First Year

  • Develop an ongoing relationship with your Academic Advisor. Ask about courses, options, electives, CLE requirements, academic policies, and possibly career options.
  • Meet with Jen Stewart, the CSES Student Support Coordinator, she can assist you with transitioning to college, CSES and campus resources, internship ideas, ways to get involved outside of the classroom, or if you just need someone to talk to or have any questions or concerns.
  • When students are asked what they would do differently their freshman year, almost all respond that they would devote more time to coursework and studying. College is a lot harder than high school and it is easy to fall behind quickly. If you need assistance, visit the Student Success Center: https://www.studentsuccess.vt.edu/index.html and/or meet with Jen, the CSES Student Support Coordinator who can also help you come up with a plan and go over some tips.
  • Get to know yourself as an individual. You can do this by paying attention to the subjects you most enjoy, activities in which you participate, and by talking to your friends and family about career ideas and possibilities.
  • Get involved on campus. It’s a great way to meet people, learn about yourself, gain leadership skills, and build your resume. CSES clubs include: Agronomy Club, Environmental Science Organization, Turf Club, Crops and Judging Team, Soil Judging Team. You can also apply to be a CALS Student Ambassador – application typically due in March. Find out about other involvement opportunities at: https://gobblerconnect.vt.edu/organizations
  • Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) - Explore service opportunities through VT and in the community as a method to gain crucial experience for your resume. Visit VT Engage to find out about how to volunteer: http://www.engage.vt.edu/programs/
  • You may want to work part-time on campus or in the community. This is an excellent way to gain work experience and even better if you can find a job that supports your future career goals: http://www.hr.vt.edu/employment/student_emp/index.html
  • Interested in an educational abroad experience while in college? Find out more about the possibilities of going abroad and meet with your academic advisor to figure out what year and semester would work best with your academic schedule: http://www.cses.vt.edu/undergraduate-programs/international-experiences/index.html
  • Create or further develop your resume and continue to improve it by adding content throughout your college years as your experience increases and your career path gets more focused. Visit Career Services (https://www.career.vt.edu/ResumeGuide/Index.html) or meet with Jen, CSES Student Support Coordinator for assistance.
  • If you are not sure about your major, meet with your academic advisor, the CSES student support coordinator, and/or utilize career assessment tools through Career Services: http://www.career.vt.edu/MajorCareerExploration/Welcome.html

Second Year

  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals in the career field(s) that interests you to learn more about necessary skills and qualifications needed and what you can be doing now to prepare and/or gain those skills. Ask questions about the employment outlook, anticipated salaries, and background requirements for getting hired and what they like best and least about their job. http://www.career.vt.edu/MajorCareerExploration/InformationalInterviewing.html
  • Begin to build and develop your personal network. Create a LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com
  • Continue career planning with a greater emphasis toward understanding the targeted professions and the needs of potential employers for entry-level talent. Plan and develop your work experience and classes to match this profile.
  • Develop effective interviewing skills – set up a mock interview in person or do one virtually: https://www.career.vt.edu/Interviewing/MockInterviewProgram.html
  • Identify at least five marketable skills you already possess for your chosen career, as well as five that you hope to develop by the time you graduate.
  • Pursue an internship, co-op, and/or research position within your chosen field part-time during the school year and/or full time during the summer. Employers like to see that students have at least one internship while in college, and it will allow you to “try-on” a career.

Third Year

  • Develop relationships with professors and the CSES department head. They will contribute to your job search, both directly as a referral source and indirectly as employers inquire about the leading students in the major.
  • Attend career fairs and employer information sessions to gain exposure to potential internships and jobs after graduation: http://www.career.vt.edu/Fairs/JobCareerFairs.html
  • Fine tune your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills as you continue to expand your skills and experience. Career Services offers career advising to help with all of these areas: http://www.career.vt.edu/Advising.html
  • Thinking about graduate school? Research graduate schools and apply early. Prepare to take entrance exams. Note application deadlines. Make sure to apply for graduate, teaching, or research assistantships.
  • Pursue a professional-level internship within your chosen field. Attempt to locate a position as close as possible to the type of work you would like to do after graduation but also be open to a variety of opportunities.  You never know where something may lead!
  • Meet with your academic advisor and the CSES Student Support Coordinator to make sure your preparation is on target to graduate the following year and that you are meeting the needs of potential employers.

Fourth Year and Beyond

  • Be aware of seminars and recruiting activities that are offered through CSES and campus partners – read your email!!!
  • Activate your personal network, enlisting their support in your job search. Networking is the number-one way people find jobs! https://www.career.vt.edu/JobSearchGuide/Networking.html
  • In September, check the career fairs list; prepare to attend career fairs that relate to your career interests: https://www.career.vt.edu/Fairs/JobCareerFairs.html
  • Update your resume and cover letter and have both reviewed by Career Services and by at least one professional in your field.
  • Publish your resume in Hokies4Hire so it can be seen by employers who want to view Virginia Tech resumes: https://www.career.vt.edu/H4H-OCI/H4HGateway.html
  • Apply for jobs sent to you through your major’s list serv, posted in Hokies4Hire, and shared with you through your network.
  • Read up on interviewing skills. Participate in interviewing skills seminars (see Career Services events calendar). If you need practice, use the Mock Interview Program: https://www.career.vt.edu/Interviewing/MockInterviewProgram.html
  • Develop a list of prospective employing organizations you are interested in pursuing. For each, keep track of contact names and information and keep notes on your contacts so you can recall details and follow up as needed.
  • Do your homework on these organizations by reading their web sites. Organizations often have career information and even tips for applicants.
  • On a regular basis, read two or more professional or trade publications related to your career field.
  • Don't limit yourself to considering only those employers who recruit on campus. Many employers that hire CSES students do not attend Career Fairs. Instead, they send job postings directly to CSES and we send them to students through the list serv.
  • Direct any special projects within your major toward your chosen field or profession. You can often add these projects to your resume and talk about them in a job interview.
  • Learn how to evaluate job offers and negotiate salary before you receive a job offer so that you can effectively negotiate the best possible terms: https://www.career.vt.edu/JobSearchGuide/SalaryQuestionsNegotiating.html
  • Respond to the Post Graduation Survey – your participation helps VT and CSES know what happens after graduation which is valuable information for prospective students, current students, employers, funding entities, and more! http://www.career.vt.edu/PostGradSurvey/