Published: Sept. 17, 2018

Using Career Services for your career plan is like using the gym to get in shape: You can’t snap your fingers and become fit; you must exercise by doing different activities to target certain muscle groups. Likewise, you can’t snap your fingers and get our dream job or internship.

Career Services staff

Career Services staff

The good news is, you don’t have to map out your career plan alone! Career Services is the place on campus to develop and strengthen your skills and define your unique career path. The College to Career Pathway is an easy, step-by-step guide to accomplishing your goals so you’re ready for life after CU Boulder.

Learn how Career Services can help at every stage of your college career.

First year: Discover your interests, explore options

Whether you’re deciding on a major or exploring opportunities to get involved on campus, Career Services can help you narrow your interests so it makes sense to your desired career—even if you’re not sure what that is yet!

Taking assessments, such as CliftonStrengths, can help you learn more about your interests, abilities, personality and values to choose a career that’s right for you. It’s never too early to meet with Career Services—they firmly believe if you start there, you can roam anywhere!

Second year: Prepare and practice

This year is all about getting you prepared to take on some work experience. Getting an on-campus job or part-time employment is a great way to begin developing some professional skills such as networking, interviewing and creating application materials.

Begin doing research on careers that interest you. Attend career fairs and employer panel events, and conduct informational interviews to get a deeper knowledge of the industry you want to work in.

Now is also a great time to look into graduate school programs, medical school or law school and figure out how to prepare for them

Third year: Gain experience

It is most common to obtain an internship related to your career interest during your junior and senior year of college—though you can gain experience at any point in your college career.

The first wave of hiring for summer internships begins as early as the fall career fair. Early in your third year, begin researching companies you’d like to work for and see what internships align with your interests. Developing an internship search plan with a career development advisor can help you feel organized and prepared.

Fourth year: Finish strong

Finding employment can take anywhere from six to nine months, which means you should begin the application and job search process as early as the September before you graduate.

Career Services strategically organizes career fairs and networking events that coincide with peak hiring times. Be sure to take advantage of these events to talk with employers who hire Buffs! Schedule a mock interview with a career development advisor prior to big interviews. Learn how to negotiate your salary and understand your personal finances by meeting with the CU Money Sense expert.

Like visiting the gym, it takes ongoing effort and time to achieve our goals. In the same way, don’t wait until a month before you graduate to start using Career Services—they’re here to help you every step of the way.