Senior Year

Make an appointment with Career Services in the first semester of your senior year (Student Success at The Learning Commons, 865.471.3567)

Conduct as many informational interviews as you can with people working in your field.

Begin to polish your résume. 

Firm up three to five individuals (faculty, bosses, and personal references) you can ask to write letters of recommendation for you.

Create a killer cover letter for your résumé.

Consider taking ID 318, Career and Personal Development.

Create a LinkedIn account ( so you can network with the movers and shakers of the world!

The Real World- Life After C-N Seniors, as you prepare for graduation and heading off into the real world, some of our C-N Alums would like to offer you some advice.

Money Issues

• Consolidate your school loans.
• Pay off your debts as quickly as possible, even if it means having a roommate or driving a beat-up car for a few more years.
• Don’t try to live like your parents. It took them several years to acquire the things they have and the salaries that buy those things.
• If your job offers a 401k or some type of retirement plan, join it and contribute at least up to what the employer is matching. It is never too early to start saving for retirement.
• Learn how to deal with your finances and come up with a BUDGET. You need to learn how to live within your means.
• Don’t rely on credit cards. You will want to buy a house, car, or other nice things one day, and you will want your credit to be clean. Plus, you won’t stay up at night worried about how you will pay off your debts.

Employment Issues

• Don’t be surprised if you don’t find a job doing what you thought you would. Many people find that their career path goes widely astray from what they had pictured.
• No job or employer is completely perfect. For two tasks you enjoy doing, there will be one that you would prefer not to. Try to enjoy the ones you can, and get through the ones you can’t as quickly as possible. Remember that you will always be learning something and griping won’t change a thing.
• Don’t wait for the perfect job. If someone offers you a job, take it. You can continue looking while you are paying the bills.
• Not everyone in your workplace wants to be your friend. Remember that not everyone is going to like you. Just be yourself - that’s all you can do.
• Find two mentors - one that holds a position or a career that you strive to in your company and one that has accomplished personal goals you would like to achieve. Make sure that you meet with them at least once a quarter and really try to make the most of the time you can spend with them. Having someone on your side who has “been there, done that” and is willing to share their expertise and experiences is very important.

Personal Issues

• The “real world” offers a clean slate, so even if you slacked off in university, you now have a chance to prove that you are a good worker. Do it.
• Find a group of people to be a support system. Whether this is a church or community group, or a group of friends from university, don’t try to do it on your own. Surround yourself with people who want the best for you and will encourage you through life.
• If you aren’t dating someone seriously, don’t rush it! Some people think that getting married right after university is the best thing - but it isn’t always. Take time to live on your own or continue schooling. You need time to find out who you are without the university scene around. The right relationship will come in time.
• Enjoy life! Take time to travel. Take advantage of everything you can. Once you settle down with a spouse and kids, life is not as free. Enjoy who you are.
• Read. You don’t have textbooks to worry about anymore, so read the books you like. Become a lifelong learner.
• Stay current with what is going on in the world. There is so much more to life than you have been exposed to.
• Change your answering machine to a more professional message.
• Set goals. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What do you want to do with your professional life? What about your personal life? Do you want to buy a house? Think hard about the goals that you want and strive to achieve them.
• Change your sleeping habits. You can’t stay up all night playing X-Box and expect to be successful at your job.
• Purchase work attire. Buy a few good pieces that will last year after year with a few updates. If you want to be seen as a professional, you have to look the part.

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