Four Steps to Career Readiness

Find a job with your degree

Recently I had the honor of chatting with several of our students’ parents at our in-person graduation ceremonies. The most popular question I fielded from each of those parents was, “did my student ever visit career services?” Fortunately, I was able to pull out my phone and look up whether one of us in Career Services had met with their student. 

However, I'm not sure that was the best question to be asking as a parent, even if it is understandable. Maybe a better question would be, “how has Career Services prepared my student for this ever-changing workforce?” As I was looking their student up in our employment platform, I told each of the parents that it is never too late to meet with Career Services, even if their student was graduating that day.

We know your students face a continue barrage of stress as they achieve their degrees. That’s why we are available before and after they graduate.

Start early, increase opportunities

Student building career readiness as an intern in FLC's herbariumThe earlier our Skyhawks start on "Career Readiness" skills, the better off they are just a short four years later when they celebrate their day of graduation. We begin to discuss what we call our "Career Readiness Roadmap" early and often. This roadmap provides accountability to both the student and, most of all, the team in Career Services. Everyone at Fort Lewis College keeps all the students at the center. I want to share this roadmap with you and how this becomes a significant part of attending FLC.  

First-year students: EXPLORE

We encourage our first-year students to be curious and learn career opportunities within their majors.   

  • Explore majors and careers
  • Create a profile in our employment platform, Handshake
  • Create an initial career plan with Career Services and college-focused résumé
  • Get involved in campus organizations and activities, including career events
  • Volunteer and consider a summer job for work experience

​Sophomore year students: PREPARE

We advise our Sophomore students to become more involved on campus and focus on their futures and what that may look like.  

  • Shadow professionals and complete at least two informational interviews 
  • Research internship opportunities for the upcoming summer or semester
  • Continue with campus activities
  • Consider graduate education
  • Create a LinkedIn account to network and stay current on relevant issues

Junior year students: EXECUTE

The junior year is a year of internships and experiential learning with an intentional focus.  

  • Schedule mock practice interviews
  • Target job search to 2 - 3 areas
  • Identify work settings and locations
  • Complete your second internship or undergraduate research poster project
  • Update résumé

Senior year students: ACHIEVE

Our Senior year students get serious about their dream jobs and places they want to live with that new dream job. 

  • Develop a list of prospective employers, and identify networking contacts
  • Secure references from faculty, staff, and former employers
  • Pursue job leads through Handshake, LinkedIn, and on-campus recruiting events
  • Learn how to follow up on leads and interviews
  • Prepare application materials for grad school, if appropriate

And, of course, students ought to keep updating their résumés, as well as their LinkedIn and Handshake profiles as they accumulate more experience.

For each of our students to become career-ready, they need both the knowledge and skills necessary for employment in their desired occupation. The best part of my job in Career Services is getting to know our students and helping them understand who they are and how we can apply those traits and skills to the workplace.   

As a parent, I encourage you to reach out to us in Career Services; we love talking to you about your outstanding students, and if you feel we can help or answer any questions you may have, please don't hesitate to reach out to me: Thank You!

About the author

Jeff Saville, Director of Career ServicesJeff Saville
Director of Career Services
Jeff and his team are available to answer questions and help your student get set up with Career Services’ programs and resources.
Career Service website