Your Career Action Plan: Freshman Year

Freshman Year Action Plan

Freshman year is an exciting, and busy, time. As you settle in on campus and take your first classes, there are many things to explore. Make career planning one of them. 

By framing college in the context of career development, you can you can benefit most from major declarations, internships and other activities. This doesn't mean you need to know where you're headed. It's about being aware as you discover your path.

Get an Early Start

Visit Career Services.

Get an early start on career planning. Visit us to learn about programs and services designed specifically for freshmen. Also visit Handshake, our online career-management system. All incoming freshmen are provided with a profile, and once you complete it you can search for opportunities and events.

Meet our peer career advisers (PCAs).

PCAs are fellow students who can help you on your way and provide guidance on Career Services resources. Assigned to each residential college, they offer study breaks and programs to help you learn how to write a resume or look for an internship.

Explore your options.

After you’ve identified a few career options, explore them further by talking to professionals in the field. Gather information and advice via research and dialogue with alumni and others. Want a first-hand look at a career field? Apply for a Princeternship and visit the workplace of an alumni host during an academic break.

Scan our website for insight and resources.

Our website is a comprehensive resource where you can learn about the relationship between majors and careers and see examples of alumni careers from each major. You will also find helpful “how-to” tips as you embark on your search for an internship or research graduate programs.

Seek advice and opinions.

Career insight can come from many sources. Talk to academic advisors, upper-class students and faculty members about majors, classes and potential extracurricular activities.

Craft Your Professional Image

Develop a positive, professional online presence.

When using social media or other online networking tools, realize that your online persona will shape others’ opinions and perceptions of you — personally and professionally. Use sound judgment and think of the long-term ramifications when sharing information online.

Create your college resume and online networking profiles.

To maximize impact, have these critiqued by a career adviser. You should also begin to create a portfolio of academic and extracurricular projects and achievements that can be shared with potential employers to showcase your college experiences.

Map Activities to Your Interests

Assess your skills.

Consider scheduling an appointment with us to explore how your values, interests, personality and skills may relate to major and career choices. We offer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Strong Interest Inventory and Clifton StrengthsFinder.

Examine activities and classes you enjoy.

Identify the topics and skills you are passionate about. Try to make connections between those tasks in which you excel and those in which you are the most interested.

Look for extracurricular opportunities.

The best way to make a smooth transition to college life is to get involved! Another benefit is that this can help you gain valuable experience for inclusion on your resume for summer jobs and internships.

Consider internships and other opportunities.

Speaking of internships, freshman year isn’t too early to get started — but don't feel pressured to pursue an internship right away. During the summer after freshman year, there are a number of ways to gain experiences that will be valuable to your future career search, from language study to volunteering to summer jobs.  There will be time to pursue internships later in your Princeton career; however, we are here to help you explore options if you would like to get an early start.

Visit us to learn where and when to look for available positions. You can potentially complete several internships during your college years, providing you with valuable work experience and helping you build an impressive network and resume.

Attend events.

Attend workshops, panels, information sessions and career fairs to learn about industry-specific internship opportunities and explore the wide range of employer organizations and graduate or professional schools that recruit at Princeton.