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In the Excel phase of the CLA Career Management Model, we focus on the tools, activities, and strategies you’ll need to demonstrate your career readiness and then actually apply it as you work toward whatever practical career outcome you’re seeking, whether it’s:

  • Employment—Typically in the form of a private-sector job but sometimes in nonprofit organizations, public (government) agencies, the military, or service opportunities like AmeriCorps.
  • Education—In the form of graduate or professional school.

When preparing for work or graduate school, start with thinking about what your personal brand or professional identity is, such as what do you want to represent about yourself in a professional setting (key skills, experiences, personality traits, etc.) and what tools will you use to do so (LinkedIn profile, introduction at career fairs, etc.). Once you have a good sense of your personal brand, you can use this to create your résumé or curriculum vitae (CV) to market key educational and work, leadership, and volunteer experiences. Most of the time for jobs you will apply with a résumé and for graduate school applications, many schools will request a curriculum vitae (CV). Another tool you’ll need for job searching is cover letters. A cover letter often accompanies your resume for positions you apply for, describing your interest in a position and organization and why you’ll be a good fit. 

To Excel, you’ll also need to learn job & internship search skills, like how to network and how to utilize GoldPASS powered by HandShake--the free internship and job search database for UMN students and alumni, among other strategies. If you are interested in starting your own business, freelancing, launching a nonprofit, running for political office, or blazing your own trail in some way, check out resources for entrepreneurial careers

Other Excel skills you’ll need for career success include researching employers so you are prepared for interactions with them, interviewing skills, and how to navigate job offer negotiations.

If you are thinking about graduate or professional school now or in the future, the graduate school resources will help you to think about how to choose a program and how to prepare your application materials, and more!