/ Career Development Center

Career Planning Checklist

Bring your career to life.

For decades, Hope graduates have earned a reputation among employers for their rare combination of career preparedness, professionalism, and deep values. The Career Development Center is committed to upholding this reputation by assisting you with all aspects of your career planning and preparation during your time at Hope and beyond.

First Year – Explore Your Options
  • Call the office to set up an appointment to learn more about yourself using the latest assessment tools. How does what’s unique about you influence potential career options and work environments?
  • Begin drafting a résumé.
  • Meet with us to identify majors and careers that match your interests. We can help you explore options with powerful research and resources. 
  • See “What Can I Do With a Major In?”  You can further explore majors and careers and learn from alumni experiences. 
  • Login and create your Handshake account, Hope’s online job database. 
  • Secure a job, research, internship or volunteer opportunity for the summer as you gain experience, explore interests and develop skills.
Sophomore Year – Gain Experience
  • Call the office to schedule an appointment to gain alumni contacts in your field of interest for exploratory conversations and shadowing. We have over 4,000 alumni contacts willing to speak with you.
  • Discover internship options in your field(s) of interest and create a plan for finding and landing opportunities.
  • Develop your résumé and learn how to prepare a cover letter for an internship search.
  • Take an active role in clubs and organizations on campus and/or in the community.
  • Continue to use Handshake to search opportunities and view events. Declare your major and complete the form found on the Registrar’s website.
  • Invest in professional attire. We post regular tips on our Facebook page and our Pinterest boards.
Junior Year – Make a Plan
  • Create a LinkedIn account for networking, internship and job search. We can provide training, and you can join the official “Hope College Alumni Association” LinkedIn group.
  • Learn how to utilize the Career Resource Network with alumni contacts in your field of study. Ask us about exploring contacts in this network of over 4,000 alumni.
  • Let us help you prepare a tailored résumé and cover letter for your internship.
  • Practice your communication skills by calling the office to schedule a mock interview to gain a competitive edge during the interview process.
  • Access our online interview tool, Interview Stream, through your Handshake account. (Be sure your pop-up blockers are turned off to access this.)
  • Meet with our staff to discuss key planning steps for graduate school, job search or gap year.
  • Continue to seek out leadership roles in clubs or organizations.
  • Take advantage of career related events including fairs and networking events.
  • Review the recruiting schedule in Handshake for on-campus interviewing opportunities.
  • Continue building a network of professional connections by attending networking events, conducting informational interviews, etc.
Senior Year – Take Action
  • Work with us early to develop an effective plan for your job search strategy or graduate school application.
  • Review application materials including résumés, cover letters, and personal statements.
  • Focus your efforts on alumni networking by using the Career Resource Network. We can meet with you to share contacts.
  • Continue to improve your interviewing skills by scheduling a mock interview and utilizing Interview Stream.
  • Take advantage of career-related events including fairs, company tours and other networking events.
  • Invest in a professional suit or other suitable attire.
  • Do not forget to clean up your social networking profiles, professionally update your cell phone greeting and email address, and actively use Linkedin and Twitter. We can provide resources and advice.
  • Learn about Hope’s Alumni Association and prepare to take the next step in your relationship with the college.
  • To continue to use Handshake, construct an alumni account through the alumni portal creating your own username and password.
  • Participate in our off campus networking series, “Living and Working in…” Chicago, Grand Rapids and Washington, D.C.
  • Learn about transitioning from college life to the  professional world of work in the “College to Career” event.