Career Checklist for SBS Undergraduates

SBS graduates go on to rewarding professions and advanced degrees, but career success and satisfaction require planning. Students often say: “Of course I want a job after I finish college, but what am I supposed to be doing NOW?”

If you enter SBS in your first semester, transfer into UMass, or join SBS in the midst of your UMass career, you can use the lists below to help guide and structure your career planning process.  Many graduating seniors say they wish they’d started these steps earlier than they did, so don’t delay.

First Year | Sophomore Year | Junior Year | Senior Year

First Year

  • College is preparation for life. Dive in with enthusiasm and curiosity, ask questions, and keep an eye out for role models.
  • Explore the wide range of career fields open to you. Get some ideas about what you can do with your major here.
  • Get an introduction to Career Services by meeting with a Peer Advisor (Career Services is in Goodell).  Attend a resume workshop at Career Services – you want to have a resume ready to go if an unexpected opportunity arises.
  • Create a profile in UMass’ Career Connect database, which has a listing of internships and jobs
  • Always attend classes and seek out support to succeed in your courses  – strong grades and good relationships with instructors will make you stand out when seeking an internship or job.
  • Participate in campus activities. This helps you not only enjoy your time at UMass, but allows you to build important skills like public speaking, collaboration, and follow-through.

Summer

  • Gain experience via work or volunteering. Each position you hold helps build your track-record for the next level of responsibility or professional development.

Sophomore Year

  • Confirm with your major advisor that you’re on track with your departmental requirements and Global Education plan.
  • Assess your interests and skills through FOCUS.
  • Attend events with SBS alumni or faculty to learn about career options and the world of work.
  • Update your resume, and have it reviewed by a peer advisor in Career Services.
  • Attend a session on summer options and apply for summer internships.
  • Get to know your instructors, and attend office hours. When applying for on-campus positions, approach instructors to built a network of references. This becomes only more important over time. 
  • Consider classes with a required practicum or community-based component – they’ll broaden your exposure to the larger world.
  • Update your profile in Career Connect and read the emails coming from Career Services
  • Explore the process of studying abroad or domestic exchange. If you want to do so next year, it’s time to get thinking about it, and you can even add an internship while away.  It’s a great way to expand your experience!
  • If you haven’t already, meet Rebecca Bell, Assistant Director of Career Planning in Career Services.  She specifically works with majors in SBS. 

Summer

  • Gain additional experience via work or an internship.  Apply the communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills that you’re developing in your course work and extra-curricular activities.

Junior Year

  • Update your resume.
  • Make the most of your participation in extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, or campus jobs. This is where you can build important skills that will last a lifetime.
  • Consider a local internship this year or next. Career Services or your major advisor can suggest options for credit.
  • Create a list of people in your professional network: faculty, students, former employers, your friends’ parents and your parents’ friends, etc.
  • Build a profile on LinkedIn, a key networking tool.
  • Start applying for summer internships in the fall; deadlines can come early for the best opportunities!
  • Attend at least one career fair and two employer information sessions to see how employers and students interact at these important events. Introduce yourself to at least two representatives and start a conversation about what you and they have to offer.
  • If you’re considering graduate school, discuss this with your major advisor. Even if you don’t want to enter immediately after college, you should preview your options.

Summer

  • Try to hold at least two conversations about your career plans with professionals, ideally in your field of interest. These conversations can be low-stakes and exploratory. By practicing this kind of dialog, you can refine your thinking and rehearse the important interview skill of talking about yourself and your ambitions.
  • Apply your skills at a job or internship. Writing, analytical thinking, and teamwork are some of the most marketable skills.

Senior Year

  • Polish your resume.
  • Schedule a mock interview at Career Services.
  • Attend Career Services workshops on job search techniques and interviewing.  Buy an interview outfit.
  • Read the emails that come to you from Career Services and your major department(s) – these can have fantastic leads on employers.
  • Meet with your major advisor to confirm you’re on track to graduate.
  • Choose 3-4 professional references and meet with them to discuss your job search.
  • Use the University’s Career Connect database at least one each week to check new listings. Start applying for jobs!
  • Try carving out 2-3 hours each week to dedicate to networking, researching careers and employers, and getting those applications out.
  • Feeling nervous at all about your job search? Be sure to check in with the SBS Career Counselor in Career Services, Rebecca Bell.

Seniors: Are there things you haven’t done that are listed above under Freshman, Sophomore, or Junior Year? That’s OK, but it’s time to jump in! See a Peer Advisor or counselor in Career Services for assistance.