Sophomore Guide

The Center for Career Development is not where you go when you feel you have your future figured out; it's where you go to get started figuring it out. 

Career development is unique for every individual. 

As you progress through your sophomore year, try not to put too much pressure on yourself to have your career figured out. Instead, get involved in a wide range of activities. Eventually, your interests and values will emerge through your experiences.

Tips, resources & events to explore during your sophomore year. 

Aerial view of campus

Plan for the Year Ahead

Spend a few minutes recording reflections about your academic and career exploration. Consider: 

  • Your first year and summer experiences 
  • Courses you are especially excited about
  • Career areas that you are curious about 
  • Co-curricular experiences that interest you
  • Opportunities to develop your professional skills
  • Browsing Career Compass to research career fields and alumni profiles
  • Completing your Handshake profile, including the Career Interests section, to start to receive personalized recommendations
  • Taking the CareerExplorer assessment to learn about your interests and work style

Reflection will help you recognize broader themes about your interests. You may also identify whether your current activities are still serving you.

If you aren't sure what interests you or where to start with this exercise, make an appointment to talk through it with a career adviser.

Create a Plan with a Career Adviser

Advisers are here to help you reflect about career possibilities, discover interests, and create a personalized plan. If you want to discuss anything in this guide in more detail, make an appointment with a career adviser.

Peer Career Advisers (PCAs) are students trained to help fellow students with applications, resumes and cover letters, explore opportunities and more.You can schedule an appointment with them in Handshake or find their PCA Pop-ups and Coffee Chats in various locations on campus, including your residential college. There are no prerequisites to make an appointment.

Career advisers

Satomi Yaji Chudasama
Director, student engagement
Pam Cohen
Associate director, career advising
Kate Coppola
Director, career advising and partnerships
Tai Yee Ho
Associate director, career advising
Amy Keane
Career adviser
Krystyn Kitto
Senior associate director, employer engagement
Kathleen Mannheimer
Senior career adviser
Shayna Merhav
Assistant director, career advising
Micaela Ortiz
Associate director, alumni engagement & experiential learning
Doug Ricci
Alumni career adviser
Brandon Treviño
Associate director, pre-law career advising

Explore Different Fields

Exploration is an ongoing process. As you gain experience, you may notice your interests changing. Continue to explore options through conversations with students and alumni, as well as resources offered by the Center for Career Development including advising, recruiting and programs

Felicia Sanders Photo

Advice on exploring your interests from a PCA

Don't restrict yourself to experiences that directly relate to your concentration/intended career path.

Join clubs, attend workshops, and listen to lectures on campus, and you'll have more opportunities to learn what you like and dislike.

- Felicia Sanders '25

Connect with Alumni and Professionals

Through networking, you can learn about different career paths, application advice, best practices, and job/internship opportunities. Many students find internship and job opportunities through networking.

We offer programs, resources, and tools to help you network with peers, alumni and industry professionals.

John Mulunda Photo

Networking advice from a PCA

Take time to speak to students and professionals in your area of interest — they are always willing to give constructive, eye-opening advice!

Also, don't be afraid to cold email professionals as I am sure they will be happy to speak to you!

- John Mulunda '24

Create a Summer Plan

It is important to think through how you would like to spend your summer after your sophomore year. There is no right or wrong way to plan your summer. Some students prefer to relax at home, while others might participate in a job/internship, academic study, or alumni-sponsored or independent projects. 

If you are interested in pursuing a summer internship or Princeton program, we have resources available to help guide you through your internship search experience.

If you need assistance weighing options for summer, career advisers can help you put together a plan that is right for you.

Justin Ong Photo

Planning advice from a PCA

Meeting with staff members or Peer Career Advisers helped me immensely to find my true calling and discover my career goals.

- Justin Ong '23

Develop Job Search Skills

Now that you have some ideas about career fields that interest you, it’s time to find opportunities to gain experience. Below are some resources and programs we offer to help you build search skills that can help you land an opportunity.

You can schedule an appointment in Handshake to have a PCA or career adviser review your resume, cover letter, and your LinkedIn profile

Resume

Cover Letter

LinkedIn

Job/Internship Search

Interviews

  • Review our Interviewing Guide to learn the basics of how to nail an interview
  • Attend the Interviewing Essentials workshop (September 21 or September 29)
  • Join the Interview Skill-Building Cohort Group for Beginners (Register by October 24). 
Austen Mazenko

PCA advice on helpful resources

The guides on the Center for Career Development website are honestly one of the most underrated resources out there.

Whether you're looking for tips on resumes, cover letters, elevator pitches, or more, the guides provide everything from advice on where to start all the way to multiple samples tailored to people of differing backgrounds.

- Austen Mazenko '24

Use Winter Break Thoughtfully

During winter break, make sure to find time to relax and reflect on the fall semester and the spring semester ahead. Princeton offers many opportunities to participate in fun activities, professional development work, academic development and more:

  • Sign up for Wintersession and additional career exploration opportunities
  • Set aside time to reflect during winter break to consider:
    • What have you learned about yourself, your interests and skills through activities and courses?
    • How might your learnings inform your career aspirations? 
    • How can you build in opportunities to reflect when the spring term begins and throughout your time at Princeton?

Decide on Your Concentration

Concentrations do not dictate careers. 

We recommend choosing a concentration that deeply interests you. Choosing a concentration that excites you will help you feel satisfied with your undergraduate experience and help you demonstrate your motivation and interest to employers.

All concentrations and certificates at Princeton teach skills that are transferable to a wide variety of roles and industries. Reflecting about your skills and interests along the way will help you create and follow a personalized career plan. 

  • Attend the Sophomore Career Kickoff event to hear from alumni how careers and concentrations connect (October 21 and 22)
  • Hear from LGBTQIA+ alumni about the intersection of identity and work (November 2)
  • Reflect on your curiosity, personal preferences for learning styles, interests, and skills you enjoy using
  • Research concentrations and speak with representatives from academic departments that interest you
  • Consider attending events for prospective concentrators to learn more about studying that area
  • Meet with a career adviser to talk through your reflections about choosing a concentration
Declan Waters Photo

Concentration selection advice from a PCA

These past few months have taught me that I just want to find a career that I am passionate about. If I’m passionate about neuroscience but want to pursue a career in business, I can do that.

My concentration and career interests do not have to be linear.

- Declan Waters '25

Practice Wellness

As you move forward through your sophomore year at Princeton, check in with yourself about your thoughts, feelings, observations, and progress. College is a time of growth and discovery, and you should be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. We encourage students to celebrate their victories, big and small, throughout their college journey. 

It is important to find and practice wellness activities that work for you. Think through activities that can help you feel balanced and motivated. Examples include:

  • Reaching out for help
  • Discussing your thoughts and feelings with others
  • Staying physically active
  • Music, mediation and/or yoga
  • Reading and journaling

You can meet with Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) for broader confidential counseling and psychological support and/or a Center for Career Development adviser for career strategy and planning support. Both CPS and career advising are dedicated resources that welcome conversation about these topics.  

Remember: career development is ongoing and, at times, it is full of decisions outside of our control. Go at your own pace and try not to compare your journey to others. Our career advisers are here to support you in your journey every step of the way.