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Career-Related Reflection Questions

We believe in the inherent value of a degree from Boise State University and know that each department or program offers unique opportunities and experiences to build knowledge, skills, and behaviors. Career-related reflection allows students to pause and inquire into their learning, connect their experiences, and intentionally evaluate their career goals. It provides students with the space to identify their progress, potential changes, and gaps while planning for their next steps. Ultimately, it helps students look back on their their Boise State experience in order to articulate it in a compelling way to future employers, graduate schools, or other relevant audiences.

Below you will find example questions that you can take, modify, or use to generate ideas for your course. Your Career Services liaison is available to consult with you to help identify additional reflection questions that fit your specific needs.

There are a few different ways you might use career-related reflection questions in your course. They can be attached to an existing assignment (used to reflect on the assignment), given as an independent assignment, or used for free-writing activities in class. In Finishing Foundations courses, they can also be used to look back on projects and experiences throughout multiple courses.

Explore (Know)

If you are teaching 100 or 200 level classes, your students are likely in some stage of exploring their options as they relate to a major, a career path, or goals. In this section you will find examples of reflection questions that can help students explore their interests, values, skills and abilities, personality traits, and potential career paths. You can link these questions to content in your course related to developing self-knowledge, or in some cases, to any activities or assignments.  

If you are looking to put some focus on self-knowledge and career exploration in your course, consider utilizing Pathway U, an online assessment provided by Career Services.

  • If you won the lottery and never needed to earn money again, what would you spend your time doing? What real jobs would potentially allow you to do some of those things?
  • How have your career goals and plans been influenced by your family and/or the community you are from? Consider things like what careers you have been exposed to, what your family expects from you, cultural characteristics of your community or family, and how those things have shaped your perspective on careers.
  • What aspects of this class are you enjoying the most? (This could be anything about the class or your experience in it, not just the topics we’re learning about.) What does that tell you about your interests, abilities, values, or personality? How can that information help inform your career decisions? 
  • When we do group work, what do you contribute the most to the group? What role do you take on? What do others ask you for help with? What can that tell you about your skills or strengths?
  • Think about your favorite job you’ve had (or volunteer position, or extracurricular activity). What characteristics of the work and the work environment made it enjoyable? What about your least favorite job? What can you learn about what you need to have and what you need to avoid in a future career?

Remember, these are just some ideas to get you started. Contact your Career Services liaison for additional ideas that might fit your course or existing assignments.

Experience (Do)

The example questions in this section help students make sense of what they are learning in your course and how it is preparing them for a career. They will help students reflect on what skills (disciplinary or transferrable) a particular assignment helped them build and why that is important. 

Note that these questions are primarily intended to be used with assignments or projects. If you are teaching or facilitating an experiential learning course (i.e. internship, Service Learning, fieldwork, or course involving a real-world project), please go to our Experiential Learning Reflection Questions page. If you are supervising undergraduate research, please go to our Undergraduate Research Reflection Questions page. 

To help students reflect on how your course or an assignment is preparing them for a career, we recommend reviewing the Career Readiness Competencies published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). You will notice that many of these competencies align directly with our University Learning Outcomes. You might consider choosing the competencies that align directly with the learning outcomes in your course, or including additional competencies and asking questions that provide them with an opportunity to assess their application in an assignment and how further application could help them achieve career or life goals.

  • What skills do you hope to gain or improve upon by completing this project/assignment? Based on your personal career interests and goals, how do you think you would use these skills after graduation? What can you do during this project/assignment to maximize your opportunities to develop these skills?
  • National research has identified 8 top career readiness competencies. Which of these did you use in completing your project or assignment? Choose at least one of these competencies and assess what you learned about your abilities and/or how you further developed your skills in this area through this project/assignment.
  • From completing this project/assignment, what have you learned about your likes/dislikes and your strengths/areas for improvement as they relate to future employment? What are your next steps for continuing to build skills and gain experience?
  • Is there an aspect of your project/assignment that failed or didn’t quite go as intended? What did you observe about your strengths as well as potential areas for improvement in how you handled it? How will these observations help you prepare for challenges you’ll face in a future work environment? 
  • Being able to work effectively with people who are different from you is critical in a professional environment. Discuss some differences between you and your teammates that you navigated in this project/assignment. What challenges arose and how did you address them? What value did those differences add to your project/assignment?
  • Employers want to hire college graduates with leadership abilities. You can lead from within any role on a team, not just as a manager or designated project lead. Discuss how you used leadership skills in your role in this group project. Where were you successful in your leadership, and in what ways can you improve? Outside of this class, what are some opportunities you could seek out to further develop your skills?
  • What have you learned in this course that will help you in your major? What skills have you had the opportunity to develop or practice that will help you succeed in your other courses? What new perspectives have you gained that will help you better understand your discipline? How has this course helped move you toward your career goals?

Remember, these are just some ideas to get you started. Contact your Career Services liaison for additional ideas that might fit your course or existing assignments.

Articulate (Become)

The example questions in this section help students articulate what they’ve learned to future employers and graduate schools. They can be used to reflect upon a project or assignment, experiential learning, or your course as a whole.

If you are teaching or facilitating an experiential learning course (i.e. internship, Service Learning, fieldwork, or course involving a real-world project), please also visit our Experiential Learning Reflection Questions page (coming soon) for additional ideas. If you are supervising undergraduate research, please visit our Undergraduate Research Reflection Questions page. 

  • What are the top three things you’d want a potential employer in your career field or a graduate school to know about you/your qualifications? Discuss how you would explain each of those things to a recruiter or representative. Include examples of things you’ve done in this class and/or during your time at Boise State that support your points.
  • Where might you be able to list this project/experience on a resume? What related experiences could it potentially be grouped with? How relevant is it to your career goals? How prominent do you want it to be on a resume? (For help with these questions, see the Resume Strategies virtual workshop.)
  • When describing a project or experience on a resume, you’ll want to include relevant skills, tasks, and results. Identify three skills you used in this project/experience that relate to your career goals, discuss how you used them, and what happened as a result. Use this to draft a resume action statement for each that includes the skill, the task or activity in which you used it, and the outcome. (For help, see the Resume Strategies virtual workshop.)
  • It’s important to have stories or examples that you can share in interviews. Think about how you have grown during this class/project/experience. Identify one specific moment that feels important and tell the story. For example, did you have a break-through moment where you could do or understand something in a new way? Did you make a connection with a person that was difficult to connect with? Did you recover from what felt like a failure?
  • In most interviews you will be asked behavioral questions, where the interviewer requests a story. With your project in mind, use the STAR method (Situation, Task/Problem, Action, Result) to write out a response to the following interview question: “Tell me about a time you had to work on a problem in a team.” (Use the Successful Interviewing virtual workshop to learn about behavioral questions and the STAR method.)

Remember, these are just some ideas to get you started. Contact your Career Services liaison for additional ideas that might fit your course or existing assignments.