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ETSU Career Development for Students

Deciding on a career direction that fits your knowledge, skills, interests and personal values takes time and effort.  Remember, it is far better to prepare for success than to leave your future to chance. Your years at ETSU will pass quickly, and the earlier you start thinking seriously about your career the better prepared you will be. Do you have a well-defined career goal and a plan for achieving it?

If you do, take the time to confirm your plans through a meeting with University Career Services staff.  If not, read on.

There are five basic steps in making career decisions:

  1. Learn about yourself
  2. Develop basic skills and experiences
  3. Explore career options to gain focus
  4. Learn Skills and Strategies for an Effective Job Search
  5. Stay informed about Resources for Support 
1. Learn About Yourself

Career Discovery at University Career Services is located in the ARC on the second floor of the D. P. Culp University Center. We will help you identify your occupational interests, abilities and personal values. We use a self-assessment system named Focus2 as a primary career guidance resource. Simply visit Career Discovery, call (439-4450), or e-mail As always, let us know if you have any questions or comments.

 2. Develop Basic Skills and Experiences

ETSU challenges students to develop critical thinking skills, work effectively with others, and expand technology skills. Class reports, papers and working on team projects will also enhance your communication and writing skills.

A focus on academics is critical to university success, but student life offers many other experiences to learn about yourself and develop skills that will serve you for a lifetime.  Volunteer activities on campus and in the community, formal clubs and student organizations provide numerous opportunities to explore your interests, demonstrate community support, and test your leadership ability.  Most employers look for meaningful involvement in campus life beyond the classroom.

How does getting involved relate to career skills?  On one level, your experiences help you build a resume.  On a more advanced level, you show that you have the characteristics employers care about. Based on survey research and direct employer feedback, the following characteristics and skills top the list of things employers are looking for in new graduates:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills

  • Initiative and work ethic (most often based on resume content, understanding of job requirements and researching the company before an interview)

  • Ability to work well in teams

  • Critical thinking and analytical skills

  • Flexibility (ability to adapt to employer needs)

  • Computer and technical skills


Staff in the University Career Services office will help you learn how to convey your strengths in job search correspondence, the resume and in an interview.  So take advantage of this opportunity for personal growth and development before starting a job search. 

  3. Explore Majors and Careers to gain Focus

Common sources of information about majors include the ETSU Catalog, College and Department web pages, the Counseling Center, University Career Services, academic advisors, faculty members, and other students.  In selecting a major, you will make the best decision if you collect information from all or most of these resources. Some things you should consider are:
What major fits well with my real interests and offers the opportunity to study subjects I care about?

What subjects do I do well in?

Will the major(s) I think are the most practical require me to take courses I do not like or am unlikely to excel in?  Is that practical?

Once you have decided on a major, we strongly recommend that you do an internship or find a work experience related to your career interest.  It will help you understand the nature of work in a specific organization and provide an opportunity to learn what other people are doing in your field of interest.  

Career Options We generally learn about careers from family and friends, what we see on television and other media, and general talk about what is happening in the area where we live.  This is a good place to start, but it is not a good place to stop.  By current estimates, there are more than 40,000 job titles, with new ones added every day.

In our global economy, no one can learn about all the jobs available.  What we can do is uncover categories of work that fit with who we are, and the interests, skills and values that we have. 

Some resources to begin exploring majors and careers are:


What Can I Do With This Major? This resource will help you identify common career choices based on majors.

  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook This on-line resource has information about hundreds of jobs, including the education required, earnings, job prospects, nature of the work and working conditions.
  • O*Net Online The O*NET system serves as the nation's primary source of occupational information, defining key attributes and characteristics of workers and occupations.

Remember, your goal here is to make the best first choice you can. Futurists predict that current graduates will hold 7 to 12 jobs and change careers 3 to 5 times during their life. As we develop experiences and learn new skills, the result is positive change.

4. Learn Skills and Strategies for an Effective Job Search
Many people tend to postpone searching for a job because they fear rejection.  It is important to anticipate this and keep the right perspective.  If you do not receive an offer for a job you want, it may be that someone in the company was favored, there was a highly competitive pool of candidates, or the job listing was withdrawn.  You may never know the real reason.  The truth is, if you are not offered a particular job, it was not the right one for you.  So move on, because every experience brings you closer to success.


Write a Resume

The real purpose of a resume is to generate interviews.  Your resume is your marketing document.  Your resume content must be accurate and honest, but it is more than a list of things you have done.  The key to a great resume is focusing on your accomplishments, contributions and transferable skills, even if your experience is limited right now. 

Schedule a Practice Interview

Staff members in University Career Services will review and explain common interview questions and alternative answers, then conduct a Mock Interview.  Here, you can practice your interview skills in a safe environment and gain experience before your "real" interviews begin.

Learn How to Network

Commonly termed the 80% solution in a job search, networking with other people provides important connections and uncovers jobs that may not be listed.  Networking is the process that leads to success for 8 out of 10 people searching for a job.  For more information, read:  The Guide to Networking for Career Opportunities.

 5. Stay Informed about Available Resources

Disability Services at ETSU

Veteran Affairs at ETSU


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The Buc Path is a series of visual timelines, which highlight the essential elements you need to identify and realize your academic and career goals, and to assure you have a successful college experience at ETSU!

Use Buc Path as a guide to know when key academic requirements are due, when you should get support, and as a reminder to plan for those out of class experiences that will enrich your college life.

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"Which road do I take?" Alice asked the Cheshire cat. "Where are you going?" the cat replied. "I don't know," said Alice. "Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

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