Top 10 Career Strategies for Freshmen and Sophomores

You control your career destiny! Just going to class and picking up your diploma after four years doesn’t cut it. You need to become active on and off campus.

Becoming marketable to employers or graduate schools is a four-year job. Here are the top 10 things you can do during college to make yourself marketable at job-search time. In fact, if you do all 10 of these, you’ll be unstoppable:

  1. Keep your grades up—Employers and graduate schools want candidates with good grades. That will probably never change. Doing well academically not only proves that you have a good knowledge base, but indicates a strong work ethic—a trait that employers value.
  2. Identify your interests, skills, values, and personal characteristics—The first step to clarifying your career goals is to go through a process of self-assessment. Visit your career center and take advantage of the self-assessment instruments it has to offer.
  3. Actively explore career options—You owe it to yourself to find a career that enriches your life, not one that brings you down. Actively exploring careers means talking with professionals in occupations of interest and observing professionals on the job. Your career center probably has alumni and other volunteers who are willing to talk to you about their careers. Also, attend any career expos, career fairs, and career speaker panels that are offered.
  4. Become active in extracurricular activities and clubs—Active involvement in activities and clubs on campus is highly valued by employers and graduate schools. Joining a club is fine, but becoming active within that club is what matters most. Become a leader, hold an office, or coordinate an event. You will develop your skills in leadership and teamwork—skills that recruiters covet!
  5. Get involved in community service—It’s important that you begin to understand and appreciate the importance of giving back to your community, and that you live in a larger community than your college or hometown. Typically, students look at community service as a chore. After they’ve served, however, it’s usually one of the most rewarding experiences they’ve had! Recruiters love to see that you’ve volunteered to help in your community.
  6. Develop your computer skills—Take advantage of the computer courses and workshops your college offers. You can also learn a lot by just experimenting with different software packages on your own. Finally, you should learn how to develop your own web page or web-based portfolio. There are many web-design software tools that make it real easy to develop your own web page! Contact your college’s information technology office to see how to get started.
  7. Develop your writing skills—Over and over, company and graduate school recruiters complain about the lack of writing skills among college graduates. Don’t avoid classes that are writing intensive. Work at developing your writing skills. If there is a writing center on campus, have them take a look at your papers from time to time. Remember, the first impression you give to recruiters is typically your cover letter or personal statement.
  8. Complete at least one internship in your chosen career field—More and more, internships are the springboards to employment and getting into graduate programs. Many recruiters say that when they need to fill entry-level jobs, they will only hire previous interns. In addition to making yourself more marketable, internships also are a great way to explore careers and determine whether or not certain careers are for you. When you work for a company as an intern for three to four months, you get a really good feel for whether the field (and company) is one in which you want to work day in and day out!
  9. Gain an appreciation of diversity through study abroad, foreign languages, and courses—We are now, more than ever, working within a global work force. For you to be successful at work and in your life, you must stretch yourself, and learn about people and cultures different than yours. Take advantage of the wonderful study-abroad opportunities and the courses relating to diversity. This is your time to travel! Most people find it harder to take time to travel as they begin their careers and start families.
  10. Use your career center all four years—Your college career center can help you throughout your entire college career. Here is just a sampling of what your career center can help you do:
  1. Choose your major and career direction,
  2. Explore career options,
  3. Obtain an internship,
  4. Write a resume and cover letter,
  5. Develop your interviewing skills,
  6. Identify your interests and values,
  7. Develop a job-search or graduate school plan,
  8. Connect you with prospective employers (career fairs, on-campus recruiting, and more), and
  9. Connect you with alumni mentors.


Remember, you control your career destiny. Don’t wait until your senior year to start realizing your goals. Your career train is on the move. Jump on board now so you can reach your destination!

By Bob Orndorff. Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

GoinGlobal: A Premium Job Search Resource for Students

photo-1429966163023-c132bc887fddEver thought about working overseas after college? Are you planning to study abroad during your time at Baylor? Are you at Baylor on a student visa, and interested in working in the United States after graduation? If you answered “yes!” to any of these questions, then GoinGlobal is a great resource for you to learn about career opportunities and apply for jobs.

You can use the Country Career Guides in GoinGlobal to research career related information tailored for your country of interest. Each Country Guide covers the following topics:

  • Job Search Resources
  • Non-Profits and Volunteer Organizations
  • Industry and Employment Trends
  • Top Companies
  • Professional and Social Networking
  • Embassy Listings
  • Financial Considerations
  • Work Permits and Visas
  • Résumé/CV Guidelines
  • Interviewing Advice
  • Cultural Advice

Each Country Guide also has links to job sites where you can search for current job postings available in that country in English or in the native language. There are over 16 million jobs posted on GoinGlobal, which are updated daily.

By: Nick Haynes

FOCUS on a major


Need help focusing on a career path? Through our office, all Baylor students have free access to the FOCUS 2. This is an online assessment that is completely self-guided. You can access all of your results, research career options, and even see which Baylor majors will be a good fit. The FOCUS 2 assesses values, interests, personality and skills, and their relation to possible majors and careers. Feel free to take advantage of this wonderful tool. If you have questions afterwards, you can always schedule an appointment with a career advisor to discuss your results further.

What About Internships?

Have you ever wondered why you should get an internship?  Check out this infographic from



Did you know that Baylor provides students specific internship focused guidance?


Heather Wheeler is our Assistant Director of Internships in Career and Professional Development and she wants to help you find the internship that will help you to be most successful in your career quest!

Here’s a video she put together telling about what she does and here is some information she wants you to know:

Students who completed an internship have been shown to:

1)      Get job offers sooner

2)      Get more job offers

3)      Get higher starting salaries (courtesy of NACE’s 2011 Student Survey Report)

Contact Heather Wheeler, Assistant Director of Internships, at to get started with your search today!

Free Webinar Opportunity!

Image courtesy of nuttakit /
Image courtesy of nuttakit /

Have you ever wished you could meet someone for coffee who works in your field of interest and could help you with tips for getting into the career field of your dreams?  Well, I found a resource that might be pretty close to this idea.

Evisors offers free webinars facilitated by professionals in a variety of fields discussing different career-related topics.  These webinars are free when viewed “live” at 1 pm CST.  After the webinars are archived, they cost $3 to view.  The Office of Career and Professional Development does not endorse the paid service, but the “live” free option might be a useful tool in your career decision process.  Another value of watching the webinar live is it gives you the opportunity to ask the speaker questions.  Let us know what you think!

You can view the list of upcoming webinars here.  Scroll down to “Webinar Library” and click the “Upcoming” tab for the schedule of “live” webinars.

A few upcoming webinar topics, include:

  • “Networking with Social Media” — February 6th
  • “Careers in Media and Entertainment” — February 13th
  • “Summer Internship Search Strategies” — February 18th
  • “Careers and Trends in Healthcare” — February 20th

and many more!  Thanks for stopping by.  Remember, if you would like to meet with someone to talk about your career journey more in depth, please make an appointment with our office at  Just click on the red box and follow the instructions.  We look forward to working with you!


“Jobs Made Real”

Image courtesy of bplanet /
Image courtesy of bplanet /

Have you ever wished you could speak to people in particular career fields, so you can hear more about their personal experience with their work?  Maybe you wanted to know a little more about what a day in the life is like for a specific professional to help you discover if that career would fit for you.  Perhaps watching a video about a particular career would give you a clearer picture of what the work environment is really like.  Are you struggling to find time in your schedule to meet with people to discuss their career backgrounds?

Well, if any of these items apply to you, I have a great resource!  I just discovered the website:  Jobs Made Real.  This site offers a plethora of different job titles with videos describing the career and also interviews with professionals working in those particular fields.  You can search by a specific topic, general interests and salary range.  If you are interested in a particular field, be sure and take a look at this great resource.  You may find out some key information to help you on your journey.  As always, if you have questions about your career or major search, please make an appointment with our office here.  As part of your career exploration, meeting with a professional face to face for an information interview is key for valuable insight and networking and Career and Professional Development can help you connect with someone you could meet in-person.  Jobs Made Real may help guide you to the specific type of career professionals you would like to meet!

What Does it Cost to Live?

Image courtesy of Michael Elliott at

Have you ever wondered how much it costs to live in the real world?  As you look at estimates of yearly salaries for different career paths you are considering, do you ever wonder how those numbers break down to paying the bills each month?  If these are some of the questions you are wrestling with as you explore career options, I have some valuable tools for you!

Several states offer “Reality Check” websites, which allow you to choose a specific location within the state and choose specific living expenses you might like to have once you are out on your own, so you can build a budget and get a clear idea of what kind of wages might be needed to live the life you want.  Once you finish the calculating, the website gives you a list of careers that make the salary that fits with your budget.  You might want to go through the budgeting process several times.  One time, you might want to focus on essentials, recognizing that entry level jobs may start at a lower rate than salaries once you have been in the workforce for a few years.

Here are links to the three states who offer reality checks:

Texas Reality Check

California Reality Check

Colorado Reality Check

It might even be helpful to see the differences in each state, especially if you plan to live in a state other than those three.  Remember, if your state is not listed, you can also look up specifics about the area you are interested in living in online, using some of the budget ideas the reality check uses as a guide.

If you would like more help with choosing a major or a career, please visit Career and Professional Development.  We’d be happy to help!

One Week Down


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Can you believe it?  Tomorrow you will have completed your first week of the Fall 2013 semester.    For some of you, this may have been your very first week of college!  Take a minute and think about how this week went.  As you think back on this week, it may be difficult to believe it has gone by so quickly.  Now might be a great time to recognize the capacity that the semester has to fly by and how important it is to make each day count.  We only have a limited amount of time to spend in college, so let’s make the most of it!

One way to effectively use your time in college is to participate in meaningful activities that will help you plan and prepare for the future.  Involvement in student organizations is a great way to learn more about career opportunities in your interest areas, to gain valuable leadership skills, and to build meaningful friendships with others who share your similar interests.  Tomorrow night, Baylor is hosting “Late Night”, which will offer incredible opportunities for you to visit with representatives from over 160 student organizations.  You can get more details about times and locations on their website here: Late Night.  By talking to representatives, you will be able to gather a little more information about what all is involved in the group and if you think it would be a good fit for you.  Remember that a lot of the organizations geared toward pre-professional and academic areas may bring in speakers from their profession to discuss what they do.  These opportunities are rich for networking and potentially setting up an informational interview or job shadow.

A word of wisdom, however: be mindful of the groups you select to be involved in and don’t over-commit yourself.  Consider how often they meet and remember your course load requirements.

Enjoy Late Night!  Live music, games, and free food sounds like a great way to spend Friday night!!

Lead Now Speaker Series

Teach for America has a great opportunity to hear from industry leaders and learn about leadership skills that have made them and their businesses successful!

Click below to register:

Teach for AmericaLead Now Speaker Series


  • David Liu, COO, Knewton – Wednesday, January 30
  • Tony Hsieh, Author of “Delivering Happiness” and CEO of – Thursday, February 21
  • Cheryl Dorsey, President, Echoing Green – Tuesday, March 26
  • Earl Phalen, CEO, Reach Out and Read – Wednesday, April 24
  • Wendy Kopp, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Teach For America – Tuesday, May 21