Getting Started

welcome grad students, how can we help you today?

The road that led you to continue your education is personal and distinctive to your career path. The Career Center looks forward to supporting you during your time at WCU and beyond. Our website provides career support at your fingertips. Navigate through its content to get started on various topics. We know graduate students have a different set of needs and if you are looking for more in-depth guidance, we encourage you to schedule an appointment and check out our semester events .


Wondering where to begin?

Career development is an ongoing process and our Career Engagement Model can help you figure out where to get started. Below is an outline of action steps to help you explore, prepare and gain experience all while continually reflecting and taking action to fully engage in your journey.

Career Engagement Model. Reflect and Act. Explore, Experience, Prepare

Reflection & Action

The foundation of a successful career is reflection. You will personally evolve based not just on career related experiences but all elements of life. The entire model is encircled in the need to reflect so that you can take any necessary action steps to maintain, change, or grow your career engagement.


Explore your options by developing an understanding of who you are and the goals you are working toward. Research career options by discovering your personal values, interests, and skills.   

  • Meet with a career counselor to discuss what direction to plan to take your advanced degree 
  • Discover your Handshake account, which gives you access to internship, and job opportunities  
  • Explore on-campus opportunities such as clubs, Graduate Assistantships and research with faculty 
  • Complete career assessments such as Strong or MBTI for deeper self-reflection 
  • Create an account on Ram Nation to connect with WCU alumni in your areas of interest 
  • Talk with professors and instructors to understand more about field-specific opportunities 


Prepare for opportunity by building your resume, cover letter, network, and interviewing strategies. These preparation pieces act as the foundation of a successful career journey and are elements that will continue with you throughout your entire process.  

  • Reflect on current or past jobs to identify your transferable skills to develop your resume and cover letters 
  • Examine how you plan to leverage your graduate level education (i.e., upward movement at current job, new opportunities in a different industry)  
  • Update your resume with your new experiences, academic work, and skills   
  • Create or expand your LinkedIn account to develop your professional image and grow connections 
  • Participate in a mock interview and practice utilizing STAR technique  
  • Research and become knowledgeable about a competitive salary range in your field and understand how your degree impacts offer negotiation 
  • Identify and confirm at least 3 individuals who are willing to serve as references  


Experience is putting into action your knowledge and skills while building new abilities and diversifying your engagement. This can take on many forms depending on what stage you are in on your path including employment, internships, and continued education.  

  • Consider how volunteering or freelance work can help explore areas of interest and expand your network 
  • Strategize about how you can engage your current network and build new connections 
  • Participate in academic research through the university or externally 
  • Join professional associations or organizations in your career field and attend meetings and/or conferences 
  • Complete an internship (may be built into your program) as there are many opportunities at the graduate level 
  • Attend the Job & Internship Fair (one held each semester)