In continued celebration of National Career Development Month, we’re focusing on Sophomore Year in our series about what you can do each year at NAU to prepare yourself for your career.
As sophomores, it is time to think more seriously about what college is preparing you for. At this point, hopefully you have declared a major. If you haven’t declared, or are uncertain if you’re in the right major, contact an advisor at Gateway who can support you as you make your decision. Focus on keeping your grades up to avoid the “Sophomore Slump” And use online tools such as AZCIS, O*Net, and What Can I Do with This Major? to research potential occupations. Think about what you’d like to do immediately after graduation, whether graduate school, full-time employment or something such as volunteering while traveling after you graduate. Another tool I used was to look at the bulletin boards around class buildings. There are so many opportunities posted including: info sessions for graduate schools, study abroad programs, volunteer opportunities, and research. Take advantage of this!
Hopefully you have a resume created by now. Update it with your current work experience, volunteer activities, academic accomplishments, or anything else from your first year at NAU that is relevant. This is also the time to remove any high school-related information from your resume. Ask Gateway Career Services to review your resume for a second opinion, or attend a resume workshop on campus. Once your resume is updated, be sure that the newest version is posted on your Jobs for Jacks account.
Sophomore year is a great time to really focus on developing the core skills that employers looks for, such as verbal and written communication, teamwork, problem solving, and organizational skills. NAU provides many opportunities to develop these skills through your classes. Just as importantly, part time jobs, involvement in campus organizations, and volunteer activities are great ways to develop and demonstrate these skills. Visit the Gateway Career Services Website, or speak with one of our team, to help you translate these skills to your resume.
If you are interested in an internship over the summer or next year, talk with your professors and college or department representatives to get ideas. Make sure that you are familiar with any application deadlines that either NAU or your sought after internship may have. Begin to build your professional network, which can consist of professors, NAU staff, employers, members of the community, alumni, and friends and family. If you haven’t created a LinkedIn account yet, please consider it. It is a great way to watch your network grow and gain invaluable information about internships, jobs, and potential careers. Be sure to join the NAU Career Services LinkedIn Group along with major and career specific groups that interest you. This is also a great time to begin networking with employers and graduate schools by attending one of the career fairs or other recruiting events on campus. As you are unlikely to be searching for full time employment, starting to network early allows you to learn about different organizations, practice your networking skills, and make connections with recruiters.
Now that you’ve had a full year at NAU you can use your sophomore year to increase your use of campus resources and begin to more proactively develop important core skills. Senior year will arrive sooner than you’d imagine and you’ll be grateful you started early!