Duke Catalyst

Before declaring your major, before your first job, before that interview, before you leave Duke what are you doing to ignite your best self? Catalyst is a collection of tools and resources to help you activate your highest potential.

For undergraduate and graduate students served by the Career Center.

Intentional career readiness can lead to explosive career success later. We want to help you build confidence and awareness so that when you find that perfect first job, you can communicate where you will bring the most progress to the table.

It starts with a 15-minute Strengths Profile assessment, from which you will receive 7 realized strengths, 7 unrealized strengths, 4 learned behaviors, and 3 weaknesses. After, you will complete a debrief of your assessment with your peers led by a trained facilitator to reflect on your results and set up S.M.A.R.T. goals for unlocking the most opportunity from these strengths. This will be your foundation.

Log into Handshake to sign up for a Strengths Profile Debrief appointment with a Career Advisor and take the assessment.

From here we start to work on pinpointing your Career Target Zone in three ways.

Determining what you like starts with knowing who you are. Your values and beliefs feed directly in to what you enjoy and what drains you. Lean in to your self-confidence, create a resilient attitude, and understand what role best fits you in a team.


Identify and differentiate between traits that are innate to personality and those that can be refined.


Display a positive disposition, be open for new tasks, and treat others with respect.


Use your strengths to supplement a group’s weaknesses. Similarly be willing to accept help.

Your strengths are your foundation! Communicate how you can bring the most value and know where you grow best for your success.


Communicate clearly and effectively verbally and in writing.


Be willing to acknowledge areas for improvement and accept constructive criticism.

After you complete your debrief, connect with young alumni to build mentorships through Duke Alumni Directory and LinkedIn. The job market has an unpredictable ebb and flow, hear from recent graduates to know what new is up and coming jobs or how you can navigate long established industries. Each job has a many lessons built in if you stay persistent and diligent while focused on the mission.


You will not always be working in your Career Target Zone. Be patient and focus on learned the skills that will get you there.


Hard work and mastering tasks is expected, even in undesirable tasks.


Recognize that your job is to help the organization serve it’s customers.