University of Wisconsin–Madison

Define Your Career Goals

With so many career options, it may seem almost impossible to decide what to do after you graduate.

Whether you are considering graduate school or planning to enter the work force immediately upon graduating, you can start the process by following the steps outlined below. The earlier you assess your skills and interests and how they relate to specific careers, the easier it will be for you to find a great position.

Make A Plan: Take a look at our Game Plan for Success which outlines steps you can take each year to help prepare for a successful professional career.

Assess Your Skills: Employers need to know if you have the skills required to perform a job well. You need to know your skills so that you find a position, and career, that is well suited to your abilities. By assessing your skills, you’ll know what you have to offer an employer–and which careers could be a good fit for you.

Research Your Career Options: One of the best ways to define your career goals is by learning about the kinds of companies and positions that seek someone with your interests, skills and experiences. There are many ways to learn about companies and positions, including:

  • BuckyNet: BuckyNet is the On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) system available to all UW-Madison students. Many companies only hire through on-campus recruiting at select universities. Search for job/internship postings to learn about potential career options and complete the Career Finder assessment (within the Resources tab) to learn about careers that may be a good fit for you.
  • Career & Internship Fair: More than 300 employers from a variety of companies attend the UW-Madison Career & Internship Fair each semester. The list of employers attending can be found in BuckyNet.
  • Employer Information Sessions: Information sessions are an opportunity to learn first-hand about a company, open positions, and what they look for in new hires. It also is a great way to show the recruiter you really want the job. The schedule of information sessions is posted in BuckyNet and is sent out to economics majors in a weekly Monday night email from the Economics Career Development Office.
  • Networking: Because it is so important, we have an entire section of the website devoted to networking.
  • Alumni Panel:  Each semester, successful economics alumni return to campus to talk with students about their career, how they are using the skills they gained as an economics major, and to offer advice to students.
  • Networking Trips: The Economics Student Association takes trips to a number of cities to meet with employers, learn about career options, and learn how to market their economics major.
  • Career Options for Economics Majors: Read about career paths many economics majors pursue and the courses recommended to prepare for a variety of careers.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook: The Occupational Outlook Handbook highlights occupations by industry or interest area and outlines what the positions do, how to become one, pay ranges, job outlook, and similar occupations.
  • Vault: Explore a comprehensive career information site with company/internship rankings and reviews as well as industry and interview guides.
    • Vault LogoLog-in here! Accessible only to Economics Students.
  • Employers Who Sponsor: is a work visa database that can help international students find U.S. employers who have historically sponsored employees.
  • Employment Websites: Learn about industries, positions, and skills needed by visiting various employment websites. Below are just a few examples. Please note that there are many other websites available where you can find more information. Many company websites offer extensive advice to applicants on how to improve résumés, cover letters, and interviewing skills. Look for the “Careers” tab on the company website.