Career Prep process sets new students up for success
First-time Gators may have noticed two new holds on their accounts this semester. These are part of the Career Prep process — a newly implemented program to encourage career exploration and professional development.
“It's the university's commitment to students' professional growth,” said Angel Iverson, director for career foundations in the Division of Student Life Career Connections Center. “There are many partners at UF who are working collaboratively to ensure students are aware of all the opportunities in front of them.”
Holds began appearing for students in their first semester at UF — including transfer, readmitted or traditional first-year students — on June 28, but they will not prevent registration until March 2023.
Sitting down with Iverson and Belen Farias, assistant director of marketing and strategic communications in Student Life, they explained the process, what it requires and how it will help students from day one.
The Career Prep process is split into two steps and, in total, takes about 45 minutes to complete.
To start, students must complete a Career Prep learning module in Canvas that will introduce them to a variety of career resources.
One valuable resource students will be exposed to through the module is CHOMP, an interactive, online program designed to help users explore potential majors and career options. The system includes a series of self-assessments, prompting students to consider their own career readiness and how different fields of study filter into job opportunities.
By proactively venturing into major and career planning during their first semester, students can set themselves up for success later down the line and connect the dots early on between their experiences, skill-building and expertise.
“They can learn about career resources and preparation early to help them make more informed academic and career decisions,” Iverson said.
Experimenting with CHOMP also enables first-time UF students to think “outside the box” about their futures, said Libby Adkins, a third-year career ambassador with the Career Connections Center.
“When you get here as a freshman, you’re not really going to know what you want to do,” she said. “You’re going to want to get your hands in different things. Taking CHOMP gives you a good idea of places to start, and it gives you an idea of all the kinds of places you can go with the skills you have.”
Students participating in the module will also engage with tools to bolster understanding of on-campus resources that support their career development, including those provided by the Career Connections Center. This includes the Center’s eight-semester Career Readiness Guide, which outlines and explains in detail approximately 50 specific actions students can take throughout their college careers to prepare themselves to enter the job market and when the optimal time is to consider those actions.
To clear the second hold, students need to activate their Gator CareerLink account. CareerLink is an online portal that offers University of Florida students and alumni access to a host of career-related information and support. Once students log in to their account, they will be met with hundreds of job and internship listings, upcoming events and countless other tips and opportunities.
Adkins said that she encourages all incoming Gators to familiarize themselves with the resources provided by the Career Connections Center. In addition to resume and cover letter review, the center also offers general career advice and one-on-one career coaching for students the moment they step foot onto campus.
“Building that relationship with a career coach early and being able to continuously go back and talk with them can be super beneficial for deciding what you want to do and helping you get internships, full-time job experience and guidance throughout school,” Adkins said.