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WGU CAREER & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Resource Library

OVERVIEW

Plan Your Career


 

Determine your career goals and create a career plan to help you stay on track! Utilize the tools and resources in the pages below to learn more about yourself and the job market, determine your career goals, and create a strategic career plan to help you achieve job satisfaction and career success.

Explore Your Pathways to Opportunity with Career Coach

Use Career Coach to engage in a Career Exploration activity to receive career suggestions, based on your strengths and interest, and relevant data on wages, employments, and training needs for careers.

Download the Career Exploration Guide for clearly defined steps in how to explore career options and set a clear career goal.

To access LinkedIn Learning videos, please first login with your WGU credentials.

Self-assessment. Objectively assess your values, personality, interests, and abilities to identify potential career options that are a good fit for you.

Career Guides. Review degree guides, job functions, and industry data to gather information on common career areas for specific degrees.

Occupational & Industry Research. Gather information about job duties, employment outlooks, salaries, and educational and training requirements for occupations and industries of interest.

Identifying a Career Goal. Determine long term and short term career goals to assist in making progress along your career path.

Now that you have determined a clear career goal, start putting a plan in place to reach that goal! Consider ways to gain experience to support what you are learning in your degree program, additional education and map out a plan!

Career Action Plan. Synthesize information gathered and the goals you have set to put a comprehensive career plan in place.

Gaining Experience. Learn 5 ways to gain experience as you progress through your degree to ensure a smooth transition to a new career.

Graduate School. Review graduate school resources if you are considering continuing your education.

Career Identity


 

WGU is here to support you wherever you are in your career journey. We have highlighted specific resources below that learners have found valuable related to their career stage and job search. Whether you are a career starter, changer, or advancer, Career & Professional Development is here to support you with your next steps!

Career Starter

A career starter is just what it sounds like – someone who is looking to get started in their target career. Perhaps you’ve held jobs before, but they have been unrelated to your career goals or you’ve been out of the workforce for many years. Or perhaps you’re looking for your first professional experience. These resources are a great place to start.

Explore Your Options. Defining a clear career goal will help you plan more effectively and reach your goal more quickly and easily. Download the Career Exploration Guide for clearly defined steps in how to explore career options and set a clear career goal.  

Network. Use WGU Handshake to research employers and connect with fellow WGU students and alumni. Networking is simply establishing and leveraging relationships through conversations with people who are and will become your friends and community of colleagues as you go through your career. Developing your network is easy because you know more people than you think you know. Start developing your network today by exploring our Networking Resources.

Develop a Plan. Having a clear career plan is an essential part of carrying out your career goal. Check out Career Planning Resources with practical tips about how to develop your career plan, including a step-by-step guide to help you find gaps between your goal and where you are now, and take action to achieve that goal. 

Career Changer

If you have recent experience but are looking to make a major change to your job title or industry, you’re a career changer. For example, maybe you’re an experienced Software Engineer who’s ready to start a new chapter by becoming a Registered Nurse. Take a look at these resources for help in navigating this transition.

Clarify Your Plan. Synthesize information gathered and the goals you have set to put a comprehensive career plan in place. 

Grow Your Network. Your network can make a significant impact on helping you take those next steps in your career. Check out these networking resources to continue to expand and leverage your network. 

Pursue Professional Development. Whether you are currently employed in the position you desire or are searching for a new position, it never hurts to keep yourself informed, educated, and up-to-date in your professional realm. Check out these Professional Development Resources.

Career Advancer

Career advancers are in their target career path and industry and are looking for opportunities to grow professionally and move up. Perhaps you’ve been a Marketing Coordinator for a few years and are looking to advance to a Marketing Manager role. Utilize these resources to plan the next steps towards attaining your professional goals. 

Prepare for Job Search. Check out these job search resources to develop strong marketing materials, implement strategic job search strategies, leverage your network, and ace that upcoming interview.

Grow Your Network. Your network can make a significant impact on helping you take those next steps in your career. Check out these networking resources to continue to expand and leverage your network. 

Pursue Professional Development. Whether you are currently employed in the position you desire or are searching for a new position, it never hurts to keep yourself informed, educated, and up-to-date in your professional realm. Check out these Professional Development Resources.

Self-assessment


 

"It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy."- Lucille Ball

The first step in deciding on a career or job is to think about who you are.  The process of self-assessment is one in which you attempt to objectively identify your values, personality, interests, and abilities. Utilize the resources below to assist in identifying potential career options that are a good fit for you.

O*NET Interest Profiler
O*NET has designed a set of self-directed career exploration/assessment tools to help individuals consider and plan career options, preparation, and transitions more effectively. 

CareerOneStop Skills Profiler
Sponsored by United States Department of Labor, the Skills Profiler helps you create a list of your skills and match them to job types that need those skills.

Psychometric Tests
Companies can use these tests (also known as Aptitude Tests) to try and predict which applicants might be the most successful at a particular position. This complete guide will help you better understand what psychometric tests are, how they are used, and how to successfully complete them.

AssessmentDay.Com
Review free up-to-date advice, tips, tutorial videos, and practice tests to help you prepare for the psychometric tests that may be a part of the application process.

HIGH5 Test
This assessment will help you identify your top strengths and how to maximize them in your profession, academics and personal life. Access to basic results for free.

16 Personalities Test
Similar to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), this assessment can help you identify personality preferences as they relate to your career.

123 Test
What career best fits your personality? This free career aptitude test can give you insight into your career personality. 

Agile Work Profiler
This tool will help you discover your work-related strengths and interests, and how they apply to many different careers.

Career Values Assessment
The Values Test can help you learn more about your underlying work needs and motivations, and can help you decide what is important to you in a job.

Career Guides


 

We often have students contact us with questions relating to “what can I do with a degree in (insert degree name)?” We have assembled the following resources to help WGU students explore the career paths commonly associated with their respective degree.

The career guides provided offer information on common career areas that students enter with this degree. Please note that the areas and information are representative of typical career paths associated with each major and are not an exhaustive list.

TALENTDESK
TALENTDESK uses US Census Data to report which careers people choose based on their educational backgrounds and how much they earn in those positions. All data is reported for bachelor's degrees. National earnings data and job growth projections are collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupational Research Tools
The Occupational Network (O*NET) surfaces popular job titles and gives comprehensive information on what the job title entails.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Industry Reports
These reports display a ‘snapshot’ of national data by industry and many include state, county, and metropolitan area data.

Volunteer and Internship Opportunities
Look for ways to get involved in the field through volunteer opportunities and internships.

Tech Career Paths
Find the next step in your career using TechPoint's Jobs in Tech 101 and the Career Development by Dice.

Informational Interviews
Set up informational interviews or shadowing experiences with professionals in careers you are considering.

Speak with a Career & Professional Development Advisor
Set up a time to speak with a Career & Professional Development Advisor.

DISCLAIMER: Any information, materials, personal opinions, or endorsements of products or services appearing on external sites are not controlled, endorsed, or sponsored by Western Governors University.

Occupational and Industry Research


 

Gathering information about different occupations will help you discover whether a particular career is right for you. Using your self-assessment results as your guide, take time to learn about a variety of occupations including the job duties, employment outlook, salaries, and educational and training requirements associated with each occupation. 

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop is your source for career exploration, training & jobs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.

CareerOneStop Videos

Explore a collection of videos on hundreds of different careers. Videos include career details such as tasks, work settings, and education needed.

O*NET Online

O*NET offers detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more!

Occupational Research Handout

Utilize this handout to assist you in compiling occupational and industry information.

Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)

Find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

TALENTDESK

TALENTDESK uses US Census Data to report which careers people choose based on their educational backgrounds and how much they earn in those positions. All data is reported for bachelor's degrees. National earnings data and job growth projections are collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Action Plan


 

The first thing you need to look at is, what's your goal? Clearly identify it and work backwards, defining all the milestones you'll need to hit in order to reach it. Big projects look like a giant mountain that's really scary to have to climb. Instead imagine each of the steps you will need to take are small hills, easily climbed.- Dr. Chaz Austin

Download the Career Planning Guide for for clearly defined steps on how to successfully create a career plan including your long-term and short-term career goals. To access LinkedIn Learning videos, please first login with your WGU credentials.

  1. Examine and identify your career goal.
  2. Set SMART goals.
  3. Conduct a gap analysis to determine short term goals and action steps.
  4. Build your plan. Use page 4 of the Career Planning Guide to develop a strong plan moving forward.

As you complete the activities described in the guide, a Career Advisor is available to answer questions, provide clarification, and offer support.

To request an appointment: Send your questions, areas for clarification and a copy of your Career Planning Guide (complete with your own notes and progress) to careers@wgu.edu and a career advisor will be in touch shortly after your email is received. We look forward to working with you!

Graduate School


 

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." -Dr. Suess

Are you considering graduate school upon completion of your WGU degree? For many professions, graduate school is required or strongly preferred. Graduate school can be a way to build your credentials or earn more money. Or perhaps you are a life-long learner and want to continue your education by earning a master’s or doctorate degree. Regardless of your motivation for attending graduate school, you will want to start planning so that you have a strong application and meet all deadlines. The process, application materials, and deadlines for graduate programs vary, so be sure to check the website of the university and department you are interested in for specific deadlines and requirements.

How do I order an official transcript?

Download the Career Planning Guide for for clearly defined steps on how to successfully create a career plan including your long-term and short-term career goals. To access LinkedIn Learning videos, please first login with your WGU credentials.

  1. Examine and identify your career goal.
  2. Set SMART goals.
  3. Conduct a gap analysis to determine short term goals and action steps.
  4. Build your plan. Use page 4 of the Career Planning Guide to develop a strong plan moving forward.

As you complete the activities described in the guide, a Career Advisor is available to answer questions, provide clarification, and offer support.

To request an appointment: Send your questions, areas for clarification and a copy of your Career Planning Guide (complete with your own notes and progress) to careers@wgu.edu and a career advisor will be in touch shortly after your email is received. We look forward to working with you!

Questions regarding transcripts should be directed to records@wgu.edu.

Note: Official transcripts will not be released to anyone whose financial obligations are not met. 

I’m applying to another university for a graduate or terminal degree program. What should I expect? Will they accept my WGU education?

Please note that each university has its own process and admission requirements for graduate school or terminal degree program. Candidates for graduate school are examined in different areas including the strength of their application/essay, letters of recommendation, and graduate school test scores. Additionally, some schools require applicants to have experience in the field, or to have a particular GRE score or GMAT score, while others require a combination of both. Generally, most schools require that a student have graduated from an accredited program. Since WGU (or its individual programs or colleges) is regionally, CAEP, CCNE, ACBSP, and CAHIIM accredited, the university satisfies the requirement of an accredited program. Our WGU graduates have been accepted into graduate school programs by many traditional universities.

Graduate School Resources

Graduate Admissions Exams

Many graduate schools require admissions tests (e.g., GRE, GMAT, LSAT). Visit the website for the university and graduate program you are interested in to find out more. Be aware that there are often deadlines for taking these exams. 

Paying for Graduate School

As you consider graduate programs, you will also want to think about how you are going to fund your graduate education. Fellowships, research and teaching assistantships, and other forms of grants, scholarships, and financial aid are often available. To find out what types of funding are available, see the website of the university and graduate program you are interested in. Be aware that there are often additional application materials and deadlines required for fellowships and assistantships. 

  • studentaid.gov - Helpful information on scholarships, fellowships, and financial aid

Gaining Experience


 

Are you transitioning careers or lack work experience related to your program of study? It can be challenging to determine how to "get your foot in the door" when positions often ask for 2-3 years of relevant experience. We have compiled five strategies to help you build the skills and experience needed to land that first position.

Are you currently employed? If so, look for opportunities to utilize what you are learning in your WGU degree program to help your organization. Meet with your manager and explore new projects, duties, or tasks that would benefit you both!

Don't wait to build your professional network! Conduct informational interviews, join professional organizations, and utilize LinkedIn to network with industry professionals and WGU students and alumni.

Be creative and open-minded when pursuing experience in your field. Identify employers of interest who might be able to offer volunteer, internship, or entry-level opportunities.

Look around your community for small, start-up, or nonprofit businesses that align with your interests, values and curiosities. Volunteer your skills and develop new skills!

Identify and research opportunities that will allow you to gain the skills and experience needed to progress toward your career goal.

Informational Interviews


 

Informational interviewing is a powerful (and underutilized) career exploration and networking tool that can jump start your career. In an informational interview, you are seeking leads and information regarding an industry, a career path or an employer by talking to people you know or who have been referred to you.

To access LinkedIn Learning videos, please first login with your WGU credentials:

  1. Land the Informational Interview*
  2. Prepare for an Informational Interview*
  3. Use this Outreal Email template to request Informational Interviews through LinkedIn  

  1. Know the Dos & Don’ts  (LinkedIn Learning video, 3m 20s)*
  2. Impress in an Informational Interview*
  3. Ask Smart Informational Interview Questions and make sure to take notes on the information gathered!

As you complete the activities described above, a career advisor is available to answer questions, provide clarification, and offer support. Request an appointment by sending your questions and areas for clarification to careers@wgu.edu and a career advisor will be in touch shortly after your email is received.

*If you have not yet registered with Big Interview:

  1. Visit the link: https://wgu.biginterview.com/
  2. Select the GREEN “Register” button in the upper right hand corner 
  3. Enter your WGU email address, First Name, Last Name and Password of your choice
  4. Select the GREEN “Create My Account” button