Career exploration: A Just-in-Time endeavor?

24 March 2022
Rachel Leatham
Rachel Leatham, Associate Director

When you hear the phrase “just-in-time,” what do you imagine?  Maybe you think about maximizing efficiency, reducing wasted time, and doing things right before the deadline. We can apply this concept to how many of our Carleton students approach their internship and job searches. This spring will be a busy time for many of our students who are launching their searches for their summer activities and jobs after Carleton just-in-time. 

As we often say in the Career Center, we meet students where they are. We understand that many students are approaching their searches somewhat later than some might expect. A combination of factors including procrastination, busy schedules, and uncertainty contribute to these decisions on timing. 

This spring we will have three main activities that will center our work: 

  1. Personalized outreach. We are surveying our students to learn whether they feel satisfied with their plans for the coming summer. If they don’t, then we will invite them to participate in targeted workshops and 1:1 coaching sessions to provide them with actionable strategies. 
  1. Just-in-time activities. We will be offering a cohort-based, hands-on workshop on Saturday, April 9 for students to tackle their internship and job searches. At the event, we will coach students on how to find an opportunity, prepare their application materials, and answer specific questions they may have. Our success will be measured by how many students leave ready to take the next step, whether it be pressing send on an application or networking to design an opportunity with an employer. 
  1. Foundational career planning activities. We will continue to have broad discussions with students about their career exploration process. Specifically, as part of our sophomore career coaching, we are inviting students to have action planning meetings with their assigned career coaches. In these conversations, we encourage students to reflect on their first two years of college and plan for their career exploration for their remaining two years.  

How can you help? In anticipation of the April 9 event, we’d love to be able to offer more high-quality, Carleton-specific jobs and internships for students. Does your firm have a possible job or internship that might be a good fit for a Carleton student? Alternatively, If you want to create an internship, please email me ( Please note that through generous alumni support, the Career Center has funding that can support students if an experience is unpaid (or low paying.)  We’d love to hear from you before April 6. 

Normalizing the range of timelines that students are using is helpful – and if we can provide students with coaching and opportunities that meet their needs, we are doing even better. Now that’s just-in-time at its best.