Making Time for Career Development: A Survival Guide

In these busy days, sometimes it feels like we are just trying to survive! We are trying to survive the unseasonably cold weather, our hectic schedules as the semester comes to a close, our many obligations, all the while doing our best to make progress in our career development! With so many things coming at us, and not enough hours in the day to complete all our tasks, it might be easy to let our career development fall to the wayside. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the idea of making progress on your career development plans, the Career Development Center is here to help! First things first, before you can thrive as a competitive candidate in the job market, you must first figure out how to survive! Here is a Survival Guide for making time for your Career Development while managing a hectic schedule.

Survival Tip Number #1: Use your resources

Suggested time of investment: 5 -15 minutes monthly

*Increased frequency during a job search.

Use your network. Don’t reinvent the wheel folks. You already have a support system of classmates, professors, advisors, mentors, and campus resources at your fingertips! Challenge yourself to reach out to a handful of these people, talk to them about your plans, share your frustrations or your confusion about where to go next, and ask for guidance. You will find that if you are willing to reach out, people will be more than willing to help! Need a safe place/unbiased third party to talk to about your career development? You guessed it- The CDC is here for you!

Survival Tip Number #2: Know your Strengths and Skills

Suggested time of investment: 45 minutes every 4-6 months

*Increased frequency during a job search.

With so much going on, maybe adding something to your list sounds really intimidating. Examining what strengths and skills you already possess can help you discover what step to take next and possibly hone in on some areas to emphasize in your resume.

  • Ask your friends, family, and trusted network what they perceive your strengths, skills, and qualities to be.
  • What have you received compliments on in the past?
  • What quality in yourself do you pride?
  • What experiences have you had that are profound or important to who YOU are?

Survival Tip Number #3: Reframe: What are you doing now and how might that influence your career development process?

Suggested time of investment: 5 -15 minutes monthly

*Increased frequency during a job search.

Take a look at the things you are currently doing and apply your career development lens to these:

  • What does my online presence say about me?
  • What does my current voicemail message sound like and what might an employer think about it?
  • If I were to Google myself what would show up?
  • What are my grades like this semester?
  • What am I doing with my free time?
  • What are my current coping strategies?
  • Who do I spend my time with?
  • What is missing from my resume that I would like to accomplish?

Survival Tip Number #4: Make a Plan

Suggested time of investment: 1 hour independently + 30 – 45 minutes in collaboration with a friend, professor, advisor, mentor or career counselor.

Create a plan for your career development early. It is never too early or too late to start! The CDC is open this summer from 8 AM – 4 PM. If you have an hour to spare this May, June, July, or August consider making an appointment with a career counselor to talk about your plans for the future!

Following this Survival Guide will help you set a bit of time aside to assist you in working on your Career Development process and will positively influence your path towards being offered a position in your field. Revisiting any of these survival tips can help you thrive and aid you in becoming an exceptional candidate in this competitive job market! Continue developing your professional network, continue reflecting on where you’ve been and what goals you have for yourself, and continue planning for your career development. As always, if at any step along the way you feel stuck, would like suggestions, or would like to talk to someone who’s been there – stop by the CDC!

Best wishes as you practice your survival skills and make headway on your career development process!

Karina Clennon
Doctoral Intern, CDC

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