10 Stages of Career Development

At the O’Brien Center for Career Development, our career advisors work under the “10 Stages of Career Development” plan. Whether you’re a first-year student or a senior, we have an easy, step-by-step process to help you succeed and be competitive in the market post-graduation. Our 10 Stages Plan operates in 3 different sections: Explore, Prepare and Experience.


1. Introduction to the O’Brien Center for Career Development

Your first step within your career development journey is to familiarize yourself with the O’Brien Center for Career Development. Every student is pre-assigned a career advisor upon orientation at Merrimack College. We have at least one career advisor assigned to each school. As a student, you can make an appointment to get to know your career advisor and the services we offer through your Handshake acccount, our online job and career development platform. Our full-time staff members will also give a brief introduction to our services in your First Year Experience (FYE) course in the fall of your first-year at Merrimack.

2. Think About your Major and Potential Careers

We encourage every student to take career assessments to determine based on your interests, what may be the best career path for you. Awato is a free assessment tool you can utilize by signing in with your Merrimack email address and password. This guided pathway software will help you pair your major and degree with a career best suiting your interests and professional goals. We recommend taking career assessments early in your career – aiming for the fall of your first-year. Have you found a major or course of study that you’re interested in but not sure what job opportunities are available to you? Check out this free resource, What Can I Do With This Major.

3. Draft Resume and Cover Letters

Resume and cover letter writing can be stressful. Our career advisors help make it easy for you. We have resume and cover letter guides and templates to streamline the process for you to begin. You can also schedule an appointment to meet with your career advisor so they can consult your resume or cover letter in a 1:1, in-person appointment. Come prepared to talk about your previous employment history, class courses and projects, extra-curricular activities, sports and much more. We will help you formulate a standout, polished resume and cover letter that is a reflection of you.

4. Develop your Professional Brand

More than ever employers are looking for your online presence. If you haven’t already, it’s time to make that LinkedIn profile. By building your brand online, you can network with professionals in your field of interest and post on social media that reflects your career and professional goals.


5. Identify your Network

Now that you’ve chosen an intended career path and established professional goals, it’s time to identify and expand your network. Connect with professionals through LinkedIn in your field of interest or meet with your career advisor to talk about the opportunity to conduct informational interviews with professionals working in the industry.

6. Internship Options

With 74% of Merrimack College students taking part in an internship co-op, assistantship, clinical or field experience or practicum (Class of 2017 First Destination Survey), experiential learning is part of the Warrior experience. Many majors at Merrimack College require experiential learning in order to graduate. Check with your academic or career advisor to see if you have an experience already built into your major requirements. Whether you’re pursuing an academic or non-academic/independent internship, all experiences are beneficial to your professional career plan.

7. Start your Internship Search

Beginning an internship search may seem daunting. Meeting with your career advisor can make the process much easier. They can help you navigate for internships and jobs through Handshake as well as find specific opportunities that help you to reach your career and professional goals. Many industries start to recruit for internships or full-time positions in early fall and spring. It is never too early to start looking for opportunities to apply to and gain more industry experience and knowledge.

8. Internship Interviews

The O’Brien Center for Career Development offers Quinncia, a free, online resource for mock interviewing. Just sign in using your Merrimack email and password to begin practicing. Your career advisor can also offer extensive knowledge about specific industry-related interview questions as well as how to dress for an interview, key questions you should be asking and much more.


9. Start your Internship

Now that you’ve applied to an internship and went through the interview process, you’ve landed the experience! Be sure to register your internship on Handshake in the “Experiences” tab so more students at Merrimack College have the opportunity to learn from your experience. You even have the opportunity to put your independent internship on your transcript when registering it on Handshake.

10. Plan Next Steps

Why stop at just one experience? The more experiences you complete, the more competitive you’ll become in the market upon graduation. Start to think about your next potential internship or plans after graduation. Head back to the “Prepare” steps and start the process all over again.

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