Semester Checklist for Career Success

By Jackie Kelly, revised by Sarah Hildebrand

Photo by Estée Janssens

The start of the semester is a great time to routinely update and organize your job search materials. Your dream job could open up tomorrow and having current job documents will ensure you’re in the best position to apply. Even if you don’t plan on going on the job market for several more semesters, taking these steps now will save you time and stress when you do begin your job hunt.

Career Success Checklist

At the start of each semester, consider doing the following:

Update your CV and resume

Take a moment to reflect on the past semester. What new positions have you held? What professional activities have you engaged in? While it may be tempting to put off building a CV or resume until you have a job in mind, it’s easy to forget accomplishments and experiences in the meantime that might show employers that you’re the perfect fit.

Maintain your network

Networking is a continuous process. At the start of the semester, check in with a few past and current classmates, colleagues, and supervisors. It’s important to stay on people’s radar, especially if you think they may provide you a reference or have helpful connections in the future. Even a casual coffee or chat can remind someone of your strengths and help maintain your relationship.

Set up an informational interview

Is there a line of work you could see yourself enjoying or a company you’d like to work for? If you’re connected to someone in the field on LinkedIn, consider contacting them to ask if you could take them out for coffee or arrange a quick fifteen-minute phone call. This will not only help you to learn more about a potential career path, but also grow your network. You never know if someone you speak with now might end up on a search committee later.

Update your LinkedIn profile

At the same time you update your CV and resume, update your LinkedIn profile. This is particularly important if your career goals have shifted over time. The more accurate your profile is, the more useful it will be. Tailoring your profile to the types of jobs you want will make your profile more searchable to employers. Including a professional headshot will also help your profile stand out.

Check in with the Office of Career Planning & Professional Development

Our office provides many in-person services and online resources to support you in exploring career paths and achieving your professional goals. Be sure to check our website for upcoming events such as career panels, employer information sessions, and professional development webinars. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our career advisers to develop a career planning strategy, revise job documents, and prepare for interviews.

Additional Considerations for Faculty Job Search Candidates

If you see yourself potentially going on the academic job market, consider doing the following each semester in addition to the items above:

Keep track of course observations and student evaluations

Maintain a file of course observations and student evaluations. These can easily become lost in your inbox and may be difficult to retrieve from the departments you’ve worked in—especially if you’ve worked in several!

Create and update a dossier of syllabi, assignments, and other teaching materials

Did you teach a new course this past semester? Did you design an assignment that went particularly well? Many job candidates for faculty positions will be asked to supply sample syllabi and other course materials as an indicator of how effectively they teach. Keeping these in a centralized location will make them easier to find on short notice if a potential employer requests additional materials.