Every college or university student has one goal: focus on their career aspirations and prepare for their professional development. As a science undergraduate, you have lots of opportunities to help propel your career advancement, and it’s never too late to start thinking about the available options.
Whether you’re looking for research experience, a hands-on internship, your first job, or thinking of completing graduate school, you need a game plan for the future.
5 Career Planning Insights for Science Undergraduates
Get Started With the MyIDP Tool
Every student needs to take advantage of learning opportunities, resources, and tools that advance their knowledge and career options.
One excellent tool for helping science undergraduates explore career options is the My Individual Development Plan (My IDP) tool. Using the tool, you can:
- Get suggestions on potential career opportunities based on your interests, skills, and values
- Write down your career goals using the S.M.A.R.T goals principle, ensuring accountability
Find a Great Mentor
Any successful professional will tell you the importance of having a great mentor, especially during your career advancement stage in college or university.
A mentor is there to guide you, encourage you, help you develop a career plan, and listen to your concerns. With someone motivating and advising you along the way, you’re more likely to achieve your career goals.
A great mentor will also have numerous connections with the right professionals and career development experts, showing you how to eventually stand on your own, land your dream job, and even mentor others. If you don’t have a mentor, look for one to boost your career development opportunities.
Attend Networking Events That Interest You
Networking is critical, but the truth is, for many college and university students (and especially introverts), attending networking events can be overwhelming and stressful.
Instead of attending the usual formal networking events familiar to many, start attending science-related workshops, seminars, informational sessions, and panels that discuss topics of interest to you.
Your goal as a science undergraduate is to take advantage of events that interest you to create meaningful connections.
Once you’ve attended a few of these events, you’ll start seeing familiar faces, making connecting and networking easier. You’ll want to engage in something more enjoyable and enlightening instead of putting pressure on yourself.
Plan Several Informational Interviews
You may already know the path you want to follow after college, or maybe not. Either way now is the best time to start planning a few informational interviews. These are 30-minute to one-hour meetings with professionals in careers that interest you.
The goal is to gain insights into the industry that will help your science career. After a few interviews with successful professionals, you have a broader view of what to expect once you graduate.
Write down the insights you get, ask questions about your career interests, and get advice and guidance on what you’re not sure about. Eventually, all the information you get from informational interviews will help make you a stronger job candidate.
You’ll be better equipped to take advantage of the opportunities available. Sometimes, these opportunities also lead to job opportunities and networking opportunities.
Explore Your Interests Outside the Classroom
Even as you learn, you should still take advantage of learning opportunities outside the classroom. It’s the perfect time to dive deeper into your interests and explore career opportunities.
You can do tutoring, volunteer work, part-time work a few hours a week, or even opt to teach, engage in research work, write, or apply for internships to gain work experience. These experiences help you gain vital skills that will help your science career and beyond.
Improve Your Professional Development Every Day
As a science undergraduate, you have a great opportunity to plan for the future and engage in activities that will propel your career advancement. Get started with these five tips and strive to improve and learn every day.