The Career Development Center is available to all students at Mercyhurst University, not just those ready to job search. Building a relationship with Mercyhurst career counselors will help students gain personalized assistance through their career development and decisions. Treating career development as a 4 year process makes it more manageable and provides students with strategic advantages when they are ready to graduate. Following this career development plan can be a guide to conversations with your student about their career goals.

First Year: Awareness
Goal – become aware of career options related to your major of interest.
- Activate your Handshake profile to look at job and internship opportunities that interest you 
- Obtain part-time work or volunteer in a setting that fits with one of your career interests
- Attend the Graduate School Fair (fall semester) or Career Fair (spring semester) to learn more about your fields of interest
- Participate in activities and clubs to explore your interests and expand your skill sets
- Talk to upper-class students about majors that interest you
- Take a variety of classes to explore your major options
- Talk to family and friends about their careers
- Meet with a Career Counselor to explore career options and clubs and activities that could give you experiences in your career areas of interest

Sophomore Year: Exploration
Goal – Determine major and narrow down career options. Prepare for an internship.
- Utilize Handshake to search for jobs and internships
- Talk with students in your major about their internships and career plans
- Attend Mercyhurst’s annual Career Fair or the WestPACS Job & Internship Fairs to explore internship possibilities and summer or part time jobs
- Obtain part-time work or volunteer in a setting that fits your career interests
- Speak with a Career Counselor about career options and to work on your resume, cover letter and interviewing skills
- Take a leadership role in a club or activity
- Create a LinkedIn account and begin to build a professional network
- Declare a major (and maybe a minor, too)!

Junior Year: Experience
Goals – Confirm your career choice. Consider graduate school.
- Update your Handshake account and consider making it viewable to employers. Use it to search for jobs and internships
- Attend career fairs
- Seek a different part-time job or volunteer experience to add to your skill set
- Begin to consider what work environment interests you (small city, fast-paced, corporate, small business, etc.)
- Join a professional organization in your field of interest
- Participate in an informational interview or job shadowing experience
- Secure an internship – or another one!
- Continue to build your professional network and begin asking employers and professors to serve as references
- Consider graduate school, attend Mercyhurst’s Graduate School Fair and begin the application process

Senior Year: Choice
Goal – Finalize your career choice. Establish networking contacts. Transition from student to prospective employee or graduate student.
- Attend career fairs
- Focus your job search to cater to your career interests and goals
- Secure an internship or part-time job or volunteer opportunity in your field
- Participate in the Career Development Center’s workshops and meet with your Career Counselor regularly
- Polish your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles so they are ready to be viewed by employers
- Use Handshake to search and apply for jobs
- Schedule a practice interview with the Career Development Center