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CREATING A STUDENT AFFAIRS CAREER STRATEGY

The first step to creating a career strategy is the process of reflection.  Utilizing your collective hindsight and insight allows you to take stock of past and current experiences and skill sets while creating goals for the next 1-, 5-, or 10 years.


Reflecting on Your Current Strategy (or Lack Thereof)

Now that we know what a career strategy is and is not, it is crucial for us to stop and conduct some self-assessment and engage in reflection on our cur­rent career strategy, or lack thereof. We cannot know where we are going if we do not know where we have been or where we currently are. Please take time to deeply consider the following questions:

  • What are my career goals for 1, 3, 5, 10 years from now? What is my ultimate career goal? (Or, to whose job on campus do I aspire, and why? How would I go about making myself qualified for that job?)
  • What kinds of educational credentials (formal and informal) do I have? Will my current education level get me to my career goal or ideal job?
  • What experiences and skill sets, both job related and volunteer, do I currently have on my résumé? Are there experiences and skills that I think I need in addition to those?
  • Do I have a professional development plan? Do I know how to create one?
  • Am I comfortable with networking or connecting? Why or why not? What strategies do I normally use in networking or connecting?
  • Do I frequently take time to reflect on my career? Do I assess where I am and where I would like to be and adjust my time and experiences to reflect my goals? What strategies can I use to reflect?

After completing the self-reflection, you should have an idea about where your career has given you ample opportunities for growth and development and where you would like to continue, or begin, further learning. You should also, hopefully, feel called to revisit these questions on a yearly basis, or more, just like you do for your job. Each time you pull out your office’s strategic planning documents, also pull out this self-reflection worksheet or a similar document. Your career strategy needs the same attention you give to your office’s strategy! Much like your institution’s assessment administrator may provide you with guidelines in developing your office’s strategic plan, the fol­lowing five career strategy components can act as standards in your efforts to craft your personal career strategy and establish a fulfilling career.

By Sonja Ardoin

Click on the source code STYSG4 to receive a 20% discount

The Strategic Guide to Shaping Your Student Affairs Career by Sonja Ardoin, March 2014, 192 pp, 6″ x 9″, Paper, 9781579229580, $24.95, E-Book, 9781579229603, $19.99

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