Planning for Career Development

While every career path is unique, we encourage you to explore this guide and to take advantage of the suggested resources in each section. (This material was adapted from a guide developed by the Internship and Career Center at the University of California, Davis.)

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Year One: Self Discovery

Your first year is a time for self-discovery. Take this time to familiarize yourself with the college and gain a better understanding of your interests, skills, personality, and values.


  • Log in to Handshake, create your profile, and view part-time jobs available
  • Take career self-assessment inventories, conduct informational interviews, and engage in self-reflection
  • Talk over career ideas with counselors, instructors, classmates, parents and friends
  • Enroll in CLP 5: College Major and Career Options or CLP 7: Self-Assessment Class
  • Attend career workshops to learn how to prepare for an internship or job search
  • Join LinkedIn to start building your network
  • Attend career panels and the annual Spring Job Fair to explore internships and careers.
  • Research career and industry labor market information
  • Identify internships or summer enrichment programs early, so you can begin preparing


  • Take a variety of courses to explore majors, and get a head start on math and science if considering STEM
  • Attend office hours to build your relationships with instructors and consider doing special projects with them
  • Attend study skills and time management workshops at the Academic Skills Center
  • See a counselor to create your comprehensive educational plan for priority enrollment
  • Consider joining a Learning Community
  • Research transfer options, begin developing an initial college transfer list, and work with a counselor to decide on your transfer timeline

Leadership and Involvement

Year Two and Beyond: Expand Your Career Horizons

Your second year and beyond is a time to test out your options with jobs, volunteering, classes or internships, as well as to start clarifying your career goals and make decisions about your major and whether to obtain a degree or transfer. It is also a time to clarify your plans for the future, after graduation. Counselors are available to help you with transfer and job search.


  • Pursue part-time job, internship and volunteer opportunities
      • The CompTechs program at De Anza can offer experiences in Information Technology
      • Many programs and scholarships have deadlines during December-March
  • Talk with counselors about narrowing career interests
  • Develop a resume and attend a resume and cover letter writing workshop for further guidance
  • Begin conducting your job search, attend the annual spring job fair and use Handshake to search for open positions
  • Conduct an informational interview or job shadow
  • Research and develop a target list of potential employers


  • Declare a major and create an educational and/or transfer plan with a counselor or advisor
  • Begin solidifying final college transfer list, attend Transfer Day and transfer workshops, and apply for transfer
  • Consider applying to the De Anza Summer Study Abroad programs.
  • Prepare for the transition from community college to workplace or transfer institution

Leadership and Involvement

Questions and Activities 

Click each tab to see suggested Questions for Reflection and Activities for Imagining Your Future

  • Questions

    • If you were not in college, what would you be doing?
      • What’s always on your mind?
      • What do you think about a lot?
      • When you are on the internet, what do you spend your time reading or searching most?
    • What has been your biggest obstacle, and how have you overcome it?
    • What do you think are your biggest strengths?
      • What do you help others with that seems natural or easy for you?
      • How can you begin using those strengths to become successful in college?
    • How much influence does your family have on your college goals?
      • How does your upbringing, background, culture, belief system, values or lifestyle affect your daily actions and life choices?
    • What are some community service projects that you have been involved in?
      • What did you get out of those experiences?
    • What is an example of a successful day in college?
    • How would your professors, counselors, coaches, employers, or mentors describe you?
    • What are typical activities at the bottom of your to-do list?
    • How do you keep yourself motivated?
    • What is the best possible life you can imagine? Be specific and consider all the areas of life that are important to you – relationships, school, career, hobbies, interests, etc.
    • How do you envision your major being connected to your career goals?
    • When do you feel powerful, passionate, free, useful, excited or inspired?
    • If you were to teach your instructors about today’s college students, what assignment would you give them?
    • How would you like to be seen, recognized, acknowledged, remembered, praised now and/or in the future?
      • What’s the legacy you want to leave behind?
      • How do you feel you contribute (or could contribute) to society?
  • Activities

    • To find out what you enjoy doing most, keep a journal and write down when you feel the happiest on your journey to achieving a college education.
    • Discuss what this Viktor Frankl quote means: “Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how.’ ”
    • Get involved on campus or in your community and challenge yourself by taking on a new leadership role and find your voice.
    • Take career tests – not with the hope that someone can tell you who you are or what you should do, but knowing that it can help you brainstorm new ideas for college majors and possible careers.
    • Enroll in general education courses to explore your interests and become open to new ideas and opportunities.
    • Share with your support system about some of your answers to the reflection questions above.
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