Four Year Plan
First thing’s first—you’ll need a plan that takes you from discovering your passions to starting your career. Our Four-Year Plan for Professional Success will help navigate you through your time at Transy. We’re also available to help you work through your own plan.
Give or take a few years for grad school and you can expect to spend close to 50 years of your life working!
Let us help you figure out how to make those 50 years enjoyable and lucrative! Choosing the multiple careers you will have over a lifetime means understanding two important dimensions: 1) Yourself and 2) The world of work.
Your interests, skills, values, and personality traits should all play a role in a satisfying career. Identifying these aspects of who you are and connecting them to possible career paths will help identify options you will be good at and enjoy and give you the lifestyle and worklife balance you seek!
Our Career Assessments can provide concrete and objective measurements to help you discover the essential qualities of who you are. It’s important to speak to a career counselor to discuss your results and bounce around ideas. This can make the information easier to digest. Make an appointment today!
Understanding the World of Work
Your career exploration will not happen in a vacuum. Learning about work, different industries, and economic trends can all help you make informed decisions. Here are some ways to learn about the world of work:
- Explore the curriculum through our many majors. The more you learn about the world around you, the more you will see work being done in many different ways. As you become interested and passionate about majors, you will begin to see that working with those issues may lead to an exciting career.
- Explore careers. Do you know what an auditor does? What are the differences between a dietician and a nutritionist? Reading about different careers and their training and educational requirements, salary, and employment outlook can help you choose among competing paths.>
- Shadow professionals. Through our shadowing program, you can meet professionals who are doing the types of work you are interested in. Learn about the day-to-day life of a job to help you envision yourself doing it—or not!
“You can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job, right?”
Wrong! Choosing a career and preparing for it requires you to obtain experience, true, but that experience can come from a variety of opportunities. Career Development will work with you to explore the various ways to acquire experience. Here are just a few examples:
- Internships. Transylvania allows you to receive academic credit for engaging in professional learning experiences in the for-profit, non-profit, and government sectors.
- Research. Out-of-class research at Transylvania or at another university can greatly improve your laboratory and field skills and make you competitive for grants, scholarships, and admittance to high-ranking graduate and professional schools.
- Community service. Working with and serving others not only benefits those in need, but allows you to learn more about possible careers and helps you gain skills from your efforts.
- Student activities and athletics. Campus involvement is a great way to acquire skills, explore interests, develop leadership ability, and demonstrate accomplishments. Employers and grad schools prefer to see extensive commitment to fewer activities rather than casual involvement in many of them.
- Part-time and summer jobs. Working in your uncle’s sandwich shop may be fine for a summer or two, but after that finding opportunities more closely related to your career field can give you the entry-level experience needed to secure that full-time offer upon graduation.
“It’s not what you know, but who you know that matters when trying to find a job!”
Actually, it’s both what you know and who you know, and for students at Transylvania, that’s a great thing!
The truth is, who you know can get your foot in the door when applying for jobs, but it’s what you know and who you are that will ultimately lead you to receiving an offer.
Career Development can help you connect your passions and interests, through your experience, to promising opportunities.
There are four steps to an effective search, connecting who you are to the careers you want to have:
- Documents. Effective application documents, including resumes, cover letters, and personal statements, are simply essential.
- Research. Just as you study for an exam, you also need to study the job market, including the position, the company, and the industry you’re interested in.
- Networking. Career Development will work closely with you to identify community leaders, business owners, and alumni who can help shepherd your application to the right eyes.
- Search. A targeted job search requires more than surfing job boards; it is targeted, intentional, and thorough.
Understanding your interests, skills, values, and personality characteristics can greatly help you learn more about yourself and possible career paths that can be a fit for you. The following assessments can assist you in identifying these important elements. They cannot, however, tell you what you should be.
Assessments are valuable tools, but they are only tools to help you decide. We encourage you to use these assessments, then follow up with Career Development to discuss the results and plan the next steps.
Focus Career Assessments
Use these multiple, short assessment instruments to learn about careers connected to your interests, skills, and values. You can save your searches and go over them when you meet with a Career Development staff member.
First time users should create an account and use PIONEER as the access code.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ®
The Myers-Briggs® instrument is a personality assessment that will help you ascertain and understand your 4-letter type. Given to millions annually, the MBTI® will help you understand your communication and learning styles as well as how certain careers may be a better fit for you.To take the MBTI®, you will first need to contact Career Development. You can make an appointment by email or phone (859-233-8193).
My Next Move
My Next Move is a free resource that includes an easy-to-use Interest Assessment that connects your results directly to the O*NET occupation system.
Deciding your major
After choosing a college, choosing an academic major is the next biggest choice you will make. Your ideas and thoughts may range from total uncertainty, to leaning, to deciding. No matter what stage you are in, let us work with you to make an informed, confident decision. Download our guide to going from uncertainty to deciding. Click here for some ideas of what you could do with different majors.
Shadowing and informational interviews are enjoyable ways to discover a career path, to research a job or industry and to prepare for an employment interview. Why wouldn’t you want to do them?
What is shadowing and how does it differ from an internship?
- Shadowing gives you the opportunity to learn more about a profession after you have researched it.
- Shadowing is a short-term experience: an afternoon, a few days, maybe a few weeks.
- An internship is a structured “work” experience during which you are doing a job and learning by doing.
- Shadowing is more focused on observing and asking questions about the job, rather than actually doing the job.
- You will typically complete an internship your junior or senior year, after you have acquired work and course experience.
- You can shadow a professional in your field of interest anytime, but it can be especially beneficial for first-year students and sophomores who are discovering career paths.
What is informational interviewing and how does it differ from an employment interview?
- An informational interview is a meeting to learn more about a profession by “interviewing” the professional.
- The interview can be at the office, over coffee or over a meal. It is professional, yet informal.
- In an informational interview, you will be asking most of the questions. In an employment interview, someone else will be asking you most of the questions.
- An informational interview will help you explore a career. It may lead to a shadowing opportunity or internship, and it provides you a networking contact, which is essential for the job search.
Sample questions you may consider asking while shadowing or conducting informational interviews:
- What lead you to pursue this career path? What others did you consider?
- What do you enjoy most about your job? Least?
- What specialized skills are essential for success in this job?
- What does a “Tuesday” look like in your work? Can you talk me through a typical day?
- What technological, intellectual, or other developments have changed your work?
- What is this job outlook for this career? How does one advance?
- What professional development/continuing education opportunities exist for this career?
- What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue this line of work?
- I have brought my resume for you to review. Which experiences stand out as ones that will be helpful to pursue this career?
- What else would an employer look for? What other experiences should I pursue?
These are only a sample of the types of questions you can ask. Feel free to come up with others.
How to set up a shadowing experience or informational interview
- Write a strong resume. That demonstrates your commitment to professionalism.
- Research the career(s) you are interested in pursuing; take notes to develop a list of questions.
- Identify local companies or organizations that employ these professionals to determine who you might contact.
- Work with Career Development to identify alumni and community contacts who you can potentially meet.
- Make contact. Write a professional email to the contact explaining what you are seeking. Make it clear that you are exploring the profession and would appreciate any time they are willing to give. Work with Career Development if you need assistance with your email or would like a draft reviewed. Attach your résumé to the email.
- Dress professionally for the meeting; you are representing yourself and your university.
- Write a thank you note immediately following the meeting; email is considered professionally appropriate.