Professional Development Specialist.
  • Attend career fairs on campus.
  • Experience the first of several internships or relevant work experiences for pre-career training and to test out your field of interest.

Fourth Year

  • Seek leadership or supervisory opportunities during work experiences or activities.
  • Network and build associations with mentors and faculty in your academic field.
  • Meet with a Career and Professional Development Specialist to strategize an action plan and update your resume.
  • Upload your resume to Handshake and monitor it for activities.
  • Be proactive and reactive in your job search. Use multiple sources, develop lists, and establish a record keeping system to track your applications.
  • Actively participate in job fairs, interviews, or apply to graduate/professional schools.
  • Send thank you letters or emails to every person with whom you interview.
  • Complete the First Destination Survey to inform us of your plans following graduation.

Our staff is here to help you to succeed. If you have any questions about your career timeline or to arrange a consultation, contact us at 608.342.1183 or

Contact Information

Career & Professional Development Office

0200 Ullsvik Hall
Monday-Friday, 7:45 a.m.-4:15 p.m.