Career Development Process

As a university community, we support students engaging in diverse career development-related activities to help them discover potential career paths that capitalize on their unique passions, talents, and interests. Career development is an important and exciting journey for each student. We view a student’s career development journey as a progression of experiences inside and outside the classroom and lab, empowering decisions regarding who they are, who they want to be, and what careers might best suit their personal and professional goals.

While each student is unique, below is a general process to discover viable career paths upon graduation. Depending on a student’s needs, career advisors in the school-based career centers and the USC Career Center are prepared to share student-friendly resources at every step.

Step 1: Self-Assessment

Self-assessment is the first step in the process. It involves identifying values, interests, skills, and personality traits.

Step 2: Exploration

Exploration is the second step and involves conducting research, such as using career library resources, to discover potential careers of interest. Informational interviews are a great way to start building a network of people in jobs and industries of interest.

Step 3: Reality Testing

Reality testing is the third step and provides an opportunity to job shadow, find an internship, or volunteer to “test the waters.” It is also an opportunity to conduct more informational interviews with professionals at work. During this critical stage, understanding how preferences and skills relate to specific career paths and work environments facilitates realistic decision-making on the next steps of a career journey.

Step 4: Implementation

Implementation is the last step in the process. It can include preparation for a job interview or completing applications to graduate school. This process involves practicing interviewing, building networking relationships, revising resumes, and writing cover letters.

It is often common to feel uncertain about any or all of the steps described above. Please be assured we are here to support students every step of the way.

The Career Center is open for virtual and in-person advising Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm PT. Students may schedule a one-on-one appointment with their school-based career centers or the USC Career Center.

In addition to pre-scheduled appointments, drop-in advising services are available virtually and in person between 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm PT, Monday through Friday, in addition to pre-scheduled meetings. Virtual drop-in advising services are available through our Brazen platform. Our in-person drop-in advising is conducted in the Student Union, Suite 110 (University Park Campus).