The Career Development Center has created a series of levels for current Graduate Students to use when developing a Career Plan.

Purpose, Prepare, Position, Promote:

Each level has a clear objective…

  • Purpose is focused on defining a clear purpose to your plan — this is the what and why behind your approach.
  • Prepare is focused on the preparation surrounding your career plan.
  • Position is focused on the things you can do to position and align yourself with a future career goal.
  • Promote is focused on promoting yourself, your skills, and what you have to bring to the workplace.

While the levels are not mutually exclusive, there are a few action-oriented items that are both unique to each level and potentially unique to your program of study.

Building a Plan:

The Career Development Center encourages you to exercise a level of intentionality in the career path you pursue. The plan laid out above provides a high-level view of things to focus on, emphasizing that the most successful self-promotion is one that’s been well-prepared and established.


Think critically about the reason you’ve selected your Graduate Program. What career path are you seeking? What do you wish to accomplish within your program?

Establish where you’re coming from before you decide where you’re going.


Once you have an idea of what you want out of your program, the next step is to focus on what you can do to prepare for an upcoming career search.

Practice the way you’ll introduce yourself to future employers and prepare a career narrative that helps tell the story of you, your career goals, and your accomplishments so far.


Put yourself in a position where you’re able to meet and greet employers within your field. Seek out networking opportunities such as internship fairs, professional associations, or other on-campus and off-campus events!

Think about ways to leverage your current network while brainstorming some ideas for expanding your group of contacts and potential job or internship leads.


This is your chance to show off! Establish a voice to share both online and in-person that demonstrates your interest in a career field as well as your current experience within it.

Finalize portfolios, websites, and other self-branded materials that help tell your story and show what you’ve got to offer.