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Professional Development Recommendations

Students are encouraged to create a professional development plan and intentionally incorporate career exploration and development into their time at UC San Diego.  Below are tips based on academic year.

1st Year (Freshmen)

  1. Create and update a LinkedIn profile and Tritons Connect profile.
    1. Connect with peers, instructors, guest speakers, and professionals on these platforms as you meet them throughout your time at UCSD. Many of your classes will include industry guest speakers. It's okay to request to connect with them after they speak in your class. Also connect with students you work with. In 4-5 years and beyond some of your classmates will end up being your colleagues. Recognize that connecting and staying in touch to create sincere relationships with fellow students, faculty, and guest speakers is networking and it can help open up doors for you down the road.
    2. Add the USP Department LinkedIn page to your education in addition to UC San Diego
  2. Join a preprofessional student organizations such as Triton Real Estate Organization (TREO), Young Planners Society (YPS), or Arch@UCSD (architecture org). Each of these orgs will have opportunities to connect with your peers and learn about the industry and potential career paths. Getting involved will also help you connect to the department and build a feeling of community.   
  3. Start learning about career opportunities related to your area of study including career paths, resources, job titles, post-bachelor's education, and potential employers.
    1. RED Career Exploration 
    2. USP Career Exploration

Sophomores & Juniors (Including Junior Transfers) 

  1. Complete steps 1-3 above if not already done.
  2. Create your resume and meet with the Career Center or Jennifer to review it. 
    1. Need a resume template and tips? Request one with this form. The template Jennifer recommends highlights your relevant coursework and projects you'll be completing in your courses, many of which will provide direct transferrable skills and knowledge for the internships and jobs you'll later be applying for. 
  3. Start thinking about internships: What kind of internships are you interested in? What companies/organizations are you interested in? Where can you fit this in your schedule? Try to complete one internship during your junior year or summer before senior year.  
    • Some companies will recruit early in Fall including construction management and some large finance/real estate companies, but most summer internships are posted Feb-April for students to apply to. Internships are a valuable experience that allow students to:

      • Discover what jobs they like and excel at (or don't like)

      • Build skills and gain knowledge 

      • Learn about a company or organization

      • Build professional relationships with people working in the industry

      • Apply classroom learning and theory to practice

    • Internships can differentiate students from other applicants when applying for full-time positions. Professionals working in the fields of planning and real estate development often highlight interning as a recommendation for networking and learning.  The USP Blog is the department's main way of communicating internship opportunities to students. Feel free to reach out to Jennifer again for tips on where to look for opportunities and ways to approach your internship search. Success in securing an internship starts with having polished application materials (resume, cover letter) and an intentional search plan.
  4. Conduct informational interviews to help you answer career questions you may have and learn about career paths. 


  1. Complete an internship during your final academic year if possible.
  2. Get involved with professional associations such as NAIOP, APA, ULI, CREW for the education, networking, and mentoring opportunities.
  3. Participate in a mentorship program. Utilize the mentoring programs NAIOP and SDAPA offer or connect with a mentor through Tritons Connect or with a Triton alum via LinkedIn.
  4. Polish your application materials and create your job search plan if looking for full-time employment after you graduate. Meet with Jennifer to discuss this or attend one of her workshops. Aim to start applying to positions 2-3 months before you graduate.