Four Years to a Job: A Career Planning Timeline

Here is a year-by-year checklist of things you can do to position yourself for employment after you graduate.

It’s roughly keyed to your yearly progress through college. Consequently, it’s the perfect trajectory of a student who graduates in four years and avoids all the complications of college life: study abroad, academic struggles, sickness, mental illness, family problems, disability issues, financial difficulties, the blessed distractions of love and friendship, and the like. It does not take into account the needs of transfer students, students who switch majors, students who take time off, part-time students, or nontraditional students.

In other words, the student who does all of these things in precisely this order has never existed and never will, and people who don’t do all of these things will nonetheless find employment, fulfillment, and success.

Therefore, don’t measure yourself by this list, but think of it as a series of strategies for taking control of your fate.

Freshman: Establishing a Foundation

Sophomore: Exploring Options

Junior: Gaining Experience

Senior: Getting Real