Success Secrets 101: A Guide to Career Development for Students

Created  by Cake

Ever done the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI), also known as the 16 personalities? Well, did you know that it’s actually frequently used as a career development questionnaire for students? That’s because the MBTI is a personality indicator, and your personality and preferences have a direct influence on your career path. 

However, like most things, your personality can change and develop. From introvert to extrovert, you can gain new interests that refocus your future paths, oftentimes requiring you to learn new skills. Which is why early career development for students is so important. 

When adequately planned for, early career development for studies can lead to better opportunities and success in the future. In this post, we’ll explore the importance of career development for students, with a specific focus on how career development advice for students can be invaluable for future short term and long term career goals.

What Is Career Development & Why Is It Important?

As the name suggests, ‘career development’ is all about preparing for your future career. While it can start as early as middle school, career development advice for students in high school and university is usually more common. 

This is because, by that point, students should already have an idea of what makes them tick. It is these personal interests, skills, strengths, weaknesses, and personality that will define what your future career might be and what career development strategies for students will work best for you.

Following career development advice for students means knowing and understanding the requirements or “nice-to-haves” for certain career paths. For example, what level of higher education, if any, do you need to achieve your dream job? 

Likewise, career development for students also needs to take into account what makes you comfortable. If you’re a social bumble bee, would you be comfortable taking a remote role? It’s helpful to think of these pros and cons like a career development questionnaire for students before embarking on your career journey.

Career Development Advice for Students

Regardless of the field of interest, the importance of career development for students should not be underestimated. In addition to obtaining enough relevant experiences to write resumes that rock, career development advice for students is another great way to provide peace of mind when it comes to establishing and following the following career blueprint.

Self-Exploration and Goal Setting

One of the greatest results of career development for students is the sense of self-understanding that it gives. In this day and age where one’s ideal job can be reflective of their personal interests as well as salary preferences, early career development advice for students offers the chance to explore and discover where your interests, passions, and strengths lie. 

This, in turn, makes it so much easier to set clear career goals and aspirations. If you live and breathe writing, why not consider a career in marketing as a digital marketer, SEO content writer, content designer, or social media specialist? Common career development strategies for students wanting to pursue these positions could be to start a blog or work at the school paper.

Gain Practical Experience

Relevant and practical work experience is often the most valued section on a resume. Taking the form of internships, part-time jobs, and volunteer work, these experiences demonstrate a clear and continued interest in a specific field. Work experience is also a great indicator to employers of your ability to perform well in real-world work environments, as well as your professional development during the internship.

Looking for positions specializing in marketing to engineering? Cake’s job portal is the best place to find opportunities for students from up-and-coming startups and established companies. There’s even the annual Cake job fair, where it’s easy to connect with prospective employers that can offer insightful career development advice for students.

Academic and Extracurricular Balance

From word of mouth musings to Guardian articles, it’s been well documented that involvement in clubs, organizations, and sports can develop desirable skills for the workplace. Soft and transferable skills like leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, and communication, are all crucial in creating well-rounded individuals, which employers love.

Extracurricular activities also provide students with the opportunity to build their portfolio of work. Career development strategies for students often focus on acquiring as many relevant skills and work experience as possible; academic pursuits and extracurricular activities, when adequately balanced, offer students the space to build and showcase their experiences.

Networking and Building Connections

There’s a reason LinkedIn has nearly 1 billion members: networking is a game changer to career development strategies for students. As one of the most invaluable ways to obtain glowing references, insight into the industry, and tips for climbing up the career ladder, building professional connections with your professors, institution alumni, and admired professionals is a must.

These connections can be created by showcasing your professional profile (and attire) at career fairs, workshops, and networking events, as well as in the classroom. Alternatively, use Cake’s online portfolio to easily display your work to prospective employers.

Resume and Cover Letter Tips

Perfecting your resume and cover letter is one of the career development strategy short term goals examples for students. An easy feat in comparison to the long term goals examples for students of acquiring new skills through work experience, thinking about how to write resumes still requires adjustments to tailor applications to specific job opportunities. 

Not sure where to find professional resume writing tips or decent cover letter examples? Cake has a variety of resources available, from easy breezy beginner cover letters to top tips for crafting the perfect resume for every application, plus templates. You’ll never be stuck on how to write resumes again!

Developing Soft Skills

A complement to hard skills, the significance of soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and adaptability in career development for students cannot be understated. That’s because these long term goals examples for students indicate your people skills, i.e. how well you’ll fit into the future workplace. 

There are many settings that can demonstrate these necessary skills in career development for students, such as through participation in clubs and activities. Taken part in a team sport? Check for communication? Had an issue and solved it? Check for problem-solving and potential adaptability. As simple as it is to find examples, it’s also easy to improve these skills.

Continuous Learning and Skill Development

The importance of career development for students is much greater than just the extent of your academic activities. Employers love to see individuals who are keen to grow and continuously learn, so students are encouraged to learn beyond the classroom. 

Career development advice for students can be as simple as staying updated with industry trends, reading around your preferred fields, and following leading professionals in the field. Alternatively, you can also broaden and deepen your skills with extracurricular online courses, workshops, and certifications.

Seek Mentorship and Guidance

There are many career development resources for students out there, but one of the most meaningful and accessible (for university students) is a mentor. Mentorship can come from anywhere and anyone, but it’s usually recommended to be a professor, professional, academic advisor, or career counselor. 

Mentors can offer valuable insights, support, and career development advice for students intrigued in a specific field. They can help you stay focussed on your short term goals examples for students (development of soft skills) and long term goals examples for students (finding work experience). 

Embrace Failure and Resilience

It’s been said time and time again that being a student is all about making mistakes - this is especially true when it comes to career development for students and the preparation to leave the bubble of security that is high school or university. 

Career development advice for students iterates that mistakes serve as valuable learning opportunities, where every failure or rejection acts as another stepping stone to your success. The key is to persevere; resilience and perseverance are some of the most important skills to develop during this trial and error period of career development for students.

Plan for Career Transitions

Career development advice for students doesn’t just start and end in the classroom - it can be useful throughout your entire career journey. Just like how tastes change, you may realize further down the line that your career interests have evolved and that a change in career path is needed.

Though daunting, it’s easy to adapt and pivot your career; you can even use the tools and career development resources for students widely available online, such as with ‘My Next Move’.


Whether you’re an ISTJ or INTP, early career development for students is essential to achieve all your career goals. It can give you the confidence you need to ace that job application or interview - you’ve already gained the relevant skills and experiences to excel in the position, after all.

Career development advice for students can also be life changing when it comes to deciding what you actually want to pursue. By exploring your interests, networking with the right people, developing relevant soft skills for your fields, and excelling at the extracurriculars, the benefits of early career development for students are endless.

So go on and take those first few steps in your career development journey. While career development for students, or anyone really, is an ongoing process, with perseverance (and a bit of self-discovery) you’re sure to realize your future career.

Excited to take the first steps towards your future? Cake is the best free resume builder, perfect for crafting attractive and professional resumes that make you stand out from the crowd. With free resources on furthering your career and advice to help you nail that application, Cake makes applications a piece of cake!

With Cake, an online resume builder, we provide you with hundreds of free professional resume templates and various resume format examples that help showcase the best you. Landing your dream job will be a piece of cake!

--- Originally written by Eva O’Mara ---

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