Career Planning

Graphic explaining how students can use the assess, explore,  decide, act, reflect model in career development

Career Development Model

Career planning involves assessing yourself, exploring your options, making decisions, and taking action to achieve your career goals. The process will help you make well-informed decisions during your years at Northwestern and beyond. Although each person’s experience will be unique, these key points apply to everyone.

Laying the Groundwork

Start early.

Career development is important at every stage of your academic career, not just at graduation. Beginning early allows you to build a wide range of experiences and explore a variety of industries, and gives you time to change your mind along the way.

Know yourself.

Take time to explore how your interests and skills intersect with different career paths to help you communicate the value you can bring to employers.

Remember that your major does not dictate your career.

All fields of study foster a broad range of skills that will equip you for a number of occupations.

Plan ahead, but not too far.

You might become overwhelmed when considering your long-term career prospects. Think instead about what knowledge or skills you want to gain in the next year or two, and be open to new experiences that may pop up along the way.

Don’t be afraid to change your path.

Career development is a continual and flexible process that adapts to inevitable changes in your interests and the workplace. No career decision is irreversible.

Career-planning strategy for undergraduates

Career-planning strategy for graduate students