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Planning Your Next Steps

Looking to plan ahead before you begin another busy semester? You can use this time to reflect on all you’ve done over the last semester or last year and figure out next steps for reaching your professional goals.

What You Did

Brainstorm a list of your activities from the last semester or year. Your list might include classes, projects, student orgs, jobs, internships, and challenges you overcame. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

What You Gained

Choose one or two experiences to focus on and consider the following questions to generate ideas for your next steps:

  • Skills and Results - What did you do during your experience? What skills did you use or learn to accomplish those tasks? What was the impact of your work?
  • Preferences - What about the environment, tasks, team, supervision, etc., would you want to have again in the future? What would you want to be different?
  • Growth - How have you grown or changed personally or professionally?
  • Goals - Which of your goals did you meet? Or how did what you achieve differ from what you set out to achieve?

What’s Next

What new goals will you set for yourself? How will you use this experience in the future? Consider these options for how you could apply your success towards your professional goals.

Create/Update Application Materials


Draft resume bullets that highlight your skills from your experience. Use the Bullet Plus formula developed by the UCC


Draft STAR interview answers that you can use for future behavioral interview questions. Structure your responses in the following way:

S-SituationWhat was the situation?

T-TaskWhat were you asked to do?

A-ActionWhat steps did you take?

R-Results: What were the outcomes?

Develop Your Network


Find professionals on networking platforms who are working in your chosen career field. Connect to grow relationships or to ask for an informational interview.



Write an introduction that includes a description of your work and the skills you used during your experience. Use your intro to talk about your experience with professionals you’ve reached out to, or any time you’re asked, “Tell me about yourself.”

Identify Opportunities 

Find opportunities that are relevant to the interests you want to explore and the skills you want to gain.
While seeking an internship might be the right next step for you, there are many options beyond internships that can advance your professional goals:

  • Part-time jobs
  • Spring/summer classes
  • Student orgs
  • Volunteering
  • Research
  • Networking
  • Job shadowing
  • Informational interviews


Determine Your Goals

Consider these questions to help you outline your priorities for an internship experience:

  • What would you like to learn how to do, or what skills would you like to develop (ex., digital technology, oral communication, etc.)?
  • What kind of work do you want to do day-to-day?
  • What fields or interests do you want to explore?Where do you want to be located?
  • What other factors matter to you? (ex., Timing; Pay/funding; Visa requirements; Accommodations; Work culture)



Experiment with different paths for searching and with different keywords or filters to figure out what meets your needs.


U-M Affiliated Sites: Quality control and more support available, but fewer options

The Open Internet: Many options, but quality can be hit or miss and may be more competitive

Do It Yourself: Most personal way of searching, but no “listings” - you have to advocate for yourself!

  • Activate your personal/ professional network
  • Research organizations you are interested in
  • Seek out informational interviews for leads
  • Find supportive LSA alums on LSA Connect

Get Ready to Apply

Keep track of interesting positions that you find, as well as application deadlines and requirements.

Before you apply, check whether that option is a good fit for your goals by asking yourself what you’d gain from the experience and what you’d contribute!