The Alumni Association, in partnership with the Office of University Career Services, has provided assistance to graduating students and alumni in their career pursuits. We also provide an opportunity to engage as a volunteer - to lend a hand to the next generation. Alumni, friends, parents and faculty-staff are welcome to join! Click here for more information!

For tips on writing a resume, and resume samples, click here. 

The following is an excerpt from University Career Services: 

Alumni Services

Career Development

Deciding on a career direction that fits your knowledge, skills, interests and personal values takes time and effort, but 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 future 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 our University Career Services staff. If not, read on.

There are four basic steps in making career decisions:

1. Learn about yourself
2. Develop basic skills and experiences
3. Explore career options to gain focus
4. Develop skills and strategies for an effective job search

1. Learn About Yourself

The Career Exploration Center (formerly the Peer Career Center) is located in the ARC center on the second floor of the D. P. Culp University Center, and helps you identify your occupational interests, abilities and personal values. They use a self-assessment system named Sigi3 (pronounced “Siggy 3”) as a primary career guidance resource.  Sigi3 (System of Interactive Guidance and Information 3) measures interests, values, abilities and personality. They also maintain an extensive library of material for career exploration.

Additional tests, resources and personal career counseling are available through the Counseling Center. Most people find this process of self-exploration to be enjoyable, and having the support of an objective professional is very helpful.

If you wish to use some assessment tools on your own, a variety are available on the web. A list of web-based assessments, many of them free, that have been reviewed by an independent career consulting firm is available at Quintessential Careers. This is also a great site for free career and job search information in general. Another useful site is Human Metrics, where you can learn your Myers-Briggs type. Some things to consider when taking tests on the web are:

1. Many “free” sites ask you to register, so remember to click the “opt out” box if you do not want to receive marketing material at your email address. Also, read Privacy Policy statements carefully before submitting personal information.

2. Avoid taking any assessment at face value. Look at it as a way to start collecting potentially useful information. Complete several instruments to find common recommendations and patterns among them that may help you focus on academic majors and careers for further research.

3. Make an appointment to review your results with a professional in the Counseling Center or University Career Services who can help you sort out the information you have gathered.

Again, the career development process begins with you. If you are uncertain about your choice of major or careers, developing greater self-insight and an understanding of the things that are important to you is a critical first step. The resources and staff support you need are here at ETSU, so the best advice is to take the first step now.

2. Develop Basic Skills and Experiences

ETSU challenges students to adapt to new ways of thinking, 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. The Leadership Program, volunteer activities on campus and in the community, formal clubs and 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. In making hiring decisions, employers look closely at the personal experiences and attributes of prospective employees. 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. Only you can take advantage of opportunities for personal growth and development before starting a job search. So, get involved in positive activities and engage with other members of the campus community including students, faculty and staff. If you find this difficult because of work or family obligations, talk with staff members who can help you identify activities that fit your schedule.

Personal and work skills development is an important activity throughout your career, and is just as important for adult students and alumni as it is for traditional college-age students. Take courses offered or sponsored by your employer, get involved with professional associations, volunteer to help with projects that serve your community and build a network of people with whom you stay in touch. In the future, a successful career advancement or job change may depend on your network.

3. Explore Career Options 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?

Again, most employers look for meaningful experience as a university student and the soft skills that prepare an individual for success in the workplace (see Section 2). A major is just one factor in finding your career direction.

Once you have decided on a major, we strongly recommend that you do an internship or co-op to gain direct experience. 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. For more information, click Internships and Co-ops in the left navigation bar.

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. The purpose of exploring careers is to connect the knowledge gained in steps 1 and 2 with career areas that fit.

There are numerous career information resources available on the web. In fact, there are so many sources of information that you may find it helpful to visit University Career Services for recommendations related to your personal interests and current needs.

Some resources to begin exploring 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

Create a Plan

When you are ready to begin your job search, start with a plan. Having a plan for your job search will help you focus your effort, develop greater confidence in your ability to achieve goals, navigate your way around challenges and network with others who can help you. Finding meaningful work is work, and there is no reward for your job search until you accept an offer from an employer. Having a plan will help you stay motivated.

You can even include some “rewards” along the way to celebrate specific accomplishments on your path to getting the job you want.

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 and contributions, even if your experience is limited right now.

If you worked at a restaurant as a member of the wait staff, you could write that you “took orders and served food.” That tells the reader what they already know. They may not know that you “ensured customer satisfaction through superior service,” or “demonstrated team skills in a fast-paced customer service environment.” Think about it. What was important in past jobs you have held, and how did you use your strengths to contribute or add value? Your answers will help you write a resume that conveys value to a future employer.