Cyclone Career Strategy

The goal for the Cyclone Career Strategy is to provide a time-bound and organized opportunity to research, investigate and develop a career search plan. This strategy provides 4 steps that will help you develop an active career plan:


  1. self-assessment,
  2. building a network,
  3. participating in Informational Interviews, and
  4. developing SMART Goals.

All within a suggested time-limit of 10 hours.


Future dates coming

Please sign up for each week individually. More information contact Karin Lawton-Dunn,

1.) Build a Network: (Spend no more than 3 hours on this step)

GOAL: Meet and talk with people working in a potential career area who could offer insight to your career goals and introduce you to other contacts within the field.

Contact individuals within career fields of your interest. This may include cold calls, emails, phone calls, LinkedIn contacts, social media, and friends of friends.

Begin NOW: Identify 10 individuals within your career/subject area and send an email of introduction. At least 5 of these emails should be to people you do not know.

Send your first email!

  • Identify a person and email within 15 minutes, make sure you proofread!
  • Determine the goal or outcome of the email. Emails should be professional and brief. If asking to meet for an Informational Interview, ask for no more than 10-20 minutes.
  • Research the person you are going to email. Highlight their key skills and expertise that you would like to learn more about.
  • WRITE the email and send it NOW!


2.) Self-Assessment (Spend no more than 2 hours on this step) 

GOAL: What do you want to find out about yourself and a career? Complete a self-assessment to determine what careers most likely match your skills, interests, values, and ethics.

Complete a MyIDP self-assessment and research the outcomes.

  • Do your skills, values, and ethics match those of the positions and companies that you identified? If not, then search LinkedIn to look for position titles and companies that interest you. Another good option would be to google career self-assessment tools.

Build your LinkedIn profile using the skills and values from your self-assessment.


3.) Informational Interviews: (Spend no more than 3 hours on this step)

Informational Interviews do not include asking about positions, internships, or any favors from the interviewee. Informational Interviews are short in length (10-20 minutes).

GOAL: To learn and gain information, contacts, and ideas for your career search. Be clear about your purpose for each interview.

  • Learn more about their career path or discuss items in common (alma mater, research, etc.).

Contact the individual to set a time and arrange details. This could be made through an initial communication or may require additional follow-up contacts via phone, email, etc.

Prepare: Do your homework about the individual and their organization that you are planning to interview.

  • State the reason for the interview.
  • Prepare questions to ask the individual. Utilize your research of the individual to personalize questions. Remember, the goal is to learn from the person, not to get an interview or internship.
  • Interview should be brief,
    • The few questions asked should be applicable to you and your interests.
    • Listen for stories and vocabulary that may give you additional information.
  • Follow-up by thanking them for their time and help. This should be short and timely.


4.) SMART Goals: (Spend no more than 2 hours on this step)

SMART Goals are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.

GOAL: Set professional development plans and/or career goals based on SMART Goals, e.g.

I will supplement my programming skills by taking python classes on with the goal of finishing a class in the next 30 days.

I will begin attending Toastmasters to improve my public speaking skills and commit to attend for at least 6 months.

Specific: The goals written should be simple and easy to understand. Address both professional and personal goals as desired. A good model to follow is What, Why, and How will these goals be accomplished.

Measurable: There should be evidence that you have achieved this goal. Most goals will have short-term targets that provide proof of your work towards your goal.

Achievable: Goals should have a realistic outcome. Do you possess the skills, connections, and time to achieve this goal?

Results-Focused: The goal should be able to show a result or outcome.

Time-Bound: The goal should have an ending or completion date or time. This will allow you to create new goals to continue through your career planning. Be aware of your calendar to see that you can complete the goal.