Career Discernment Tips

Though graduation can sometimes feel a lifetime away, many students start thinking about next steps as early as their first weeks on campus. This can often create unnecessary pressures and comparisons with others. The truth is that everyone moves towards career discernment at an individual pace, and no particular path of asking questions and gaining answers is the right one.


However, it is still helpful to keep in mind possible post-graduate avenues when taking classes, interacting with professors, and exploring opportunities off-campus. Whether you’ve just arrived to Notre Dame or are getting a little too close to senior year, here are some tips for navigating career discernment at ND:


1. Use the Career Center!

The Center for Career Development, housed on the 5th floor of Duncan Student Center, provides services like resume reviews, career networking fairs, professional headshots, and mock interviews to students of all ages. You can find out more information on their website and Facebook page.


2. Participate in a Social Concerns Seminar or SSLP

Post-graduate service is a popular path for many seniors, and participating in a Social Concerns Seminar or SSLP through the Center for Social Concerns can provide insight into potential service areas and locations. This fall, I participated in the Gospel of Life Seminar in Chicago, and it was an extremely beneficial experience for learning more about applying Catholic Social Teaching to the real world. The CSC also hosts Summer Service Learning Programs (SSLPs) all around the country, which provide more long-term service immersion opportunities.



3. Chat with your undergraduate advisor

Different colleges and majors provide career boot camp and summit opportunities at various points throughout the semester. Meeting with your undergraduate advisor can lead to discussions about exciting Notre Dame career programs. For example, the Arts and Letters Corporate Industry Bootcamp is a great way for exploring career avenues alongside undergraduate peers with similar interests.

4. Read Up!

Sophomore year means diving deeper into my major, which has led me down many 2am rabbit holes down various company websites, but I’ve found this isn’t (always) a bad thing. Reading company websites can be a valuable way to discern what may be a good fit. If you’re interested in graduate school, the same can be done for programs at institutions worldwide.


Thinking about life after Notre Dame can be both an overwhelming and exciting task. Beyond the resources listed above, talking with friends and family who have been through your position is another option that never fails. Regardless of whether you plan to enter full-time service, graduate school, the workforce or something else, Notre Dame provides abundant resources to make this transition as smooth as possible. Set your sights high and know you are worthy of any exciting opportunity life brings your way!

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