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Career Planning Strategy for Transfer Students

Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) welcomes you to Northwestern University! This checklist of career-related tasks will help you to become familiar with NCA’s resources and services for undergraduate students.

It is common to feel overwhelmed when you start at Northwestern, especially with adjusting to the quarter system and noticing a high volume of activity among some employers in the first few weeks. When you are ready, work with a career counselor or career adviser at NCA to create a personalized career strategy based on your unique interests and experiences. Career counselors will be able to help you if you are choosing a career path or deciding on a major, and career advisers will help you if want to revise your resume, network with alumni, and start applying to internship or other career opportunities.


  • Continue to utilize the resources of your former institution if you are searching for an internship. Even if the academic year has ended already, you still likely have the credentials to use their platform. New students will receive access to the NCA internship and job portal, Handshake, at the beginning of the academic year.
  • Reflect on your first year(s) of college, specifically on what you learned about yourself. Think about how your skills, values, interests, and experiences intersect and connect to potential career options.
  • Research multiple careers and industries using resources on the NCA website, including industry overviews and Career Paths by Major.
  • Research alumni career paths using LinkedIn and the Post Undergraduate Survey Data on the NCA website.
  • Introduce yourself to NCA’s Career Guide for guidance and advice on career development topics such as networking, exploring careers, the job/internship search, resume samples and more.
  • Note the “Hiring Activity by Industry” timeline on the last page of the Career Guide to see when specific industries recruit for internships that start in the following summer. Notice that only certain industries will recruit early in the fall, and other industries recruit in the winter and spring.
  • Enroll in classes that allow you to try out fields that interest you.

Fall Quarter & Beyond

  • Access your Handshake account for gaining access to appointments at NCA with your career counselor and career adviser, NCA-hosted and employer-hosted events, internship and job postings, and online career resources.
  • Complete your Handshake profile. The more you use Handshake and indicate your preferences, the more the platform will recommend relevant content to you.
  • Explore your interests by getting involved in one or two student organizations through attending the Student Organization Fair in the beginning of fall quarter and by looking at Wildcat Connection.
  • Join the Transfer Student Organization (TSO) to connect with other transfer students at events held throughout the year and through their mentor program. TSO’s contact information can be found on Wildcat Connection and information on their programming on their social media pages (Facebook and Instagram).
  • Make an appointment with your Career Adviser through Handshake (Career Center > Appointments) to help you format your resume to include previous school and new Northwestern experiences
  • Look out for information on the Internship & Job Fairs occurring in Fall and Winter quarters. Additionally, you can participate in employer/alumni events to learn about different industries, jobs, and internships.
  • Get connected to Northwestern alumni through joining the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program and the Our Northwestern alumni directory.
  • If you’re considering graduate school, connect with your professors and begin to establish strong relationships for future letters of recommendation.